Publishing, Genres and a Lot More

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* This Morning
* I Love This Age of Publishing
* Genres and Sub-Genrea Redux
* A New Story
* The Writing
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“I agree. Its THAT you write that is important, not what. I’m currently writing a very personal project, a family history (it will be a series given the amount of info I have on both sides), which I put off for a long time since I worried it would interfere with my ‘real’ projects. … Now that I’m knee deep in the first volume I’m having a blast retelling the lives of my ancestors….” Matthew Gordon Pettipas

Wonderful for the family, and many readers enjoy reading family sagas too. And if Matt chooses to change a name here and there, he’ll also have a series of novels in a fictional saga.

This Morning

Unfortunately, I read a statement in an excerpt from a blog post over on The Passive Voice. I try to remain positive here at the Journal, but this just dragged me over the line into a free speech frame of mind.

The statement is easily one of the most inane I have ever read. While talking about soldiers who endure a combat environment and his brother who suffers PTSD from having done so, the author of the OP actually wrote

“The writer’s life can be just as hectic and restless as a soldier’s life.”

Yes, well, if “the writer” removes his melodramatic forearm from his forehead so he can use both hands on the keyboard, he might — just might — find that sitting alone in a room making stuff up has ZERO comparison points to serving in a hostile environment in which one’s body might begin absorbing bullets at any second.

Additionally, in response to the article, one commenter wrote, “A soldier going into battle will surely feel kinship with what a writer endures.”

Oh. Yes. Surely. I have to assume the comment writer was expressing sarcasm. If he wasn’t, then this was a pair of quotes nobody should have to endure this early in the morning. Or any other time.

If you want, you can read the post and the comments, including mine, at Rest and Relaxation.

I Love This Age of Publishing

And I’m very glad I scheduled my previous novel for release on January 8. Doing that gave me the opportunity, before anyone bought it, to correct a glaring omission.

It was in the backmatter of the book.

I got in slightly too big a hurry and submitted the manuscript to both D2D and Amazon without crediting the person whose photograph I used in the design for the front cover.

I discovered the omission yesterday morning.

But thanks to the wonders of ebooks and this new golden age of publishing, I added the information (Cover photo(s) © Andrii Podilnyk, Unsplash), clicked Save, and uploaded the manuscript again to both platforms.

Because Andrii deserves to be credited for that cover photo as much as I deserve my name to be on the front cover of the book.

In the old days under traditional publishing, it would take an act of Congress and ratification from God to make any changes at all in a book. And that’s even at a small publisher, never mind the conglomeration of control freaks in New York.

Genres and Sub-Genres Redux

Awhile back I mentioned that SF (fiction or fantasy) trumps all other genres. That’s true.

If your story or novel has even one tiny SF element in it, it’s Science Fiction or Science Fantasy in the first categorization. Everything else stems from that.

Blackwell Ops 16: Tarea-Garcia, like B0-15 before it, has only a small bit of SF in it — time travel — so it’s science fantasy.

So I set these categories at D2D and Amazon:

  • sf/action & adventure
  • sf/ time travel
  • romance/action & adventure

(If they offered “sf/romance” that would have been the third category.)

Also, the search terms I listed are SF thriller, romance, psychological suspense, time travel, assassin, and crime thriller.

But wait. Where in the world did that “romance” thing come from?

In the categories, SF, being the trump card in the genre deck, is first. Derived from that are “action & adventure” (and “thriller” if it were available) and then “time travel.”

But another overriding theme in this novel is Romance. And it isn’t only a small element that wormed its way into the story as it sometimes does. It’s a powerful aspect that permeates the story. Without it, there would be no story.

So the third category is “romance” and then “action & adventure” again derived from that.

The third big element and overriding theme is “psychological suspense.” The reader will often find his or her heart rate increasing because s/he is often privy to the POV character’s thoughts.

In fact, sometimes the reader will know things the POV character is yet to learn, and that will create tension and suspense in the reader. Right where it belongs. (grin)

Give careful consideration to your categories when you publish your stories or novels through D2D or Amazon. They and the search terms are what make it easier for readers to find your books.

Then readers look at the cover and, fingers crossed, feel invited into a story they’ll like. Then they read your sales copy (as massively important as the cover, and maybe more so) and are hooked.

If you have the “Look Inside” feature activated at Amazon, so much the better. That enables the actual opening of the story to grab them and pull them in. If it does, the purchase is a done deal.

And just so you know, when you’ve practiced setting correct genres and search term, and creating genre-attractive covers and alluring sales copy, and writing strong openings, all of that becomes a habit and you don’t have to really “try” to do any of it.

That, of course, is the good news. (grin) I hope this helps.

A New Story

“Maldito,” the second story in an interconnected series of ten magic realism stories, went live yesterday on my Stanbrough Writes Substack. If you enjoy magic realism and-or Mexico, you probably don’t want to miss this series of stories.

To subscribe, click the link above and then the Subscribe button at the end of the story. You’ll receive a new short story every Friday, and it’s free.

Below the Subscribe button, there are other short stories you can read in most genres. Enjoy!

The Writing

I started a new novel yesterday. Woohoo!

I would have preferred something other than another Blackwell Ops novel. But as Matt wrote (Quote of the Day), it isn’t what you write, it’s that you write.

What I write isn’t really up to me. I choose to be a writer, and I choose to write fiction, most often novels. But that’s as far as my free will or control goes.

What I write is up to the characters. I go to wherever they invite me, I run through the story with them as it unfolds around us, and I record it as faithfully as I can.

Anyway, I also did some writing-related things. From what I understand, many writers and would-be writers believe those writing-related things are “part” of writing. They aren’t. All too often, they serve as a way to avoid writing. Writing is putting new words on the page.

And I wrote this Journal entry. Otherwise I prepped the manuscript template for Blackwell Ops 17 and another one for whatever other novel I might start next. Y’never know.

Then I headed up to the house a couple of hours early to sit on my good side and watch the Sun Bowl.

I’ll talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use Index

The Fresh Start Challenge With Kris

The Numbers

The Journal……………………………… 1290

Writing of Blackwell Ops 17:

Day 1…… 4204 words. To date…… 4204

Fiction for December…………………… 112126
Fiction for 2023…………………………. 5129606
Fiction since August 1………………… 397736
Nonfiction for December……………… 23890
Nonfiction for the year……………… 279470
Annual consumable words………… 788923

2023 Novels to Date……………………… 11
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 10
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 82
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 238
Short story collections…………………… 31

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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.