Thursday, February 28, 2013

Some pie, the chart kind

Queen of the Clueless the ebook has been out for a little over 20 days, and it's been downloaded over 1,700 times. That number includes discounted, borrowed, free and full price versions. So far it's only available on Amazon (more retailers soon!) but I just wanted to share the breakdown of which Amazon country stores grabbed the most copies.

No surprise that got the biggest share (Filipinos can buy ebooks while in the Philippines using an account). But was pleasantly surprised with the interest from the UK and Germany. Hi, UK and Germany!

"Other" actually means Spain, Italy, Japan and Brazil. I still give big hugs to the people who took a chance on my book there, and hope you try out the others soon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Summit's Interim Goddess of Love

In case you're a first-time visitor to my blog, here's the short story: I wrote Interim Goddess of Love in 2011 after challenging myself to come up with my first YA fantasy trilogy. In January 2012, I self-published it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere, and sold special edition paperback copies.

Months later, my traditional publisher Summit Media offered to distribute it in Philippine bookstores. This meant that the book I wrote for Filipino young adults finally got the platform that'll help the most Filipino young adults (and maybe the not so YA) discover it. Thank you, Summit. I also made an effort to thank the people who supported IGoL in its "indie" phase (aka the First Edition Club), and I named names. They're found at the very last page of the Summit edition.

Of course I forgot a few names apparently, and will make up for it in the next book. Sorry! And thank you!

Get your copy of Interim Goddess of Love, available in local bookstores now(ish)!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Interim Goddess of Love, Queen of the Clueless (Tania edition paperback)

Now accepting Philippines-based orders for the Interim Goddess of Love and Queen of the Clueless international cover editions (aka the TANIA edition). Each book sells for P350, and I will buy you a cupcake per book you get. Am serious! But you have to be nearby (or willing to go to Eastwood QC) because I'd rather not mail cupcakes.

- Add P60 for shipping within Metro Manila, P90 for elsewhere in the Philippines
- Get an IGoL and QotC set for P650.
- Want to group order with friends? Order 6 books and the 7th is free. (And the freebie can be the NEXT book, IGoL 3: Icon of the Indecisive, when it comes out. Work out among yourself who keeps the freebie heehee.) Please note that shipping may be more expensive, but we'll have to check first.
- This is different from the SUMMIT edition (retailing for P175 and available in Philippine bookstores) and the KAMLA edition (P300, first paperback edition ever, available on request).

Email if you'd like to order. Specify please which edition you want, as this is getting complicated to explain. :) But - cupcake!

If you're outside of the Philippines, you can get the TANIA edition paperback on Amazon, for $8.99.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Contemporary Romance Class: A story by the numbers

We had our first face-to-face "class" yesterday. "Class" is being used loosely here -- it was more of a group of people sitting around a table talking. We met at Balkan (Yugoslavian Home Cooking) at Legazpi Village, Makati, and talked for a little over two hours.

On the agenda: Everyone got to introduce their story, spoil everyone else for how it ends, and ask questions specific to what they need to do to finish it.

My "lecture" was really just guiding them through the outline I used for Fairy Tale Fail, based on the hero's journey/morphology of the folk tale. It pretty much identifies all the necessary scenes in a certain linear sequence, and hopefully it leads to a fully outlined novella for everyone.

I asked two people in the class to share how they did their first assignment. One of them was writing a male main character and I enjoyed how she pretty much storyboarded her submission -- it gave me a really clear picture of what she planned to do and how it was going to end. The other had so very detailed visual and behavioral pegs for her characters, so I felt that I really knew who they were, and it seemed like every decision they'd make could be traced back to that "character bible."

We also discussed some trends I saw in the story submissions. Some of them:
- Family: In my own novellas (7 published so far) I haven't given as much weight to how a main character's family affects her romantic choices. I don't think I've factored it in at all. But that's because of my own upbringing (my family never told me who to love) and also because I wanted to avoid that trope, which is so common in Philippine media. But I didn't discourage anyone from doing this, as it's common in media for a reason. It's actually true in many cases.
- Romance by coercion/compulsion: Related to the family trend, there were a few pitches that relied on an external force "compelling" the Main Character and Love Interest to a certain decision. Usually a dying wish, or parental pressure. This I gave comments on, in some cases leading the writer away from it, or at least asking how we as readers can feel confident about the Love Interest's love if he's being coerced/compelled into it.
- Gay: A few stories mentioned the "Mistaken for Gay" trope, or the "Transparent Closet" trope. Told them to reconsider, unless they really know what they're doing.
- Mary Sue Main Characters: In the form of main characters who are remarkably similar to the author in terms of: physical appearance, career, certain behavioral traits, "no boyfriend since birth" etc. This isn't necessarily wrong, but authors overidentifying with their main characters could lead to the bad things about Mary Sues (too perfect, too defensive, too tailored for one person's wish-fulfillment).

It was fascinating! And I thank everyone who came over, some from very far, on a Sunday afternoon to talk about the crazy idea of actually finishing a romance novella.

Next assignment is due on March 9, and the next face-to-face class the week after.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gifted Little Creatures

I'm really really sorry that Interim Goddess of Love #3: Icon of the Indecisive won't be out for a while. Months, if we're lucky. I offer this, and hope it'll do for now...

Consider this Interim Goddess of Love #0.5. Best read after Queen of the Clueless (IGoL #2), but don't let that stop you. :) 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Queen of the Clueless, and a new Interim Goddess of Love cover

We did it! The second book in the Interim Goddess of Love series, Queen of the Clueless, is out now!

Buy from Amazon

When I asked Tania Arpa to design the book's cover, I thought it would be a good idea to ask for a matching Interim Goddess of Love cover as well, because I was going to be launching the international paperback very soon after. So, with the help of photographer Rhea Bue, we now have these lovely covers.

Will share news about the paperback editions soon!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Writing class recap: We start with spoilers

So the Yes I'm Writing a Contemporary Romance Novella class has started. 80 or so students have signed up, and over 20 have submitted assignment number 1.

I asked them to start by telling me the ending. Spoilers!

Why did I do that? Because the goal of the course is to help them finish something, and I wanted to see this early if they've thought that far ahead into their story. As much as possible, I haven't messed with a student's intended premise -- but I have been commenting on how they plan to write their endings. My main criteria: Is this ending worth the journey? If people paid for this book, or skipped TV/web time to read it, will they emerge happier?

This matters for the writer/student too, because of the commitment this class is going to require from them. Does that ending excite you enough to make you want to write toward it?

I've given comments for them to tweak their ending with this in mind. I found some endings too quiet (so I asked for drama), potentially predictable (so I asked for a different spin on it), and unnecessarily complicated (so I asked to simplify and focus on the romance). I also asked one too many times, to STOP KILLING MINOR CHARACTERS TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER OR KEEP THEM APART.

I have a theory why that trope kept coming up, but that's for a longer post maybe.

Next up: Our first face-to-face class on February 17, where we will discuss the assignment, and move on to outlining. And, if there's time, how to write "kilig."