The Journal, Sunday, 9/3

Hey Folks,

I read the story I just finished to my wife yesterday, but she didn’t quite get the ending. I said, “Would it help if I had mentioned perfume” in a particular place in the story? She said it would. That was the one clue that was missing.

This was an interesting story for me. It appears to be very convoluted, but really there are only two major scenes.

And you can tell I’ve been reading a lot of Hemingway recently. This story is very detailed and very strange. (grin)

So I added the bit about perfume this morning. Actually, 18 words in three sentences, and I think it’s finished. And just in time. Today is Sunday.

The alternative was to write a brief prologue to show the crime that’s revealed at the end of the story, but I think it would give away too much. Very fine line to walk.

Still, just to be sure it works I bundled it off to my first reader, Kenneth, to see what he thinks of it. We’ll see what he says.

Today and Writing

I rolled out on time this morning at 3. But I didn’t feel like doing a lot, so I made my way slowly through my rounds on the Internet.

Then, an hour or so into the day, I added a few sentences (and fragments) to “Salvatore” (working title), ran a spell check and sent it off to my first reader.

Now I’m back to doing nothing for a little while.

I didn’t really feel well through the morning. My wife and I walked a 3.6 mile circuit. Then I got a shower and wrote a little, but I didn’t really feel into it. So back to doing nothing.

Around 11 I was thinking of calling this a non-writing day and starting fresh tomorrow.

Around noon a line popped into my head. I happened to be close to my computer at the moment, so I opened a Word doc and wrote an opening scene. Very pastoral in an upper middle-class neighborhood.

Around 12:40 something traumatic happened (in the story). So I wrote a cliffhanger and put Chapter 2 below it. Then I went to make myself some lunch. There might be nothing better in the world than tangy macaroni salad and cottage cheese on the same plate.

So the nonwriting day will end up as a writing day after all, though I can’t be sure how much writing.

But the opening is there and the cliffhanger is there and a second character, who is also affected by the trauma, is there. And the story wants to run, so I only have to write the next sentence. Then write the next sentence.

Oh, I heard back from the first reader, and I am stoked. He wrote, “Good story. The characters are believable and it flows well. It is also demanding of the reader’s attention (maybe not the best descriptor, but it is too aggressive to be called merely compelling). Not something that will allow one (me?) to read only part and put aside to finish later. I enjoyed the mystery of it.”

Yeah. And this is a guy who wouldn’t lie to save himself. I like it. By the way, the title of that one now is “The Tarp.”

So a little after 1, lunch is over and back to the story.

Calling it a day a little early. I haven’t felt good all day. My new WIP is a very interesting thing, very deep psychologically (I love that stuff), and it’s flowing.

I read the first two chapters aloud to my wife and touched it here and there as I read.

Tomorrow morning I’ll begin by reading back over everything up to this point and then writing more. I’m not worried about the light day because, as I said, this one’s really flowing.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Especially if you aren’t in BundleRabbit yet, or if you enjoy DWS’ fiction, see “Bundles in BundleRabbit.com” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/bundles-in-bundlerabbit-com/. And remember, I have a couple of works in the Guns of the West bundle right along with him. (grin)

Fiction Words: 1781
Nonfiction Words: 660 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2441

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781

Total fiction words for the month……… 8862
Total fiction words for the year………… 388482
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1480
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 137880
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 526362

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 645 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)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Saturday, 9/2

Hey Folks,

Well, the story I started yesterday will definitely be a short story, though longer than my usual short story. My short stories are usually around 3,000 words. This one will come in probably at around 5,000 or 6,000.

It might also expand into a novel, but right now it’s about one event. So a short story.

***

Finally checked Dean’s site (it’s not quite noon here) and I am stymied. See “Short Story Finished” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/short-story-finished/. Uncanny. Some of the parallels between his writing world and mine are just eerie at the moment.

He wrote “only 25,000 words of fiction” in August due to life intervening. I wrote not quite 17,000.

He decided to make September 1 “a new start.” I did the same thing. He doesn’t track his numbers like I do, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn he wrote 3212 words of fiction on his story to finish it.

