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.

43 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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

      Delete
  2. loved the books i think you sell your self short on the point where you mention its not for teens as i am a teen and all my friends enjoyed it just as much

    Is their any definite date to work around about the release date of the new sanctuary series

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no problem with teens reading any of my books, I just don't really write them with a teen audience in mind. I expect most teens have heard the profanities I put in my books, and are likely familiar with...whatever else is going on in them. But on the chance that someone's parents aren't cool with swearing and all else, I just warn people they're written for an adult audience.

      No definite date on Legend, no. In order to set a release date, I would have to pick one at least two months out to be safe. Instead, I'm just going to release it the moment it's done (which should be sooner than two months out).

      Delete
  3. Thank you for replying I don't know if you understand how much it means to us readers that you reply to us and that you actually listen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're most welcome, Glen. I don't reply to everything as I keep a very intense schedule of writing books ((I think I've released nine books in the last year) but I try to get to every question.

      Delete
  4. I agree with Glen. It really does mean a lot when you reply. I also understand if you are unable to reply to every single question or statement. For example, if you do not reply to this I'm not going to be upset or angry, like I've seen some people do on other sites. It just means, Hopefully, that you are working to get LEGEND out.(Wink,Wink)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hah! Legend is in final proofreading, so there's nothing I need to do at this moment. The last thing I'll need to do is go over the changes when they come back from the proofer, and then prep the file for formatting into ebook and paperback. You may be sure that when that moment comes, day or night, I'll be getting it done lickety-split. I want that book out as much or more than most of you do.

      Delete
    2. It's safe to say we are all excited

      Delete
  5. When LEGEND does come out it will be bittersweet. I mean it's the last in that series so it saddens me. Well, at least I have GIRL OUT OF THE BOX and SOUTHERN WATCH to look forward to!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's 6 am in India and I have just finished the book 5 of the Sanctuary series, Master.
    I wish to go on to the next one but my eyes are blinking too rapidly promoting me to think that a few short hours of sleep is needed.
    I had just finished the Sword of truth series and felt like all the turmoil and tempest of those words were a faint whisper of a dream.

    Then I saw my kindle recommend I should give the Sanctuary series a go.
    In short, am hooked again.
    The battles, the easy manner in which I can picture everything. No futile skipping of paras that go on to describe the scenic beauty far removed from the story.
    Thank you for writing these books. These characters have become like friends I return to after a day of work.
    Waiting to tell me their story.

    The epilogue of Master has shaken me but I hope that the twists and turns will find some hope to be shed in the darkness that surrounds the ending.

    Once again, thank you for penning this series. Ever greatfull.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really glad you're enjoying them. The good news is that by the time you finish book 6 and 7, book 8 will probably be out as well.

      Delete
    2. Oh yes, I just bought my copy of Legend today itself on Kindle. So amazing to have a reply from you as I am sure you must be busy most of the time and with the recent launch of Legend.

      Delete
    3. Oh yes, I just bought my copy of Legend today itself on Kindle. So amazing to have a reply from you as I am sure you must be busy most of the time and with the recent launch of Legend.

      Delete
  7. P.s. do you use some software to write these stories or do you simply type away after forming the story line for each book? I am wondering what is your process to writing them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use a Microsoft Office type program to type them out. I've had the basics of the storylines formed for years, but I do tend to flesh them out in the actual writing of the book, using those accumulated notes.

