September Online Workshops Start Next Week

Here is the full September Online Workshops list. Two brand new workshops starting in September. Science Fiction and Productivity. Information on both and how to sign up under the green workshop tab.

All online workshops have openings at this point.

Each is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do. I have bolded the newer workshops that have started this year, including the two new ones that start in September. More information and how to sign up for a workshop is under the green button or under Coast Workshops tab above.

Class #11… Sept 1st … Depth in Writing
Class #12… Sept 1st … Originality
Class #13… Sept 1st … Character Voice/Setting
Class #14… Sept 2nd … Designing Book Covers
Class #15… Sept 2nd … Designing Book Interiors
Class #16… Sept 2nd … How to Write Science Fiction
Class #17… Sept 3rd … Promotion for Writers
Class #18… Sept 3rd … Ideas
Class #19… Sept 3rd … Productivity
Class #20… Sept 3rd … World Building

ALL WORKSHOPS START ON MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY.

-

Twenty-two lectures now available as well. Many more lectures coming very soon.

(Passwords for lectures are now permanent. No more monthly e-mails.)

-

Posted in News, On Writing, publishing, workshops | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

The New World of Publishing: A Return to the Past

A Look Back at January 11, 2011

That’s right, I wrote the following post on January 11, 2011, talking some about the coming war between writers and the problems with the future of agents. I was looking back at some old posts to clean them out and stumbled on this and was stunned. I remember warning people of the coming war between writers and getting laughed at.

Not sure anyone is laughing anymore, sadly.

Take a look back at 2011.  Anything I put in (Bold Italics is a comment I have added tonight.)

————

Okay, time to talk about agents and their future in this changing world.

Mary Kole, who I do not know, and who seems fairly smart, works (or worked… didn’t bother to check because I honestly don’t care) at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. On the Digital Book World site (link is gone…sorry), she talked about her opinions of what the agent’s role will be going into the future.

I read it and shuddered, to be honest. Then I went back and actually tried to figure out why I had such an adverse reaction to some very logical thoughts by this agent. (In January 2011 I was still doing some traditional books as well as Indie books and I had only been away from agents for two years.)

Agent Mary Kole argues that agents will become packagers, doing “editorial work, marketing consultation, design, etc.” She thinks that agents will have a “more active hand in … reaching market-ready status.”

Okay, let me simply say for me, NO!!  But that is only for me and as I have pounded home over and over, every writer is different. But that said, I have no respect for the writers who want to be taken care of by agents, who let total strangers take over all their money and their careers and let total strangers stop them from writing what they want to write. I have made that clear.

Yet 95% of the writers coming in today want someone to take care of them. (Remember, I wrote this in January, 2011. I’m betting that number is down some now. Might be closer to only 75%.) And what this agent is talking about is a direct extension of that. Direct. So from her point of view, agents taking care of writers even more makes sense. (I shuddered, but many will not because they will look at that and say, “Oh, good, I don’t have to learn anything or work.”)

Then this agent goes on to get opinions from other agents on this topic. One other agent, Nathan Bransford
(gave up agenting but still blogs), sees agents becoming two types, one with bestsellers and one with no bestsellers. (I see a third, the scam agents, but we won’t go into that here.) He says the lower-level agents will act as “managers, consultants, and publicists to help their clients navigate small presses and self-publishing.”

What he didn’t say, of course, is that the agents will also take 15% or more of that. Often much more, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

And that has already started. For example, Richard Curtis has a company already publishing and packaging his clients backlist and taking a ton more than 15% (He sold the business in 2013).  So, of course the writers who want someone to take care of them will flock to those types and give away vast sums of money for almost no work. (Sort of like what’s happening in today’s world with agents. I often gave my agent thousands of dollars for making one phone call and then having her accounting department forward checks.)(I never said I was smart.)

Bransford goes on to say that it’s going to be hard for agents to make money unless one of their clients take off, meaning becomes a bestseller. (Yup, the agency model is failing for anyone but the top agents with the top bestselling writers. We can all see that. Duh.) Brandsford thinks the small agents will have to invent new ways to “earn their keep.” (Again, duh.)

Then Mary Kole really made me shudder when she said agents should treat every new client as a tech start-up. She thinks that writers are going to have “start-up” costs, and she thinks agents will need to learn how to do all the technology and understand it, and explore what makes a good app. And that agents should “develop new properties,” and that “the review-sharing model for the agent/client relationship might also change…” And then she gave me a real kick in the stomach when she said, …”especially for properties developed mutually.”

She thinks that writers and agents will be collaborators. (Or, as she said earlier, agent as packager.)

Okay, now I admit that over the last two years I have really gotten jaded about agents and their position in publishing. (From 2009 to 2011) And I’ve gotten flat angry at stupid writers letting the agents take over. But what this very smart woman is talking about is logical and clear and well-thought out from the point of view of an agent.

