Excellent Questions, Answered

In today’s Journal

* Quotes of the Day
* Excellent Questions, Answered
* The Writing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Excellent Questions, Answered

A couple of days ago, I received an email in which the writer asked a few excellent questions. My response, a little expanded, is below with thanks to HG, who is close to finishing his first novel, which he wrote into the dark.

The first thing to know is that when it comes to writing, age is irrelevant. Seriously.

I started writing novels in October 2014, a month before I turned 62, so not quite ten years ago. I also have two chronic “problems,” which I tend to ignore: heart failure and arthritis in my lower spine.

Meh. Whatever. We only go around once, so I do pretty much what I want. Fortunately, most of what I want is to keep writing fiction. (grin)

Second, as for when to stop writing and put it out there, just keep writing the story, don’t think about it. Just keep trusting the characters. They will lead you through to the natural ending.

When the novel wraps, remember to cycle back over the last few chapters to give the characters one more whack at it.

Then I recommend you publish wide, by which I mean upload to Draft2Digital.com for distribution to Apple, B&N, and a dozen or so other vendors, library distributors, and subscription outfits. Then also upload to Amazon. (Amazon is, after all, the gorilla in the room).

The alternative is going exclusive with Amazon and their KDP Select program. They have tons of marketing tools you can use (and they teach you how to use them) but your book will be limited only to those who buy from Amazon.

I do NOT recommend going exclusive, but to each his own. We each have our own goals and ways of doing things. I can’t bear to think of an avid reader who prefers some other vendor not being able to buy my novel

But you’ll want to have your cover finished before you upload anywhere.

I use the now-defunct Serif PagePlus X9 program to create all my covers. I upload a cover that’s 2000 x 3000 pixels. (I also resize that image to 300 x 450 for the book page on StoneThread Publishing and to 180 x 270 pixels for the genre page on that site.) You can see examples of genre and book pages at StoneThread Publishing.

If you want to design your own covers, a great place to start is Indies Unlimited.  They even have sections on how to design covers using Microsoft Publisher and Canva and others.

I also recommend browsing Amazon (or whatever) bestsellers in your genre and shamelessly “copying” aspects of their covers. Note the fonts, the type or mood of the background picture, colors, etc.

If you want to pay for a professional cover, I strongly recommend Get Covers. Bestselling author Vin Zandri uses them for all his covers, and they’re only $30 or $35 each (as I recall).

Over the past few years, I wrote in the Journal about cover design at these posts:

The Journal: “Hallelujah” and Cover Art

The Journal: A Quick Primer on Cover Design

The Journal: Some Cover Design Fundamentals

The Journal: Cover Design and Publishing

Cover Design, and New Disclaimers

As for discoverability requiring ten years, that’s silly. Discoverability requires volume rather than time.

The more titles you have out there with your name on them, the better the chance readers will find your work.

That’s one more reason to write into the dark vs. spending time outlining, revising, etc.. When you WITD, 99% of your time is spent actually writing the stories.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about marketing.

A long time ago I bought into the idea that the best marketing is your next book or story. That’s one reason I write so much. I write a great opening (to sell the current book) and a great ending to sell the next book.

But then, I write more for the sheer pleasure of it than to make a buck. It’s all a matter of attitude.

My first “payment” for writing fiction is getting to experience my characters’ authentic stories before anyone else does. Just how I roll.

I expect my grandchildren and great-granchildren will make a mint off my writing if they choose to market it.

But if you have the money to spend, you might try placing ads through Amazon, Facebook, or whomever. Various pundits say those work. But as with any kind of gamble and many investments, be prepared to lose money.

Be sure to ask your second pair of eyes to note only what pops out at him from the page: Those are usually misspellings, wrong words, points of confusion, and inconsistencies. Don’t allow him to “correct” your characters and their story.

To access the older posts, visit the Journal Website. There are also several gifts on that same page.

There, you can download (free) all the archives of the Journal from back in 2014/2015 forward. Just click the link on the page, and a fully searchable PDF will download directly to your computer, tablet, phone or whatever. I recommend maybe downloading 2023 first and reading that first.

There are even several free writing books available at StoneThread Publishing. When you get to that page, scroll down to see the free books.

Click any cover toward the bottom of the page download the free PDF. They include The Essentials of Digital Publishing, which you can also download free right here by clicking the linked title at the beginning of this sentence. (grin)

Hope this helps. If I missed anything, feel free to email me.

The Writing

I’m writing again, but for the first time ever, I’m not sure whether it will be a short story, a novella, an addendum to the novel I just finished (if so, there’s plenty of time to add it) or a new novel on its own. Whatever, it’s exciting and fun.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

If you want to design your own covers, do yourself a favor and read Resource: Book Covers.

If you want to hire a pro to design excellent covers for low cost, check out Get Covers. I’ve also added this to the Quick Links at HarveyStanbrough.com.

Selling Direct is the New Craze but Don’t Give Up on the ‘Zon or D2D You want to read this.

Words with Friends

The Numbers

The Journal………………………………1040

Writing of Julia Stilson (tentative title)

Day 1…… 3523 words. To date…… 3523

Fiction for May…………………….….… 3523
Fiction for 2024…………………………. 307308
Fiction since October 1………………… 610364
Nonfiction for May……………………… 2980
Nonfiction for 2024……………………… 157320
2024 consumable words……………… 464628

2024 Novels to Date……………………… 8
2024 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2024 Short Stories to Date……………… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)……………… 90
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……… 239
Short story collections…………………… 29

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 are lies, and they will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.

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