My Theories About Series and Self-Publishing

Cover of Events at Fort Plentitude

An exiled soldier tries to wait out a winter in a fort beleaguered by fox-spirits and winter demons.

Happy New Year, one and all! I thought I’d start the New Year talking about what I’m working on at the moment, putting individual stories up on Amazon and Smashwords. Between publications and backlog, I’ve got about 200 to play with, so it’s a pretty big task, given that I’d like to have almost all of them up by the end of the month. But if I consider that some are flash, which I’ll put up individually on QuarterReads and release in a compendium, it becomes less daunting.

I’m getting faster at the process as I go, and I’m also refining it, which unfortunately means I need to go back over some of the earlier releases, just to make them all look the same as far as prettiness and completeness goes.

Would it be better to space releasing the stories out over the course of a year? Probably. But I’d like to get this all set up and done so I can move onto other things. I have enough stories that will be added over the course of the year as I write them or their rights become available that there will be plenty of additions as is.

What I’ve done with the stories is split them up into series. This is an easy enough task because I’ve got plenty of clusters of stories where characters or locations repeat, as with Twicefar Station, which is the backdrop for “Amid the Words of War,” “Kallakak’s Cousins,” and “On TwiceFar Station, As the Ships Come and Go.” It’s also the same world as “TimeSnip,” whose main character appears in “On TwiceFar Station, As the Ships Come and Go.”

Why I’m doing this:

  1. This allows me to provide readers who like a particular story with a way to find similar ones. If they read “Her Windowed Eyes, Her Chambered Heart,” for instance, and want to find other steampunk stories by me, they can look at the others in the Altered America series.
  2. This lets me play with KDP in a meaningful way. If I make the first book Kindle only for at least the first year, I can use the Kindle Select promotional tools and get readers to sample a story by giving it to them free.

Here’s what I’ve got sorted of the series so far, with a description of each.

Altered America (steampunk)
Her Windowed Eyes, Her Chambered Heart
Rappacini’s Crow

Closer Than You Think (near future SF)
All the Pretty Little Mermaids
Tortoiseshell Cats Are Not Refundable
Zeppelin Follies
English Muffin, Devotion on the Side
Memories of Moments, Bright as Falling Stars
Therapy Buddha

Farther Than Tomorrow (slipstream & space opera)
Bus Ride to Mars
Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain
Elsewhen, Within, Elsewhen

Superlives (superheroes)
Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut
Acquainted with the Night

Tales of Tabat (secondary world fantasy)
Narrative of a Beast’s Life
How Dogs Came to the New Continent
Events at Fort Plentitude
Love, Resurrected
In the Lesser Southern Isles

Twicefar Station (far future SF)
Kallakak’s Cousins
On TwiceFar Station, As the Ships Come and Go
Amid the Words of War
I Come From the Dark Universe

Villa Encantada (urban fantasy/horror)
Eagle-haunted Lake Sammammish
Villa Encantada
Crowned with Antlers Comes the King

Women of Zalanthas (secondary world fantasy)
Aquila’s Ring
Mirabai the Twice-lived
Karaluvian Fale

The World Beside Us (urban fantasy/horror)
Jaco Tours
Magnificent Pigs
Heart in a Box
Can You Hear the Moon?
Of Selkies, Disco Balls, and Anna Plane

So far, after approximately a month of getting stuff up there, I’m seeing some small sales, but also a tiny uptick in my collections that could be due to something else entirely. (Self-publishing is such a mysterious process!) So over the course of the year, I’ll be tracking the results.

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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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