The Daily Journal, Wednesday, July 10

In today’s Journal

* Two topics today
* Topic: Add-On Software
* Topic: Ebooks and Print Books—A Comparison (reprint)
* Daily diary
* Of Interest
* The numbers

In a rare occurrence, we have two topics to cover today. The first is a little shorter, but important. The second is a little longer, but still important.

So get your favorite beverage and settle in. Here we go.

Topic: Add-On Software

Add-on software, to my mind, is just silly. Why would any writer want extra distractions?

A reader of this Journal directed me to Aeon Timeline, a company that makes Visual Timeline Software. Like most writing and organization “aids,” it looks and sounds great on the surface.

I don’t recommend it personally (for me), but Here’s the Link in case you want to check it out. If you decide you want to use it, that’s fine. I’m happy for you. But don’t tell me about it. Here’s why:

When I see any “new writing tool,” I put it through a simple test: Will it actually enhance my writing or my ability to write, or will it distract me from writing?

And understand, I would still be a writer and storyteller even if there were no computers. A computer is a tool and a luxury, not a necessity.

This particular software (like most of them) would distract me. It provides yet one more form I would have to fill in, and I would have to leave the novel and engage my conscious, critical mind to do it. So already it’s a non-starter.

And it would add nothing. I already keep track of the timeline of my novel in my reverse outline with zero critical mind involvement.

Now, every writer is different, and that’s fine. Some other writers whom I respect swear by special so-called writing tools, and there are dozens if not hundreds of them out there.

Some help “organize” your writing. Some profess to help you actually write. Others offer grammar and “style” or “voice” checkers, and so on. (Of those, Grammarly is absolutely the worst. Per their national TV commercial, they actually believe any sentence that contains a lot of words is a “run-on.” That alone is one of the most widespread and basic grammar myths, yet the company name is Grammarly for goodness’ sake!)

To each his or her own—as I said earlier, every writer is different—but I advise against the conscious-mind distraction of one more piece of software to learn and one more form to fill-in. I don’t need any extra software to “help” me do what I can already do just as well on my own, and exercise my brain to boot.

At present, here’s my process: I open Microsoft Word (or whatever tool is currently the tech-supported favorite—I absolutely loved Corel WordPerfect until it went off the rails back in the 90s and forced me to turn to Word). Then I Just Write what the characters give me.

I do create a reverse outline (no special software needed) as I go. That gives me what-happened-when in a quick reference. Of course, I had to learn to add time and date or day references to the reverse outline. Oh the horror! (grin)

It’s also super easy, should I find the need, to “unplug” a scene from one place and plug it into another place. Colloquially, it’s called Copy/Paste. It isn’t difficult.

Re grammar, I don’t even want my writing to be perfect grammatically, and if I did, I would depend on my own knowledge for that. Just another way to exercise my own mind. (And if you don’t know the basics of grammar, syntax, and punctuation, Learn Them. You’re a writer for god’s sake.)

And how in the world can any third party “check” something as personal as my authorial “style” or “voice”? The very idea is self-defeating and ludicrous.

So thanks, dear reader. I know you meant well. But nah. I’ll pass. I have stories to tell.

And here, as promised, is the topic I gleaned from my 2016 files on royalties. This first appeared on July 31, 2016.

Topic: Ebooks and Print Books—A Comparison (reprint)

Years ago when I was still teaching seminars in Tucson, I laid out for my class why I publish ebooks as well as print books.

At the time, two of my nonfiction books for writers and one long poetry collection had been published through a traditional publisher. (Today I have all rights back to those books and both are now published by StoneThread Publishing, my own publishing LLC.)

My royalty was very good at 10%. (At the time, the standard tradpub royalty was only 8%.) I didn’t go through an agent, so I didn’t have to let the agent keep 15% of my 10%.

When I spoke at conferences or traveled to do book signings, sign existing in-store stock, and so on, my sales jumped a bit.

Then indie publishing and ebooks came along. When I got my first royalty check from ebook sales, I became an immediate believer in epublishing.

