the Author

State of the Author, September 2023 edition

Posted in Audio books, Cast, Essalieyan, self-publishing, writing, life.

I’m writing to you all from Australia, where I have come on my writing retreat, which used to be an annual thing until Covid. I have an unfor­tu­nately tight dead­line, and I’m neck deep into Cast in Atone­ment, which is not yet done.

I hope to be finished before I leave Bris­bane. And when I say finished, I mean: finished first draft. After which I will revise for submis­sion, and then submit.

Shards of Glass is due out at the end of November, so I’m fielding a few ques­tions about that — but my head is fully entan­gled in the Cast novel, so Shards feels like it was written years ago (it wasn’t).

My toe has improved enough it doesn’t bother me much, but according to X‑rays taken a week before I left, it has not fully healed yet — it’s an oblique break, and appar­ently those are worse. The baby toe (I broke two) was totally fine according to X‑rays. It’s the other toe that isn’t. I’m told that when it’s fully healed, it will once again bend prop­erly — so that’s my new test. Does it bend prop­erly? No? (insert colorful phrase here).

As for Hunter’s Redoubt, I have sent files to the audio­book narrator, and am working my way through the proof­read­er’s correc­tions and adding them to the book. At this point, I’m hoping for a some­time-in-October release date. As you’re all aware, the book is being self-published, and having gone through much of (but not all of) the process to publish, people who tell you that self-publishing is easy, and it’s a great way to make more money if you do it your­self, are clearly not breathing the same air I am.

Print will be avail­able as Print On Demand (which is how Memory of Stone was done), and it will there­fore be avail­able in a trade paper­back. And it will prob­ably be more expen­sive than publisher trade paper­backs because it will be 826 pages long. T_T. (Everyone said it doesn’t matter how long the book is, it can still be printed! But those Every­ones clearly meant: it doesn’t matter how short the book is. Because it absolutely matters how long it is T_T.)

My alpha reader wanted a PoD hard­cover, so there will prob­ably be that option. But again, because it’s not offset printing, it will cost way more than a normal hard­cover. Ingram now does full dust-jack­eted hard­covers that are other­wise the same as normal trade hard­covers. I think the only people who won’t scream at the price are Australian >.<.

And also: Managing editors should be paid way way way way more. Way more.

I hope everyone is surviving the various heat waves. Here, it’s early spring, so the temper­a­ture hasn’t gone above 80, and is frequently 70ish.


21 Responses to State of the Author, September 2023 edition

  1. Mary Allen says:

    So glad to hear your toes are healing and it sounds lovely to be some­where where the temper­a­ture is not in the high 90’s. I will be inter­ested in the print on demand hard cover of Hunter’s Redoubt as I have all the other House War novels in hard­cover and prefer hard cover as I reread, reread, and reread and they hold up better than paperbacks.

  2. Stephen Engel says:

    I have never been to Australia, so I envy you.
    I want a hard­cover of Hunter’s Redoubt. :)

  3. ebhdoc says:

    Please accept my well wishes for a speedy recovery. On another note, Jewel’s story is unfin­ished: when might there be a sequel? She has so much room to grow in what will certainly be tumul­tuous times….

  4. Pat Fernandez says:

    Can’t wait!Miss you and your wonderful characters

  5. Joey says:

    PoD hard­cover option?

  6. Michelle: Having been involved with both digital (print on demand) and offset printing — I can certainly agree with you that inde­pen­dent publishing is neither simple nor easy. For any budding authors out there I Can say that making a profit with digital printing is pretty much impos­sible. Printing costs will eat 90%+ of what you might reason­ably expect as a retail price. 

    With offset printing, almost all of the cost goes into making the printing plates, so making reprints (2nd edition) is compar­a­tively much cheaper than the initial run and there’s less price differ­ence between printing 500 or 1000 copies, for example. Before ordering 500 or 1000 or… copies (250 is often a minimum order for soft­cover, 500 for hard­cover), however, have a good under­standing of how will be respon­sible for storage, ship­ping orders, etc.

    It’s also impor­tant to under­stand that if you’re working inde­pen­dently with a printer, their role begins and ends with printing. By this I mean they will expect a completed and formatted book and cover — usually in .pdf or InDe­sign format. If you want layout, editing, proof­reading and/or cover design, those are different depart­ments and extra costs.

    And yes, page numbers make a differ­ence — both minimum and maximum, and this can affect book layout, lay flat options, spine design, etc. In my expe­ri­ence, some digital printing compa­nies are absolutely terrible about the infor­ma­tion they make avail­able on their websites and/or how diffi­cult it is to find it. Simi­larly, tech­nical support can be quite vari­able. Do your home­work, check every­thing three times and then again, ask lots of questions.

    And since we’re both in Canada, selling books over the US border for example is a whole other bundle of fun!

    Write on… 🖋️


  7. Jeanine says:

    Maybe this is a silly ques­tion but what vari­a­tion of your name will you be publishing Hunter’s Redoubt under?

