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, 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

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, Friday, 8/18

Hey Folks,

Much of what follows is me thinking aloud. If you get something of value from it, good. But mostly it’s me using you as a sounding board. Sorry about that.

Wow. I’ve been at this literary stuff a very long time. And the marketing stuff. Both in-person, glad-handing bookstore managers and sitting for hours at book signings and all that, and the much less costly and smarter electronic marketing.

In fact, after I did some basic math I finally gave up (by and large) on book signings, etc. unless I happened to be speaking at a conference at the same time. From then through now, it’s all been electronic marketing.

The cornerstone of electronic marketing is a personal website. Even Kris Rusch’s book on Discoverability tells you so (see https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NCJL9AG/).

I’ve had a personal website since websites were first a thing, around 1991. I’ve done and continue to do everything else in her book. Yet I’m not a million-seller. You know, yet. (grin)

In a moment of epiphany yesterday, I finally realized what I’m doing wrong.

In the early days, I was a successful (meaning well-nominated) poet and an instructor and an editor. I scribbled a little fiction now and then, but I didn’t become a fiction writer until April 2014 and a novelist until October 2014.

Today I’m still an instructor, a little, and a copyeditor, sometimes, but mostly I’m a fiction writer.

Yet as a holdover from the old days, I’m still devoting my website mostly to other writers. Not readers. Writers. And that’s what I’m doing wrong.

If there’s one truism that stands the test of time, it’s that (with very few exceptions) Writers don’t want to buy your fiction. They want you to buy THEIR fiction.

I’ve said as much to several writers over the years, yet I managed somehow to miss the point myself. Sigh.

If I toted 10 copies of every novel and nonfiction book I’ve written to the next meeting of the regional writers’ group, chances are I’d leave with a small stack of cash, zero nonfiction books, and 260 novels.

Okay, so how do I change my main website from one that’s geared primarily to sell my nonfiction books on writing and my back-burner services as a copy editor to one that actively engages readers who might want to buy my fiction?

I mean, almost all of my fiction is displayed on the main site, but what do I blog about? Nonfiction, how-to-write stuff.

That’s where the epiphany came in. A Writer doesn’t blog about writing techniques. A Writer blogs about his writing. His stories. His novels. His characters.

He also engages the readers.

Maybe he writes a short story every day for a month. Maybe he offers to let them write alternative endings. Maybe he asks them what crime/puzzle/mystery the characters should solve next.

Maybe he starts his own electronic magazine with one original novel and several short stories in each issue. (I know, it’s been done. But so what?)

So I have to give this some thought (he said, just as if he needed something else to do).

First and foremost, it only makes sense that I turn harveystanbrough.com into an author’s website. So that’s a given. After all, that’s the name I write under most of the time. The only question is how.

I also have hstanbrough.com and hestanbrough.com. And I need new covers for most of my nonfiction books (on writing). So maybe as part of the rebranding of that series, I’ll change the nonfiction author’s name to H. Stanbrough.

Then maybe I’ll switch all the “instructor” stuff over to hstanbrough.com. (Yeah, that was gonna be the writing-in-public site but if I do that, it would be better to post it over on the main site.)

The only question re that site would be whether to move this Journal over there too. I like that it’s running every day. I like the streak. But streaks have to break eventually, and really, I don’t post writing-specific advice all that often, do I?

Maybe I’ll just move it over to the main site and revamp it to appeal more to R-E-A-D-E-R-S than writers. I dunno. (shrug)

But back to the main site for a moment: what exactly do readers want from an author’s website?

Any ideas out there? Especially from those of you who have writer-websites? Do you blog about your stories and characters?

One thing I know for sure. It won’t be a site where the only blog post is to announce a new release.

Got a little bit of writing done today. Not much. Now that I’m in the same room with my business computer though, I took the internet off my writing ‘puter again. Maybe that’ll help.

Sure be glad when this funk breaks loose. Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Seven Ways to Bring Characters Together” at https://mythcreants.com/blog/seven-ways-to-bring-characters-together/.

Via Linda Maye Adams, see Joanna Penn and Jerry Jenkins on “Writing Christian Fiction and Success Over a Long Career” at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/08/14/writing-christian-fiction-long-career-jerry-b-jenkins/.

Fiction Words: 1205
Nonfiction Words: 840 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2045

Writing of “Untitled PI Story” ()

Day 1…… 1205 words. Total words to date…… 1205

Total fiction words for the month……… 14786
Total fiction words for the year………… 377764
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9610
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 128720
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 506484

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 630 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, 8/17

Hey Folks,

Do Yourself a Favor and please read “Voyage to the Otherworld: A New Eulogy for Ray Bradbury” (via The Passive Voice) at https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2017/08/15/voyage-to-the-otherworld-a-new-eulogy-for-ray-bradbury/.

***

The workshop yesterday was SUCH a blast! Everybody was on time, attentive, and hungry to learn. What can be better than that?

I’ll definitely do this one again in a month or two, but on a Saturday. Mostly so some of those who wanted to attend this time but couldn’t can do so.

I think of this as a “master’s level” workshop. It was a lot of things I’ve learned and made my own through hundreds of thousands of words of practice in stories and novels over the past almost 3 years. I’m thrilled to be able to pass along some of that.

***

I planned to write today. I did write an opening, but it didn’t work so I tossed it out. Then I thought (it was early) I’d go out and mow the yard while it was cool.