She is talking about how agents are going to dig themselves into this new world of writers, even though honestly from my opinion, they are not needed at all. She is writing an article about how agents are going to take our work, writer’s work, and make it their work and collaborate and “help” writers get it up on the right place.

There was absolutely nothing at all wrong with what this agent said. All logical. All fine from an agent’s point of view.

But from a professional writer’s point of view, I wanted to run screaming into the night when I read that. (And still do.)

Here are My Reason’s Why I Had That Reaction

I have fought for years to keep people out of my office and my head. I want to create what I want to create. I don’t need help. I do need to keep learning and get better at my craft, but I don’t need help in the creation process, and with computers.

And I don’t need help getting my work to any place I want to get it to.

I can publish my own work electronically.

I can publish my own work directly to books and get them in just about all stores.

I can mail my own manuscripts to traditional publishers.

I can negotiate my own contract with a traditional publisher or hire (for very little money) an IP attorney to do it.

I even know how to have an app created if I wanted to spend the money for an app for say Poker Boy. Not that expensive, actually.

So why do I need an agent?

Why do I need to give anything away?

I can learn all this new technology just as fast as any agent, maybe faster. I can ask questions just as well of other writers and friends. And why do I need an agent’s voice in my office telling me what I can write or can’t write?

Okay, granted, I have been working at learning computers, and programs, and helping to set up an electronic publishing business for just under two years now. (Yes, I said only two years. I used to think that computers might blow up if I copied and pasted something. Not kidding.) So maybe I am out ahead of others who are just coming to this stuff. Maybe a few months, a few learning curves is all. Not far. And since I have been working on this for almost two years, I am light years ahead of most agents who didn’t even see a problem until this last summer or fall.

(The business I mentioned there that I was doing indie now has over 450 titles and seven employees three-and-a-half years later.)

Okay, granted, I like to have control of my own money and my own business. I know many people can’t be bothered with taking control of their own money. Just call me old-fashioned in that way.

So I am different. And I do understand where this agent in her well-reasoned piece is coming from. She’s trying to reassure the writers who want to be taken care of that her job isn’t going away and she can help them, even though I doubt she has ever put one novel up electronically anywhere for any writer. (I don’t know that for a fact, but I would bet…)

Again, all this is logical from her position. Anyone in her spot would start figuring out ways to defend their job. (Why do I keep hearing Mel Brook’s voice in Blazing Saddles when I say that?)

So I read the article and just shuddered because the well-written article by this agent made it clear to me that the agent problem in writing isn’t going away with the increase of electronic publishing.

It’s going to get worse! Much, much worse!

(Remember 2014 readers, I wrote this in January 2011.)

Now we are going to have unlicensed, unregulated strangers not only taking all writers’ money and paperwork, but getting it deposited electronically into their accounts.

Now agents are going to start to claim ownership in a work, claim ownership in covers in packages sold to publishers, claim ownership in layout of manuscripts sent to publishers.

Folks, in case you have never worked with a packager (I have, numbers of them, actually), they tend to get 50% of the gross after expenses (such as covers, design, and so on), which mean you will be getting 50% of net from your agent instead of 85% of gross of the payments from a traditional publisher as has been the rate in the past, or 70% of gross if you publish the book electronically yourself. (Of course, publisher payment is after they take their 85%, but we all know the math of all that now.)

That’s what agent Mary Kole and other agents are after and why I was shuddering. Most writers are so stupid, with time they will go for that while the agents swear they are helping them.

That’s right, mark my words, writers will give agents 50% of net instead of 85% of the money they get from a publisher very shortly.

Yup, the agents will be helping them right out of over half of their money.

See why this article made me shudder? The agent issues are not going away.

They are getting worse.

And writers are going to let it happen.

What I See Coming…

Okay, let me get out my short-term crystal ball and take a look at the near future. Here are a few predictions, not fun, but what I see happening in relationship to writers and agents, from the writer’s point of view.

– Writers Splitting into Two Factions

There will become two groups of writers, both defending their way of doing things in very angry arguments. We have already seen small flashes of this with some indie writers and traditional-published writers. Each group looks suspect at the other. That divide will change and sharpen dramatically over the next few years. (Holy smokes, hit that one on the head.)

Those of us who want control and don’t want agents as collaborators will lean more and more toward the indie publishing side. Those who want to be taken care of will flock to the new way of agents. So the fight won’t be indie writer vs traditional writer, it will be indie writer vs agented writer. And it will get ugly at times. Mark my words. (Uhh, yah.)

– Scams will Explode

The horror stories of bad treatment by agents is well documented in the comments of Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing, but I don’t think we can even imagine the explosion in numbers of scams and writers getting taken by agents. Agents, many agents, are going to be desperate to stay alive and in business as things turn in the next few years.

