The Daily Journal, Saturday, March 23

In today’s Journal

▪ With respect to the OP…
▪ Topic: On Being a “Hybrid” Writer
▪ Daily diary
▪ Of Interest (a boatload of links)
▪ The numbers

With respect to the OP mentioned about Microsoft Word in “Of Interest,” you can still view (free) my blog series “Microsoft Word for Writers” at Just sayin’.

Topic: On Being a “Hybrid” Writer

Part 1: Statement, History and Rationale

At 66 years old, with 40-some novels and almost 200 short stories under my belt, I’ve decided to go hybrid.

My work has been traditionally published before. I’ve had articles, essays and a few short stories published by the establishment.

I’ve also had two book-length poetry collections published by traditional publishers.

One, Lessons for a Barren Population, which was also significant for being the first-ever full-length collection of poetry published as an ebook, placed third at the Frankfurt Book Fair in the mid-1990s. That one also came in second to Maya Angelou for a major award sponsored by Foreword Magazine (see “Of Interest”).

The other, Beyond the Masks, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1996 or 1997.

And I’ve had two non-fiction books published traditionally.

Those were the first edition of Punctuation for Writers, which had no singular accomplishments other than brisk sales, and Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction, which came in 4th (out of over ten thousand entries) for the 1998 BEA New York Book of the Year Award in the Education Category.

Those were all feathers in my cap.

But later, when I realized I was making only a pittance (10% on the nonfiction titles and 8% on the poetry titles), I got my rights back and re-released them myself.

Of course, poetry doesn’t sell, though the nonfiction titles have done well for the past almost 25 years.

Then in 2014 I turned my hand seriously to writing fiction. I’d written short stories for much of my life, off and on, but never with the determination and vigor with which I attacked the process in April, 2014.

Short stories abounded (one per week for 72 weeks to begin with) and in October 2014 I started my first novel. I finished it 20-some days later and started the second.

And I’ve never looked back. I kept learning and kept practicing, applying what I learned in the next story and the next novel.

A fairly famous horror-novelist friend, Deborah LeBlanc, once told me when she started as a novelist she gave herself five years to “make it.” After that, she’d fold her tent and find something new to do.

She made it big in her second year, though her medium-sized traditional publisher folded a few years later and took her books with them. For me, that was a cautionary tale.

I’ve preached indie publishing ever since I reconnected with Dean Wesley Smith in early 2014. We first met at a conference where we were both presenting in the late 1990s.

Part 2: The Plan

But now I’ve reached a tipping point. I’ve reached a point where I’m coming up on that five-year mark. And I’m 66 years old.

My recent personal good news last month — my heart function increasing significantly from 10% to 35% or higher — was a major wake-up call for me.

I’ve decided to become a hybrid writer, meaning I’ll continue as an indie publisher, but I’ll also pursue a traditional contract with the first book of each series I’ve written.

Now please don’t get me wrong. For several reasons, I’m not recommending this path for everyone else, or even anyone else. This is a choice each writer has to make for him- or herself.

The main reason I don’t recommend what I’m about to do is that most (if not all) traditional publishing contracts suck canal water from all 50 states. That hasn’t changed, and it’s unlikely to change in my lifetime.

Most of them “buy” all rights (including film rights, ebook and subsidiary licensing rights, etc.) in exchange for an advance. And I will continue to rail publicly against that lopsided policy.

(Note: Those rights can be reverted to the author [by the author] 35 years down the line, but I can confidently say that doesn’t really matter to me at this point.)

But bearing in mind how rarely lightning strikes, at this stage in my life, for me, if the advance is large enough, I’ll take the deal. Of course, with apologies to my friends Ranger Wes Crowley, Adventurer Nick Porter, PI Stern Talbot and the legitimate, government-approved criminal TJ Blackwell and his operatives. Oh, and maybe to Jonathan Kirski and Maldito (Gervasio).

Of course, as this new scenario unfolds, I’ll occasionally share lessons learned here in the Journal.

How about you? Is this something you’re considering or already doing? Please share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments.

