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.

If you don't feel like reading, watch via the miracle of YouTube as I answer your question!



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.

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. But 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. I'm sorry if it disappoints any of you, but I would rather never see them on screen than see it go horribly wrong.

Here I expound on that answer somewhat:



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. 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?") For a little more detail, watch this:



5. 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.



6. How can I get a signed book? 

You probably can't - for now.



7. 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.

8. 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.


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



I do indeed.

14 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. I want to start out by saying I enjoy your books. I have purchased approximately 41 books. All of in and out of the box, southern watch, and Sanctuary. In the beginning these books were around 1.99 to 2.99 and would take me a few days to read. Now i am paying 3.99 to 4.99 and the most recent book I bought "Driven" took me about 2 1\2 hours. I have not bothered to compare page numbers because let's face it the formatting for an e book a page isn't really a page in the traditional paperback book idea of a page. Mr. Crane I would like to check out some of your other works but i am starting to feel like you are churning out paragraphs for pages and the stories could have had so much more substance. I know you are trying to make a living. I work for my money to. You have a talent for giving these characters their own charisma but that is also getting lost in your "chapters". I will be a loyal reader if you can get back to offering a story instead of chapter.
    Thank you

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    1. For comparison, as we start:

      Words per book (the most accurate measure of a book's length):

      THE GIRL IN THE BOX
      ALONE - 54,466
      UNTOUCHED - 72,522
      SOULLESS - 58,092
      FAMILY - 70,535
      OMEGA - 74,540
      BROKEN - 47,989 (shortest of either series)
      ENEMIES - 97,661
      LEGACY - 93,013
      DESTINY - 69,410
      POWER - 96,812

      SERIES TOTAL (First 10 Sienna books): 735,040

      Most recent 10 of OUT OF THE BOX, for brevity's sake:
      UNYIELDING: 104,130
      HOLLOW: 101,363
      TOXICITY: 81,159
      SMALL THINGS: 120,166
      HUNTERS: 83,925
      BADDER: 94,579
      NEMESIS: 102,603
      APEX: 87,827
      TIME: 87,993
      DRIVEN: 71,818

      Total for most recent 10 books of OUT OF THE BOX: 935,560

      So, I'll give you that DRIVEN was a shorter book. But the last ten books of OUT OF THE BOX are literally 200,000 words longer than GIRL IN THE BOX, or essentially 1/3rd longer than that series.

      If you're going through more words in less time...I dunno what to tell you. I'd like to believe I've become more technically proficient at holding readers riveted to the page in the last few years. You seem pretty hacked off at me, though, and you've just accused me of a) writing shorter books - I'm not, b) trying to sell shorter books for more money - my prices are the same on everything except Mira Brand (cheaper) and the last Southern Watch book, which was a whopping 211,000 words and thus hella-long and worthy, I thought, of the extra $3 USD I charged.

      Oh, and since you mention it - formatting for the e-page is different, depending on the typeface, but if you take those wordcounts and divide them by 250...that's about a typical paperback pagecount. So ALONE would have been roughly 218 pages in a traditional paperback format and SMALL THINGS would have been 481. DRIVEN lands at roughly 287 pages. Not huge, but not a novella or anything.

      So...I'll be honest - I'm having a very hard time replying to your comment and here's why (aside from the fact that my books have gotten a lot longer since I started these series) - I am literally working harder than at any point previously in my career. Longer hours to put more time in to produce what I hope are better stories than I've produced before and in greater quantity. I'm writing longer books that I had hoped were more deep and involving and had improved character hooks and thematic tension that pulled the reader not only from chapter to chapter but book to book better than in the early days of my career.

      More aforethought, more plotting.

      More wordcount, more pages.

      More character arcs, more plotlines.

      More hours in.

      More effort.

      You, as I read it: "Your books are shorter and they're basically like chapters. I know you have to make a living but why does it feel like you are ripping me off?"

      Now...perhaps I am being hasty and misinterpreting in my haste. If so, feel free to set me straight now that you know that a) I am, absolutely NOT writing shorter books and b) have no idea how me putting in more time and increasing the plotlines, character arcs and my own effort is somehow resulting in LESS substance? Because that one is truly mystifying to me, since I abhor filler and strike it out whenever possible.

      As to your complaint about pricing...that one is a real head-scratcher for me, since I have not raised my prices on ANYTHING since 2012 and have never priced anything at 1.99 or 2.99. (Unless you're in Europe? Is the only thing I can figure in which case you're maybe being hit with exchange rate pains. That I apologize for. And have very little to do with, but...sorry nonetheless.)

      I try to please people as best I can. I am truly not sure how to address your criticism here given the facts as laid out above. Please advise, clarify if possible - maybe I missed something? Sincerely, I am not sure what to do to improve the experience for you.

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    2. I am in Europe and I do not feel that I am being ripped off.....i appreciate every single book that you put out (even if I don't read them......yet)...keep up the good work.

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    3. Thank you, Garry. Much appreciated. Would still love to hear back from Malissa on this, sincerely, as I am not sure what I can do differently to improve her experience but am very much open to suggestion.

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  4. NICE cover for Southern Watch 7!! And for the record, I disagree with the other comments about the "porn" aspect. There was a reason to it. You're doing great, thanks for writing!

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    1. Thanks. Hopefully by now you've gotten to read the book itself!

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  5. I absolutely love your books and have just finished the last one in the series of 'The Girl In The Box'. I have the first ebook on my kobo in the new series of 'Out of The Box'but was very surprised to see I can't purchased any of the others because it's not available in my location 😭 why isn't this available in London, UK?

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    1. Oh, it's available in London. But it's exclusive, worldwide, to Amazon for now. I tried to communicate this to everyone I could via my mailing list, Facebook, Twitter, etc, to let them know that unfortunately these books were leaving Kobo, iBooks, GooglePlay and Nook, but obviously I can't reach everyone.

      If you want an explanation on why, I did a YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/50d97eaiur4

      If you're looking for a way to read the book, I offer two alternatives. One, you can purchase the paperback on Amazon UK here: http://www.robertjcrane.com/p/in-wind.html

      The other option, which requires some technical savvy on your part, would involve you buying the ebook on Amazon UK and then sending me the receipt via email and in return I send you back a copy of the book for Kobo that you can then read on your device of choice.

      I do apologize for the massive inconvenience of this.

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  6. I cannot find Out of the Box 8 Painkiller on iTunes to read through iBooks. Why is that? I think a few others are missing as well.. I’ve been reading them through iBooks which is handy so I can bookmark, highlight, and even search for things like when I could not exactly recall Redbeard aka Karl Nash, I was able to find and read about his encounter with Augustus however brief it was. The best part is I didn’t have to sift through spoilers to do it lol.

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    1. So...I've taken Girl in the Box 1-10 and Out of the Box 1-11 exclusive, worldwide, to Amazon for now. I tried to communicate this to everyone I could via my mailing list, Facebook, Twitter, etc, to let them know that unfortunately these books were leaving Kobo, iBooks, GooglePlay and Nook, but obviously I can't reach everyone.

      If you want an explanation on why, I did a YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/50d97eaiur4

      If you're looking for a way to read the book, I offer two alternatives. One, you can purchase the paperback on Amazon here: http://www.robertjcrane.com/p/painkiller.html

      The other option, which requires some technical savvy on your part, would involve you buying the ebook on Amazon and then sending me the receipt via email and in return I send you back a copy of the book for iBooks that you can then read on your device.

      I do apologize for the massive inconvenience of this.

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