      Delete
  8. While I completely understand the reasoning behind not making anymore audio books, I wish there was a way to convert books to audio easier. I usually multi task while listening to books, (does that make me ADD?) so I can feed my addiction, yet still get things done, like cleaning, running errands, working out, etc. (And so my husband doesn't completely cut me off from reading.) Anyways, that just speaks of how well you write that I want to just listen to it all day. My B&N notebook refuses to charge, so I fear I may have lost all my books so far. Do you know of any way to convert from the notebook to the kindle app? It's obvious to me that I'm just going to have to use that from here on out on my tablet/laptop, but I really don't want to lose everything I've already purchased. (I have the entire girl in the box series, and up to Sea Change out of the box series, and a few of your other works too.) If not, I'll just accept the loss, and tell my OCD to go to hell. Thank you for sharing your creative mind and stories. I'll keep supporting you happily, since you grace my life with laughter, adventure, happiness, and everything in between. Rock on.
    -Kat de la Torre
    P.s. Doing what you do, you're unknowingly supporting your troops, law enforcement, and army wives. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, you might look into using the Nook app for your tablet/computer. This way you can buy new books on Kindle but have the old stuff accessible via a different app. It's not ideal, but it's better than buying it all over again! http://www.barnesandnoble.com/h/nook/apps?utm_source=BN%20Readouts&utm_medium=NOOK%20Microsite&utm_term=Launch&utm_content=NOOKAPP%20Flyout&utm_campaign=BN%20Readouts%20NFL&gclid=Cj0KEQjwpNm-BRCJ3rDNmOuKi9IBEiQAlzDJHzvT4BH2u34GjVnZN0CSYr1G90q7s-RB8DuXSU9ft8MaAvzb8P8HAQ

      To your P.S. - one of the proudest days of my life was the one where a buddy of mine got back from serving in Afghanistan and told me he'd seen two soldiers carrying around my books.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I feel like an idiot for not thinking B&N would have an app too. You just saved me from having to buy a ton of books all over again. (I'd forgotten I went a little crazy in my college days buying ebooks as a release from the dry textbooks I had to study.) My husband thanks you too, and was very amused at my star struck reaction that one of my favorite authors responded and wrote to ME. You're amazing. Thank you again, and you have an extremely loyal, and star struck, fan here.
      -Kat de la Torre

      Delete
    3. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! I feel like an idiot for not thinking B&N would have an app too. You just saved me from having to buy a ton of books all over again. (I'd forgotten I went a little crazy in my college days buying ebooks as a release from the dry textbooks I had to study.) My husband thanks you too, and was very amused at my star struck reaction that one of my favorite authors responded and wrote to ME. You're amazing. Thank you again, and you have an extremely loyal, and star struck, fan here.
      -Kat de la Torre

      Delete
  9. I've read books 1 through 7 of the sanctuary series including the side novels in less than two weeks finishing today . I knew book 8 was coming soon and I was wishing for it to come fast as I hate having to change to another series. Too my joy I just looked at my phone and saw an email saying the eighth book had been released.

    Perfect timing Robert J Crane

    Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KABOOM! I just hope the ending satisfies.

      Delete
    2. Great response and quick too

      Thanks for the great series so far I'll crack on reading it

      Delete
    3. I simply cannot wait to read this book! As I've mentioned in a previous post, this is a bittersweet moment! While I'm Extremely Excited to read this, I'm also sad because it's the Final book in a Phenomenal Series. Thank You Mr. Crane, for giving us a wonderful world of superb characters, excellent storyline, and for giving us a great opportunity to get away from our regular day to day lives.

      Delete
    4. I just finished chapter 45 and I don't know if I can finish the rest. Of course I will, but wow! It's been Great, but heartbreaking at the same time!

      Delete
  10. While I completely understand the reasoning behind not making anymore audio books, I wish there was a way to convert books to audio easier. I usually multi task while listening to books, (does that make me ADD?) so I can feed my addiction, yet still get things done, like cleaning, running errands, working out, etc. (And so my husband doesn't completely cut me off from reading.) Anyways, that just speaks of how well you write that I want to just listen to it all day. My B&N notebook refuses to charge, so I fear I may have lost all my books so far. Do you know of any way to convert from the notebook to the kindle app? It's obvious to me that I'm just going to have to use that from here on out on my tablet/laptop, but I really don't want to lose everything I've already purchased. (I have the entire girl in the box series, and up to Sea Change out of the box series, and a few of your other works too.) If not, I'll just accept the loss, and tell my OCD to go to hell. Thank you for sharing your creative mind and stories. I'll keep supporting you happily, since you grace my life with laughter, adventure, happiness, and everything in between. Rock on.
    -Kat de la Torre
    P.s. Doing what you do, you're unknowingly supporting your troops, law enforcement, and army wives. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The series is now finished. Brilliant work Rob.

    The ending was better than I could possibly imagine.

