Minor Returns

Though I haven’t produced a graphic novel in two years, or been published in one in over three years, I still have books out there being sold.


I was fortunate enough as an author to acquire copies of stock in lieu of monies owed with two different publishers, but this meant that I had to house the remainder of the stock to be sold in my garage.  Boo. I was extremely lucky with Ingram (their POD program Lightning Source is how I distribute my self-produced work) in that they were willing to take a portion of that printed stock off my hands and house and distribute them for me. Last year Amazon offered me a similar deal with the same terms as Ingram, so I sent them the remainder of the stock.

My terms with both distributors allows for returns. What are returns?

In my case, returns come from brick and mortar retailers like comic shops (and these days, online retailers, and convention sellers) that decide to give my old titles space on their shelves, show booths, or site inventory, because they’re looking sell something in the genre I used to write for (BL/OEL-BL graphic novels). They go to a distributor and buy wholesale—sometimes they have to purchase a minimum (from 5 books to a 32-pack case if the distributor hasn’t changed with the times enough to know that NO one operates with those amounts anymore and lives >_< ). These sellers dedicate a certain amount of time and space to sell your title—then when something new and better comes along, they take down what hasn’t sold of your work, and return it to the distributor.

There’s plenty of small press (and small shop) horror stories about this model, because in days of old (like, as recent as last year), some distributors held them to the same terms as they would a chain like Barnes and Noble—forcing them to supply substantial quantities for national chain stores, with no guarantee those books would be shelved properly and on time, or spine-broke by some hobotaki reading it on the floor and then putting it back on the shelf.

I’ve been lucky in that I’m EXTREMELY obscure, and my titles are a niche within a niche, and my distributors have entered into the POD market and seen that selling to small shops and online outlets that don’t need large chunks of stock, is just as profitable as dealing with the big boys (how many of the big boys are left BTW?)

My books sold wholesale through Amazon and Ingram go mostly to booth vendors, small shops, and online stores—these retailers tend to order 10 books max (10 being the extreme MAX, and 5 being the norm). When the time comes to take my books down and put up something more new and shiny (like stuff from Alex Woolfson or the ladies at Yaoi Revolution) they have a guarantee that they can send any unsold stock back to Ingram and Amazon, for a credit.


Sorry, bad phone pic!

I like that two books is really all I ever get back at any given time. I take those bad boys to Half-Price Books – they don’t mind taking two at a time from me, so long as I don’t try to hoist a case off on them. Returns work for me because I’m so insignificant that no one’s ordering mass quantities I don’t have, nor am I selling mass quantities that no one wants.

7 Down, 1 to Go…

I just finished the first draft of ‘Permanent Stains’. I had to eliminate a subplot I found crucially important to the series overall, just to keep the word count for this one, reasonable.  It clocked in at 78k, but I’ll be transitioning the subplot I removed from ‘Stains’ to another novel in the series that needs beefing up.

I’ve countless scenes written that I removed because they were, IMHO, too erotic for the series. I was having fun with my characters and wrote them into situations that were great to read, but unessential to the narrative of the series. (^_-)

I did update the production gallery, not much has been done because the artist was caught up in convention season, and I’ve been too busy writing ‘Permanent Stains’ to think about character art.  My day consists of writing, working out at the gym, and getting in three meals a day.

I also re-opened by Creator Diary, after locking it down a couple of years.

See you next month!

My Writing Process

Yup, it’s one of those ‘write like me, bitches’ posts– but it’s not, because every writer has their own process, and one size does not fit all.

I hate doing these, because when I wrote small-press erotic comics, I was tasked to do these posts often—it was considered ‘publicity’ and ‘promotion’, something the small-press pubs made the creator responsible for. My background’s in screenwriting, I’m writing ghost scripts for series-runner on a sexist/action horror television show. I hate it, but It makes more money for me than erotic graphic novels ever did! The main incentive for this work is that it allows me to set aside daily time to develop my first novel-series, Femitokon–and still pay my bills. 

