Huntbrother

Huntbrother ebook cover

I’ve mentioned that the best thing about this whole process is seeing covers, right? Given today’s trial and error, it’s never been more true (I had some minor version control issues while formatting for Smashwords, and ended up uploading the wrong version the first time. And no, the first story, Echoes, has still not cleared the Premium Catalogue queue, which is called the Barnes & Noble queue in this house).

I was originally going to do all of the several rounds of proofing for all of the stories and upload everything at once (Huntbrother was proofed in printout 3 times, on the iPad twice (epub and Kindle), and in MS Word, because the font there is Times New Roman, a font in which I generally don’t do work). But there has since been a change of plans. Why? Because I actually feel like I’m not spinning in place when I upload something, even if it then goes into long queues. Once it’s in a queue, my part of the work is, in theory, done. It’s kind of like submission. The in theory perfectly proofed and entirely correct short stories are also being collected for the Print collection and the ebook collection, and I’m adding to that file as I finish.

The Weapon and Warlord are out making the print-proofing rounds now, and I’m am at the end stretch of the Skirmish revision, to which I am returning after making so many mistakes in formatting the neighbours could hear me shrieking from the sidewalk spending a calm, productive and entirely reasonable day.

This is a novella that was written because I was asked for a Hunter story. I was happy to write this one because it’s about Cynthia of Maubreche and her son, named Stephen (yes, this could cause confusion down the road, but it was the only name she wanted). It’s therefore set in Breodanir, the land in which the Hunters rule. It’s the fifth longest short story I’ve written, and I will not tell you what length I was actually asked for, because the initial requests usually come in form letters. Well, that and it’s embarrassing.

Huntbrother is available at Smashwords now, in their epub format. It will be available at Amazon.com in between one and two days in their kindle format. It will be at least two weeks until it clears the Smashword’s Premium Catalogue and makes its way to Barnes and Noble, and while it’s in the queue at the iBooks store, the first book has been in the review queue there for five days and hasn’t cleared it yet, either.

A word about pricing:

The stories range across lengths; most are less than 10,000 words; one is over 30,000.

For any story under 7,500 words, the price is 0.99.

For stories over 7,500 but under 17,000, the price is 1.99.

For stories over 17,000 the price is 2.99.

Everything I’m doing now is, of necessity, experimental. I understand print publishing and the demands of physical books and bookstores (writing and working in one for ‘lo these many years), but the ebook market is new to me, and I’m figuring it out as I go along.

The first six stories are set in Essalieyan, and I’ve never written a story set in that world which was under 10,000 words.

But the next ten or so that follow are the early Sagara short stories, and all of those are under 7,500.

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aaron
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 07:24:29

    So, awesome. In a fit of curiosity, I visited the Smashwords website to take a peek at the story an noticed a typo in the second paragraph. I believe “adored” should be “adorned”. Sorry!

    *Ducks and runs*

    Reply

  2. Genna Warner
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 08:15:14

    Yes. I will start looking for this on for my Kindle. :) Can’t wait to get the rest. These are keeping me occupied until Ruins comes out in Sept.

    Reply

  3. Mark Galpin
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 10:54:32

    Michelle —
    Thank you so much for doing this. This will be causing me to frantically switch between refreshing this page, and refreshing the search for you on the amazon kindle page… actually heck with waiting smashwords it is.
    And wow. This makes the scene from Sea of Sorrows make much more sense, and is an awesome story. I’m so glad you put the work in to make it available.

    As a numbers-sensitive person, I have to ask… why 17000?? Does that have a significance in the publishing world, was it chosen because of the gap between two particular stories, randomly?

    Reply

  4. Michelle Sagara
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 12:09:50

    As a numbers-sensitive person, I have to ask… why 17000?? Does that have a significance in the publishing world, was it chosen because of the gap between two particular stories, randomly?

    It’s apparently not the publishing world, but in SF & F, there are three length designations for the Hugos and the Nebulas: Short Story, Novelet, and Novella. I have become aware, over time, that outside of SF & F there are two designations — Short Story and Novella — and that, for instance, most of the Amazon indie people use only the two.

    So the mid-range here would be the Novelet, which for the sake of the rest of the world’s nomenclature has been lumped with Novella for the purposes of the ebooks.

    Reply

  5. lyssabits
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 12:47:10

    t’s the fifth longest short story I’ve written, and I will not tell you what length I was actually asked for, because the initial requests usually come in form letters. Well, that and it’s embarrassing.

