The Journal, Friday, 10/6

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post, but one I think you’ll find is worth it.

First, while searching for something else, I ran across an article titled “Master of Magic Realism Harvey Stanbrough is Offering a Free Short from His Collection of Cantina Tales.”

You can see the brief article at https://davidjrodger.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/master-of-magic-realism-harvey-stanbrough-is-offering-a-free-short-from-his-collection-of-cantina-tales/.

I remembered I had left a ‘thank you’ note in a comment below the article. I never received a reply or a follow-up comment.

This morning I clicked the home page of that WordPress.com site, and I learned that David J. Rodger passed away the same day that post about me went public.

I had never heard of David before he was kind enough to mention me in his blog.

I haven’t read any of his work, but I intend to order some today. To read a bit more about David J. Rodger and his books yourself, please check his main website at http://www.davidjrodger.com/.

Guest Topic: Pricing in 2017

The following is excerpted from Dean Wesley Smith’s blog post this morning. You can read the full article at the link in the “Of Interest” section below.

Electronic Pricing… Novels

Genre matters. Range from $3.99 to $6.99, with romance being on the lower side, mystery on the upper side.

Length does not seem to matter at all.

All the studies have shown that you get above $6.99 and you start hitting price resistance for electronic books unless the book is something really special.

You go below $3.99 and you leave yourself no room for discounting or short-term sales.

You get down into the 99 cent area and you are in a trash ghetto.

And yes, I do know about the stupidity of ever-free. Just say no.

[….]

Electronic Pricing… Short Stories

[….]

A general rule of thumb of short fiction… Genre does not matter. Length does matter. Exactly opposite of novels.

Under 3,000 words, 99 cents or $1.99. I would favor the $1.99 to stay out of the trash pile.

Over 3,000 words, $2.99. (I know some writers who are doing $3.99 and making fine money on short fiction, but I like the $2.99 as a good balance.) [Editor’s Note: The $2.99 or higher price point also gets you a 70% royalty at Amazon too, vs. 35%.]

Over 10,000 words, $3.99 and above 20,000 words price it as a novel in the genre and call it a short novel. [….]

Paper Pricing… Novels

The old general rule of $2.00 profit in extended distribution in CreateSpace has become meaningless. [Editor’s note: If you remember, I mentioned this extended distribution only a day or two ago. Ignore what I said, and go with this instead.] Get your price down as much as you can. Under $10 is the best for trade paper. $12.99 is fine as well. Above that you hit resistance unless the book is longer.

Length not only matters, it causes [your cost] to go up. You have no choice, but try to keep the [price] down as low as possible.

[B]ookstore distribution [is] a folly in 2017 because as Author Earnings have reported, almost 80% of paper books are sold online these days.

[….]

Keep the price low as possible, especially in romance. Very price conscious group.

Paper Pricing… Short Stories

Yes, why not do a paper edition of your stand-alone short story? It’s free to do, easy with Vellum to lay out, and makes your $2.99 electronic price look pretty good with the $4.99 paper there linked. [….]

Audio Pricing

Not getting anywhere near audio. You are on your own. But do realize there are new players on the field in audio. Go slow and learn them and give them a chance to grow some.

That’s it.

2017 sure has made things a ton easier. The drive of pricing to hit the bottom leveled out a few years ago and now we are stable.

And if we indies keep our prices in those ranges, it makes those traditional electronic prices look downright stupid. And more readers will go to indie books.
***

A couple of quick, related things — In the original post, Dean talks about using IngramSpark to try to get Ingram to list your book IF you follow his advice and don’t go with Extended Distribution at CreateSpace (so you can keep your price low).

So One, I guess IngramSpark is a thing and that it’s part of Ingram. I stand corrected (and surprised).

Two, if you DO still go with Extended Distribution (and the required higher price) at CreateSpace, your book will be offered in many more stores than “just Amazon.”

Most of my sales are in ebooks and most come through Amazon.

Now, you might think I’d visit CreateSpace later today to lower the prices on all of my paper novels.

Nope. I’m gonna leave them right where they are and in Extended Distribution.

So will my books be overpriced, even for trade paperbacks?

Sure. But price also goes to perceived value, and mostly I publish in paper only so readers will see the price comparison between paper and ebook when they look up my books.

In other words, I use paper only to drive the purchase of ebooks. I think I’ll continue in that vein.
***

I found Dean’s thought on pricing longer fiction very interesting, that genre, not length, is what matters. I have a question in to him via email.

After I hear back from him, I’ll post my own new pricing guidelines in case you might find them of interest.

UPDATE: Dean responded, and he said pretty much what I expected. I’ll post my new personal pricing guidelines as a topic in a day or three.
***

Today will be a light writing day probably. My son and his family are coming to visit for the weekend, so I have preparations to make. Grocery, laundry, stuff like that.

Finally back from doing chores just before noon. Now to the novel for a little while. There are also division baseball games on today, so… (grin). But I’d like to advance the novel a bit before I go to that for the day.

Okay. I got the story back on track. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “Pricing Silliness and a Learning Lesson” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/pricing-silliness-and-a-learning-lesson/.

