This Week in Self-Publishing: Asterisms and Changing the Past

This Week

Books sold: 0 ebooks, 0 paperbacks

Money earned: $0

Money spent: $0

(Wow. This is the first week with zero sales. I should start thinking of new ways to reach new readers.)

Total

Books sold: 332 ebooks, 136 paperbacks

Money earned (book sales): $1,241.14

Money earned (Patreon): $6,909

Money spent: $4,820.71


My BookLife Prize Critic’s Report for The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1 noted that the text included “awkward shifts in perspective.”

That’s the type of criticism I can do something about, unlike, say, Kirkus’s “why is everyone so polite?” (I love that they wrote that, by the way.)

The majority of the Biographies chapters take place within a single character’s viewpoint, meaning the perspective shifts when the chapter ends. No big deal. Readers are used to that kind of thing.

But there are a handful of chapters in both volumes—the ones that deal with major life transitions like graduations or weddings—that give us multiple characters’ viewpoints. Since I’m a musician, it makes sense to alternate between solo pieces and choral numbers; since I’m a musical theater nerd, I also liked the idea of placing those big ensemble pieces in exactly the right spots, dramatically.

And yes, that type of “head hopping” is an accepted fiction technique. But you have to make sure the reader can follow along and that the shifts in perspective aren’t, to borrow the phrase, “awkward.”

One of the best ways to help the reader follow along is to put breaks between perspective shifts. Pronoun did not not include that feature when I published Vol. 1—like, there was no option for a double hard return, much less an asterism*—but it has since been added, and I have been happily applying it to Vol. 2 to indicate both shifts in perspective and (in the example pictured) shifts in time.

I want to go back and add it to Vol. 1 too.

From what I understand, updating my ebook files with Amazon will not affect the books you have already purchased unless you enable “automatic book updates” in your Kindle settings.

So you’ll have to decide whether you want the “with asterisks” version or the “without asterisks” version. (All new buyers will automatically get “with asterisks,” after I make the update.)

I also plan on updating the Vol. 1 print copy, both to add the asterisks AND to fix the single mistake I found after I thought I had found all the mistakes. Also, I want to rework the back cover copy slightly.

This feels a bit like “changing the past,” but books can have more than one edition! It’s a thing! Just like head-hopping is a thing!

And if it makes it easier for readers to follow the shifts in perspective, then it’s a good thing. ❤️

* Yes I know that an asterism is actually three asterisks in a triangle shape, and I’d really love for Pronoun to let me create asterisms PLEASE PLEASE NEXT UPDATE

 

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