    Heh, yes but the introduction to the story by the editors of the anthology gently poking fun at the length of the story was very, very cute. ;)

    Reply

    • Michelle Sagara
      Jul 11, 2011 @ 13:37:55

      Heh, yes but the introduction to the story by the editors of the anthology gently poking fun at the length of the story was very, very cute. ;)

      For some reason, I’d forgotten this completely…

      My “favorite” example of the way my publishers acknowledge this small flaw in my ability to stick to word length was the DAW 30th anniversary anthology story. We were initially all asked for 6,000 words. I phoned my editor and told her it was possible (she laughed), but not if she wanted a story set in Essalieyan, for which 10k words was the absolutely, base minimum I had ever come close to managing.

      So she graciously allowed me 10k words. I swear, there were bets in the office.

      The story I submitted was 20k words. During the DAW dinner at the worldcon the year of its release, one of the DAW staff got up and talked a little about the anthology, the authors, and the content — in which he mentioned dozens of short stories, and “one novel”. Everyone immediately looked down the table at me.

      Sigh.

      Reply

      • Michael
        Jul 11, 2011 @ 16:07:54

        Yeah, but when I bought that hardback for *one* story, I certainly felt like I had gotten my money’s worth!

        Reply

        • Michelle Sagara
          Jul 11, 2011 @ 21:22:28

          Yeah, but when I bought that hardback for *one* story, I certainly felt like I had gotten my money’s worth!

          And you are not shy about mocking me either. Hmmmm. I really, really like Memory of Stone. I really like A Quiet Justice too, but no one liked that except me and one French editor.

          Memory of Stone is an ancillary story. Actually, I think all of the shorts are, with the single exception of Huntbrother. In the last Arc of this world, Stephen of Maubreche and his huntbrother are significant.

          Actually, I’m never sure why my stories work for some readers and not for others, or why they work for me and not for anyone else – because internally, I approach them similarly (single exception is How to Kill an Immortal which I wrote to get Kelly Link out of the inside of my head).

          When we reach the farther future and Colors of Augustine, which is the longest of the short pieces, there’s a funny story about that one, too.

        • Michael
          Jul 12, 2011 @ 07:21:11

          And you are not shy about mocking me either.

          True.It’s probably because your reactions are always so great. In fact, my friends all know how proud I am to be routinely mocked and threatened by my favorite author.

      • Hilda
        Jul 11, 2011 @ 17:22:29

        I hate when good stories are too short, because I’m left wanting more. If you need more words to deliver the perfect story, then you need more words. Besides being a wonderful storyteller, you are also very, very funny in your otherwise writing. So, maybe my hope that the Avatar, or the person at the heart of Castle Nightshade, be a very funny character and an embarrasment to Lord Nightshade, may become a reality.

        Reply

      • lyssabits
        Jul 11, 2011 @ 18:12:31

        Ack, you’re right. I mixed the stories up. I just read both of them, I’d tracked down used copies months ago (before you announced you were going to release the e-books) but only gotten around to reading them now. The intro I was talking about was to the one in the DAW anthology.. but it’s a great introduction. ;)

        Reply

      • hjbau
        Jul 16, 2011 @ 08:48:08

        This is hysterical. I love that you go long and am very glad that your editors seem to be so good natured about it. It is lovely.

        Reply

  6. Ann Kopchik (amergina)
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 16:55:07

    Thank you for doing all this with your shorts (or medium-longs, if you will)! I’ve been wanting to read this story (in particular) for a while, after hearing others talk about it.

    Reply

  7. Jacob
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 21:26:55

    OK, this may be a dumb question, but I still read my books old-school. Do I just need to wait until everything is ready and then you’ll announce a print-on-demand where I can get everything in one volume (or a bunch of short stories — I’m not picky as long as it’s in actual print)? Thanks.

    Reply

  8. Michelle Sagara
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 21:48:48

    OK, this may be a dumb question, but I still read my books old-school. Do I just need to wait until everything is ready and then you’ll announce a print-on-demand where I can get everything in one volume (or a bunch of short stories — I’m not picky as long as it’s in actual print)? Thanks.

    Because — clearly — there are still problems in quality control at this end (I had 3 rounds of my own proof-reading corrections, and the first was over-written in the master on Huntbrother), I’ve been doing each story singly in an attempt not to let my natural organization (which is not stellar, sadly) eat the work.

