FAQ

1. What's the release date for the next Southern Watch/whatever book?

As soon as I can get it out the door. I don't know when that'll be, but if you sign up for my newsletter HERE I promise you'll get an email when it's available. I only send out the newsletter when I have a new release, so you won't get spammed or have your info sold.

2. When is the Girl in the Box/Sanctuary/Southern Watch going to become a movie/TV show? It would be awesome!

Other than "When is the next book coming out?!" this is probably the question I get asked the most. I'm going to be brutally honest here, so hold on to your hats.

It will most likely never happen.

Here's why. Presently, my books sells pretty well, which makes me a happy author, and it encourages me to work harder to keep delivering books people enjoy. I write more books now that I'm doing well than I was in the first years when I wasn't selling anything or making anything. 

But it also puts me in a position where I don't need to make compromises to my creative vision.

Ever seen a favorite book get turned into a movie and have it turn out just WRONG? For every Hunger Games, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones that gets it right, there are a ton of them that just don't. What you loved about the book gets messed up in casting, or in the script, or somewhere in the transition to the screen. Yeah, I've seen those too. And that doesn't even count the books that started through the process of getting made and never actually got done. It's hard to take a book and make a movie or TV show out of it. A lot of things have to go right, and it doesn't take much going wrong to kill a project dead.

I've had offers. I'll entertain more in the future. Like I said above, I'm money motivated enough that if the right offer came along (money, producer/director vision, etc. - one of these factors weighs more than the other, but I decline to say which) I'd seriously consider doing it. But I have zero control over either of those. Authors don't just go out and make movies from their creations. Most of the time authors sell the film or TV rights and whatever shows up on screen (if anything) is done entirely without their input.

I've spent too much time with my characters to just toss her into someone else's hands without care or consideration. If I did make a deal for, say, Girl in the Box, my poor, stout, heroine who doesn't quite fit the Hollywood ideal for body image would probably end up super tall and thin. That probably sounds like a minor quibble (and it is) but as the creator the thought of this and a thousand other character choices I've made being taken out of my hands make me more than a little queasy.

So I never say never, when it comes to a film or TV version of my works. But I'm in a position where I don't have to say 'yes' to it ever, either, if I don't want to. (And right now I'm firmly in the 'don't want to, maybe not ever' camp. The thought just makes me ill.) I'm sorry if it disappoints any of you, but I would rather never see them on screen than see it go horribly wrong.

3. I love your books but I found lots of errors in my reading of them! Let me help you fix them.

I will be the first to admit there are errors in my books. There are. Sometimes I miss words, and they don't get caught by my editing team. That happens. What also happens is that sometimes I skip words, I twist phrases, I use the British way of saying something, the American way of saying something, the Southern U.S. way of saying something...I play around a lot with my words. And of course, sometimes I just screw up.

But I'm at a point of diminishing returns on error correction. Each proofreader I add to the mix equals another week of revision time per book. Because I can't just accept someone's wholesale revisions to my books. I actually need to check and make sure that what this person has sent me is a change I want to make. Sometimes it's simple, like when I leave out a key word. Sometimes it's not, especially when it looks like I left out a word, but really I was just doing it on purpose so it sounded more like how people actually talk. I will never choose to follow the rules of grammar when it obstructs the meaning I'm trying to get across. Never, not ever. Pedants, be aware: my writing may not be for you.

Anyway, I'm left with two choices. Assuming I *could* stomp out every single legit error that pulls people out of the reading of the book with just one more pass (which is doubtful), that would add about a week of time per book per year. It would probably be more than that, because I EFFING HATE REVISING. HATE IT. By the last time through, I'm ready to be done with the book forever. Crawling over a manuscript for a fifth time makes my skin crawl, makes me want to curl up in the corner and weep - you get the point. A sixth? Ugh. No, thanks.

I probably get one criticism per month offering to help me fix these errors, spread out over the last four years or so. Call it a hundred complaints. But let's just assume it was one thousand. In that time, I've sold over one million books. That would boil down to one complaint for every 1,000 books sold. (Again, I've inflated that complaint number by a factor of ten, so it's really more like every 10,000 books.) I could either add a week of revision time and another round of crying and screaming and crawling through a manuscript to my schedule...or I could just get the complaints, apologize, and move on with the next book.

Yeah, I know. Some people will take issue with this, say I should do it anyway. But when you write and publish nine books last year, like I did, you start to realize errors are inevitable and that all you can do is your absolute best. I'm self-published, which means I don't have a huge editing team at my disposal. It's me and three others, and they do a great job, but if you're seeking perfection, it's not going to be found here. Sorry.

4. Do you actually make a full-time living doing this?

I do indeed. If you want some pointers on how I do that, you can see my advice to writers HERE.

5. How/where do you get your ideas?

I don't know. A lot of times they just seem to fall from the sky and smack me in the head. Sometimes they come to me while driving, other times when I'm sleeping (those tend to result in me scrawling on a pad I keep by my bed to sometimes hilarious results when I try to read them later - "What the hell did I write here?")

6. I have this really cool book I want to recommend to you.

I have several hundred unread books on my Kindle. I've paid good money for books I don't know when I'll be able to read. A few of them were favors for friends (which I still intend to read) but a lot of them were ones where I said, "I want to read this," plunked down money to do so, then got distracted or busy and haven't had a chance to do it.