From The Digital Reader, see “Author Website Checklist” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/05/author-website-checklist-2/.

Fiction Words: 1407
Nonfiction Words: 1000 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2407

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650
Day 6…… 1407 words. Total words to date…… 9057

Total fiction words for the month……… 11282
Total fiction words for the year………… 445428
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 157773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 603201

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 677 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 10/5

Hey Folks,

Well, another long post today. Sorry about that. (grin)

It turns out I wrote quite a bit yesterday, considering. I revised the total yesterday before the Journal posted, and today’s numbers are current.  I don’t remember the last time I had such a great day as yesterday. It’s like someone turned on a light.

One thing I realized was that my current WIP isn’t “just” a PI-noir novel but a PI-noir suspense novel. That’s what it was wanting to be, and that’s where I took the wrong turn.

Topic: Writing Environment

The post by Nate Hoffelder in “Of Interest” yesterday keyed this post. It started me thinking (again) about my own writing environment.

As most of you know, I like the idea of a dedicated writing computer without Internet, games, etc. Why? Because when you sit down at a computer that’s dedicated to your fiction, it keys your subconscious that it’s time to play.

But when writing fiction I also enjoy the ease of hopping online for a moment to check a reference, etc. And I am able to do that without being drawn to check emails, Facebook etc.

For the better part of two years I did that in a structure I call The Adobe Hovel. It’s basically a stacked-mud storage-room structure about 150 feet from my house.

I put a LOT of short stories and novels through my dedicated writing computer out in that Hovel.
Unfortunately, the distance combined with the 3-foot thick walls, put the Hovel JUST outside the range of my WiFi.

So to “jump online” I had to use my phone’s hotspot, and that takes time, another distraction. It also involves data, and that gets expensive. Then a family of scorpions moved into the Hovel and I moved back to my home office.

I also have an outside desk, a plastic-coated wire-frame desk just outside my office window, where I write quite a bit. Of course, it’s within range of WiFi, so it’s all good.

But awhile back, I decided to try to do everything on one computer. My “new” Lenovo. I chose that one mostly because the battery lasts close to 5 hours vs. a little over an hour on my old HP computer.

But I’ve struggled with writing on the new computer. The keyboard has a slightly different feel, the screen is a different configuration, and so on. Just little things, but things that almost continually interrupt my writing.

And recently I’ve realized I’m more prone to spending longer online (email, FB, etc.) or playing a game on the new computer than I was on my dedicated writing computer.

So yesterday I switched back to my dedicated writing computer. And I had the best day I’ve had in a long time.

No doubt part of that was because I took the time to cycle back through the WIP and let the characters tell me where I took a wrong turn. But part of it was because I felt like I was Home again.

I also ran the power cord through the window so I won’t have to worry about the battery. (grin) And once again I can say writing fiction is the most fun a guy can have with his clothes on.
***

I rolled out late this morning after watching the wildcard baseball game last night. Great game.

I was chomping at the bit to get back to the story. I looked it over again. Turns out I cut a little over 2000 words, so a little more than the new number of words I wrote yesterday.

Anyway, I read the revised version to my wife. She didn’t miss any of the stuff I cut during my cycling session yesterday. Some of what I cut probably will make it back into the novel later.

I wrote around 400 new words this morning, then stopped to take a look at a manuscript a guy sent me for which he wants me to provide a copyedit.

Then for some reason my writing ‘puter went glitchy, so I dealt with that for awhile. Finally I restarted it and everything’s fine again, but that ate up a couple of hours.

I was headed back to the novel a little before 11 when I received notes on the previous one from my first reader, Kenneth Flowers. I can’t say enough about how good this guy is at being a pure first reader. If you need one, email Kenneth at krf1952@gmail.com.

NOW back to the novel. (grin) It’s a little after 12.

Well, I’m a little disappointed. It’s not being the big day I was expecting, but good enough I guess. I was so impressed with the technique I realized yesterday that I practiced a lot of the same thing today. (grin)

I let the writing rip for awhile (subconscious), then went back and checked (conscious) to be sure I was applying what I learned recently. Then I allowed myself to touch it on the way through (subconscious again). It’s coming along.

This will definitely be a learning novel, and I think it will be a plateau novel. It will take me to another level. And I’m not bragging here. As with any art form, there’s a natural progression.

A musician learns how to make that particular note, a painter how to create the exact shade, and a writer how to add just enough description (always through the POV character’s senses) without drowning in it.

From what I’ve heard, the first million words of writing novels gets you to the point you’re more or less a “novelist.” After that, if you continue to learn and apply what you learn, from time to time you attain a new level as certain epiphanies occur.

By my count, this will be my fourth transition.

I read a lot, and I judge my own work against that of some of the authors I whose work I read. There are a few who put out a quality I still feel like I’ll never approach.

But at the moment I’m closing in on the quality of craft of one of my favorite authors (James Lee Burke). I’ve surpassed a couple of best-selling authors. I won’t mention those names publicly. If only I were a master at marketing. (grin)

In the meantime, I’ll keep hacking along at whatever speed I can manage.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Passive Voice, see “Text-only news sites are slowly…” at https://www.poynter.org/news/text-only-news-sites-are-slowly-making-comeback-heres-why. This is VERY good news.