  8. Jeanine says:

    I tried to find Hunter’s Redoubt on Amazon but was unsuc­cessful. However, I was delighted to find Cast in Atone­ment while I was looking. Looking forward to reading a Kaylin/Bellusdeo story next summer.

  9. michelle says:

    @Stephen & Mary Allen: I guess the alpha reader wasn’t entirely wrong >.. I had looked into small run or small offset run hard­covers but they were very expen­sive, as in prob­ably double the cost of an already very expen­sive hard­cover. Alpha reader didn’t care if the PoD version was the same as the rest of the hard­covers; he just wanted the hard­cover. So I added that to the design­er’s work­load (dust jacket). 

  10. michelle says:

    @ebhdoc: Jewel will prob­ably not be on the page much in this book, because it takes place in Breodanir.

    But she’s now very diffi­cult as a char­acter, because she is liter­ally a god within her own domain – her city. Her conflicts are internal; she wants to remain human — but it is a very diffi­cult thing to achieve when a stray thought, if she’s not careful, can erad­i­cate lives and existences.

  11. michelle says:

    @Jeanine: as I am totally new to all of this, the reason you can’t find HUNTER’S REDOUBT is because it is not there. I haven’t set those wheels in motion yet, because I don’t have a fixed publi­ca­tion date, so there’s nothing there for preorders. I hope to figure things out in a much smoother way the second time out, but this has been a big learning process for me. Sorry =/

    Also, in answer to your other query, it’s a Michelle West title :)

  12. michelle says:

    @Mike: The reason for the choice of PoD — for me — is that I don’t have ware­housing or fulfill­ment capac­i­ties; they were some­thing I was aware of as a book­seller. I would have to find someone who could offer both of these things in order to fill orders should I try to fund off-set printing of a paper­back, and the cost is 12.00+ per book to handle; ship­ping of course would be extra (and prob­ably paid by the reader). Ware­housing fees are on top of that. 

    I can’t afford offset hard­covers; I have no idea who would want them or how many I would need to print, and as you’ve pointed out, economy of scale is impor­tant there. I’d have to guess. I have prior books’ sales numbers — but those books were sold through sales reps and regular distri­b­u­tion chan­nels, and I assume that anything I could cobble together on my own wouldn’t have the same book­store reach, so I can’t actu­ally come up with a decent esti­mate of how many I’d need to print.

    Turning a profit on Print on Demand isn’t really the goal here; it’s making a print copy (I orig­i­nally typed hard­copy) avail­able for readers who prefer that format, and who have all the other books in print. I don’t expect that I would make more per book than I did from publish­er’s sales of those books, and if I look at it that way, it’s about the same to me in the end. Which means, yes, Amazon and IngramSpark will make more money than I will — but it’s that, or have no print option available.

    As for what I turn in to Amazon and IngramSpark, both demand files formatted to their spec­i­fi­ca­tions, so that part, at least, I’m on top of arranging.

  13. Karen L. Durst says:

    Will Hunters Redoubt be avail­able as an ebook?

  14. michelle says:

    @Karen: Yes, it will absolutely be avail­able as an ebook. Ebooks aren’t as compli­cated as, oh, every other format, so I failed to mention them.

    In theory every­thing should be avail­able at the same time. But, as I mentioned, it’s been a learning process.

  15. Steve Faught says:


  16. Joyce says:

    Michelle, dear lady, you need a clone. One of you with the creative spirit and the other with the orga­nized, on-top-of-things spirit. We, your readers, want you writing not tearing your hair (and breaking your toes) over the prac­tical side of every­thing. Sending healing vibes your way.

    I am so looking forward to Shards. I miss Elantra. If I’m honest though I am even more antsy for Atone­ment. I have so many ques­tions! I won’t ask them, though. Stay safe and heal.

  17. michelle says:

    @Joyce: well, SHARDS takes place in Elantra, although the main char­acter is Robin (from Wisdom) and his friend. Serralyn, Valliant & Terrano are also involved, as is the Chancellor.

    But ATONEMENT is the book I’m trying to finish in time for the begin­ning of October, which is its deadline :)

    Also: If I here hyper orga­nized, things would have gone more smoothly with HUNTER’S REDOUBT =/

  18. Jen (Brisbane) says:

    OMG welcome to Bris­bane!! I hope your retreat goes well and (hope­fully) you can squeeze in some fun while you are here. 

    I can’t wait until November (it seems to be a popular time for a lot of book releases atm)

  19. br60103 says:

    Is there some­place near Toronto that does PoD? The only time we ran into this was in New York.

  20. michelle says:

    @br60103: I’m not quite sure I under­stand the ques­tion. Yes, there are places in and around Toronto that do PoD and also offset printing.

  21. Taen says:

    Like many of your other readers, I’m delighted that we’ll have the option of the hard­cover, so thank you for making that happen. November can’t come soon enough!

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