Monday, April 16, 2012

Radical Departure: What’s Next for "The Crystal Ball"

© 2012 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

This is one of my occasional posts on the status of my humorous mystery, The Crystal Ball. Thanks for your support as I dig deeper into one of my favorite genres of writing!

March 31 has come and long gone. It's the latest date day by which I should have heard the news, if I happened to be the lucky winner of the St. Martin’s First Crime Novel Contest. Although I haven’t yet seen the winner posted online, I assume it’s not me for lack of a call or letter. I’m less disappointed that I thought I'd be. Now it’s time to move onto Plan B. Transiting Jupiter entered my 1st House on the same day—March 31—and I’m even more optimistic than usual about the book’s potential. I don’t equate not winning to “the book isn’t good.” Contests have to find the book that best fits the publishing criteria of the sponsoring publisher. I’ve had very positive feedback from early readers about The Crystal Ball, including comparisons of my writing style to that of Janet Evanovich. (I love her hilarious mysteries and consider that quite a compliment.) Best of all, I like how it turned out, and as you can imagine, The Radical Virgo can be a Radical Nitpicker when it comes to getting it just right. (If you knew what I go through sometimes, just to get the “perfect” art or photo for one of these posts, you’d be rolling your eyes as much as reading with them!)

It was good to take a breather from the project between submission of the book to the contest in November 2011 till now. It was one of many major projects that contributed to massive overdo last year. The cumulative busy tizzy left me in deep recovery all winter. Meanwhile, I’ve been gleaning wisdom from one of my favorite local authors. She tells me the only people making money as authors these days are the already famous, who nabbed a traditional publisher and steady contract long ago, and those who are self-publishing. That’s what a Virgo likes, a practical analysis. I’ve given away so much of my writing, willingly I might add, it’s time to help support the family for all my time and effort. Especially as we get older—even the pets!—our care and keeping gets costlier. Given that, I think I’ll be self-publishing. Being both author and publisher is labor intensive, but it yields the highest percentage of profits and in many ways, the highest satisfaction. Someone even told me recently that big publishers are now searching Amazon to find new authors who self-publish and make good sales. The book industry really has been turned on its ear by print on demand, e-readers, and the other cool tools of the Information Age. It's a whole new ballgame.

Here’s my newest blurb on the book:

The Crystal Ball

Opposites attract with such chemistry, they’re San Francisco’s latest earthquake. Astrologer Micki Michaels and Curt Stern are odder as a couple than Bones and Booth, except she’s the bleeding heart. He’s still the FBI agent, but retired and loving it--if she’d just let him. Micki and Curt find themselves keeping masqueraders from turning up dead at a futuristic, New Year’s Eve costume party. It’s the silver anniversary celebration of the longevity association she heads. Some nutcase wants the secret of immortality. He has no doubt crashed the party as one of the masked characters. How will they figure out who he is, protect family and friends, and keep this party the love-in craved by the Immortalists on Planet Earth Association? Wacky costumes, solutions and surprises. You’ll laugh way past Auld Lang Syne.

My favorite Vedic astrologer, Dennis Harness, told me long ago that I have a good signature for self-publishing in my Jyotish chart. I’ve decided I need to believe him, believe in my own positive self-publishing history, and believe in myself. Isn’t it one of life’s great astrological ironies that Virgo, a sign strong in the charts of many writers, is also one with the challenge of self-doubt?

I had this huge aha recently that Jupiter in the 1st House combines the keywords House of Self and the Planet of Publishing = Self-Publishing. Now is, apparently, my time. So what am I waiting for, except for a new method to stare down the fear of the unknown?

It’s not like I don’t have experience self-publishing. I’ve been doing it since the 1990s, starting with Chironicles. I do it now on this blog and with my e-books. However, I’ve not yet done a paperback or print book, which simply adds another format to my repertoire.

So, here’s my plan. Since it has continued to sell well in PDF and e-reader versions, I’m going to adapt Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer into a paperback version so there will be a third format and purchasing option. In the process of converting that short primer, I should learn everything I need to know about how to self-publish The Crystal Ball. One of the things I’ve learned, thanks to you, is that PDF and e-reader versions are a good place to start. Then if sales warrant, moving to paperback makes sense, so people have choices that fit their various preferences.

If Saturn is good to me (we have a great relationship, overall), I hope to have my novel available by autumn. I could use all the cheerleading I can get … and if anyone has advice from any personal publishing experiences, I’m taking notes!

Thanks for being there for me and with me on my path of the pen,

PS – I guess it’s more the path of the keyboard in modern times. I have never been so grateful that I took typing as a teenager in summer school—or for my fast flying, nimble fingers, which have gotten quite a workout ever since.


 Photo Credit: © Pétrouche -

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