The Journal, Tuesday, 8/29

Hey Folks,

In the interest of “fair and balanced reporting,” via The Digital Reader check out David Gaughran’s “The Visibility Gambit” at https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/08/28/the-visibility-gambit/. Spoiler Alert: This is in favor of going with Amazon KDP Select, but be sure to read the comments too. Hey, whatever works for you.

To learn more about KDP Select (this feeds Kindle Unlimited) and determine whether it’s right for you, visit https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/.

Be sure to also read https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/A6KILDRNSCOBA?ref_=kdp_KDPS_faq/ and then click the link for KDP Terms and Conditions and read that.

I decided today to take a chance, though really it isn’t much of a risk on my part. I took down every Wes Crowley publication (10 novels plus The Wes Crowley Saga Parts 1 & 2 plus one short story) from both Smashwords and D2D.

In about a week, when I know those books have had time to clear all the vendors to whom Smashwords and D2D distributes, I’ll add them all to Amazon’s KDP Select.

I also changed the buy links on my website for those books to only Amazon.

Yep, I’m gonna give exclusivity a shot. I figure it’ll be a good test, given that western-genre fiction is about the worst selling anyway.

I know my (dismal) sales numbers from all the other venues, and I can still do double-digit math, so the comparison should be revealing in one way or another. Either a lot more sales through KDP Select or not.

Topic: Writing to Market

DWS always says fervently “Don’t write to market!” I’ve always followed that advice and simply wrote whatever came out of my subconscious next. It’s a little like shooting at a flea thirty yards away with a twelve-gauge loaded with birdshot.

But the guys I referred you to yesterday say writing to market isn’t necessarily a bad thing IF it’s in a genre you want to write anyway. To me, that makes sense.

I’ve written a lot of westerns. I have 10 novels, a 10-novel box set, two 5-novel sets, a novella and a slew of short stories. So if reader interest ever swings back to westerns, I’m pretty well positioned.

I’ve written several SF books and stories. But SF (either fiction or fantasy) is at the lower selling end of the market too.

But I also enjoy writing psychological suspense stuff. In that, I’m including mysteries, crime fiction and thrillers. And that’s where “writing to market” comes into play.

Those sub-genres — especially mystery — are selling near the top of the market.

So I’m gonna bend my mind in that direction for awhile. I have a few ideas for a psychological suspense series main character. Now all I have to do is be patient as I work through this time-off period and then write.

The point of all this — if you want to write to market, and if it’s in a genre you enjoy writing, go for it.

Today and Writing

Wrote all the stuff above, looked for my online workshop but the password isn’t up yet (see “Of Interest”).

I’ll finish readng To Have and Have Not (Hemingway) this morning, then check for the workshop again, then do something else.

Well, as you might have imagined, I read for the rest of the day other than checking to see whether the password for this week’s installment of the online workshop is up yet. It wasn’t.

It will be wonderful to write stories again when that time comes. It’s coming soon. I can feel it. But not yet.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

DWS is going through some sort of personal stuff. He said it’s not a big deal (see http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/some-issues/) but this is the first time I’ve seen him NOT post even the passwords for the online workshops in time. So something’s up. If you pray, you might send a few his way.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 640 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 640

Writing of ()

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 16240
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 135350
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 514970

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 640 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Monday, 8/28

Hey Folks,

Well, this is too important for “Of Interest.” It’s more like “Please Don’t Miss This.” And please don’t just scan the headlines. There are a lot of gems in the text.

I’m not overstating when I say these guys do what Dean Wesley Smith does to help writers, but they take it a step (or several steps) farther.

But whereas DWS teaches writing techniques, these guys teach how to get to your writing and how to build your audience. What to do after you’ve written. But there’s nothing dry and boring here.

Via The Digital Reader, see “10 Steps to Making a Living as a Self-Published Fiction Author” at https://sterlingandstone.net/make-living-self-published-fiction-author/.

Note: The guy occasionally drops the F bomb. Even if that bothers you, I recommend you find a way to ignore it and read this article.

This might be the most important on-topic article you ever read. It offers a TON of great information. I’ll be reading it at least a couple more times. And yes, I’ll download their guide.

Again, the necessary disclaimer. I do not agree with everything these guys say. Use what works for you and discard the rest.

