Teaser Tuesday: “In The Woods”

So recently, I was reading In The Woods, a mystery/crime novel by Tana French, which is the first in the “Dublin Murder Squad” series:

Things found in the woods: Squirrels, birds, badgers, dead bodies.

In The Woods follows Dublin detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox as they investigate the murder of a 12-year-old ballet prodigy, whose body turns up at an archeological dig in what was formerly the titular woods. The twist, aside from the ususal sorts of twists one finds in this sort of book, is that Rob’s real name is Adam, and that some twenty-five years earlier, at the age of twelve, he and two friends vanished in that same woods, and Rob is the only one who was ever found. One might think that Rob would disclose this connection to his superiors, and thus most properly be taken off the case; however, if one does think that, then one has obviously not read a sufficient number of thrillers. But that’s okay. I’m sure it’ll all turn out fine.

We lay side by side on the extension roof, hands behind our heads, elbows just touching. My head was still spinning a little, not unpleasantly, from the dancing and the wine. The breeze was warm across my face, and even through the city lights I could see constellations: the Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt. The pine tree at the bottom of the garden rustled like the sea, ceaselessly. For a moment I felt as if the universe had turned upside down and we were falling softly into an enormous black bowl of stars and nocturne, and I knew, beyond any doubt, that everything was going to be all right.

Well, now you’ve gone and done it.

Meanwhile, I’m still prepping Father’s Books for release in ebook and dead tree editions. At this point I’m waiting on the cover art before proceeding. In most cases I’ve found something from Emilie Léger’s gallery of existing art to use as a cover, but there wasn’t anything quite right for Father’s Books and so she is making something custom for it. While that’s in progress, I’m using something I threw together as a placeholder in the project:

I’m not actually going to release the book or purchase proofs with a placeholder cover, of course. I mean, sure, if I were famous, maybe such a thing would become a rare “limited edition” version that would become much sought by collectors, but since I’m not, it would just be a waste of time and money. Or both. Probably both, since they’re the same thing. Maybe.

Speaking of wasting time and money, I previously mentioned that, since Mundania Press went out of business, I’m planning to bring Night Watchman back into print myself. I had been debating whether to continue using IngramSpark for Night Watchman and Father’s Books or go back to Lulu, which I used for my first three projects (Long Before Dawn, Dragon Stones, and the reissue of A Flock of Crows is Called a Murder), but Lulu resolved that question for me by epically botching their website update a month or two ago. I discovered this when I went to check on my books there after noticing that Amazon was running low on stock on the print version of Long Before Dawn, and, lo! They had apparently reset all the pricing on my print books such that it cost more to print and distribute them than it did to buy them*, thus making the revenue for all of them zero or even negative. When I tried to change the pricing, their new system sent me back to the Design step, where, apparently, none of my content files—interior or cover—could be found; then it wanted me to purchase new proofs of the project. Just to change pricing. Hmm.

As one might expect, I submitted a support ticket, which Lulu promptly closed automatically after sending out some useless FAQ links. I reopened the ticket and am currently waiting for a reply, but as one might imagine, I don’t have a lot of confidence that this will be resolved, given that they’ve been having problems since April, and their social media pages are awash in complaints from other writers whose projects have been affected and who have never received any responses to their support requests. So it’s looking like I might be republishing multiple books in the near future. Writer’s work is never done!

* I also discovered at this time that the pricing I set for my eBooks at Lulu, $0.99, was also now resulting in negative revenue from all stores, due to a “distribution fee” that I’m pretty sure wasn’t there in the old system, thus forcing me to reset the pricing on those to a higher level. (This is also something other users have been complaining about in Lulu’s social media forums.) This forced me to raise the prices on the Kindle editions as well, because all the stores look at each others’ pricing and Apple and Amazon, in particular, get very testy if somebody else has the same book at a lower price than they do. So, the previously-announced pandemic discount on my ebooks has, at this point, expired. It didn’t seem to be spurring sales anyway, although perhaps Lulu’s problems had something to do with that …

9 thoughts on “Teaser Tuesday: “In The Woods”

  1. So, it’s not just me and another million writers in trouble with Lulu then. Apparently they owe me nothing for any books sold because…I’ve never sold a book through Lulu. Or so it says. Strange I’ve been getting these cheques every-so-often through the years – though not any time recently. I’ve been trying to retire my paperback versions – there seems to be no button to push to accomplish this simple act – like in the old version of Lulu. I’ve e-mailed them and now I’m hoping for the best. Fortunately (sort of) I have no books in the pipeline in need of publishing. Not sure I’d go with them right now. Loss of trust will probably cost them dearly long-term. Good luck with your own, Jim.

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  2. Nope, it’s you and a million and one! Some people are saying that the new site works well if you just start your projects over, upload new files, order new proofs, etc., but if I’m going to have to do all that, I’ll do it someplace that didn’t spill a bunch of gasoline all over their product and then light up a cigarette. Really, all I wanted to do was fix the pricing that Lulu screwed up!

    I’m already expecting never to hear from Lulu in response to my ticket, so I’m getting my three books I have there prepared for republishing through KDP and IngramSpark. I’ll retire the Lulu projects once they bring that button back. (Some suggest Lulu has suppressed the button on purpose to prevent a mass desertion. This is one of the more plausible conspiracy theories I’ve encountered.)

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  3. In The Woods sounds like an interesting read. I’m a sucker for crime thrillers, I’m addicted.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the new cover art when it’s done! I hope you get everything printed with the publishers and such. To have a pricing system where the costs to print and distribute are higher than the cost to buy seems pretty silly. Hopefully they’re better at literature than they are at mathematics, but clearly they’re no better at customer service. Sorry it’s causing so much additional hassle. I don’t think they should be able to get away with all that though, it’s just not how it should be done at all, especially without the author’s prior acknowledgement and consent. xx

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