I dug through my archives and found a bunch more possible Mick and Casey stories to work on, as well. Some of them need me to hammer on the idea a little longer, but they're fun ideas. (And it's amazing how much an idea comes to life if you free it up from length requirements.)
In the meantime, I would like to point you to the latest blog post by Kris Rusch. It's in her series "The Business Rusch" and while most of it is all about how the press got the recent stories about Amanda Hocking and Barry Eisler wrong (and missed a few other authors and author estates making the jump to indie publishing), she had an interesting note about how traditional publishing went seriously wrong.
She was talking about why the publishing industry these days is so limiting to authors.
But the real explanation is that the beancounters changed. They went from people who understood publishing to people who understand how to make a corporation look profitable in the short term. If you use that short-term thinking, then you don’t understand how to build audience, which is what publishing is all about. This short-term thinking is what has gotten publishing into the dilemmas it is in right now, from losing its monopoly on the book delivery system to not controlling e-books and e-rights until this year to watching its print sales decrease day by day.
Books sell by word of mouth. If you don’t keep the product on the shelf long enough to build word of mouth, you sell fewer books. Duh. But the corporate beancounters, who only care about this quarter’s bottom line and not the bottom line say, five years from now, don’t understand that.
Now, this is a really important point. Aside from explaining a lot about publishing (like what a bad job they do with nurturing new writers -- your career is over before it starts!) it also is a warning to indie authors who might be subject to the same kind of thinking.
Most people have a really hard time with thinking long term. I mean, sure, they'll endorse it. They'll say "I'm in it for the long term!" But then when conditions get iffy, or exciting or otherwise emotionally stimulating, all thoughts of the long term go out the window.
And not all those emotions are wrong, exactly. We _don't_ know what the future holds. Amazon or Apple or B&N may change their policies. Google may do something unexpected which changes everything.
The world may end.
However, no matter what the business conditions are (and we don't know what they'll be and can't really plan on it) one thing is absolutely certain: it takes years to build a real audience in publishing.
This is a given. It's a constant.
Readers discover you--and more importantly they keep you in mind--best over along period of time.
We've all been bemoaning the fact that publishers don't nurture their authors any more. Isn't that what we want -- a far-sighted publisher who nurtures his or her stable of authors? Someone who gives a book years to find an audience? Someone who lets a career build over many years, and many books? Who lets an author develop and mature before breaking out?
So if you're an indie publisher (i.e. publishing yourself) BE that great publisher! Don't be a short-sighted bean-counter, living from quarter to quarter (or month to month, or hour to hour).
So stop fussing over price, and stop worrying about sales numbers, and for goodness sakes, stop worrying about promotion and marketing. Be the good publisher who keeps the writer focused on writing and serving the audience.