Today and Writing

After making my rounds on the Internet, I wrote the stuff above and “Of Interest.” Now I’m turning my attention to the Indie Publishing Pack I downloaded from the “10 Steps” article.

I’m still in a period of “rest,” I guess. I’ve done little today other than this stuff, a few household chores and some reading of both fiction and nonfiction. Frankly, it’s a little weird.

I’ve been reading a lot fiction lately hoping it will interest me at least enough that I’ll want to go back and study it and learn from it. To my surprise, most of the time I’m finding that my own stuff is better than the books I’m reading. And I’m not bragging here. I’m complaining.

I might have to give up and go back to reading only Hemingway and Chandler and Burke.

Of Interest

AFTER you’ve read the “10 Steps” above, I recommend checking out Fiction Unboxed at https://sterlingandstone.net/fictionunboxed/.

Also see “Smashwords, libraries, and the [new] culture of authorship” at http://www.noshelfrequired.com/smashwords-libraries-and-the-new-culture-of-authorship/.

For those who might want SF ideas, see the shocking (to me) “Universities and museums join in effort to ‘scan all vertebrates’” at https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/24/universities-and-museums-join-in-effort-to-scan-all-vertebrates/.  Just include humans in “all vertebrates” and see what happens.

In case Nate listed something that might interest you (but didn’t interest me), I suggest visiting https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/28/. Sign up for his newsletter, even. That’s where I get a lot of this stuff.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 430 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 430

Writing of ()

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15600
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 134710
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 514330

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 639 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Sunday, 8/27

Hey Folks,

Topic: Following Up on DWS’ “The Value of a Paperback”

Yesterday Dean explained in his post why indie authors should publish to paper as well as ebook. He made some good points. (If you didn’t read it and would like to, click http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-value-of-a-paperback/.)

It’s always good to have your books available to more people in more ways. Got it. But there are other considerations too, both positive and negative.

On the positive side, when the reader comes across one of my titles on Amazon, B&N, et al, if I have both paper and ebooks editions out, the reader sees both editions side by side.

When I shop for books, I buy the least expensive, paper or ebook. If the ebook costs $12.99 but I can get a clean (unmarked) used paperback for $2.99, paper it is.

But yesterday, I bought a James Scott Bell novel. The ebook was $2.99 (for a thriller!) and the cost of the paper edition was something with four digits in it. I bought the ebook.

So I’ll freely admit, my main reason for publishing to paper is so the reader will see the price comparison. My hope is that it will drive ebook prices. Why? Because I make more money per ebook sale than per paper sale. More on that shortly.

Some folks prefer paper. I get that, and I’ve experienced sales of my paper editions too, but not very many.

Which leads to the negative aspect, at least for me. It costs me right at $100 per book (cover design and interior layout) to publish my books to paper.

Of course, it costs either money or time to publish the ebook edition too. But since I’m using myself as the example, I’ll just tell you now, I’m happy with most of my ebook covers and my own eformatting. And the cost is negligible at the worst.

I get my cover pics via subscription (so the cost is around 55 cents per photo), I can create a cover in about five minutes with Serif PagePlus, and I take care of the eformatting in about two minutes. So really I incur practically zero cost when I publish to ebook.

But back to paper editions. Let’s do some math.

I spend $100 for a cover and interior layout for a print edition. (I use and strongly recommend https://covertoupload.com/.)

I earn a little over $2 per sale of a paper book, which is priced around $15. So around a 13% royalty.

The same book in Kindle, Nook, iBook etc. costs the reader only $5, yet I earn $3.50 per sale. When one of my nonfiction titles sells for $10, I earn $7 per sale. And again, I don’t have to include cover and formatting costs in that.

Still, I do like that price-comparison thing when the reader sees the paper version right alongside the ebook version in a sales venue.

Currently, about half my novels (13 or 14, I think) are available in both paper and ebook. A few of my 10-story collections are available in both editions too.

So I’ll continue to put my books in paper, I guess. But I’ll pay to have another cover and layout done only as the money is readily available.

Hope this helps some of you.

Today and Writing

It’s still very early in the day. The sun has its hand on its chin, and it’s considering dawning out here in southeast Arizona. Previous to this, I made my Internet rounds, then wrote the stuff above.

I can’t foretell the future, but more than likely I won’t write fiction today. I plan to spend the day reading James Scott Bell’s novel. I’m excited about it.