When I post my progress at Facebook or Twitter, I get questions like: What do you mean dialog’s done? Outline approved? Word counts, now? I thought you were writing this one last year?

When I write a novel, it’s a three stage process for me:

The first stage is the outline. I’m a serial outline-r, I cannot sit down and start writing a novel from start to finish free style—I’m too rigid a creator. I outline scene by scene, for every chapter—this is beneficial of late since the publisher I’m working with now is keen on reviewing outlines, before I start the manuscript.

Every publisher is different—but this one understand my methods and enables them.

method1Second, I begin dialog. In a perfect linear world, dialog-per scene writing would be dazzling, but my mind doesn’t work that way. I get random scenes in my head throughout the day, conversations take place (normally I’m pacing around, driving, or cooking, with my handy recorder on) and then later I go and type them out. I revise extensively when I piece all this dialog together in a .doc file called ‘dialog by scene’.

I read the dialog out loud to hear how it sounds–like I said, not every writer does this.

method2The third and final portion of my process is the first draft. I print my outline out on big index cards, tack them up over my desk along with the character arts (or without arts—but I’m a visual person, so character art helps me) then I pull up my dialog .doc alongside the blank .doc, and begin writing. This is where I become linear—I write the prose by chapter, include the dialog, and tap away daily until I get about 50k words or more.  When that’s done, I put it away for a few days, then come back to it and read it out loud–revising what doesn’t sound right, before hoisting it off on the editor.

So there you go, that’s my writing process.
Admit it, you’ll sleep better tonight knowing how I write stuff…


Femitokon Character Concepts

Some of the early character designs are in for the fiction series I’m writing, Femitokon.

Femitokon is a feminist sci-fi series that takes places on 23rd century Earth. Humans are nearly extinct, and the world is ruled by the single-gender Femmar, a species of sub-glacial bipeds living in Ramaxia (their name for Antarctica).  The protagonist of the series is Sofita Kul, her design is still a work in progress, and the Femitokon Shell bio-armor she wears is under wraps for now…but I’m allowed to show off some of the other characters (designed by the very talented Amelie Belcher).

The Femmar are born into genetic castes: Hizak (thinkers), Bizak (laborers), Subak (parental), Zaxir (breeder), and Marix (warrior), so their body types are a touch diverse, as is their style–all Femmar have black hair and black eyes, but their hides vary.  Femmar are produced in generational outputs, typically every twenty-five years.

Images below:

Continue reading

Production Post: Femitokon

So I’ve managed to finish Silence is Golden first draft – it clocked in at 82,5k words.

That makes five books written (1 novella and 4 novels).  I need to adjust the outline for Twentieth Year, it was rejected by pub so I need to make changes before I can start writing it. Only one more book remains – the finale of the series, Ascension.

–wish me luck, readers.

On a NSFW subject, this is International Strap-On Week so in honor of that, I’m going to remind everyone that I have the English versions of two short fics of mine (published in overseas mags) available for .99 cents each on Kindle and the Nook.

Have a good summer!







Production Post: Femitokon

Back and forth with editor for first novella. Publisher made a few suggestions– the title of the first novella is being changed to ‘Femitokon: Suffocation’.

I’ve completed the outline for Ascension (the final novel in the series) and turned that in for review.  *crosses fingers*

Currently doing a clean up of the first draft of ‘Femitokon: Tribal Warfare”:

Inside the stairwell a guard waited for her, “I need to see identification, please,”

Sofita pulled out an ID badge.

It was a crude way to identify, but North American’s were averse to tech they didn’t invent.

“Thank you ma’am,” he said.

“Promad,” Sofita said, the man gave a start. “I’m not a human madam, miss, or Misses. I’m what you’d call a Captain, and you’ll address me as such.”

“Yes Captain,” he said with a click of his heels.