The Daily Journal, Friday, August 9

In today’s Journal

* I ran across an interview
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

I ran across an interview on Jane Friedman’s site. I won’t share the URL with you. I like you.

I also will not share any of the participants’ names for the same reason.

But the following excerpt is so unbelievably ludicrous, I wanted to share at least that much with you just to illustrate how much silliness is out there.

The excerpt consists of one question from the interview between the author of the article, “a former acquiring editor of children’s books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster, who runs her own editorial services company,” and a pair of literary agents.

I copied and pasted only the first answer because the second, though a bit more tame, was pretty much the same:

Question: Writing a second book is notoriously challenging for almost any author. In your experience, is “second book syndrome” more common among writers trying to replicate the success of their first book, or those who consider their second book a second chance to prove themselves?

Answer: This is, sadly, not a myth. The second book is the hardest. (Though I’m not sure if any writer would say any book is easy!) Part of this is because a writer may have written Book 1 over the course of 10 years, spent another few months finding an agent, another year working on edits and trying to sell the book. Book 2, meanwhile, is on a deadline.

Folks, it is painfully obvious to me that this is precisely why people like me and Dean Smith and Lee Child and Kris Rusch and dozens of others are never asked to respond to interview questions by people like the author of the original article.

First, the question itself is flawed almost beyond my comprehension. Obviously, that writing any book is “notoriously challenging” is not a fact but a pretentious and erroneous assumption. And one made by (shock, shock) a non writer. Go figure.

To respond to the agent’s answer: No, it isn’t a myth. It’s a false assumption, and frankly, you should know better. (And I, just one of many, many, MANY professional fiction writers, will say blatantly that writing a novel is actually frighteningly easy.) Ten years? Seriously? The longest it took me to write a novel was six months, and I wrote several other novels in the interim. The longest it’s ever taken me to write a novel was 32 days, and that was a long one (around 100,000 words).

As for spending time “finding an agent,” that’s silly too. Why would I want an agent? An agent, if I was “fortunate” enough to find one, would place my work with a publisher and give him my copyright for the LIFE of that copyright. And she (the agent), would then own 15% of my copyright for the life of that copyright herself. That is insanity. (But please don’t feel bad. I don’t give the guy who mows my lawn 15% of the deed to my house either.)

Seriously, folks, seriously… if you’re even considering following that path, step back from the edge and reconsider.

Your work has value.

The only person you have to “prove yourself” to is the reader, and you do that one reader at a time, one book at a time.

Write the story, publish it, then write the next story.

If you’re still enticed toward traditional publishing, submit some of your work to publishers who do not require an agent.

If they offer you a large-enough, non-refundable, life-changing advance (for me it would be high-six-figures)—and if they put that in a contract that also does not contain a no-compete clause—then go ahead and give them your copyright for life (for one book).

Of course, the traditional publisher who would do that does not exist. Just sayin’.

Rolled out at 2. I’m trying, within my given number of hours per day, to refocus my schedule.

I want to continue to publish this Journal, do the publishing work I need to do, and write. You might notice a glitch here and there as I go through this process. Bear with me. If you like any of the stuff I toss out here, it will be worth your time and effort.

I pre-posted a couple of Journal entries for the next two days, when I’ll be on the road.

The novel’s going fine (too early not to) but with a two-day interruption fast approaching, I’m going to spend today putting together a few box sets and getting them published. I’ll also probably upload all of my collections to GooglePlay.

Talk with you again tomorrow, sort of. (grin)

Of Interest

See “Amazon Ranking and Bestseller Lists – What’s the Deal?” at For anyone who missed it before or even if you didn’t. A lot of good marketing advice.

Also see “Your Book Marketing Plan Won’t Work” at

See “Collage & Control – Or Keeping Track” at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 800 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 800

Writing of Blackwell Ops 7: Glen Marco (novel)

Day 1…… 3222 words. Total words to date…… 3222
Day 2…… 1170 words. Total words to date…… 4392
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 4392
Total fiction words for the year………… 363129
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9730
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 227800
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 590929

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31