I read only the first few (gripping) pages yesterday. If the story continues the way I think it will, I’ll be purchasing his course, which I mentioned in this Journal yesterday. And I’ll probably buy the rest of this particular series as well. In ebook.

UPDATE: Well, I had high hopes for Mr. Bell’s work. I really did. But his book, which was tagged as a thriller, definitely is not a thriller. It isn’t even suspenseful.

In the first twenty pages, I found the writing thin and the excitement promised by the opening non-existent.

Note that I was not consciously looking for these things. Their lack popped out at me. As I read I was unable to visualize the characters or much of the setting. Hence “thin” writing. And this is his most recent release, so it should also be his most advanced writing.

If there’s one thing you have to have in a thriller, it’s excitement. So my search for a good thriller writer and instruction continues. Sigh.

Now I’ve downloaded and am reading Any Means Necessary (a Luke Stone Thriller-Book #1) by Jack Mars. The author name has me wondering whether it’s a pen name. Anyway, I’m only a little way into it, but it seems good.

If you’re interested, and if you read ebooks, the Kindle version is free right now at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019BILG2W/. Not that Jack Mars also offers courses, but I can learn from his writing.

If I enjoy the book, I’ll read it again to study his technique. And probably order the rest of the series.

Of Interest

Dean added a second post about why he believes indie authors should publish to paper as well as ebooks. (Caution: he’s being classically DWS.) You can see it at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/paperback-vs-ebook-dont-care/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 900 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 900

Writing of ()

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15270
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 134280
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 513900

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 638 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Saturday, 8/26

Hey Folks,

Well, a Saturday. The sun is still a couple hours from coming up as I write this. I’ve done my daily rounds of the Internet, made my usual stops.

If you enjoy a bit of history along with really great photos and some personal insights, check Linda Maye Adams’ blog at http://lindamayeadams.com/2017/08/26/a-veteranwriter-looks-at-history-leesylvania-state-park/.

Over the past few days I’ve started several bits of fiction. Each time I let them go. I’m not sure whether they weren’t working or it was just that I wasn’t in the mood. Probably the latter.

I mean, you don’t have to be in the “mood” to write. You just have to write the next sentence. I didn’t.

Pretty sure when I first backslid off Heinlein’s Rules was back when I decided it was no longer important to have a daily word count goal. That’s the only thing I can figure.

Also I crave writing novels. So lately when something “feels” like it’s going to be a short story, I tend to let it go.

I can feel something welling up, something about to break loose. But recently I’ve been waiting for it rather than sitting down and making it happen.

So there are a few things I need to change.

I already blew my novel-a-month goal when I missed finishing the last one (in July) by one day. So that goal is broken.

But my annual goal to write fifteen novels or novellas this calendar year remains. To do that, I just have to break down what’s left to do, divide it by the number of months/days and get busy.

To reach 15 major fiction works for the year, I have to write 7 more novels or novellas. So if I go with 40,000 words per novel as a base, that means I have to write 280,000 words in just those novels.

So that’s only 70,000 words per month for the remaining 4 months or 2300 words per day for 122 days. And if I hit my previous daily word count of 3000 words per day, in that 122 days I’ll reach 366,000 words, more than enough for the 20 short stories I’d also like to write by the end of the year (see below).

Completely within reach. That will also give me a new daily word count goal. Duh.

I mentioned short stories above. I would like to reach over 200 short stories published by the end of the year. I’m currently still 19 away. (Twenty to cross it into 201, which is the real goal.)

Thing is, writing short stories often leads to writing novels, so maybe I should start with short stories anyway. Doesn’t matter, I suppose. The point is to start somewhere, and then keep going. Just write the next sentence.

My wife mentioned last night that this slump started about the time we got back from our trip to New Mexico to visit a few elderly uncles. One (he’s only 10 years older than I) is on his way out with the big C, and I didn’t even know he was ill. I file that in the Damnit category.

I have some beginner’s knowledge of how the human psyche works, that it most often operates independently of its host’s willpower, what we desire, etc. So all of that slump stuff probably is a consideration. But it’s also an excuse, not a reason.

So onward.

Topic: On Word Count Goals

In case you didn’t read it, James Scott Bell talked about his “secret” of success as a prolific writer recently at the Kill Zone blog. Or maybe in one of his short YouTube videos.

