Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Q&A with Kylie Brant, Part 5 - Pacing, Series vs. Single Title

Quesion:
How do you manage pacing and keep the intensity of the novel escalating? I think in various books, I've confused "things happening" with "things to further the plot happening."

Answer:
Yeah, and sometimes you'll read a review of a book and the reviewer will note that if one more thing had happened to the h/h she would have stopped reading altogether. Every scene has to be evaluated as to what it adds to the plot. Does it further the sexual tension? Does it increase suspense and tie in directly with the suspense plot? Does it heighten emotion? Sometimes just a sticky note on the computer helps you decide as you're writing.


Question:
You've written both series and single title novels. I can see advantages to each type. What are some reasons a writer should target one over the other?

Answer:
Single title is a far tougher market to break into. More money *can* be made there, but not necessarily. There are plenty of mid-list authors who wished they made what some category authors make! Check out Brenda Hiatt's website page "Show me the Money" for a general idea for what authors make for different publishers. Her data depends on who responds with figures, but it's an idea, anyway.

With single title you can hang on to rights and those can be quite lucrative. There's also audio rights that can be retained by the author and sold. Single title books can stay on the shelves longer since category books are only on the shelf 3 1/2 -4 weeks before the next month's supplies come in.

The parameters of category romance dictate to some degree what sort of stories you can tell. I was lucky--I was niched from the beginning as 'a gritty writer' with a mainstream voice. So they let me write plots that pushed the envelope to some extent in terms of subject content. But the romance is at the forefront in an SRS because that's the promise of a H/S book. When you want to put the suspense at the forefront, you need to write single title.

The disadvantages of single title is that you are your own brand, you don't have the line imprint to lure in readers who, for instance, buy all the SRS books monthly. So much depends on what kind of launch you're getting from your publisher, what kind of promotion they're giving you, whether the sales reps pick up your books for the department stores...just lots of things out of your control. Your career hangs on your sell-through to a far greater degree than in category. You're quicker to get the boot in ST if you're not selling well, while H/S prides themselves on 'building writers'. More and more, ST authors are having to do self promotion and that takes money.

Advantages to category is that you don't have to worry about the distribution. That's H/S's job. And if you are out in the month with a best selling author, you're going to get as many books on the shelves as she is. That's a real advantage for a new author. People recognize the brand, the imprint and buy you even as debut author because they've enjoyed other SRSs in the past.

Basically ST has bigger risks and larger possible rewards for an author. But I've never felt there's something inherently superior about ST over category. I wanted to tell stories that wouldn't fit into the parameters of SRS--longer, darker, grittier with more suspense. So that's why I tried my hand at ST.

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