    Each story, as it’s proofed and finished, is being collected for a print version. So when I finish the last one, I will send the whole thing off to the typesetter, and take the document that comes back and do the print version at Lulu, at which point I’ll announce it here. Lulu has a 75.00 option which will allow the book to be sold through any of the on-line sellers – Amazon, B&N, etc., but the book should also then be available via Ingram’s, which means in theory, any store could special order it.

    It’s not at all cost effective to do a physical print version for one story, the exception being Colors of Augustine – so all six of the stories, when finished, will be in the print collection.

    Reply

  9. Joey
    Jul 11, 2011 @ 23:15:26

    I love love love the Augustine stories! I LOVE them!

    I also love Ghostwood. And Elegy.

    Reply

  10. Ralph Walker
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 14:31:54

    I am one of the lucky few who have been able to track down most of your short stories. Will the stories in your Speaking With Angels collection be included in this new compendium? That was the most difficult short story collection to find! I am also fond of Ghostwood.
    I will purchase all versions I can get ( kindle or print) to have them all in one place.

    Ralph

    Reply

  11. Michelle Sagara
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 19:17:49

    I am one of the lucky few who have been able to track down most of your short stories. Will the stories in your Speaking With Angels collection be included in this new compendium?

    Yes, but…

    The stories are being published singly in ebook form (which is why there are numbers on the covers of the ebooks. Actually, there are numbers because my husband likes numbers for things, but it makes it harder in some ways because once the list is in the back of the book, it’s harder to change the order in which they’re released). There will be a print collection of the first six – the Essalieyan short stories – because those are the stories I get the most email about. But at this point, the print collection is actually harder for me to do, and it’s more expensive (both for people purchasing it, and for the formatting itself; I will spend far more money, even including covers, on the Print on Demand version of the six stories, than I will on the separate ebooks – with the assumption that my time is, of course, worth zero dollars).

    If you already have Speaking With Angels, you’ll have a number of the earlier stories already, though. I think one or two are even less easily available outside of Canada, and I really really want to reach Colors of Augustine, because I think people will actually like that one :D.

    Reply

    • Genna Warner
      Jul 14, 2011 @ 22:08:19

      I just have to say that your time is not worth zero dollars. And I appreciate all the time, trouble and money you are putting in to get these short stories back in print for those of us that haven’t been able to find them. I just feel so guilty that there isn’t anything I can do to help other than purchase them as they become available and get more friends addicted to your stories.

      Reply

  12. Michelle Sagara
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 22:45:10

    @Genna: Don’t feel guilty! Because, of course, if you do, than I’ll feel guilty–guilt is communicable. It will make me feel like I’m whining way too much >.>

    Here’s the thing about readers: they make a book real, for me. Until a story or a novel of mine has readers, it exists in a curiously suspended state: it’s all work, it’s all an attempt to communicate — but if no one’s reading, there’s no communication.

    The short stories have taught me something I suspected: I’m not, at heart, a publisher. I’m not an entrepreneur. One of the hardest parts of the process was actually figuring out the pricing – because having a publisher make pricing decisions takes it out of my hands; it leaves me free to interact with readers in a way that doesn’t involve business, that can be just about story.

    I know that some of my readers haven’t seen the short stories, or that they don’t generally like shorts. I don’t expect all of them to rush out and buy the short stories, because it’s not what they want to read. I am grateful that people do want to read me–at all. So you honestly don’t owe me anything; this was my decision, and if it was biting off more than I realized at the time, it’s kind of par for the course.

    Although, I admit I get a kind of childish delight in looking at the Amazon dashboard and seeing that someone’s bought a story .

    Reply

  13. David Youngs
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 21:41:37

    Michelle:
    Put up a note when the hardcopy is in Bakka and I’ll fight my way into the city that dislikes me.

    Reply

  14. hjbau
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 08:53:39

    I am going to ask a stupid question as well. Can i buy a book that exists for a e reader and then read it on my computer because i don’t have an e reader? My guess would be no.

    Reply

    • Genna Warner
      Jul 16, 2011 @ 10:59:16

      Yes you can. Both Amazon and Barns & Nobles both have apps that will allow you to read their e-books on a computer or smartphone. And I am pretty sure that there are other third party apps out there that will allow you to read any e-book format. Just do a search for them.

      Reply

    • Mark Galpin
      Jul 16, 2011 @ 23:31:01

      Calibre http://calibre-ebook.com/ is my favorite tool for both organizing and reading e-books on my PC… it also converts between different formats synchs with some e-book readers, etc. etc. Nice tool, and free.

      Reply

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