And it might be time to get on Instagram. Again via The Passive Voice, see “The Instagram Poet Outselling Homer Ten to One” at https://www.thecut.com/2017/10/profile-rupi-kaur-author-of-milk-and-honey.html.

Fiction Words: 1193
Nonfiction Words: 1110 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2303

Writing of Pulp Novel 5 (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457
Day 5…… 1193 words. Total words to date…… 7650

Total fiction words for the month……… 9875
Total fiction words for the year………… 444021
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 156773
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 600794

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 676 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 10/4

Hey Folks,

Well, this is a long post.

Awhile back, Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader mentioned that soon Google will begin prioritizing sites (in search results) that are secure (https vs. http). As a result, I was going to spend part of the day today converting my main website over to https.

But the more I read, the more I suspect SSL is primarily a necessity for monetized sites, which mine is not. Everything on the site itself is free, and anything that can be ordered goes through a secure site elsewhere: Amazon, B&N, PayPal, etc.

The cost involved in installing SSL myself isn’t all that great, but it’s a seemingly involved process that would take a professional web designer two to three hours. So it would probably take me three to four hours.

Then there’s the fact that my site still hasn’t migrated from my web host (ehost) to the new host (JustHost), to which ehost sold out. Therefore an SSL certificate is not currently available to me, so I can put off this process for awhile.

So the reason I wrote all of that: Does anyone out there have knowledge of SSL and converting a site from http to https? If so, please email me.

Topic: Print (Paper) Books (a word to the wise)

If it’s important to you to put your books out in paper, you have to do so via POD (print on demand) unless you are extremely well-heeled and can afford to send an order (10,000 books or so) to an offset printer.

My choice for POD is CreateSpace. Always has been, always will be. Yes, it’s an Amazon company. I don’t care.

I pay a designer, Kat MaGee at https://daringcreativedesigns.com/ to turn my covers into paper covers and to design the interior layout of my paper books. It costs me $100 per book. It’s an investment, and it’s my only cost. CreateSpace costs nothing. In fact, Kat even uploads them to my CS account for me.

Awhile back, a friend told me he’d heard a speaker say “in public” that books published through CreateSpace are not available at Barnes & Noble and other brick and mortar stores. My poor BS Detector almost exploded.

That is a bald-faced lie. So if you hear that, disregard it.

To make your CreateSpace books available for order by brick and mortar stores, you have only to select Expanded Distribution on CreateSpace. You should also set the price so that you earn at least a $2.00 royalty. (Yeah, that’s a measly two dollars. Not a typo.)

The price will seem high to you, but that’s because you devalue your own work and you’re comparing trade paperbacks (your books) to mass produced mass-market paperbacks.

You can set your price too low, then order a trunkload and sell them yourself, but then you aren’t concerned about whether they’re in B&N anyway. So why not set the price to get Extended Distribution and then sell the ones in your trunk at a “substantial discount” (or not)?

Anyway, that speaker also recommended a printer called Ingram-Spark. That tells me she has an iron in the fire. A dog in the hunt. Maybe stock options. Hey, she might even own the place.

At any rate, Ingram-Spark is NOT affiliated with Ingram, the distributor, and shame on them for leaching off the Ingram name. I have a feeling it’s just another scam aimed at writers.

Now, Ingram (the distributor) DOES have a printer in its family. The name of that printer is Lightning Source.

Lightning Source does pretty much the same thing CreateSpace does, but they charge a fee. CreateSpace does not. (CS does have paid services of which you can avail yourself, but there’s no reason to.)

So if you want to publish your books to paper, I strongly recommend using CreateSpace. If you want to pay money to have your books published to paper, use Lightning Source.

CreateSpace puts out an excellent product. In my case, I publish to paper only so shoppers at Amazon, B&N, etc. can see and compare the print price with the ebook price. In other words, I use print books to drive ebook sales.

This sort of thing really annoys me. When someone sets herself up as an authority figure and then delivers intentionally misleading information, it makes me wanna chew wheels and spit nails.

If I ever attend an event where she says that in public, you can bet I will call her on it. Also in public.

A Brief Factoid

To earn only $1,000,000 (ONE million dollars) in a single year, you would have to work 365 days, 16 hours per day (that 5840 hours). And you would have to earn $171.23 per hour.

Think about that the next time you hear a professional baseball player gripe about the “long season” or the next time you see an NFL or NBA player disrespect the very nation that enables them to be so rich.

(And we can’t really cite “Freedom of Speech” because they aren’t allowed to speak their mind on myriad other topics.)
***

Re my WIP, I don’t have the patience I used to have. My strongest urge is to simply drop it and move on to something else.

But I really like the main character.

So this morning I’m going to review some notes, then read over the WIP from the beginning and try to discern where it took a wrong turn into a dead end.

My main problem is that I’m not trusting the process. Been there before. I’m allowing things I’ve learned recently (conscious mind) to leach into the writing so that I’m watching for those things (again, conscious mind) and allowing the story to grind to a halt as I add them.