Anyway, the secret, he says, is to have a word count goal. Same thing I used to say. Having a daily word count goal drives me to the computer when nothing else will. That’s how it helps me.

Mr. Bell doesn’t set a daily goal because, he says, when he misses it he beats himself up. (That’s one problem I don’t have, thankfully.)

He sets a weekly goal, then divides it by six to get his daily goal. (Wait for it.)

He feels no pressure re the daily goal, though, because life happens. If he misses his daily goal, he knows he can still reach his weekly goal by making up the words he missed on another day.

Sounds like a good approach to me.

Oh, and he divides by six (not seven) because he takes one day off per week to recharge his batteries.

So there you have it, for whatever it’s worth.

Today and Writing

Philosophical Dud of the Day: I guess it’s all right that I continue calling myself a writer. I do write every day, even if it isn’t always fiction.

Neat sidestep, isn’t it? (grin)

I dropped the “Untitled” whatever it was below. Frankly, I got so wrapped around the wheel “thinking” (oh oh) about it that I paralyzed myself. Critical mind. Easy to do.

So I’m starting fresh. Again.

Around 9:45, off to Sierra Vista to shop for stuff. We’ll see what the rest of the day holds when we get back.

Got back late and then a storm started moving in, so I’m gonna post this. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Today I’m referring to the Kill Zone blog again. PLEASE don’t take everything you read there for gospel. Like any advice from anywhere, take what feels right to you and ignore the rest.

See Dean’s “The Value of a Paperback” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-value-of-a-paperback/.

See James Scott Bell’s “Baloney Advice Writers Should Ignore” at https://killzoneblog.com/2012/10/baloney-advice-writers-should-ignore.html. Notice this is from 2012. The guy is a fount of information if you just spend a little time reading. You can find all of Bell’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/jimbell.

You might also browse Joe Moore’s posts at https://killzoneblog.com/author/admin/.

ALSO SEE “Writing a Novel They Can’t Put Down” at http://knockoutfiction.teachable.com/p/novel/. This is a course in novel writing (from James Scott Bell), and most impressively, you have lifetime access to the materials. I’ll probably take this one myself. After I read one or two of his novels. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 990 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 990

Writing of ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14270
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 133390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 513000

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 637 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Friday, 8/25

Hey Folks,

Well, we take our fame where we find it, don’t we? As I posted to Facebook this morning,

Hey, who knew I was still so unpopular along the gulf coast of Texas? I mean it was only the one night of drunken debauchery, pillaging, etc. In the Corps I was “Taz.” Now I’m upgraded to a hurricane? And anyway, shouldn’t that be a himmicane?

***

I started the day by adding universal links to each of my collection covers on my 10-story and 5-story collection pages on my website.

Each of my novels has its own page but that seemed like a lot of work. To do the same thing for my collections I would have had to create 29 new pages on my website.

So now prospective readers can click the cover of a collection to go to a universal link where they will see a larger cover image, a description of the book, and all the venues where it’s carried.

Y’gotta love Draft2Digital and their universal links. (grin) If you aren’t distributing through D2D yet, that’s one great reason to start. You can even add links to the universal link for places where D2D doesn’t distribute.

Wrapped all of that up before 10. But in the process, I discovered I had three collections I hadn’t even displayed on those pages yet. So now everything’s up.

***

I spent much of the rest of the day changing my two Nicolas Z Porter novels over to Harvey Stanbrough (covers and manuscripts) and uploading them to Smashwords, D2D, Amazon and BundleRabbit.

In the midst of that a major storm hit, so interrupted the process a few times. We got a little over a half-inch of rain in about twenty minutes. The attendant lightning lasted for a few hours.

Then I spent the rest of the day reading. Big things coming. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

I love writing about the time period of the Spanish Civil War. Via The Passive Voice, don’t miss this short video: https://youtu.be/_NcrzjPbrMw/.

In case you might get something from it that I obviously missed, see “Why a Party is a Perfect Literary Device” at http://lithub.com/why-a-party-is-a-perfect-literary-device/.

And I loved to see these “9 Reasons Why We All Need Accessible Ebooks” at http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2017/9-reasons-why-we-all-need-accessible-ebooks/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 380 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 380

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13280
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 132390
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 512010

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 636 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Thursday, 8/24

Hey Folks,

Well, I’m back.