Mower wouldn’t start.

I began reminiscing about my days as a fairly good shade-tree mechanic.

I had an old ’64 Ford Falcon back then. Some days I fixed it at night so I could drive it to work the next morning, then fixed it at lunch so I could drive it home after work.

Hmm. Guess I wasn’t all that good or I wouldn’t have had to keep fixing it.

The poor thing was held together with spit and bailing wire. It had a brake cable off a bicycle for a throttle cable.

So anyway, I started “fixing” the lawn mower.

Now it’s almost 1:30, and I just got it back into good enough shape to take it to a lawnmower repair guy. Sigh.

Frustrating day. I’m gonna call it and go read.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, an extremely important post: See “5 Ways a Book Cover Could Hurt Sales — And How to Fix It” at https://insights.bookbub.com/ways-book-cover-hurt-sales-fix/. Not kidding. Go read this.

Via The Digital Reader, “Kindle Unlimited Funding Pool Grew in July 2017 as the Per-Page Rate Dropped” (and, ahem, writers are abandoning Kindle Unlimited as a result) at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/08/16/kindle-unlimited-funding-pool-grew-july-2017-per-page-rate-dropped/.

If your head is a little off, via The Passive (?) Voice, see “What if Tarantino Made Spaghetti and Meatballs?” (film) at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/08/what-if-tarantino-made-spaghetti-and-meatballs/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 370 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 370

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… 8770
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 127880
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 504439

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 629 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, 8/16

Hey Folks,

I’ll be off to teach my workshop this morning at around 9, so I’ll post this early. Looking very forward to seeing some old friends again, and making one new friend. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the workshop goes. (grin)

UPDATE: Well, I forgot to post it early. The workshop went even better than I expected. I’m psyched. (grin)

As a reminder, in the workshop, I’ll cover Hooks, Openings, Grounding the Reader in the Story, Physical and Emotional Cliffhangers, Pacing and Endings.

At the end of the workshop, I’ll also talk a bit about Process. There will be some discussion of the conscious vs. the subconscious mind (their roles), trusting the subconscious, cycling and some other stuff.

I’ll off this workshop one more time, on a Saturday, probably in September or October. The room holds only maybe ten people max, and I currently have six who are interested.

I’ll announce the specific date here later.

Back to writing tomorrow!

***

If anybody else out there is hyper-interested in mob stuff, check out “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt. Absolutely excellent.

This is about real gangsters and real life, not the droopy-pants wannabe “gangsta” brats roaming around being annoying.

Specifically, if you want to learn what really happened to Hoffa and JFK, buy the book. This stuff isn’t opinion or conjecture.

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction that isn’t about writing, but “I Heard You Paint Houses” was excellent both as a research resource and to satisfy my morbid curiosity.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, If you’re still using Smashwords, see “Smashwords Introduces “Special Deals”- Automated Merchandising of Onsale Ebooks” at http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/08/smashwords-introduces-special-deals.html.

(For Bonnie ) via The Passive Guy, “Why Note-Taking by Hand Is Better for Your Brain” at http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/why-note-taking-hand-better-your-brain/. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 310 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 310

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… 8400
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 127510
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 504069

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 628 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

The Journal, Monday, 8/14

Hey Folks,

I know at least one writer who still does extensive research before writing.

That said, most of us use the hunt-and-peck method.

In the midst of a story (sometimes a sentence) we pop online for a moment, do some quick research on the type of tree the hero is leaning against, which months a particular river flows, etc. Then we pop back into the story, add what we learned and move on.

Most often, that search is accomplish on Google or Bing or one of the other popular search engines.

For us, now there are a lot more resources. Check out “Of Interest” below.

***

If you know me at all, you know I’m dead-set against exclusivity in book selling — specifically, distributing only through Amazon.

For yet another take on why, see “The Only Rule Amazon Truly Cares About” at https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/the-only-rule-amazon-truly-cares-about/ (via The Digital Reader and David Gaughran).

***

I spent some time going back over the first session of the workshop I’m taking with Dean. Didn’t find what I was looking for.

Also read the first few pages of the James Patterson novel Private. I hoped to be impressed. My intention was to be impressed so I’d want to go back through it later and learn from him.

But I wasn’t impressed. A few years ago I said I thought he wasn’t a very good writer but he’s a masterful marketer. I thought I’d give his work another shot, but my experience today only bolstered that negative opinion.

On the upside, it was unimpressive enough that it made me think more highly of my own work. So there’s that. (grin)

Finished the handout for Wednesday’s seminar. Also got some laundry done, used the string trimmer on some unruly grass alongside the carport, etc.

Of Interest

For those of you who like reading about other writers’ process, see “Business Musings: The Third 2017 Process Blog” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/08/02/business-musings-the-third-2017-process-blog/.

Via The Passive Voice, see “The state of ebooks: Anti-DRM sentiments…” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/08/the-state-of-ebooks-anti-drm-sentiments-at-worldcon-75/.

Via The Digital Reader and Paul Biba, check out “Ten search engines for researchers that go beyond Google” at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/ten-search-engines-for-researchers-that-go-beyond-google-11-jul-2013/.

Additionally, be sure to see these “more well-known search engines and databases” at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/blog/ten-search-engines-for-researchers-that-go-beyond-google-11-jul-2013#/.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 370 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 370

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… 7500
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 126610
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 503169

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 626 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