So there y’go. Again I find myself wanting to get back to the basics of writing. Writing a story like this is so much fun that grinding to a halt is really annoying.

So that will be today. It’s currently 6:15 a.m. We’ll see how the day turns out.
***

Well, by 10 (while doing several other things) I went back through some of the videos of a recent workshop and even added to my notes, then went over the more pertinent notes.

I also wrote a topic for tomorrow (I’ll count those words tomorrow) and mentioned I’m going to switch back over to my dedicated writing computer and why.

I made the switch today, then had to wait for Dropbox to sync about a b’jillion files. Now it’s almost 1 p.m. and I’m just about to begin reading over my WIP to see where it slipped off the deep end.

Oh wow. I found the problem. Major, major critical mind stuff. So I’m cutting a lot. And I don’t really care. I’m just glad I was able to save this WIP and especially this character. (grin)

I’m also writing a little, but I doubt the new stuff will add up to more than a few hundred words. It’ll take a couple more hours to finish going over this, and that’s about all the time I have left in the day.

Okay, so officially I’m calling today a nonwriting day. I’ll include any new writing with tomorrow’s count.

UPDATE: I wrote a lot more than I thought I would, considering. I’ve amended the totals below. (grin)

See you then.

Of Interest

To stir thought, see “What’s the Best Way…?” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/10/03/whats-best-way-create-distraction-free-writing-environment/.

See “Found: A Lost Dictionary of Slang…” at http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/anthony-burgess-slang-dictionary. I started a dictionary myself years ago and have added to it ever since, one akin to Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary.

From Space.com, see “Best Space Books and Sci-Fi” at https://www.space.com/28973-best-space-books.html. They have five separate lists, including one of the best SF. I’m not on it. Oh darn. (grin) But the four nonfiction lists look pretty good. I added four new links to my website that begin with “Books” under Writers’ Resources.

Two of Dean’s posts made the cut today. See “Novel Structure Workshop Announced” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/novel-structure-workshop-announced/ and “One Time Science Fiction Cover Branding Workshop” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/one-time-science-fiction-cover-branding-workshop/.

Fiction Words: 1840
Nonfiction Words: 1320 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1320

Writing of “Pulp Novel 5” (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247
Day 3…… 1370 words. Total words to date…… 4617
Day 4…… 1840 words. Total words to date…… 6457

Total fiction words for the month……… 8682
Total fiction words for the year………… 442828
Total nonfiction words for the month… 2980
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 155663
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 598491

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 675 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 10/2

Hey Folks,

First and foremost, my heart goes out to the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, and my unbridled rage to the shooter. Damn him.

Rolled out way late this morning. Almost 5 a.m. That’s a couple of hours late for me.
Partly though it was a choice. As I work toward snapping off my cigar-smoking habit at the end of this week, the later I get up the easier it will be to smoke fewer cigars per day so my current stash will last through Friday.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see the little monsters go. Since I made the decision over a week ago to stop being so selfish, I’ve enjoyed exactly two of the several cigars I smoked.

The rest tasted, as one friend so wittily described them, like “a rolled up batch of stinkweed held together with duct tape and bailing wire.” (Thanks, DB.)
***

Got a little writing done this morning before 8 a.m. on yet another fiction that sprang hard into my head. It ricocheted around awhile, propelled by a very light discussion of religion (not spirituality) and belief vs. truth on Facebook.

Don’t know whether the opening I wrote will go anywhere. It isn’t any easier playing God in a fiction than it is in real life. (Been there, done that, found it way too much responsibility.)

But it was 800 words of sheer fun (see “God Piece” below). The good news is, if it goes anywhere at all, it’ll be a novel. Far too much to play with to be a short story. Or a short anything.

In fact, I don’t think I could finish it in a month, so I’ll probably save it for sometime next year.

In the meantime, I’ll push it to the side and get back to the for-sure PI humor-noir novel I started yesterday. Onward.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader and Open Culture, at “the Flickr account PhotosNormandie, you can browse and search over 4,300 high resolution photographs from the pivotal Normandy campaign.” See https://www.flickr.com/photos/photosnormandie/with/37364227366/. I’m not clear on whether some or all of these are in the public domain or otherwise royalty-free. Browsing some of them brought back memories of my time in the Corps.

Also see “People Are Weird About Books” (and I even left a couple of comments) at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/29/people-weird-books-attempts-improve-fix-books-web-browser-proves/.

Via The Passive Voice, “Remove Watermarks Online?” is an interesting read. See https://artlawjournal.com/watermarks/.

Just for fun, if you think you know the “10 Commandments,” check http://disinfo.com/2010/02/the-ten-commandments-we-always-see-arent-the-ten-commandments/.

Fiction Words: 2967
Nonfiction Words: 430 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3397

Writing of “Pulp Novel 5” (a Stern Richards novel)

Day 1…… 1080 words. Total words to date…… 1080
Day 2…… 2167 words. Total words to date…… 3247

Writing of “God Piece”
Day 1…… 0800 words. Total words to date…… 800

Total fiction words for the month……… 5472
Total fiction words for the year………… 439618
Total nonfiction words for the month… 770
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 153453
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 593071

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 673 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 9
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 27
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/27

Hey Folks,

First, for any veterans out there, beginning on November 11, 2017, the online Exchange System (PX) is open to all veterans who served honorably regardless of length of service.