A company called ReDigi is attempting to get an appeals court to let them resell “used” ebooks. Nonsense, in my opinion. And the way ReDigi wants to do it would cut the publisher and author out of any royalties. So double nonsense.

Nothing in an ebook can ever become degraded. There are no physical pages to be underlined and highlighted and dog-eared, etc.

According to current law (see https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/23/ruling-redigi-case-cant-re-open-door-used-ebook-market-door-never-closed/) an ebook can’t be sold as “used” but the seller can sell the media on which it is stored.

(There’s another link on the linked article above that explains in greater detail.)

To me, “media” means the device. Of course, lawyers can and will twist that word into whatever shape they want it to take.

So I could sell or give away my Kindle Paperwhite with the ebooks I have stored on it left in place. But I can’t collect a royalty on those ebooks, and that’s what’s at stake in the ReDigi appeal.

I hope ReDigi fails miserably, as any thief should.

***

To begin the day, I read again. I didn’t want to start anything long, so I read (again) Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”

If I live another hundred years, I will never write anything so filled with depth, so ironic and so beautiful.

And on the tail of that thought, this appropriate quote from the book: “Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with what there is.”

Excellent advice for writers, don’t you think?

No fiction writing today either, but big new changes coming soon in that regard.

Of Interest

If you want to learn how to write “talk tough” characters, see “How to Talk Tough” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/08/how-to-talk-tough.html.

I also enjoyed “The Ingredients of a Great Series Character” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/08/the-ingredients-of-a-great-series-character.html.

Oddly enough, both entries above are by the same author, James Scott Bell. Mr. Bell blogs at The Kill Zone once a week. I’ll be checking in on him if I can remember.

I am avidly against censorship. If you are too, take a look at “Confirmed: B&N Terminating Nook Press Accounts for Publishing Erotica” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/23/bn-terminating-nook-press-accounts-publishing-erotica/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 380 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 380

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12900
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 132010
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 511630

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 635 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Wednesday, 8/23

Hey Folks,

Well, yesterday (on Dean’s recommendation) I read the first 300+ pages of Patterson’s “Along Came a Spider.” I think it’s the first of his Alex Cross series. This morning I read the last 130 pages.

It held my attention, but it wasn’t particularly well written. Several annoying “little” things kept me from being able to become deeply involved in the story. Things that involuntarily jump out at the reader like a really bad spelling error.

He did use some of the pacing “tricks” I recently taught in a seminar, but surprisingly few of the grounding techniques.

Of course, Patterson’s true expertise is in marketing, and this book was a #1 Bestseller. Go figure.

***

Around 10 a.m. I realized I hadn’t seen my kitten for an hour or so. She isn’t the sort to wander off, but I’m hoping that’s exactly what she did. It’s after 1 p.m. and I can’t find her.

This might be the last blog post for awhile.

Thank you in advance for any kind thoughts, but I’m not seeking comments, so please don’t. Just letting you know.

I’m going to post this, then start the search again.

UPDATE: I finally found my little heart just shy of 3 p.m. She was under my bed when I got back from my fifth trip to search for her. When the time comes, I sure hope I go before she does. I’m pretty sure I can’t handle it.

I realize I could as easily just delete all the stuff above this, but you want it warts and all, right? There y’go.

Whew. Now I should be back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Just for fun, see Dean’s “A Very Long Challenge” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/over-four-years/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 200 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 200

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12520
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 131630
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 511250

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 634 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Tuesday, 8/22

Hey Folks,

Yesterday, in response to my topic On Bad Advice, I got a very good comment. Be sure to check it out at http://hestanbrough.com/the-journal-monday-821/#comments/.

Topic: How to Choose a First Reader

I mentioned first readers yesterday, almost in passing. Today I want to cover the topic a little more thoroughly.

The perfect first reader, first of all, is not a writer.

She (to avoid the he-she fiasco) is an avid reader, one who consumes novels like most people consume air and water.

She is also someone who either has read and already likes your work or wants to read your work. In other words, if you write across several genres, but if your first reader only likes SF, send that reader only your SF stories.

I mentioned yesterday that a first reader shouldn’t be paid, or should be paid only with the opportunity to read your work free. (Send her a free copy after publication.)

