Middle of the Month Reminder for August Online Workshops

All online workshops have openings at this point.  Each is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do. I’ll work with you around any vacation, so no problem there at all. The class can work around your schedule easily.

I have bolded the newer workshops that have started this year. Thriller and Series workshop are both brand new in June. Schedule through December is under the green button.

Class #1… Aug 2nd … How to Write a Thriller
Class #2… Aug 2nd … How to Write Series Novels
Class #3… Aug 2nd … Originality
Class #4… Aug 2nd … Character Voice/Setting
Class #5… Aug 3rd … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #6… Aug 3rd … Depth in Writing
Class #7… Aug 3rd … Genre Structure
Class #8… Aug 4th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #9… Aug 4th … Cliffhangers
Class #10… Aug 4th … Openings

I WILL WORK WITH YOU AROUND YOUR VACATIONS. NO PROBLEM AT ALL!

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

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

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Writing in Public: Month 12, Day 23

Month 12, Day 23 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day twelve of writing the novel Avalanche Creek: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

Once again up way early for me at around noon. (For those of you who giggle at that, if your normal time to get out of bed is 7 a.m., tomorrow get up at 5 a.m. and you’ll get the idea. (grin))

I headed up to WMG Publishing a little after one and worked with my friend for four hours on the new audio room. New door in, room itself all framed in and it’s looking cool.

I headed home to get Kris around 6:00 and we headed down the coast to Staples for supplies and dinner. Fun trip (35 miles one way along the ocean) and we planned all sorts of fun things.

We got back around 9 p.m. and I took a short nap, then headed for WMG offices to work on various things, including ordering books, ordering soundproofing materials, and working on Smith’s Monthly #10 layout. I’m behind but not really worried since it can’t be sent out until the fine folks at WMG return. But got to get that done.

I got home around midnight and went to watch some television, then back in this office around 1:30 a.m. I got on the phone to my web site service provider and talked with them for about thirty minutes, getting a few things arranged, including, I hope, the ability to upload short videos to this web site.

So instead of writing first, I recorded the short video below, then went to work writing, moving Walter White Cat from my writing chair to this chair.

I managed about 900 new words before tossing in the towel and moving back to this chair and moving Walter back to the writing chair.

Not a lot of words today, but a productive and fun day. Progress is being made on all sorts of things.

Something New and Different

(A very short video with me and Walter here in the office.)

As far as the video, yes, I know the lighting is bad and it’s a little fuzzy. It was a test. It will get slightly better if I decide to do more of these on various topics this coming year. Or I’ll record them up at WMG Publishing where the light is a ton better. (grin)

——-

Writing of AVALANCHE CREEK: A THUNDER MOUNTAIN NOVEL

Day 1… 900 words. Total words to date……900
Day 2… 1,750 words. Total words to date……2,650
Day 3… 1,200 words. Total words to date……3,850
Day 4… 1,150 words. Total words to date……5,000
Day 5… 2,800 words. Total words to date……7,800
Day 6… 5,450 words. Total words to date……13,250
Day 7… 1,000 words. Total words to date……14,250
Day 8… 2,550 words. Total words to date……16,800
Day 9… 1,050 words. Total words to date……17,850
Day 10… 1,200 words. Total words to date……19,050
Day 11… 1,050 words. Total words to date……20,100
Day 12… 900 words. Total words to date……21,000

——–

Totals For Month 12, Day 23

– Daily Fiction: 900 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 31,500 words

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,500 words

– Blog Posts: 450 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 12,150 words

– E-mail: 17 e-mails. Approx. 800 original words. E-mails month-to date: 615 e-mails. Approx. 19,450 words

– Covers Designed and Finished:0. Covers finished month-to-date: 8 Covers

 

For projects finished in the first nine months 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

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Writing in Public: Month 12, Day 22

Month 12, Day 22 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day eleven of writing the novel Avalanche Creek: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

Ended up getting a late start on the construction today at WMG Publishing due to working on the Online Workshops web site. But my friend who is helping me with the construction kept on going and I added some minor help in toward the end and we made good progress.

Then I worked for a while longer on workshop stuff, then headed home around 6 p.m. to do e-mail that I hadn’t had time for earlier. Then I took the standard nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes. I managed to do a little more workshop and e-mail and then get back up to WMG Publishing around 9 p.m.

I worked on Smith’s Monthly #10 layout and did two covers, including a mock-up of the Smith’s Monthly with Avalanche Creek, the novel I am working on now. Kris got there around 10:45 p.m. and I went upstairs and finished up packing a wall of books for the movers to move to another area. So that’s done.