    Jack

    ReplyDelete
  12. It says in all your books why yes don't like release dates and its a "whole thing" that the answer to can be found in the FAX section of your website. I'm really interested in the reason but I'm not finding it!!

    And just FYI, I'm totally down with wearing pajamas EVERYWHERE!! Nowadays, its pretty much acceptable attire for everywhere from school to the grocery store to sporting events!! Jammies are totally comfy and I'm in mine as soon as I'm home from work!! My fiancé tells me that my pj's are a complete wardrobe all on their own. So keep rockin' your pj's and be not ashamed!!! ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't really answer the release date question anymore because I have been setting release dates for over a year now. You can find them on the pages for each series and also on the main page.

      Delete
  13. 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

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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.

      Delete
  14. What gave you the inspiration for the girl in a box series and the characters ?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just finished reading Defender and I couldn't help but be reminded (repeatedly. lol) of EverQuest. The races, the guilds, the raids, the gods... it just seemed all too familiar. Not complaining, as I loved EQ and I enjoyed the book. Just made me wonder if that was one of the inspirations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. I've played lots of MMOs, including EQ, and had some wonderful times in Norrath. To be fair, though, I get that exact same comment from players of WoW, Guild Wars, Dark Age of Camelot, etc...guild life is guild life, I guess.

      Delete
    2. I'm in the midst of the series and am also finding an uncanny resemblance to EverQuest. I have played many MMOs since then and it's been years since I've thought of the friends and good times I had in Southern Legion :) Thanks for the great read

      Delete
  16. I just want to say that I think your work is amazing. I'm a slow reader and I'm only on book 8 of The Girl in The Box, but I can't explain how much I'm enjoying it! My friend has finished the series and The Girl Out of The Box series twice now and he keeps telling me it just gets better so I'm here biting my nails at every page!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tarek! I hope you have the same opinion as your friend when you're done...

      Delete
  17. You are great writer. That being said, I hate the way you split the chapters on book 8 of Sanctuary Series. Aside from that keep writing, please.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I've read sone of your girl in the box series ,which I loved . I've come across 'small things' and was wondering if you can read it as a standalone book. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's possible, I think, but it would probably be better to work your way through the series to it, because it might spoil certain events that have happened between where you're at in the story presently and that book. But if you're not particularly fussed about series continuity, you should be able to jump in with SMALL THINGS without too much difficulty.

      Delete
  19. I must say that Southern Watch and Sanctuary are two of the best series I have ever read! Thank you. Im just now reading Girl in the box, and i like it as well. My question is, are Kurt Hannegan and Duncan based on someone you know? Serious attitude, chubby stomachs, thin hair, and into suits. Seem like very similar characters. Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, I never realized the similarity between them, no. I'd actually quite forgotten about Hannegan by the time I started writing Duncan, because I think he sort of disappears almost without a trace after Girl in the Box #6, which I wrote back in early 2013 or so? So, not, it's not intentional and they're not based on anyone I know. Also, Duncan is totally awesome and Hannegan is...kinda not.

      As an aside, I'm presently reread the Girl in the Box series, something I have not done for quite some time, and was thinking, "Hey, I need to bring back Hannegan," because he was such a major part of early books and the fact that he just sort of vanished (I think maybe there was a reference to him in Girl in the Box 8? But I don't think there were any in Out of the Box books) is a thread that cries out for some sort of resolution in my mind...

      Delete
    2. This is to the mother at the top, who made a comment about the sexual content in your books. Instead of being offended or insulted by the content, why not turn this around and use this as a teaching moment for your kids. Talk to them, let them ask questions and use it as a good thing. If your not comfortable with that, then maybe you should not be reading them either. I also read at a much higher level,in grade school I was reading at a high school level. All level of books including having permission from my mother to the school library to check out adult books, since my grade school library was also a public library. Whenever I read something I wasn't sure I understood or could not pronounce I always went to my mom and asked. She never had a problem discussing things with me. Early introduction to adult books was due to my mom's small collection of books. I read alot of John Saul's book when I was young. Love his books. I do not believe in censoring anybody's ability to read any book ever written. Be there and be available to have a discussion about what they have read and the will grow up with the respect for you and an amazing amount of knowledge.

      Delete