You think it was hard to trace money from a traditional publisher before, this new world of electronic publishing makes that old way look simple. Remember, anyone with a business card can become an agent. No rules, no regulations. And a lot of money at stake.

— Electronic and POD  Self (or Small) Publishing Will Be the New Entry Path to Traditional Publishing

Right now agents, because they have been given the slush piles by publishers, think they control most of the content going to traditional publishers. But in short order, electronic publishing sales of indie-writers will bring traditional publishers and movie producers and games designers and so much more flocking to them. (That happened for a short time, but indie writers got smart and started saying no.)

The top indie-selling books in another year will be like flames drawing in the companies who want to jump on board. This is only starting to happen and it will go around agents. Some agents will also be attracted to the bright lights of the top sellers, but with luck, those writers will turn those agents away. (Nope, sadly many indie writers signed on with agents because of belief in myths like you need an agent to sell translation rights.)

In this process over the next five to ten years, the slush pile will almost vanish as we know it now and editors will go mostly to solicited novels, either from agents who have published their clients work or from indie publishers.

It will be easier for an editor to be aware of a book and go read it than for it ever to be sent in to an editor. Possibly “future slush piles” could be simple letters giving a pitch on the book and a coupon for the editor to read it for free and take a look at the overall package. And editors will be able to look at a platform of sales. (But what I didn’t see was indie writers not bothering at all with traditional publishing after realizing they like the freedom and the extra money. I missed that one.)

Note: This is the exact same packaging approach agent Mary Kole in her article was talking about. Editors and publishers will be looking for more completely finished books. Complete packages.

So agents will package and sell and take most of the money, or indie writers will package and sell their own work and keep most of the money. Either way, the slush pile as we know it now will be vanishing for the most part as publishers look for more complete packages instead of just manuscripts. That part I agree with Mary about.

– Writers as a Class Will Start to Regain Power in their Own Minds.

Writers have always been in control, but for some reason as a class we sort of have forgotten. Writers let agents get away with what they do, we let publishers take what they take. As a group, we run everything in publishing, but our problem is that we first don’t believe it. And second, we never agree to band together to stop anything.

For example, even with all the scams and money vanishing without a trace to agents, writers could have forced agents into some sort of regulation and oversight. But, of course, we did not. Writers individually always believe that it is the other agents who are ripping people off, never their own agent.

But this coming clash between the writers with agent packagers and writers who do it all themselves will cause a general shift in writers starting to take control again. Indie writers are already all over the boards screaming about this “control” issue (even though they are falsely aiming it at traditional publishers at the moment). This control issue is not with publishers. It is with other writers giving it up and letting others do all the work. Writers, through contracts, control what they give away or don’t give away to a traditional publisher.

Another sign of the control returning will be more and more writers willing to walk away from traditional deals offered. When a writer understands how much money they can make by publishing it themselves, it’s going to be harder and harder for a traditional publisher to compete. This newly realized ability to walk away from offers will also start increasing the general sense of writer power. (Holy smokes, got this one right way back in January 2011.)

As more and more writers start to realize the power of indie publishing and the money that can be made, the more the split between the two groups of writers will happen. (Yup.)

And then as more writers get scammed or realize that they are giving away over half of their money to an agent packager, the larger the “take control” movement will be.

Writers over the next five to ten years will again start to believe that they have control. (Happening faster than I thought it would, thankfully.)

So What is the Upshot of All This?

The article from the agent Mary Kole that started this is very clear and logical and solid from the agent’s point of view.

But she has a very disturbing underlying assumption.  She believes that writers want to be taken care of and won’t mind sharing and collaborating and giving more money away.

She’s right for some writers. Many writers won’t mind. Many writers will think they need the help, will buy into the myths that using an agent or agent-as-packager is the only way. Thus this growing movement of indie writers doing it all themselves, including selling to traditional publishers will split professional fiction writers into two major camps. Indie writers and agent/packaged (take care of me) writers.

The battle is just starting. It won’t settle out until long after this electronic revolution in publishing is done and mostly leveled out. And that’s going to be years.

And those of us who hoped that the electronic publishing revolution would kill most of the writer/agent model of publishing have been wrong. It’s just going to change it to agent-as-packager model.

And for writers, that’s a ton worse in so many ways.

(Again, I wrote the above in January of 2011… Thought it would be fun to bring it to the present to see how things are going.)

Posted in On Writing, publishing | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 26

Year 2, Month 1, Day 26 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day off of writing the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Today was so busy, I flat forgot to eat lunch. Not good. Up around 2 p.m., e-mail, snail mail, bank, and then back to WMG Publishing offices.

Worked there with different people on different projects for a time. All sorts of fun stuff, but before I realized it, it was almost 6 p.m.

