Getting The Darkest Prison finished has been like pulling teeth, but it’s finally done. I’ve been editing along the way, so it shouldn’t need more than one or two final run throughs. Then formatting and toss it out into the world. It’s going to be a freebie, so it won’t earn me any money (there may be a few sales on Kindle until Amazon does its price-matching thing), but it will have a link or two and promos at the end. We’ll see how that goes.
I’m putting The Warden on the back burner (again) in favor of finishing Gift of Blood with a new name and new ending. It was my first novel, and the rewrite will benefit from what I’ve learned in the last couple of years. The “experts” recommend abandoning your first novel as a mere learner’s project, but that can be a stupid choice on several levels. If you have a good story, why throw it away? If the novel is basically sound, why not respect the work you did and improve it? Think like an editor. If nothing else, the work you do on it now will show you how much your skills have improved.
I’ve picked up Gift of Blood several times and made some changes, mostly because the story really wants to be told. Now there are practical considerations, like salability. The book touches on vampire legends, and though it was never intended to take advantage of the continuing popularity of vampires, that does make it much more salable than a character-based novel about a conflicted prison warden.
The hand slaves novels and stories are never going to be hugely popular. I knew that going in. They’ve sold moderately well, considering, but sales are drying up now. The best way to revive them is to let them ride on the coat tails of a novel with more popular interest. I’ve thought about writing something crudely commercial to achieve that, but I can’t bring myself to write something I don’t really care about and would have no interest in reading. Idealism is fine, but it doesn’t exclude the need to evaluate my work and prioritize it in terms of salability.