Note that this is only the ONLINE exchange. Still, they lists tons of stuff, and it isn’t all high-ticket merchandise. Great discounts.

To qualify, visit https://www.shopmyexchange.com/veterans. Again, you don’t have to have a current ID card, and you don’t have to have retired.
***

Also too important to be shuffled down to the “Of Interest” section…

Much as I (and other amateur photogs) like to think we can always take pics that are good enough for our book covers, that just isn’t always the case. (grin) At least in my case.

Before this, I’ve bought cover photos from sites like Bigstock.com and Canstockphoto.com. I paid only a pittance since I had a subscription each time(around 56 cents per pic), but Free beats a pittance every time.

Now, via The Digital Reader, comes “Fifteen Free stock photo sites that will keep your website sizzling” at http://valiantchickendigital.com/blog/15-free-stock-photo-sites-will-website-sizzling/.

Don’t let the “keep your website sizzling” admonition fool you. Many of these are cover-quality photos. Some are operated by pay sites, but the pics are still free on the specific free sites.

Some also are public domain picture sites. Be sure to read the terms of use/service on each site before you join.

Hey, if you find even one good cover pic, the time you spend searching will have paid for itself. And even if you don’t do your own covers, you can get TONS of story ideas from checking out stock photos.

In the first half-hour after I started searching through just one site, I had added around a dozen prospective cover pics to “lightboxes” to download later. Just sayin’.
***

Rolled out late this morning, intentionally. I had a Negra Modelo (with lime!) with my enchiladas yesterday, and I’m not used to alcohol anymore. So I let it steep appropriately. (grin)

I won’t get to the novel until around 9 this morning. There’s a good chance I’ll finish it today, though I kind of hope the characters come up with a twist that keeps the story running a little longer. We’ll see.

Finally to the novel a little after 9:30.

Writing, a few chores and moving the water around on the yard. At 2000 words so far today I’m rapidly approaching the ending. Taking a lunch break at 12:15.

At 12:45, I think I know the ending now. If so, it shocked the tar out of me. (grin)

I’m always trying to learn more. Because I like the way he teaches and because much of what he says/writes makes sense to me, I ordered three of James Scott Bell’s Kindle ebooks today: Voice: The Secret Power of Great Writing, Marketing for Writers Who Hate Marketing, and How to write Dazzling Dialogue.

Yeah, I think I’m pretty good at dialogue. But I want to see whether maybe there’s something I’m missing.

I was headed back to the novel at 2 p.m., but I think I’ll wait and finish it tomorrow. I have a few more chores to do, and frankly I’m a little out of sorts today.

Either way, I’m kind of excited.

This will be my 27th novel, and it will have been written all in this month. So in the 9th month, I will have written 9 novels on the year. Woohoo!

Maybe I ought to read Bell’s marketing book first, eh?

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

For what it’s worth, see “The Weapon of Surprise” by James Scott Bell at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/09/the-weapon-of-surprise.html.

Fiction Words: 2108
Nonfiction Words: 580 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2688

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881
Day 17… 1102 words. Total words to date…… 36983
Day 18… 3723 words. Total words to date…… 40706
Day 19… 1650 words. Total words to date…… 42356
Day 20… 1422 words. Total words to date…… 43778
Day 21… 2108 words. Total words to date…… 45886

Total fiction words for the month……… 52967
Total fiction words for the year………… 432587
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14943
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 151343
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 583932

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 668 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 9/25

Hey Folks,

“Many would-be novelists never get around to writing a novel for the same reason nobody ever gets around to eating an elephant.

“Wrong focus. To eat an elephant, you have to take one bite at a time. Focus on the bite.

“It seems impossible to write a whole novel, but you can write a scene. So just write a scene. Then write another scene. Then write another one. Forget about writing a ‘novel.’ Lather, rinse, repeat.”

I posted that to FB this morning, spurred by my 15 year old granddaughter’s complaint (via email) that her teacher had assigned her to write “a 150 page story.”

Such an assignment forces the student to focus on the page count.

My granddaughter wrote, “I’ve written 984 words on my story so far, but it’s only 3 pages.”

Poor kid. Angry grandpa.

I suppose learning to pad a paper has its advantages.

Wait. No, it doesn’t.
***

I have stories or novels in five bundles now. The latest is Without A Clue in the Gumshoes Bundle. As the name implies, this bundle is all mysteries, all about detectives and the crimes they solve.

To see all the bundles my stuff is currently in, check the right sidebar at http://HarveyStanbrough.com.
***

Rolled out a little late, and I’m back on the Internet, but learned a lot this morning, so it’s all right.

My wife looked out her window and noticed the neighbors’ horses were out, and one was growling at something out in the mesquites (probably the cattle out there).

So we went out and put them back in the corral, fed them, and secured the gate. Interesting start to the day.