I headed home to do more e-mail, then took a nap with the white cat, dinner, and news. Once again Kris did the dishes even though she cooked to help me out. I was back in this office by 8 p.m. working on online workshop stuff.

And yes, all workshops, including the new Productivity Online Workshop have more than enough room. None are close to filling. So if interested, feel free to sign up.

I headed back to the WMG offices around 9:30 p.m. and finished up the online workshops by 10:30 when Kris got there to exercise. I started another project, then went upstairs to talk with her for a time.

She left around 11:30 p.m. and I kept working. I finally headed home from WMG Publishing around 3 a.m.  That’s unusual and will only be tonight and maybe tomorrow, then back to normal.

Anyhow, by the time I got back in here to try to write, my mind was a distance away from the novel, so I decided to work on a few other things I wanted to do, including cleaning out some really old blog posts.

One post I ran across was one of the early New World of Publishing posts from January 2011. I thought it would be fun to bring it forward and comment on it since I made some predictions in the post. (Some I hit, some I missed, as would be expected.)

And it kind of scares me that in 2011 I was still open to some traditional publishing, (and still doing some) but without agents. Traditional publisher contracts turned so ugly in the last 3 years I would now never consider it. And agents now want partial ownership for the life of a copyright of something they touch, which is even worse than three years ago as well.

So anyhow, thought it would be fun to put that up now in 2014. We are making progress, some of it faster than I had hoped. But I really hate the fight between writers. I just flat think that hurts all of us.

So now going to relax some before heading to bed and having another crazy day tomorrow before things calm down and I can get back to writing on the novel.

But I think this is the first day off from fiction writing in this new year so far. Not bad for me.

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 26

– Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 53,300 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,300 words

– Blog Posts: 800 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 15,900 words

– E-mail: 31 e-mails. Approx. 1,100 original words. E-mails month-to date: 726 e-mails. Approx. 21,800 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 6 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 25

Year 2, Month 1, Day 25 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day eleven of writing the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

A crazy busy Monday. Not really sure why, but it was.

Rolled out around 2 p.m. as normal, then did e-mail, got the snail mail, went to one bank, and headed to the WMG Publishing offices. There I worked with two of the great people there to set up something I’ll announce next week. Great progress.

At some point in all that, the kitten went off for a check-up to the vet and its new home. (See picture below for kitten’s new person.)

Then I went home at 6 p.m. to do e-mail, nap with my white cat, dinner, and news. Kris did the dishes, even though she cooked because she knew how busy I was. I headed up to WMG offices at around 8:30 p.m. Five people were still there working. Wow, do we have a great crew. Amazing.

I got Smith’s Monthly #12 back from the proofer and had help getting it flowed in, so I can start the formatting on it. Then I headed home to do workshop stuff until around 10 p.m. Then out to the grocery store, then back up to WMG offices to do more workshop stuff. Kris was already there, walking, and two of our crew were still working.

(Now I’m starting to understand as I type this why I felt the day was busy. (grin))

Home around 11:30 to watch some television. Back into this office around 1 a.m. to look at the writing, but so tired, I went out to my reading chair and fell asleep for twenty minutes.

Then back in here around 2 a.m. to do a session. Finally.

I managed, starting back two chapters, to run at where I left off yesterday and get another 900 new words by 3 a.m. I took a short break, got a breakfast bar, worked at trying to figure out an exercise schedule I hope to add in here at the start of next month, then I went back to writing. Another 800 words is all by 4 a.m.

I suppose I could keep going, but I seem to be in the ding-along stage of this book, so going to not push tonight. I hope to finish it by the first of the month, so I’ll have a huge push starting on Thursday night. (Scary busy on two other non-writing projects until then.)

I have also been dinging at a longer blog post, but not yet counting the words. I will count the words when I make a run at finishing it. I call the post “The Great Flattening” and it will be in the New Worlds of Publishing series.

Plus, in the next few days I’m going to start a brand new nonfiction series here that will end up as a book on writing. And am gathering another bunch of Sacred Cows for a third book in that series. And I’m finishing up Think Like a Publisher.

Fun nonfiction stuff on writing coming up.

And now for some cuteness that is off the charts. The picture is of the kitten on his last day in the office and his new mistress, Miss Nola.

Nola is Allyson Longueira’s daughter. Allyson is the publisher of WMG Publishing. Nola’s dad, the writer Barton Howe, took the picture in Allyson’s office and put it on Facebook. I think that kitten will be loved.