And I ordered the new shelves for that wall. It’s going to be a really cool brag wall of all the WMG paper books. I’ll take a picture and put it here when that’s all done.

Kris and I headed home around 11:45 and I went and watched some television before going back to workshop stuff.

I worked from 1 a.m. until 3 a.m. on the workshop stuff and e-mail. The August online workshops still have openings and I will have the schedule until the end of the year up in the next day or so. Kris and I are still trying to figure out one thing. But August and September are up.

And I have added back in the online Science Fiction Workshop in September that we cancelled. I don’t have a description of it yet on the web page, but it will be very, very different from the sf workshop Kris taught here on the coast a year ago.

Then, even though it was a late start and I needed to get up tomorrow early for more construction, I headed for the writing computer to do at least a small session on the book.

By a little after 4 a.m. I had managed 1,050 words. I find that amazing considering the day.

So here is the mock-up of Issue #12 of Smith’s Monthly. (Yup, I said twelve… I am working on formatting #10, Issue #11 is being proofed, and this is for #12. Wow.)

I like this one and it fits with the other covers for the Thunder Mountain series. We shall see if this ends up being the final cover or not.

——-

Writing of AVALANCHE CREEK: A THUNDER MOUNTAIN NOVEL

Day 1… 900 words. Total words to date……900
Day 2… 1,750 words. Total words to date……2,650
Day 3… 1,200 words. Total words to date……3,850
Day 4… 1,150 words. Total words to date……5,000
Day 5… 2,800 words. Total words to date……7,800
Day 6… 5,450 words. Total words to date……13,250
Day 7… 1,000 words. Total words to date……14,250
Day 8… 2,550 words. Total words to date……16,800
Day 9… 1,050 words. Total words to date……17,850
Day 10… 1,200 words. Total words to date……19,050
Day 11… 1,050 words. Total words to date……20,100

——–

Totals For Month 12, Day 22

– Daily Fiction: 1,050 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 30,600 words

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,500 words

– Blog Posts: 450 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 11,700 words

– E-mail: 39 e-mails. Approx. 1,600 original words. E-mails month-to date: 598 e-mails. Approx. 18,650 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 2. Covers finished month-to-date: 8 Covers

 

For projects finished in the first nine months 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

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Writing in Public: Month 12, Day 21

Month 12, Day 21 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day ten of writing the novel Avalanche Creek: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

Got fired up on building the new sound room today up at WMG Publishing. I got there around 2 p.m. to meet a friend who is helping me. We got the new door punched through to the old sound office The old door will be the entrance to the new sound room. Plus we got the two new stud walls ready to go up. Good progress.

We worked on that until around 4:30 p.m. and then I headed to get the snail mail, then back to the office for some lunch and working on Smith’s Monthly #10 formatting. I did another cover for the issue. And made progress.

I got home around 6:30 p.m. to do some e-mail, then a nap with the white cat, dinner, news and dishes. Back up to WMG Publishing around 9 p.m. to keep working on Smith’s Monthly.

Kris got there around 10:30 and I went upstairs to pack boxes while she walked. We headed home around midnight.

The movers are coming on Saturday to do a bunch of moving boxes around that I have packed. And for the first time in years I won’t have hardly any comic books in my house. All will be up in the office. The last large truckload of them are moving on Saturday.

I went to watch some television at midnight and at 1 a.m. got up here to this office. I worked on the last of the online workshop stuff for the day until around 2:30 a.m., then took a very quick nap (ten minutes) and woke up knowing the direction the book is going.

This book is the most complex time travel book I have ever written, and that’s going some considering my first novel was the first time a time loop had ever been done to trap a character (1988 way before Groundhog’s Day movie.)  This book is far, far more complex than that first novel, and no time loops either. So it’s a challenge and I’m glad my subconscious finally gave me a direction. We shall type some and see if it’s the right direction.

So from 3 a.m. until 4:15 a.m. I wrote about 1,200 words. I took a break to look for a couple of poems for Smith’s Monthly and while going through a box of old stuff, I found a list of novels I had forgotten I had done back in 2006. I was trying to count them all, I guess. (grin)

I can say this, my thriller Dead Money was the 77th novel in the list (Never published until 2013). I gave up counting on that list a year later in 2007 at 94 novels. That’s a LOT of novels.

Of course, I will have done another dozen novels just in the last twelve months when this one I’m working on wraps up. I suppose at some point I should try to figure out the novels between 2007 and 2013, huh? More than likely that will not be a huge number. I was doing other things for some of those years and growing more and more disgusted with traditional publishing.

