The Journal: Opportunities, and Misinformation

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* StreetLib
* Misinformation
* Listening to Dean
* Mentorships Revised
* The Reading
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“Our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time. Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” Socrates

Today’s Journal is filled with opportunities, and there’s a note to clear up some misinformation.

Opportunity: StreetLib

If you’re still looking for an aggregator or distributor for your books, you might check out StreetLib. I’ll be taking another look at them.

StreetLib recently announced new features to make both ebook and paper book creation easier. You can find the article at


Yesterday I came across a post titled “20 Hidden Costs of Publishing.” I didn’t include it in “Of Interest” because it’s misleading and I wanted to comment on it.

To my mind, the article is misinformation at its finest. In it, the author defends publishers for all the legitimate costs they bear. In that way, it appears to defend, ardently, the minuscule amount publishers pay writers. But the author failed to talk about a few very important points. It’s almost as if the author is receiving kickbacks from a traditional publisher.

* The article says nothing about publishers taking all rights for the life of the copyright.

* It says nothing about publishers binding the hands of the writer by requiring the writer to write no “competing” books, which might mean anything from books with the same characters to books in the same genre to books by the same author. (If you go traditional, please have an IP attorney, not an agent, read the contract carefully.)

* It also fails to mention the value of the IP itself and that it adds hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even a million or more) to the publisher’s spreadsheet while the publisher pays writers a mere pittance. This is why publishers don’t “push” books with money for promotion. It makes no difference to them, really, whether the book is even published. They made their money when they bought the IP.

Opportunity: Listening to Dean

Along the same lines, listening to Dean on the podcast I posted in yeaterday’s “Of Interest,” and then listening to the two Marks talk about it afterward, I was stymied.

Why is it so difficult to get people to simply trust themselves and their own creative voice?

The only answer I can come up with is social engineering. It’s been engrained in all of us so deeply and thorougly NOT to trust ourselves that many of us simply march in lockstep and even defend our masters.

Most writers, unless they just happen across someone like DWS or me, never even think about overcoming that that instruction and thinking for themselves. But the lessons in self-doubt are deeply engrained. Even among those who do finally hear about the freedoms afforded by Heinlein’s Rules and writing into the dark, most either never try it or succumb to one fear or another.

And that’s just too bad. Neither DWS nor I nor any other advocate of HR or WITD receive any “payment” for spreading the word other than the satisfaction of knowing one more writer has broken the chains.

Opportunity: Mentorships Revised

Yesterday, as some of you might already know, I revised my mentorships. All Writing Craft mentorships are now $49, and all are offered on an ala carte basis.

All non-writing mentorships are now $39, again offered on an ala carte basis.

Please pass the word.

I’ve also gotten rid of the “big” mentorship that included all the craft topics for one price.

I hope this will help other writers cherry-pick topics that will be specifically useful to them in their writing life.

The Reading

The reading and slow compilation of The Wes Crowley Companion Guide is going well, but I’m jonesing to write fiction again. I hope before I get through the first 6 books I will have hit on a gap in the story so I can write a novel to fill it. (grin)

In the meantime, the next book in the FOH series and the next book in the Blackwell Ops series are both hovering in my mind, beckoning me.

Also, Rider Jones: The Marshal came out yesterday. (grin)


Yesterday I asked your opinion about nonfiction books vs. mentoring. To those who responded, thanks. The responses were helpful.

I’m still thinking about it, but I’ll probably go ahead with at least some of the books. If I do a Kickstarter, it will be a couple of months down the line.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Last Day on the Writing Bundle” at

See “8 Tips on How to Write a Good Fight Scene” at I personally advise against “caution,” but advocate “with care” (first sentence of the article).

See “Tips for Dealing With Character Names” at

See “Protecting an Informant’s Identity: Who’s in Their Fireplace?” at

See “Care, Handling, and Storage of Works on Paper” at If you have important documents, reading this might be worth your while.

The Numbers

The Journal…………………………………… 850 words

Writing of (novel)

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

Total fiction words for May……… 71896
Total fiction words for the year………… 443175
Total nonfiction words for May… 18050
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 102910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 546085

Calendar Year 2021 Novels to Date…………………… 9
Calendar Year 2021 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2021 Short Stories to Date… 3
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 62
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

Disclaimer: In this blog, I provide advice on writing fiction. I advocate a technique called Writing Into the Dark. To be crystal clear, WITD is not “the only way” to write, nor will I ever say it is. However, as I am the only writer who advocates WITD both publicly and regularly, I will continue to do so, among myriad other topics.

4 thoughts on “The Journal: Opportunities, and Misinformation”

  1. Hi Harvey! I had the same reaction to Dean’s podcast too. I never get tired of hearing him (and you) talk about WITD and Heinlein’s Rules. And to hear the podcast hosts talk after the interview was really interesting. (Boy, the writing myths are very much alive and kicking).

    I have a question and hope you can help. My genre of choice is teen romance and I’m writing (on average) about one a month.

    How do you deal with the physical traits of your characters?

    I read other teen romances and the authors tend to describe their heroes and heroines as “hot.” (He is all muscle with dark brown eyes and perfect teeth. She is a cute little blonde with big blue eyes). Blah, blah, blah.

    It’s so boring!

    To me, what makes someone attractive is a combination of looks and personality. I’ve always loved that quote by Joanne Woodward: “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that’s a real treat.”

    So far I haven’t been able to bring myself to describe my characters as “hot” ~ and instead show the kind of people they are by their actions, etc.,

    But I feel like I need some physical descriptions. Got any ideas?

    Thanks so much, Harvey!

    • Thanks for the comment, Maggie, and for the great question. Your instinct to add physical description of characters is spot on. The reader can only see what you see in your mind if you put it on paper, and it’s your job as a writer to convey what you see in your mind. So first, don’t be afraid to take your time or to add to descriptions (including physical appearance and any obvious flaws or anomalies and clothing) during cycling. Second, remember that your reader is meeting your character for the first time. Despite the current seeming fervor for triggers and virtue signaling, every living human being (including your readers) assess and judge people they meet for the fkrst time, and usually they do so with stereotypes at the beginning.

      I tend to give the readers what my characters give me about themselves or other characters. I often write description (of characters or setting) with two or three straight (very brief) narrative sentences. But when another character (also described) meets the character we’re talking about here, I allow that character to add details of description about the first character too, if he or she has any. And then of course you’re right, personality has to leak in too, usually in what the character says and how he says it, how he reacts to others, etc. But this is getting long. I’ll talk more about character description in a topic sometime in the next few days.

      Thanks again!

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