Nola and Kitten

——-

Writing of the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Day 1…. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 4,600 words
Day 2…. 7,150 words. Total words to date…. 11,750 words
Day 3…. 4,300 words. Total words to date…. 16,050 words
Day 4…. 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 18,200 words
Day 5…. 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 19,300 words
Day 6…. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 21,400 words
Day 7…. 2,050 words. Total words to date…. 23,450 words
Day 8…. 3,100 words. Total words to date…. 26,550 words
Day 9…. 1,700 words. Total words to date…. 28,250 words
Day 10… 3,100 words. Total words to date…. 31,350 words
Day 11… 1,700 words. Total words to date…. 33,050 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 25 

– Daily Fiction: 1,700 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 53,300 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,300 words

– Blog Posts: 600 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 15,100 words

– E-mail: 35 e-mails. Approx. 1,200 original words. E-mails month-to date: 697 e-mails. Approx. 20,700 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 6 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 24

Year 2, Month 1, Day 24 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day ten of writing the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Sunday, Sunday… A pretty good one. Managed to make it out of bed by 1 p.m. even with all the stress from the electrical fire last night. And off to the professional writer’s meeting.

Great discussion for a few hours. Then up to WMG Publishing. I worked there until 6 p.m. finally getting Smith’s Monthly #11 all done and loaded to the printer. Yeah!

And before Smith’s Monthly #12 gets back from the proofer. Nifty. That’s how the schedule is supposed to work. Go figure. (grin)

Home to do some workshop stuff and take a nap with the white cat, then dinner, news, and dishes. Then I went to work on the rest of the workshop stuff and managed to get a lot of it done by 9:30 p.m.

So over to the writing computer and I managed 700 words in just under an hour. Why so few is honestly I felt like the book was bogging down and I needed to hit it with a few sudden surprises. Not a clue what, but my subconscious was telling me to write no more until I figured it out.

And after over a hundred novels, I know that little voice very well. (grin)

Kris and I went up to the WMG offices at 10:30 p.m. and I did the last of the workshop stuff, then headed upstairs to move books from one area to another. Then at 11:30 I fed the kitten for the last time (It’s headed to its new home tomorrow.) Then Kris and I came home and watched some television until around 1 a.m.

I then made it back in here to this writing office and managed another 1,000 words, but it was a grind. Horrid grind.

So out to the living room (around 2 a.m.) I went to try to figure out what I needed to smash into this book.

After dozing slightly in my chair for about ten minutes, I had it figured out. I then did about five minutes of research online to make sure my memory of what I was planning to happen was accurate. It was.

So back over to the computer by 2:15 a.m. (Each time I had to move the white cat from one chair to the other. He just grunts and sometimes I doubt he even wakes up.)

In the novel I backed up about three chapters, killed those chapters, and brought in the big problem like a truck smashing through a wall of tissue paper. And wow did that help. In the next hour, while sipping on some water and licking a spoon of peanut butter, I got 1,400 words done before hitting a stopping point.

Stopping point was that my eyes wouldn’t stay open.

I still don’t know where the book is going or how my characters are going to stop the big bad. But I now know who the big bad is and what they are protecting. And I have the stakes.

So huge progress. I’m now headed to bed to try to catch up on some sleep after last night.

Oh, and one more really cool thing I need to announce and I will talk about later. Fiction River: Universe Between is now out. I edited the volume and I’m very proud of it. Some amazing stories in here written by some amazing authors I’ll talk about later. Just flat amazing.

Go to Fiction River web site for information on how to subscribe or order it in any store. I’ll talk more about the editing process on this one coming up next week and a ton more about Fiction River over the next month.

——-

Writing of the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Day 1…. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 4,600 words
Day 2…. 7,150 words. Total words to date…. 11,750 words
Day 3…. 4,300 words. Total words to date…. 16,050 words
Day 4…. 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 18,200 words
Day 5…. 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 19,300 words
Day 6…. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 21,400 words
Day 7…. 2,050 words. Total words to date…. 23,450 words
Day 8…. 3,100 words. Total words to date…. 26,550 words
Day 9…. 1,700 words. Total words to date…. 28,250 words
Day 10… 3,100 words. Total words to date…. 31,350 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 23 

– Daily Fiction: 3,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 51,600 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,300 words

– Blog Posts: 600 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 14,500 words

– E-mail: 24 e-mails. Approx. 900 original words. E-mails month-to date: 662 e-mails. Approx. 19,500 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 6 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 23

Year 2, Month 1, Day 23 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day nine of writing the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Well, all good plans and all that…

Day went great for the most part. Got up at 2 p.m. and managed to get some e-mail done, then get to the snail mail, then to the WMG offices by 3:30 p.m. Worked there until after 6 p.m. on formatting of Smith’s Monthly #11.

Home for the standard nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes. Then instead of working on the financial project, I headed back to WMG offices to try to finish up the formatting on Smith’s Monthly #11. Got the interior done and I have a few details to do on the cover before sending it off to the printer. One major project down.

So after Kris got done walking and I fed the kitten, we headed home to watch a little television. Got into this office to write around 1 a.m. and managed around 800 words before taking a break to rest for a few minutes around 2 a.m.