Of course, he had a banner month in July. I haven’t had a 100,000-word month this year. But I probably will if I make my goals for the rest of the year.

Today and Writing

I planned to get up at 2 or 3 this morning. I figure on weekends I want to get up a little earlier than I have been recently so I can get some writing done before the world comes to life.

I rolled out at 3:30. There wasn’t a lot of email or FB stuff, so I still got some writing done on the story early.

When I realized “Salvatore” was going to be a short story I moved a couple things around in it. My rust is really showing. I cycled back through the whole thing, moved a few things around and added a lot that I missed in the initial writing.

Took a break for a shopping trip to pick up a lot of odds and ends that don’t make it onto the weekly list.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Just the thing about Dean above.

Fiction Words: 3869
Nonfiction Words: 340 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4209

Writing of “Salvatore” (working title, short story)

Day 1…… 3212 words. Total words to date…… 3212
Day 2…… 3869 words. Total words to date…… 7081 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 7081
Total fiction words for the year………… 386701
Total nonfiction words for the month… 820
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 137220
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 523921

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 644 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, 8/29

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, 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, 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, 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

The Journal, Saturday, 8/19

Hey Folks,

I have a couple of nonfiction projects to knock out this morning and then a friend coming for a visit this afternoon and evening. So not sure how much writing I’ll get done today, if any.

The story I was working on, I love the concept, but I might have to restart it yet again. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll just read back and find what went sour.

My goal of writing a novel this month is fading fast. (grin) Then again, that’s what goals are for. And I’m in some sort of weird transition phase right now. Weird because I’m not even sure what I’m transitioning from or to.

Topic: Take Your Time

A friend emailed today to tell me he was going to “work on” getting a younger gent he knows to come to my upcoming seminar. I told him not to worry about it. The thing is, if he has to “convince” the guy to take a chance, the guy isn’t ready.

If I knew the guy, I’d tell him myself, “Hey, take your time. When you’re ready, you’ll get it. But in the meantime, practice.”

At which point, I have zero doubt, he’d look at me as if I have two heads. And that’s okay too.

The thing is, even for those of us for whom storytelling comes fairly easily, it takes around a million words of PRACTICE before we actually “get it.”

And by “practice” I mean putting new words on the page, not hovering over what we’ve already written. If you’re hovering, you’re spinning your wheels. If you don’t think so, that’s okay. Someday you’ll know.

Rewriting and self-editing and “polishing” and any other conscious-mind activity is a Complete Waste Of Time, and it will actually harm your work. Likewise, letting anyone else into your work-in-progress will harm your work. Just sayin’.

You don’t have to agree. It’s okay. Someday you will. (grin)

But back to that million words of practice — that’s from the time we start writing fiction “seriously,” not from the time we start breathing.

Thinking about the young man again, not everyone is ready to step out of the comfort zone of applying the same tired clichés they’ve heard about writing all their lives.

As an aside, that comfort zone is another function of the conscious mind. As long as you keep doing what you’ve proven time and again won’t work, you won’t publish anything and make yourself a target for criticism. It’s much easier to just keep following the same old “kill all your darlings” nonsense.

As a result, anyone who has new knowledge to offer — and somehow that’s especially someone who has successfully applied that knowledge for 20 or 30 or 100 novels or short stories — is immediately suspect.

And I really do understand. I was somewhat suspicious of DWS and a few others when I first turned my mind seriously to writing fiction a little over three years ago.

The one main premise I bought into (because it made so much sense) was that “practice” was a necessity. It’s Heinlein’s Rules all over again: write, publish, write some more.

And thank goodness I bought into that much. Somewhere along the way, the rest of it started to make sense and I managed to “get it.” Now, with over 180 short stories, 4 novellas, 26 novels and a writing work ethic, I finally feel comfortable enough to teach writing techniques.

Techniques that do not appeal to that conscious-mind comfort zone.

I’m grateful for every single person who takes a chance and attends my seminars. And I’m happy for them because I know the value of what they’ve received.

But even of those who attend, not everyone is ready — yet — to do the work. Not all of them are ready yet to apply what I teach them, and to practice it incessantly until they “get it.”