IF you choose to pay a first reader for her time, settle on a per-word amount up front. This might be one cent for every ten words (so 1/10 cent per word) or 1/4 cent per word. Up to you.

BUT, impress on the first reader that you want blunt honesty. Her job isn’t to make you feel good. The first reader’s only purpose is to point out flaws in your story.

To that end, she should keep a notepad close at hand. This can be electronic or paper and a pen.

Then she should Just Read. She isn’t “looking for” anything except to be entertained by your story.

That is to say, like all readers everywhere, she will read with the subconscious mind engaged. This is a natural state when we read for pleasure. It isn’t something she will have to think about or do intentionally.

Then, when anything in the story “jumps out” at her, she should note it and return to the story.

If you’ve mailed a paper manuscript to the first reader, she can make a few notes in the margin.

If she’s reading on her phone or e-reader, she can pinpoint the problem area on her notepad with a short series of three or four verbatim words copied from the manuscript. (This is so you can type those three or four words into your Word Find & Replace function and find the problem area much more quickly.)

Then she states the inconsistency or other issue: “John was wearing a blue jacket when he entered the bank. It was brown a few minutes later on the sidewalk.”

Or “I can’t be sure why, but something about this passage confused me. It pulled me out of the story.”

I usually tell my first reader to ignore sentence structure and punctuation and paragraphing. That’s because, sadly, most people only “know” what they’ve learned in English class about those factors.

That being said, even with specific directions to ignore those things, my first reader probably will note sentence structure or punctuation or paragraphing issues if they interrupt the story for her. And that’s a good thing.

If a wrong-word usage pops out at the first reader, she should note it. If a misspelling pops out, she should note it. (But if you ran a spell check, any misspelling should be an inadvertent wrong-word usage.)

And so on.

A good first reader will point out anything that “pops out” at her during the reading.

Then your job, when you get the input back from your first reader, is to consider each point she makes.

But you only “fix” what you agree with. Then you publish the thing and move on to the next story. (grin)

***

Now that my own spiel is ended, I’m going to listen to J. Daniel Sawyer’s take on what first readers should look for at http://everydaynovelist.com/2017/08/20/questions-339-dear-first-reader/. I suggest you do the same.

(Note: He said pretty much what I said above, but he said it in a different way and included what we DON’T want from a first reader. Again, I suggest you listen to the podcast. It’s only about 6 minutes long.)

Today and Writing

I rolled out a little late this morning, then spent most of my time on the stuff above this. Now I’m moving back inside to listen to the third session of my workshop with Dean.

That went well enough. The one thing I don’t like about these online workshops is that I have to wait a week between installments. Maybe if I write Dean and promise not to turn in any of the weekly assignments, he’ll let me view them all right now. (grin)

I prefer those that have been moved to “classic” because they’re half the price, plus you can view them all in one day if you want. You can’t send in the exercises, but you can still do them for yourself if you want to.

I spent most of the rest of the day reading for pleasure.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

If you enjoy podcasts, check out J. Daniel Sawyer’s recent take on the topic I discussed yesterday (developmental editors) at http://everydaynovelist.com/2017/08/19/questions-338-developmental-editors/.

He says a couple of things with which I disagree, but the disagreement is more superficial than substantial, so I’ll leave it alone.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 880 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 880

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12320
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 131430
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 511050

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 633 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Monday, 8/21

Hey Folks,

Had a great visit on Saturday night with a dear friend. Cigars puffed, movies discussed, philosophy slathered. Then a good session on Sunday morning on how to use the very intuitive Serif PagePlus to create book covers.

***

If your books are offered for sale on Amazon, please read “Amazon Author Central: A Primer” at http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2017/08/13/amazon-author-central-a-primer/.

I read it and there was a lot there that I didn’t know. For one thing, Amazon doesn’t automatically update your author page with new books when you publish more work. On my author page, only 33 books were listed. That was most of my nonfiction and a few short stories.

To put this in perspective, I have around 250 publications on Amazon. So I spent some time clicking Add This Book this morning. It still isn’t fully up to date (pen names are a whole other ball of tacos) but most of my books are there now.

Anyway, they also give you a dedicated Author Page URL where readers can find all of your books in one place. For example, mine is at https://www.amazon.com/author/harveystanbrough/.

