January 1, 2012

WRITING ADVICE -- Kristine Kathryn Rusch #7: THE BUSINESS RUSCH -- Novel Excerpts

I first ran across the work of Kristine Kathryn Rusch when her name appeared on the bottom of a standard rejection form I got from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, where she was head editor for several years. A short time later, I ran across one of her short stories (“Retrieval Artist” in the June 2000 ANALOG), which of course, led me t0 her RETRIEVAL ARTIST novels. I’m a fan now and started reading her blog (http://kriswrites.com/) a year or more ago. As always, I look for good writing advice to pass on to you as well as applying it to my own writing. I have her permission to quote from the articles. You can find the complete article referenced below here: http://kriswrites.com/novel-excerpts/ and http://kriswrites.com/2011/12/22/the-business-rusch-the-halo-effect/

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is, as far as I can tell, a consummate business person.

When you go to her site, you can see that not ONLY is she a fractured personality (Kris Nelscott (mystery writer), Kristine Grayson (romance writer), Kristine Dexter (police procedural romance), Kristine Kathryn Rusch (science fiction and fantasy writer) – she’s a multiple AWARD winning fractured personality.. With her husband Dean Wesley Smith (also a SF writer and her writing partner in several movie-spinoffs like STAR TREK, ROSWELL, and PREDATOR), she runs an online business through which she funnels readers to her and her husband’s novels on Amazon.com.

She’s also a teacher. I am a firm believer that teachers are born not made and that is clear here. I’ve used some of her advice from that book in this series. They are posted on her blog as well as published as a Writer’s Digest book, THE FREELANCE WRITER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE.

She is a guru of the electronic publishing revolution while at the same time having no trouble with paper media. Her blog posts are often observations on the world of electronic publishing (apparently her blog readers have told her that they don’t want to hear about her writing process: “Anyway, I know you folks don’t normally care about my writing method on these columns…” (http://kriswrites.com/2011/12/28/the-business-rusch-the-holiday-surprise/). I would personally LOVE to see more on her writing process, but I guess I’d have to take one of the writer’s workshops she and her husband run -- http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?page_id=50.

Back to the matter at hand: Novel Excerpts. In February of 2011, Kristine Kathryn Rusch started an experiment: she posted an excerpt once a month ranging from an unclassifiable novel to her newest RETRIEVAL ARTIST book.

While I’ve checked her site, she doesn’t have any numbers on how posting them affected her sales, there is a similar phenomenon at work in her “freebies” on Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. She notes it this way: “Because what readers want—ultimately—are more stories. Constantly. They want more stories, more of the same stories, more stories that they might like, more adventurous stories, more strange stories, or just something, something that’ll suit their moods. And readers always go to their favorite authors first. If those authors don’t have new books out, then the readers search for something similar, something that might make them to a brand new and great reading experience, creating a new favorite.

“How do I know this? Besides all the studies about what readers want, my own personal experience as a hardcore reader, and my years in publishing? Well, this month another promotional strategy hit my Kindle numbers.

“Only I wasn’t doing a promotions strategy. I was just following my muse.”

Following her muse, posting novel excerpts and offering freebies. Would that work for me as a writer with short story publications but no novels out yet? I don’t know.

I’m going to give it some serious thought and then see if it might work for me! If you’re a published writer, do you think it’ll work for you? If you try it, let me know.

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