I was also doing some laundry at the same time, so I put in a load in the dryer and went back to writing. I managed about 900 more words by just before 3 a.m. when I went out to get something to drink and smelled burning electrical.

It seemed the plug for the dryer had caught fire. I got the breaker shut down, then got the dryer plug out of the wall, and the house opened up to try to clear the burning electrical smell. I had caught it just in time. Very close, but very smelly.

I opened up windows and was checking it to make sure nothing was burning in the walls when Kris got woken up by the smell and came out. (Smoke wasn’t bad enough to set off any of the dozens of fire alarms, just horrid smell of electrical wire burning.) With her there, I managed to get the outside box off the 220 outlet and it was clear what had happened. A wire had grounded across and melted in the box. The heat turned a little of sheetrock wall above it brown as well.

We managed to get the house completely open and airing out and everything checked by 4 a.m. and then we sat around for the next hour talking about the remodeling we are planning for this place in the near future.

So dodged a bullet with the electrical fire, managed to hang up my still damp shirts, and some good planning on the coming remodeling, but no writing past what I had done before the wire melted. Now the fun of finding an electrician in the middle of the summer in a small town. Yeah, that’s going to be fun. (grin)

And for the first time, our cat who just had major dental surgery is doing fine and eating again. Yeah. So a strange day, which is not that unusual around here.

Night.

——-

Writing of the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Day 1…. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 4,600 words
Day 2…. 7,150 words. Total words to date…. 11,750 words
Day 3…. 4,300 words. Total words to date…. 16,050 words
Day 4…. 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 18,200 words
Day 5…. 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 19,300 words
Day 6…. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 21,400 words
Day 7…. 2,050 words. Total words to date…. 23,450 words
Day 8…. 3,100 words. Total words to date…. 26,550 words
Day 9…. 1,700 words. Total words to date…. 28,250 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 23 

– Daily Fiction: 1,700 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 48,500 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,300 words

– Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 13,900 words

– E-mail: 14 e-mails. Approx. 200 original words. E-mails month-to date: 638 e-mails. Approx. 18,600 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 6 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 22

Year 2, Month 1, Day 22 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day eight of writing the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

This turned out to be a good start to a new schedule I need to keep for about a week. So up around 2 p.m. as is my best time to sleep until in most cases. I did e-mail, then headed off to the snail mail, then the WMG office.

I worked there with the folks for a short time, then headed to my office to work on formatting Smith’s Monthly #11. I did one more cover for a short story in the issue and got into formatting the novel, The High Edge: A Seeders Universe Novel that is in the last part of the issue. So gaining on it. I should have the issue to the printer on Monday, with luck.

Then home for a little more e-mail, then the standard nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes.

Then around 8:30 p.m. I went to work on getting financial receipts sorted and ready to be entered into a new financial program I am getting set up. I need to do that every night for a week to get everything ready to go to our accountant for him to check next week. Ahh, fun, but going to be great when done.

Here is the cover for Smith’s Monthly #11 that I am working on.

Then when Kris was ready to go up to the WMG offices at 10:30 p.m. I went with her and went back to work on Smith’s Monthly formatting. Then I fed the kitten and Kris and I headed home at 11:30 p.m.

Off to watch some television, then back into this office at 1:15 a.m. (New goal is to get in here around 1 a.m. to write, give or take. That’s a goal and won’t always be possible, I know that. (grin))

I got about a thousand words done on the book before 2:15 a.m., then took a quick break, did another 1,200 words by 3:30 a.m. Then I took another short break and did another 900 words by 4:15 a.m. Way tired, so tossing in the towel for the night instead of pushing on.

So a decent night. And a lot done today and I finally feel as if I have some control on the various projects. Yeah, that’s going to last, but for the moment it feels good. (grin)

——-

Writing of the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Day 1…. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 4,600 words
Day 2…. 7,150 words. Total words to date…. 11,750 words
Day 3…. 4,300 words. Total words to date…. 16,050 words
Day 4…. 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 18,200 words
Day 5…. 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 19,300 words
Day 6…. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 21,400 words
Day 7…. 2,050 words. Total words to date…. 23,450 words
Day 8…. 3,100 words. Total words to date…. 26,550 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 22 

– Daily Fiction: 3,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 46,800 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,300 words

– Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 13,400 words

– E-mail: 11 e-mails. Approx. 200 original words. E-mails month-to date: 624 e-mails. Approx. 18,400 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 1. Covers finished month-to-date: 6 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 21

Year 2, Month 1, Day 21 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day seven of writing the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Tonight I’ll do a little more detail around the writing, but there wasn’t much to do tonight due to the day at hand. And I’ll also compare the numbers from last year through 21 days to the numbers this year.