After that, a lot of little niggling but necessary things to take care of. Finally to the novel at 10:30 a.m. Some cycling over the chapters I wrote yesterday first.
***

Before she left, my wife reminded me I have a doc appointment in Tucson tomorrow. Gotta get the battery replaced in my pacemaker.

It occurred to me, I can recharge the battery in my phone and all sorts of other devices wirelessly, but for this I have to have invasive surgery. Reckon maybe the priorities are a little skewed somewhere? (grin)
***

This morning as I cycled back through the chapters I wrote yesterday and glanced over my reverse outline, I realized I have to enhance a character.

I almost wrote “add” a character, but the character himself is already in the book. I have to let him talk with me a bit, name himself, let me know what he does for a living (he’s old and wealthy), etc. All of that’s to bring him into the fold, so to speak.

That’ll take probably two more chapters earlier in the book. (Told you this one’s writing weird.) Anyway, either this guy or another guy who’s already developed in the book is the antagonist.

Then it’ll be a rush to the finish and I’ll be done.

Well, another light day for word count, though it doesn’t really reflect how much I accomplished today. (grin) But that’s all right. The novel still feels good.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

From The Digital Reader, see “The HTTPocalypse is coming – Is Your Website Ready?” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/24/httpocalypse-coming-website-ready/.

Read This: “Michael Hyatt Has Something To Sell You” at https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/michael-hyatt-has-something-to-sell-you/.

Fiction Words: 1650
Nonfiction Words: 560 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2210

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881
Day 17… 1102 words. Total words to date…… 36983
Day 18… 3723 words. Total words to date…… 40706
Day 19… 1650 words. Total words to date…… 42356

Total fiction words for the month……… 49437
Total fiction words for the year………… 429057
Total nonfiction words for the month… 14193
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 150593
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 579650

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 666 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Friday, 9/22

Hey Folks,

Rolled out on time this morning, then spent an enjoyable hour or so talking via email with my young granddaughter, Taylor.

By the way, just in time for my topic today (see below) DWS is finally back to busting myths with another Killing the Sacred Cows chapter. It’s in “Of Interest” today.

Topic: Lying to Readers

It’s annoying when Dean Wesley Smith is SO right on everything he says. Well, on most things. He does occasionally say he’s going to make me angry when he’s busting some idiotic myth, but that has yet to happen.

But on the other stuff, he’s always right. Always. At least so far.

And it always annoys me a little. Especially on stuff that I initially believe is bunk and later come to learn (through being beaten to a pulp, and therefore gaining enlightenment) is true after all.

My most recent annoyance wasn’t with DWS, but it was based on something I read in his blog a long time ago.

He wrote (paraphrasing), If you want readers to value your work (meaning “buy your books”) you have to lie to them.

I’ve come to understand that’s true.

Readers by the droves automatically assume, sight unseen, that a novel that’s written in a month or two or three is not worth reading.

As you know, I don’t post my numbers as some sort of competition; I do it to illustrate what’s possible if a writer simply spends time in the chair.

If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t tell anyone how quickly I go from the title to “the end” when I write a novel. And I would revert to using my personas and/or pen names.

Given that I write, on average, 12 novels and scores of short stories per year, I would have at least 12 different pseudonyms for novels and probably three or four times that many for short fiction.

Why? Because of math.

As simply EVERYbody knows, it takes at LEAST a year to turn out a quality novel. And a 2- or 3-year, labor-intensive process will result in an even better novel. Hence, at least 12 pseudonyms for novels.

With those pseudonyms, I could still turn out a novel every month, but each pseudonym would publish only one novel per year (or less frequently).

Gervasio Arrancado would release a new magic realism novel every January. Nick Porter would release a new noir novel every February. Ray Sevareid would release a new SF novel every March. Eric Stringer, bless his heart, would release a new horror/psychological-suspense novel ever April. See where I’m going with this?

And if I had 36 novel pseudonyms, each one would turn out one novel every THREE years. Get the idea?

It’s all in the math.

I write, on average, 1000 polished, ready-to-publish words per hour. That a crawling-on-all-fours 17 words per minute. It gives me plenty of time to find just the right word from the thesaurus (not ‘green stuff on a rock’ but lichen). It gives me plenty of time to jump online to find out the name of that particular cross street on San Antonio Drive in downtown El Paso in 1887.

So say it takes me 100 hours to write a 100,000 word novel.

Okay, so if it takes me 3 years to write a novel and I take two days off every week and two weeks off every year for vacation, that’s 150 weeks or (with two days off per week) 750 days.

So to write a 100,000 word novel in 3 years, I’d have to write an average of 134 words per day. (I refuse to talk about rewriting. Writers are paid to write, not to rewrite. They are paid per word, or per haps, not per endless word-erasure-word-erasure-word.)

To write the same 100,000 word novel in only 1 year, I’d have to write at a blazing-fast rate of 400 words per day.

Well, that wouldn’t be so bad, I guess. At least that’s almost a whole half-hour workday 5 days per week.

But to write the same 100,000 word novel in a 30-day MONTH (4.285 weeks) of 5-day weeks, I’d have to develop an actual work ethic.

I’d have to sit at my laptop and churn out 4,668 words every day for 21.425 days. Still less than a 5-hour workday. And still only 5 days a week.

And many MANY of my novels are in the 25,000 to 70,000 word range. My average is around 60,000 words.

In case you’re wondering, for a short novel of 25,000 words I’d have to write 34 words per day over 3 years or 100 words per day over a year.

For my average novel length of 60,000 words, I’d have to write 80 words per day over 3 years or (Oh No!) 240 words per day over a year. And if I write that novel in a month, I have to actually write 2800 words per 5-day week. Three hours per day.

Again, it all boils down to math. But unfortunately, so does reader opinion. So you have to lie to them.

I’m a resonable guy. It’s true that I tell lies for a living. Still, I don’t like the dishonest feeling of telling someone it took me much longer to write something than it actually took.

So tell me again why, if I churn out a novel over a 3-year period it “just might be a masterpiece”; if it takes “only” a year, I’m rushing it but it “still might be worth a look.”

But if I write the SAME 60,000 words in one month or less, it isn’t worth the time it takes to sniff and turn up a nose.

Sigh.

Okay, so if you’re reading this, and if you’re young (meaning you expect to turn out novels for at least another 10 years or so), and if you have a work-ethic AT ALL, get yourself a stack of pseudonyms.

Just sayin’.

***

I did very little in the early morning other than some Internet stuff and writing the masterpiece topic above (grin, took all of a half-hour), then moved straight to the novel around 9.

In a little over 3 hours, I read the whole thing through, skimming, to correct one more problem, an awkward metaphor that wasn’t working for me. In all that time, I added around 400 words.

Well, something happened to me today that has never happened before on a novel. Sometimes I’ll enjoy writing a short story so much that I really like the story as a reader. So I read it again, later.

That happened today with this novel. As I was reading through it, I was pulled in and actually enjoyed it. So I kept going.

So that’s all the writing I did today. Just little bits here and there. Welp, every novel writes differently.

And tomorrow might be a light day too. I have to go to Sierra Vista tomorrow morning. We’ll see what shakes out.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “Beta Readers Help You” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/killing-the-sacred-cows-of-publishing-beta-readers-help-you/.

Via The Digital Reader, see Kris Rusch’s “I Spent Decades Developing My IP” at http://kriswrites.com/2017/09/20/business-musings-i-spent-decades-developing-my-ip-contractsdealbreakers/. Seriously, this is a must-read.

Some good stuff on Linda Maye Adams’ blog today. She does an “around the web” thing each week. Check it out at http://lindamayeadams.com/.

Fiction Words: 1146
Nonfiction Words: 1223 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2369

Writing of Loose Ends (novel, working title)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… 1146 words. Total words to date…… 35881

Total fiction words for the month……… 42962
Total fiction words for the year………… 422582
Total nonfiction words for the month… 13293
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 149693
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 572275

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 663 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Thursday, 9/21

Hey Folks,

Up a little late this morning. I’ll work on the edit for awhile, then on the yard for awhile, then maybe go play with the novel.

Edited ’til about 8:20, then mowed the front (north) yard and around the north and east sides outside the fence.

Back to the edit a little after 9 while I’m cooling down from doing actual work. (grin) Also running a couple loads of laundry.

Worked on the edit until 10, and now off to fold laundry and put another load in the dryer. While that was working, I mowed a little more, finished the yard. Then it was time to fold another load and put it away.

Now it’s almost 1 p.m. and I’ve been basically screwing off for the past couple of hours. I was reading something on FB and it annoyed me. One of those “why do I bother doing what I do” moments.

Anyway, I’ve decided today will be a nonwriting day. I’ll spend the balance of the day editing a truly excellent memoir and come back fresh tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see “How to Prevent Every Writer’s Worst Nightmare” at https://thewritelife.com/losing-your-writing/.

Via Science Alert, you can now create your own nuclear blast scenario at http://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/.

At the KillZone blog, James Scott Bell talks discusses “How to Cure Mid-Novel Sag” at https://killzoneblog.com/2017/09/how-to-cure-mid-novel-sag.html. As for me, I make sure I have a reverse outline (or I create one) and then I Write the Next Sentence.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 250 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 250

Writing of Loose Ends (novel)

Day 1 – 15……………………… Total words to date…… 34735
Day 16… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 41816
Total fiction words for the year………… 421436
Total nonfiction words for the month… 12070
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 148470
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 569906

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 662 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/20

Hey Folks,

I had a copyediting job come in, so I decided I’ll work on that during the early morning hours. I seem to do most of my own writing in the late morning and early afternoon anyway.

Worked on the copyedit (an excellent memoir) for a few hours, then to the repair shop to pick up my no-longer-busted lawnmower, then back here.

I should have gone straight to the novel, but I didn’t. I played with creating a new meme that has a half-crazy pic of yours truly. I posted it to Facebook.

That was fun. Now to fetch some iced tea, then to the novel. It’s not quite 10:30.

(I like that word, “fetch.” It’s an Auld English word that, roughly translated, means “Hey, brang me some’a that!” Or maybe not.)

Well, I sat down, looked at the novel, got up and went out to mow the back yard. And now it’s 11:30. (grin)

TOPIC: Process Stuff

This isn’t really a planned topic, but I thought it might make a good topic for some of you.

Um, realized I hadn’t put together a reverse outline for this thing. No wonder I was getting lost. So I spent the next 40 minutes glancing through chapter starts and ends plus any significant events and created two-thirds of a reverse outline.

And a glaring error popped out at me. The chapters go from Friday to Saturday, then back to Friday, then to Sunday. So more shifting of components is in my future. Very weird novel.

Took a brief break to fill the mower with gas, then back here to finish the reverse outline. Then I’ll read over it as a whole document and maybe start rearranging some things in the timeline.

Finally started putting new words down at 1:30. It doesn’t look like a lot, but MAN did I get a lot done today! And the novel’s back on track.

See you tomorrow.

Of Interest

Via The Digital Reader, see Anne Allen’s “Want to Increase Your Blog Readership? Kill that Popup!” at http://annerallen.com/2017/09/increase-blog-readership-kill-popup/.

Via The Digital Reader, see “Hyphens, Em Dashes, En Dashes—Everything You Need to Know” at https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2017/09/hyphens-em-dashes-en-dashes-everything-need-know/.

Fiction Words: 1149
Nonfiction Words: 370 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1519

Writing of Loose Ends (novel)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247
Day 10… 3614 words. Total words to date…… 25861
Day 11… 1514 words. Total words to date…… 27375
Day 12… 3452 words. Total words to date…… 30827
Day 13… 1747 words. Total words to date…… 32574
Day 14… 1012 words. Total words to date…… 33586
Day 15… 1149 words. Total words to date…… 34735

Total fiction words for the month……… 41816
Total fiction words for the year………… 421436
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11820
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 148220
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 569656

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 661 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182

The Journal, Monday, 9/18

Hey Folks,

Rolled out considerably early this morning, yet two hours later I’m still reading and toying with this thing. I even wrote a topic based on the article on Comic Sans typeface referenced in “Of Interest.”

Then I remembered that a longer, more well-thought-out version will hit the big blog on October 3, so I’ll wait.

Well, my eyes are a little fuzzy this morning for some reason. I’ve tried polarized (brown) shades, my regular grey-tinted glasses, and a cheap pair of flip-up blue blockers I bought on eBay.

The last few days my eyes haven’t been bad, but for some reason today they’re giving me fits. So we’ll see what I can get done.

After email and FB, just doing things around the house until about 9. I went for a walk, just a bit over a mile. By the time I got back and settled in, my eyes were okay again.

So finally to the novel around 10. I took a wrong turn yesterday, so I spent a few hours cycling through (off and on) and moving bits to the CUTS section at the end of the document.

Usually I add words when I cycle. Today I’m taking words out. Well, it’ll be what it’ll be. I’m just enjoying the process, and as I keep telling myself, every novel writes differently.

So I added only around 500 new words by about 1. Hey, there are days like that. Anyway, I think all the adjustments are done. I’m starting a new scene soon, so things should pick up.

Uh, no such luck. Not today. I had a timeline problem and a bunch of stuff moved up one full day.

So I’m adjusting another chapter, and then maybe writing another scene. Or not. Overall it’s probably not going to be a very productive day. On the other hand, it’s already been a pretty productive week. (grin)

Well, I hoped to hit at least 2000 words today, but it’s not going to happen. Still a pretty good day.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Especially if you design your own covers, see “Hate Comic Sans?” at https://blog.prototypr.io/you-hate-comic-sans-you-dont-know-anything-about-typography-5133fbd4c8c4. There are a few gems in this that you need to know.

See “What the “Book People” Won’t Tell You” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/09/17/book-people-wont-tell-print-dead/.

See “David Sarnoff Library … Images” at http://digital.hagley.org/.

Via Science Alert, see “BREAKING: Light Has Been Stored as Sound…” at http://www.sciencealert.com/breaking-light-was-just-stored-as-sound-for-the-first-time-ever/.

Fiction Words: 1747
Nonfiction Words: 400 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2147

Writing of Doctor Ramsey (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 1781 words. Total words to date…… 1781
Day 2…… 2678 words. Total words to date…… 4459
Day 3…… 1142 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 4…… 2460 words. Total words to date…… 8061
Day 5…… 1302 words. Total words to date…… 9363
Day 6…… 3182 words. Total words to date…… 12545
Day 7…… 3775 words. Total words to date…… 16320
Day 8…… 3147 words. Total words to date…… 19467
Day 9…… 2780 words. Total words to date…… 22247
Day 10… 3614 words. Total words to date…… 25861
Day 11… 1514 words. Total words to date…… 27375
Day 12… 3452 words. Total words to date…… 30827
Day 13… 1747 words. Total words to date…… 32574

Total fiction words for the month……… 39655
Total fiction words for the year………… 419275
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9670
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 146070
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 565345

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 659 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novels to Date………………………… 8
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 26
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182