But at least the knowledge will be there when they ARE ready. It will surface as a moment of epiphany.

All they have to do is keep writing.

And the young man? He’ll get it when he’s ready, or he’ll find something else he enjoys doing as much as we enjoy writing.

***

I’m really not sure how, nor am I sure my untitled fiction will go anywhere, but I got a couple free hours to add to it today. So there’s that.

Of Interest

Over at Dean’s place, actually from yesterday, read “Read Kris’s New Blog Post” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/read-kriss-new-blog-post/.

Somehow or other, my main blog made the cut over at https://faithfictionfriends.blogspot.com/2017/08/saturday-good-reads_19.html. I always find it weird when someone’s heard of me before I’ve heard of them.

Fiction Words: 1856
Nonfiction Words: 780 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2636

Writing of “Untitled” ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 16642
Total fiction words for the year………… 379620
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10390
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 129500
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 509120

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 631 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, 8/15

Hey Folks,

Via The Digital Reader, The Huffington Post (whom I would never and am not now promoting) published an article titled “The 4 Great Myths of Book Publishing.”

You can read the full article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-4-great-myths-of-book-publishing_us_5988e9ebe4b08a4c247f252d/, but I’ll save you the trouble.

There are actually a lot more myths about traditional publishing than four, but we’ll go with the ones they list.

According to the article, the myths are that a traditional publisher will

  1. aggressively promote your book to the widest possible readership,
  2. ensure your book gets on the shelves of all the nation’s bookstores,
  3. print your book’s text in exactly the way you conceive and arrange it, and
  4. provide you with a sizable monetary advance.

Of course, the article goes on to say no, they won’t. Because No, They Won’t.

The “remedy” the author of the article recommends for points 1, 2, and 4 (3 is just silly) is to do it yourself. But still use a traditional publisher.

So let me get this straight:

According to the author of the article, you should develop your own promotion plan, promote your book aggressively yourself to ensure more people order it in bookstores, “be flexible” regarding layout, and “be grateful if you’re offered any advance at all.”

So in addition to writing the book in the first place, you have to do everything else too. Okay, I’m good with that.

But in return for your effort, you should still give ALL RIGHTS FOR THE LIFE OF THE COPYRIGHT to the traditional publisher and receive around 12% of the net royalties for as long as they decide to sell your book.

Oh, and if you also have an agent, he/she gets 15% of that 12%.

Uhhhhh, no.

This is it, folks. This truly is your forehead slapping moment. Please don’t pass it up.

If you have to do all that anyway, Publish It Yourself and pocket 100% of the net royalties.

And MOST importantly, Keep Your Copyright (your property) for the rest of your life plus 70 years.

You STILL have to develop your own promotion plan, aggressively promote your book, and you can do the layout yourself (or pay to have it done — see https://covertoupload.com/).

Of course, you’ll have to forego receiving an advance you wouldn’t have gotten anyway. Darn it. Oh, and somewhere, some village idio— er, agent — will go a little hungry. But so what?

Copyright is property, folks. Your property.

Don’t give it away, and don’t sell out for a pittance.

***

I got up a little late this morning, looking forward to the second session of the workshop I’m taking with Dean.

Then I checked my email and was slapped around by the article referenced above. I wrote the post above, then posted it to the main site to go live next Tuesday.

Now to immerse myself in the workshop. Ahhhhh.

Well, I fully expected to write fiction today, but I didn’t. I have the seminar tomorrow, so that will be a long day. So today I took a day off just to read and enjoy.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “The definitive guide to SEO for authors” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/08/the-definitive-guide-to-seo-for-authors/. This is something at which I need to get a LOT better.

Via The Digital Reader, see “6 places to find free and discounted ebooks” at https://www.cnet.com/how-to/6-places-to-find-free-and-discounted-ebooks/. I list this one only so you can check to see whether your books are listed illegally.

See “WMG Publishing Bought a Bookstore” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/wmg-publishing-bought-a-bookstore/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 590 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 590

Writing of “” ()

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 13581
Total fiction words for the year………… 376559
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 127200
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 503759

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 627 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