As a result of my foray into Amazon Author Pages, I also decided (for various reasons) to kill off one of my personas. Raymond L. Sevareid is no more. The SF novel Terminus Loop is now a product of Harvey Stanbrough at D2D, Amazon, Smashwords and BundleRabbit.

What a time-consuming PITA that was. But in time, I’ll also replace at least the ebook version of all my other novels too, moving them from a pen name to my own name.

Topic: On Bad Advice

Goodness knows there are a ton of bad sources of misinformation for writers out there, so I’m doing my little bit to counteract that.

On my website, in the blogroll on the right sidebar and in Writers’ Resources on the left sidebar, I list valid sources of information for writers.

Those resources don’t get a place on my website until I’ve checked them out. I don’t have to agree with everything they say, but I won’t post a link to advice that, if it’s accepted, will actually harm a writer’s work.

This morning I removed one of those links. I won’t mention the link specifically here because I don’t want to call attention to it.

The one I removed is now saying writers not only need to have their work professionally edited, but “I’ll go further and say you need several editors, at least for the first book – a developmental editor for the structure of the book, and a copy-editor for the line detail and cleanup.”

I was stunned to see that advice coming from that source. So my endorsement ended.

I agree that you need at least a good First Reader. Preferably one who is not also a writer. That person is someone who likes your work, and who is willing to read it and give you feedback. The feedback, however, is limited to

hard inconsistencies that you didn’t catch (name spellings, clothing, etc.) and

places in the story where something caused the reader to stop reading for whatever reason.

That’s it.

I also agree that a good copyeditor (this is a paid service) is worth his or her weight in gold. A good copyeditor can save you a ton of embarrassment over typos, punctuation, etc.

What you DON’T want is ANYONE who wants to change your work in any way. Hence, a “developmental” editor, whatever that is.

Think about that for a moment. Why in the world would you ever think ANYone else could possibly know YOUR story better than you do?

A “book doctor” or “developmental editor” is someone who will do their level best to make your work look as if they wrote it.

If someone who’s much farther along the writing/publishing road than you are says your writing is “thin” or “slow” and offers techniques you can use to add depth or improve pacing, consider those techniques with an eye toward applying them.

But if anyone, especially for money, says “write it like this,” RUN.

As a famous writer (I think it was Samuel Clemens) once said, There is no greater urge in the world than the urge of a writer to change another writer’s work.

Just sayin’.

***

Wow. I really thought today would be a full writing day. Instead it’s another nonwriting day. I actually ran out of time.

I got up at 3:30 this morning, looked up a moment ago and the day was gone. My day was taken up primarily with frustration. If I don’t hear the words “solar eclipse” again for 360 years, it will still be too soon.

Other than that, though, at least I got to help a couple writers so it wasn’t all bad.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “How to Run a Bookstore in 2017” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/how-to-run-a-bookstore-in-2017/. This is a great post on business in general and there are tips for writers if you just read them.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 820 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 820

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11440
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 130550
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 510170

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 632 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181

The Journal, Sunday, 8/20

Hey Folks,

Well, I had to smile at Dean’s post. See http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-non-event/.

A few days ago he was annoyed, expecting a deluge of tourists in his little town to see the eclipse:

From “A Fun First Day” on August 16, “Now if we can just survive this stupid eclipse, we will be fine. Shadow goes right smack over the top of us as it makes landfall. The actual center is about two miles from the new store. No telling what will happen here with that many people trying to cram into a 60 mile wide area. We just don’t have the roads for it.”

I understand the annoyance. He and others had just rushed around for a few days getting his three stores ready for the deluge of tourists. But it’s still funny. (grin)

***

Today I’ll be working with my friend, showing him how to create book covers with the Serif PagePlus program. Probably no writing today.

Nope, no fiction writing. Back tomorrow.

Quite often I find myself wanting to respond with a Raymond Chandler to some people. This Raymond Chandler quote: “I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings.”

Of Interest

See Kris Rusch’s “Business Musings: My Day in Negotiation” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/08/16/business-musings-my-day-in-negotiation/. This is a great post, and I didn’t fall asleep because of business-apnea even one time. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 230 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 230

Writing of “Untitled” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205
Day 2…… 1856 words. Total words to date…… 3061
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10620
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 129730
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 509350

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 632 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 8 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 181