Day started off really, really rocky. We have an old cat who needed dental stuff, so Kris got out of bed around 6:30 a.m. to get him to the vet. I had been in bed about an hour at that point. A little after seven she woke me to help get the cat into the carrier. I went back to bed. She got back 45 minutes later, phone rang for some reason, and since I had the phone by the bed, that woke me up.

A couple more things like that before I finally rolled out around 12:30 to make a meeting at 1:30. I was exhausted, but Kris more so by a long ways. (Cat was fine, Kris picked it up after surgery later in the afternoon and all is great.)

So meetings from 1:30 until 6 p.m.  Then I went downstairs to my office at WMG to work on some formatting of Smith’s Monthly before going home with Kris around 7 p.m. to have a nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes.

I stumbled back up to WMG Publishing at 10 p.m. and did the cover for the Smith’s Monthly #13 that will have Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift in it. Allyson and I found the art and agreed to it, so I did the Smith’s Monthly cover and she’s going to do the novel cover. Now I just need to finish writing it. (grin)

So home around midnight, then off to watch some television. Finally at 2 a.m. I got back into this office to do all the e-mail I had let go earlier in the day. I got that done around 3 a.m. and moved the white cat out of the writing chair into this internet chair and went to work.

First let me set the scene a little for you here in this office. Two chairs, one which has the white cat sleeping. My window over my file cabinets is open pretty wide and I can’t hear the oldies playing on my Sonos at all for the sound of the surf pounding on the beach.

I write on a big new iMac, huge screen with a second screen. I pulled up the novel file and went back about two chapters (1,800 words or so) from where I left off and started reading and messing with the book, adding in details and such as I moved forward to where I had left off. That took all of fifteen minutes and I added about 100 new words. I powered forward and managed to get done by 3:45 a.m. right at 1,000 new words total.

I took a short break, heading out to the kitchen and dumping out my iced tea for sparkling water and getting a breakfast bar (100 cal). Back at the novel, starting back about two hundred words and running at the spot I had stopped, managing right at 1,050 new words by 4:30 a.m.

Short break for more water and a tablespoon of peanut butter (about 90 cal). I was feeling exhausted, more so than I had been all day, but I really wanted to get another session done tonight. I sat down in my reading chair in the dark living room to rest my eye for a minute and almost instantly started to doze off. I caught myself and decided that the old towel needed to be tossed in for the night.

So 2,050 new words for the night, but honestly I’m pretty happy with that. Earlier on I was just thinking of taking the night off.

——-

Writing of the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Day 1…. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 4,600 words
Day 2…. 7,150 words. Total words to date…. 11,750 words
Day 3…. 4,300 words. Total words to date…. 16,050 words
Day 4…. 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 18,200 words
Day 5…. 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 19,300 words
Day 6…. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 21,400 words
Day 7…. 2,050 words. Total words to date…. 23,450 words

——–

As you can see below, I am 12,100 original fiction words ahead of the same point in August last year.

My total in all areas this year after 21 days is 76,100 words for the month of August, 2014.

My total in all areas in 21 days in August 2013 was 64,800 words.

So doing better this August so far over last August. Still a third of the month to go.

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 21 

– Daily Fiction: 2,050 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 43,700 words (31,600 by same date last year) 

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,300 words (1,000 by same date last year)

– Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 12,900 words (15,100 by same date last year)

– E-mail: 14 e-mails. Approx. 400 original words. E-mails month-to date: 613 (557) e-mails. Approx. 18,200 words (17,100 by same date last year)

– Covers Designed and Finished: 1. Covers finished month-to-date: 5 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Writing in Public: Year Two, Month 1, Day 20

Year 2, Month 1, Day 20 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day six of writing the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Tomorrow, as I have been doing at times this month, I will not only compare this month to last year’s first 21 days, but will add in more detail about the writing and the thinking involved as the night goes on.

Today was just a regular day, except for a few fun things that popped up. First off, for the second time in two days, I heard from people who were worried about me and didn’t know what I have been up to and were concerned.

Uhhhh… every day for over year… right here… my real name… detailed out in all boring details… But some people don’t read blogs.

One person was concerned that they had heard I was hurting for money and needed to write a lot of books to make money. Well, in the past, in my media days and trying to pay off the Pulphouse debt back in the early 1990s, that was the case.

But wow, not anymore, which I find amazingly cool thanks to indie publishing. I’m writing this blog, doing these books, doing Smith’s Monthly because I’m having a blast. And I’m challenged by it. And we’re making some money on my writing, which is also fun. And as all indie writers slowly building inventory, as I get more titles out, I make more money. And that’s really fun as well.

So if you hear someone worried about us (which is very nice), have them come here and read a few months worth of these blogs. Kris is doing great, I’m doing great, we’re just writing and enjoying the process and every night I put it out right here.

