As a Publisher, Stick With What You Know

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* A Tip From Yer Uncle Harv
* A Final Word (and Offer) on Blackwell Ops 11
* As a Publisher, Stick With What You Know
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quotes of the Day

“An audiobook requires a narrator. Absent a contract stating differently, the narrator has exclusive rights to the audio narration he/she has performed.” PG in a comment on a post linked in “Of Interest”

“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.” Peter DeVries

DeVries apparently stole and altered this from William Faulkner, who wrote, “I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.”

I like DeVries’ version better, so I stole (and altered) his quote to use in the signature at the bottom of my emails: “I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at ​3 a.m.” Harvey Stanbrough

The subhead on my author site at is fun too: “I will lie to you. And you will enjoy it.” Harvey Stanbrough

A Tip From Yer Uncle Harv

It seems like everyone wants to compare their work with Roberts or King or whomever. I’ve even seen it in sales copy: “This is what would happen if Captain Picard was caught in a time-warp with Nora Roberts and Stephen King.”

Meh. If you want a helpful comparison, compare how well you tell a story today with how well you told one in the past. For a fiction writer, that’s the only valid comparison and the only one that should matter.

A Final Word (and Offer) on Blackwell Ops 11

Yesterday I wrote the promo doc, uploaded the thumbnail and medium-sized covers, updated the genre page at, and added the new page for Blackwell Ops 11. All of that took about two hours.

As I was doing that, I realized my next book will be in the same series (see Numbers below). For me as a writer, It’s difficult to break away from writing heart-thumping action and psychological suspense as I accompany these guys and gals of Blackwell Ops on their journey.

Of course, my buddy Wes Crowley is waiting out among the mesqutes between the New Mexico state line and Amarillo Texas somewhere, but he’s always been patient with me.

As for the psychological suspense novel I wanted to write, duh, the Blackwell Ops series is chock full of that stuff.

That’s what was wrong when I tried to start what I thought would be a one-off novel yesterday. The character wouldn’t even tell me his name, remember? That’s because I was about to write a story he didn’t want to take part in. Again, duh.

Anyway, I’m a pretty good sales-copy guy too. If you want, take a look at the sales copy for Blackwell Ops 11.

So Blackwell Ops 11: Jeremy Stiles: Choices is in the can, so remember my offer: I’d be happy to send you a PDF copy free.

I suggest reading it for the story first, strictly as a reader, strictly for heart-thumping pleasure. (Because if parts of it don’t increase your blood pressure, why bother studying it to see how I accompished that?)

Then go back and study it for pacing (sentence and paragraph lengths, cliffhangers and hooks) and for how to insert tension and suspense (um, pacing) into your stories.

No, I don’t do any of that consciously as I’m writing. I do it subconsciously, but I learned consciously how to create the particular effect I want to create in the reader, and I continue learning as I go. Just trying to pass along something you can use here folks.

Please note that this offer is valid only for readers of the Journal. Please do not share it.

As a Publisher, Stick With What You Know
(Learn from My Mistake)

Wow, did I ever screw up.

How? I forgot I’m a writer first. And then I put greed above the reader. I’ll never do that again.

Yesterday I realized I had put Blackwell Ops 9 into KDP Select. That effectively tied-up a series for anyone who chooses to buy books anywhere other than Amazon. And I haven’t even used any of the Amazon marketing freebies. I just don’t think about it. For me,  marketing never passes the WIBBOW test.

As a result of my idiocy and greed, Blackwell Ops 9 won’t be released from KDP Select until December 2.

Then I compounded that self-inflicted wound. Blackwell Ops 10 will be tied up in Vella for a month after the last “episode” goes live. So early to mid-November.

As you know, I finished Blackwell Ops 11 a few days ago. But I can’t publish it in good conscience until Book 10 is released from Vella in November. All my titles stand alone, but that particular story is better if readers can get those two books in order.

So all I can do is bite the bullet and take my licks. Unfortunately, this silliness will probably cost me a lot of readers who don’t go through Amazon.

In fact, Blackwell Ops 12 (which I just started yesterday) will be published wide before those two are. If the story runs true to form, it will wrap 10 to 14 days from now.

I’ll just have to wait until December 2 to publish Blackwell Ops 9. For a guy whose world generally moves at warp speed, it’s gonna be torture waiting to publish that one wide. I’m even thinking about adding a brief apology to non-Amazon readers in that one before I publish it wide.

I take some solace in knowing this will never happen again. From here on out, I’ll publish-wide everything I write as soon as I finish it.

That’s what I get for doing something that’s WAY out of my norm. I am not a businessman,. I’m just a reg’lar old workaday writer.

I am also NOT suggesting or recommending that you do the same. Hey, if Vella and/or KDP Select works for you, seriously, more power to you. If you’re young enough to experiment with various marketing techniques, please go for it. I’m only saying it’s a good idea to stick with what you know.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

UK: Society of Authors Questions Spotify’s Publisher Deals If you publish audio books, see PG’s take.

so you want to be a writer? THIS! Sorry. I won’t post it again. 🙂 But this is just so good.

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 910

Writing of Blackwell Ops 12: Nick Soldata (novel)

Day 1…… 3683 words. To date…… 3683

Fiction for October…………………… 35723
Fiction for 2023………………………… 253265
Fiction since August 1………………… 138718
Nonfiction for October……………… 12400
Nonfiction for the year……………… 210740
Annual consumable words………… 463945

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 5
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 6
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 76
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 234
Short story collections…………………… 31

Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

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