Back then, each time I sold a traditionally published print book (this one was/is Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction) for $14.99, I pocketed $1.49 (10%). Of course, out of that $1.49 came my travel expenses: gas, hotels, etc.

But each time the same book sells in ebook format for $9.99 at Smashwords, I pocket $7.99 (80%). When it sells through Amazon for $9.99, I pocket $6.99 (70%). Still a lot of money by comparison.

Consider, if I sold 100 copies of the print book, my royalties were $149 (minus expenses). But if I sold 100 copies of the ebook, my royalties were $699 (Amazon) or $799 (Smashwords) and no expenses. Can you hear me now? (grin)

This is the same seminar in which one of the attendees stood up and said she would never publish her books as ebooks. When I asked why, she crossed her arms and said, “I hate ebooks.”

That’s tantamount to owning a lucrative flooring business but refusing to stock hardwood because you personally prefer carpet. You get the idea.

Because my job in that moment was “instructor,” I did point out that she was confusing her tastes as a reader with her business as a writer. But I don’t think she got it.

Anyway, with ebooks I was selling for less and making a LOT more money. And there were NO expenses. Zero.

It truly is a new world.

Back then, I began indie publishing even my print books. Although frankly, I created print books not so much to sell them as so the readers could compare the price they would have to pay for a print book vs. an ebook with exactly the same cover and content. For that reason, I never paid much attention to print book sales or royalties.

In April of that year, for some reason I noticed one copy of my novel Confessions of a Professional Psychopath sold for $15.99 through CreateSpace (now defunct and replaced by Amazon).

My royalty on that print book sale was $2.90. That’s an 18% royalty.

Where did the other $13.09 go?

Well, CreateSpace took $3.49 as their fee. That left $9.60. And where that went, I have no idea.

I’m sure some went to Ingram, etc. Everybody up and down the line gets their slice of the pie from a print book.

But the same novel in ebook format sells (well) through Amazon for only $5.99 and earns me $4.19 (70%). And the same ebook sells through Smashwords for $5.99 and earns $4.79 (80%).

Again, if I sold 100 copies of the print book, I’d make $299 before expenses. If I sold 100 copies of the ebook, I would earn $479.

Let that sink in for a moment. That’s what we in the indie publishing business call Good Math. (grin)

See why I prefer selling ebooks?

Rolled out at 3:30, came to the Hovel, found some things for “Of Interest.”

I was going continue cleaning out the bay next door once the sun gets up so I can see in there. But the ugly truth is, I’m old. (grin) I’m still sore from my initial burst of effort a couple of days ago.

So instead, I’ll spend the day on learning. The writing bug’s been tugging at me again too, so I might return to my WIP or start something new.

I’m the kind who gets excited and wants everything to happen Right Now. But it doesn’t. So I constantly have to temper that with “It will get done. Just keep coming back.” (grin)

So that’s the mode I’ll be in for the next month or two with not only my writing but catching up on the learning, cleaning out the bay next door, and rearranging the Hovel.

That’s all right. Hey, life happens. Thanks for hanging in with me.

Talk with you again tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “A Prolific Problem” at This one could as easily have been titled “A Great Problem to Have.” (grin)

See “Adrian McKinty Had Given Up on Writing” at

See “5 Networking Tips for the Authorial Hermit” at

For fun, see “The Honest Epitaph” at

Kris Rusch posted another article on licensing to Patreon today, her 9th on the licensing expo. If you haven’t signed up for her Patreon yet, you’re missing a bet. You get all this content for only $5 per month. You can sign up at

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1540 (Journal)
Total words for the day: 1540

Writing of ()

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 3173
Total fiction words for the year………… 354511
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11720
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 195920
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 550431

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)…………………………………… 44
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 194
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

2 thoughts on “The Daily Journal, Wednesday, July 10”

  1. I’d seen the McKinty story on Google, read it and all I could think of was WHY did he torture himself & his family all those years trying to go traditional publishing?
    Might he not have gotten noticed by writing & indie publishing and been in a much better position?

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