Rolled out at 3 this morning despite my plan to get up earlier. We have a trip planned to Sierra Vista later to shop for groceries, so a short writing day today.

In the Hovel, I wrote the stuff above and checked around the internet, took a break, then turned to the novel at 5:30 or so to cycle over what I wrote yesterday.

I’ll strive to get at least 1,000 words today, then give the rest of the day to my bride. (grin)

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

To see an authentic tale of lightning striking in publishing, see John Gilstrap’s comment on “Share Your Feelings When Your First Book Was Published” at

See “Start with a Line…” at

See “Interview with Ray Bradbury” at

See “ASK KRIS ANYTHING Webinar” at

See “9 Lesser-Known Word Features” at Caution: Some of the items listed in this article are not good for fiction writers.

See “How To Become a Las Vegas Hotel Magnate” at

See “Group Registration for Unpublished Works” at Hmm. Back in the day, I used to register “The Complete Works of Harvey Stanbrough, 1998” for one $25 fee. It included poems, stories, and essays. Who was to say it wasn’t an omnibus?

See “Against Catharsis: Writing Is Not Therapy” at I offer this almost against my better judgement and only because it is strongly written, not for the author’s view of writing as “work.”

See “Foreword Magazine” at Browse awhile. They’ve opened up things for indie writers.

Fiction Words: 1252
Nonfiction Words: 1090 (Journal)
FTotal words for the day: 2342

Writing of Blackwell Ops 5: Georgette Tilden (novel)

Day 1…… 2494 words. Total words to date…… 2494
Day 2…… 3107 words. Total words to date…… 5601
Day 3…… 3076 words. Total words to date…… 8677
Day 4…… 1515 words. Total words to date…… 10192
Day 5…… 0731 words. Total words to date…… 10923
Day 6…… 1002 words. Total words to date…… 11925
Day 7…… 2492 words. Total words to date…… 14417
Day 8…… 4479 words. Total words to date…… 18896
Day 9…… 1252 words. Total words to date…… 20148

Total fiction words for the month……… 43228
Total fiction words for the year………… 202286
Total nonfiction words for the month… 18810
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 70030
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 272316

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 4
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… X
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 41
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 7
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 193
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

4 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Saturday, March 23”

  1. Nope. Won’t touch it, at least not for the book industry. Partially because the predatory contracts. But also because it’s evident they’re no longer thinking about the future. They used to develop the long term mid-list writer because it does take many years of practice to learn the skills that a best-selling writer has. Now the book has to get out of the gate a best seller or the publisher drops it. Most of the best-selling writers today were from the 1970s and 1980s. What happens when they die? I suppose the publishers could continue producing works under their names but I bet the sales aren’t that good now. It’ll probably have a snowball effect–and I would not be surprised if they go entirely to non-fiction and say that fiction doesn’t sell.

    The place where I don’t agree with Dean is simply to put stories up and eventually they’ll sell the more you get. He started out with a long writing career before he hit indie. He did have some name recognition from the TV tie-ins. It’s a lot harder if no one knows who you are. How are they supposed to find you? I’m looking at doing things like naming books after Amazon keywords, getting my books updated with my new websites and better blurbs, and eventually some advertising. And I’m thinking of hitting some pro magazine markets.

    • Understood, but you’re a lot younger than I and at a different stage of your career. As you’ll see in today’s Journal when it comes out, at this point I’m using the lottery theory. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. And if you buy a ticket and don’t win, you’re no worse off. (grin) And as I said, I’m not trying to sell anyone else on going hybrid. Just reporting that for me, at this time in my life, it’s right.

      As for discoverability, it’s a simple fact that the more titles you have out there, the better the chance you’ll be noticed by readers. It’s easier to find one of a few hundred needles in a haystack than it is to find one of one.

  2. Wow, didn’t see that one coming, Harvey! I’m playing catch-up after a busy week. I trust you know best for your own goals and aspirations, so I wish you luck on hitting the winning numbers on that lottery ticket.

    • Thanks, Phillip. (grin) As I said, I’ll be as candid here about the experience as I can. And either way, I’m losing nothing but the little bit of time it takes to find out.

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