Speaking of writing… tonight, up at the WMG offices I was moving some books while Kris was exercising and I came across an old book about The Shadow and Maxwell Grant, which was the house name for the Shadow created by the writer of most Shadow novels, Walter B. Gibson. He wrote 24 novels a year for the Shadow Magazine for years.

I mentioned that to Kris and told her I needed to speed up and she laughed and said, “Now you have a challenge.”

She is evil that way. (grin) I’ll bring the book home and put it up here and some great quotes from it later in the week. Walter B. Gibson was just flat amazing. One of the great forgotten heroes of the pulp writing world because he was overshadowed by the Maxwell Grant pen name.

So anyhow, today started off normal, doing e-mail, then off to get the snail mail and then up to WMG Publishing around 4 p.m. I talked with the gang there for a short time, then went to my office and worked on formatting Smith’s Monthly #11. I did one cover for a short story inside it as well.

Then home for a nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes. Then back up to WMG office by 9 p.m. to work on Smith’s Monthly #11 formatting. Gaining on it.

Kris got to the WMG offices around 11 p.m. and I went upstairs to move books and that was when I got trapped reading that book about The Shadow and Gibson. I then fed the kitten and Kris and I headed home to watch a little television.

Kitten will be going to its new home on Monday, so only a few more days of Kitten feeding for me. Photo is a few days back by Barton Howe of how the kitten looks after eating. We gave him a bigger plate and now he stands in his food while eating it.

Kitten eating

I got back up here around 1:30 a.m., and decided I needed a little nap to help me get started on the writing. Slept in my reading chair until around 2 a.m. and then stumbled around for a while before getting to the novel.

I wrote about 900 words before 3:15 a.m., took a short break, went back and wrote another 1,200 words by 4:30 a.m. and tossed in the towel because I needed to be up early tomorrow and I got to a major section break in the novel. Or at least it seemed like it should be a section break.

So not a large day, but words done. 2,100 new words.

——-

Writing of the novel Heaven Painted as a Christmas Gift.

Day 1…. 4,600 words. Total words to date…. 4,600 words
Day 2…. 7,150 words. Total words to date…. 11,750 words
Day 3…. 4,300 words. Total words to date…. 16,050 words
Day 4…. 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 18,200 words
Day 5…. 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 19,300 words
Day 6…. 2,100 words. Total words to date…. 21,400 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 20 

– Daily Fiction: 2,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 41,650 words 

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,300 words

– Blog Posts: 700 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 12,400 words

– E-mail: 15 e-mails. Approx. 400 original words. E-mails month-to date: 599 e-mails. Approx. 17,800 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 1. Covers finished month-to-date: 4 Covers

For projects finished in the first year and links to the posts, click on the Writing in Public tab above.

For projects finished this month and where you can read them, click continue reading below.

Continue reading

Posted in Challenge, On Writing, publishing, Writing in Public | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Productivity Workshop Starting


Kris and I are two of the most prolific long-term writers working today. And we have done that year-after-year for thirty years. Well, finally we decided to tackle the one area we have been avoiding in teaching.

Productivity.

That’s right, we’re finally going to teach how to be productive with your writing. And in this new indie world, productivity is a critical skill to have.

If you followed my blog last year and watched me write twelve novels, three nonfiction books, and thirty-plus short stories while working a day job with WMG Publishing and online workshops, you know what productivity is. Kris and I can teach you how to do that and a lot of other ways of being productive as well.

If you are tired of looking back at a year and wondering why you didn’t write more, this workshop is for you.

If you think you just write too slowly, this workshop is for you.

So for a six week workshop online, we are going to help writers become more productive and learn habits and techniques that will keep you productive for years to come. Six weeks of videos, five assignments. If you want to write an extra book per year, or just more stories, and can never seem to make it happen, this new workshop is for you.

We can all find extra time, but most writers don’t know how to convert that extra time over months and years into more stories and novels.

Limited to twelve writers per session as all online workshops are. I will present this workshop as normal, but Kris and I are planning it together. Sign-up under the Online Workshop tab above.

Also starting in September is How to Write Science Fiction Online Workshop.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch is the only writer on the planet to win a Hugo Award for both professional editing and for her writing. And she was nominated for many, many more Hugo Awards and has won the Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award at least five times. I have been nominated for five or six Hugo Awards myself over the years, including for editing the Science Fiction Writers of America Handbook. And I have written over twenty Star Trek novels, Men in Black novels, and a ton of other sf books including The Tenth Planet series with Kris.

So we’re going to teach you how to write science fiction that sells, both to magazines and to readers.

I will present this workshop as well, but again Kris and I are both planning it. And for those who took the sf workshop here at the coast a year or so ago, this is very different. Different structure, different focus, everything.

Limited to twelve writers as all online workshops are. Information and sign-up under the Online Workshop tab above.

Posted in On Writing, publishing, workshops | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments