I”m nearing the end of The Darkest Prison and still wrestling with point of view. It’s third person omniscient and since there’s very little dialogue, it’s almost all “tell” and very little “show.” I keep thinking that readers are going to get bored very quickly because even when I get into the character’s head, it’s from the point of view of the narrator. I never use “I,” so it’s impossible for the reader to do anything but look on from the outside.
Every time I decide to shift the POV somewhat and let the reader inside Bran’s head I find that I just can’t do it. I didn’t think about POV at all when I started the story, but I feel more and more that it’s exactly what I want for this story. I want readers to feel as if they’re on the other side of a glass wall and the narrator is forcing them to watch what’s happening to Bran the way you’d watch a car wreck as it’s happening — helpless to do a damned thing about it.
Because the point of the story is the horror. The narrator wants the readers to be voyeurs, not sympathetic participants. It works for me. I don’t know if it will work for anyone else.
As some of you know, I fought a long, hard battle to remain true to Smashwords, and only recently began adding my work to Amazon’s KDP. It turned out to be a good move, and just in time, because my Smashwords sales fell through the floor and there’s no sign that will change. My Kindle sales are very, very slow, as befits an unknown writer with books that don’t fit comfortably in any genre, but they do add up.
With another novel due to be finished in the next month or so, I may make another shift, as an experiment. Instead of publishing it with Smashwords first, I’ll put it on Amazon, and sign it up for the Select program. I’ve been reading an enormous amount about how Select is or isn’t working for other authors, and I feel that I’m in the right position now to give it a try. With several other published stories behind me, there’s a chance that the program will give them a boost. Whether it’s successful or not, I’ll put the book on Smashwords when Select’s 90 days are up. Smashwords is continuing to add new accounts to its retail distribution, and that may pay off eventually.
The most important pattern that seems to be developing, for new writers with only one book, is that Select is unlikely to do much for you. The time to use it is when you have a backlist, even a small one, and you’re beginning to develop a readership.