So, anyway, the moral of this story (and I hope I don't sound like a total asshat by saying this, but I probably am failing on that) is that I will politely listen to any book reco my fans care to give me, the same as I do for my friends. And then I will promptly discard it (pretty much the same as I do with the ones from my friends), because I have too many books to read (and write) at present and I have no idea when I'd actually get around to it. Unless I could somehow stop sleeping? Actually, if there's a book on how I'd never have to sleep again, that's one recommendation I'd gladly take.

7. How can I get a signed book? 

You can't right now. They take a lot of time to collect the money, order the books, sign them and ship them back out, and since I'm a one-man band, that would all fall on me. So I just don't do them right now. I figure most people would rather have the next book than a signed copy of the last one, so I that's how I spend my time.

8. Why can't I find Sanctuary 3-8/Girl in the Box 5-10/any of Southern Watch in audiobook?

Unfortunately, my audiobooks have not sold well enough to even cover the costs (the narrator's time recording/editing/mastering, my time listening to make sure it's all good), and so for the foreseeable future, there will be no more audiobooks in any of my series. That could change if sales pick up, but it is presently very unlikely.

9. I read your 1-3 bundle for free and loved it. I'd really like to buy the later books in the series in a bundle to save money. Why don't you offer that?

I would actually love to do that, but Amazon is obviously the number one market for ebooks, and they make it impossible to do so in a win/win manner for us authors. I'd likely put three books together and price them at like $11.99 or $12.99 or something, giving readers a 20-30% discount for buying a bulk box. But Amazon kicks this idea right in the ass, because anything priced over $9.99 immediately results in a 50% cut to royalties for the author, yes, a 50% pay cut right off the top.

So, I considered the two book sets as well, but because I'd really need to bulk sale in order to make it worth my while to discount 20-30%, the discount would be a lot more anemic on a two book, taking it from $9.99 to like...$8.50 at most. And I have to pay to have the books formatted in two book sets, which costs, and...blegh. Anyway, long answer cut shorter...yeah, I can't do a discount box that makes much financial sense for me or readers. Which is a shame, because if Amazon would work things differently, I'd even consider doing books 4-10 in a big one and taking a bigger discount still.

6 comments:

  1. Hi. I do not undersatndwhy your books for teenagers need to be so sexually explicit. My 15 year old reads them and my 13 year old wants to but I cannot let him. Are you assuming teenagers need to read about sex as this is not healthy and balanced. It is giving the wrong idea to kids. I enjoy the story but do not see theneed for so much sex.
    we read sanctuary and out of the box and will stop if the next book is so explicit. Please explainyour reasons for the sex.
    from a parent giving his kids a holistic approach to life.

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    1. Well, let's start with the first thing you said: The Out of the Box series isn't really written for teens. By the time that series rolls around, Sienna is 22 years old and only getting older as the series continues. Being not raised in a religious household, she does what most girls of her age would do. That said, I would have to politely disagree with calling any of the books "explicit" in terms of being sexually explicit. There are no sex scenes in the Out of the Box series, only before/after scenes that tell what is/has taken place. Basically what you'd find in a PG-13 movie in the U.S. That said, if this is the sort of subject matter you don't feel appropriate for your kids, I would suggest not letting them read future volumes as it would probably be better to avoid the potentially questionable content if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

      As for the Sanctuary Series...it has never been written for teens. Don't get me wrong, some teens surely read it, just as some teenagers watch Game of Thrones on HBO, but they're most definitely not the intended audience. I applaud your keeping watch on what your teens are reading, and wish more people would pay attention to these things. As a teenager, I was allowed to read far beyond the suggested reading level for my age group, and it was certainly...enlightening. Different households have different standards for what their teens should read - some don't mind sexual content but find violence or swearing objectionable, others don't mind violence and swearing but don't want the sexual content, as you appear to. I can't promise that Out of the Box or Sanctuary will be appropriate for teens going forward, as they are not the intended audience for the series.

      Thank you for your concern, and I apologize if this causes any additional consternation in your household.

      With respect,
      Robert J. Crane

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  2. With so many characters in the In The Box / Out of The Box series,do you have a cheat sheet (page) that readers can bookmark to keep in the background while reading (or old school printout....whatever floats your boat)? I have short-term memory loss (truly, yes!) and have a hard time remembering who's who, how they died, what their power was, what book they made their first appearance, etc. It would be AWESOME to have a reference. Especially when I take a break to try another series, then return. Please, please, please????? I fell in love with this series from the very first Chapter of Book 1. Sienna is a BADASS and I love her snarkiness! Thank you!

    Barbara
    I may live in the U.S.A.,but my heart belongs to Canada

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    1. The short answer is yes, *I* have a cheat sheet, but converting it into something suitable for readers would be problematic and time-consuming (it has notes for books and storylines that aren't yet written on it) and so I've resisted doing it. Being a one-man band (I don't have a publisher) means I try and spend my time writing new books (which I also love) rather than editing and putting out character databases and improving website (which I do not like doing because it's a pain and not really in my area of technical expertise). In addition, should some nice fan come along and compile it for me, I'd then need a lawyer to bless my use of it so as to avoid getting sued for unpaid labor or something (which I also don't like or want). So...long answer short...probably not going to be an encyclopedia/cheat sheet available to the public anytime soon. Sorry.

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  3. hey buddy. I have read your series over and over again. I really like the Sanctuary series :) I don't usually right a comment to author's but without a doubt your writing is amazing. thank you :)

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