But that was a fun list to find. I had completely forgotten about some of those novels on the list. And yes, I found two poems that would work in Smith’s Monthly as well.

Then, since I didn’t want to dig back into the book, I wrote about 250 words on the new chapter of Think Like a Publisher.

A busy day. Back to construction tomorrow.

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Writing of AVALANCHE CREEK: A THUNDER MOUNTAIN NOVEL

Day 1… 900 words. Total words to date……900
Day 2… 1,750 words. Total words to date……2,650
Day 3… 1,200 words. Total words to date……3,850
Day 4… 1,150 words. Total words to date……5,000
Day 5… 2,800 words. Total words to date……7,800
Day 6… 5,450 words. Total words to date……13,250
Day 7… 1,000 words. Total words to date……14,250
Day 8… 2,550 words. Total words to date……16,800
Day 9… 1,050 words. Total words to date……17,850
Day 10… 1,200 words. Total words to date……19,050

——–

Totals For Month 12, Day 21

– Daily Fiction: 1,200 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 29,550 words

– Nonfiction: 250 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,500 words

– Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 11,250 words

– E-mail: 36 e-mails. Approx. 1,100 original words. E-mails month-to date: 559 e-mails. Approx. 17,050 words

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

 

For projects finished in the first nine months 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

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Writing in Public: Month 12, Day 20

Month 12, Day 20 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day off from writing the novel Avalanche Creek: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

A normal Sunday for me, only I was moving slowly all day. Rolled out at 1 p.m. to get to the writer’s lunch at 2 p.m.  Fun conversation, then back to WMG Publishing at 4 p.m.

I worked there on Smith’s Monthly formatting and did one cover for a story in the issue. Home by 6:30 p.m., rested for a short time, cooked dinner, then news. Into this office by 9 p.m. to do online workshop stuff.

I worked on that until 11 p.m. and then Kris and I headed up to WMG offices so she could walk and I could pack books to be moved next week to another part of the building.

Home by midnight and I finished up the online workshop stuff by around 1 a.m. and then went to watch television. I ended up with Kris watching a classic James Garner movie (since he died today).

So I didn’t get back into this office until just before 3 a.m.  So instead of writing, I worked on an editing project that needs to be turned in when WMG fires back up in August.

It’s now 4 a.m. and I’m headed to bed early because tomorrow afternoon we start construction on the new audio room. And I have a ton of other errands to run before that. Maybe back to the novel tomorrow night.

——–

Totals For Month 12, Day 20

– Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 28,350 words

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,250 words

– Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,750 words

– E-mail: 37 e-mails. Approx. 1,200 original words. E-mails month-to date: 523 e-mails. Approx. 15,950 words

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

 

For projects finished in the first nine months 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

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Writing in Public: Month 12, Day 19

Month 12, Day 19 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day nine of writing the novel Avalanche Creek: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

A strange Saturday for me. Normally I go spend time out at my once and future store to talk collectables and then head to the bookstore to talk books, but today I didn’t do that.

I rolled out around 2 p.m. and did some e-mail and then went to have lunch with Kris. (We’re planning all sorts of evil stuff, including workshops and other fun things.)

So I took her home after lunch and went back to WMG Publishing to work on formatting Smith’s Monthly #10. I ended up doing one cover for a story in the issue. Then headed home around 6:30 p.m. to do a little more e-mail.

Then the standard nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes before heading back up to WMG office to keep working on Smith’s Monthly #10. Kris arrived around 11 p.m. and I went upstairs and worked on packing boxes of books while she walked.

We headed home at midnight and went to watch some television until 1:30 a.m. Then I took a short nap and got in here and to the writing computer.

I did one session on the novel in about an hour that got me 1,050 words. before 2:45 a.m.

I took a short break and for some reason figured I should find a picture for this blog. Since I am writing a novel right now for the Thunder Mountain series, I thought I would put up a picture from the Idaho Historical Society of the boom mining town of Roosevelt going under water.  But the photos I have are restricted use, so couldn’t do that. I’ll find one that’s not restricted.

But in the process of doing that, I ran across a manuscript of a mostly-finished short story I did about twelve years ago and never mailed out. So I managed to find the computer file for it (pure luck since I had named it wrong and had it in an odd file.)

I started through the story, touching it very little until I got to the place where I had just sort of stopped writing for one reason or another, now lost in the depths of time. When I got there, I just kept on typing and added about 400 words and ended the story in a really, really twisted way.

So one story ready for Smith’s Monthly #12.

The wild picture of the night for me came about by accident tonight. I wrote a novel for Smith’s Monthly that is now out called Monumental Summit where a huge lodge is built on Monumental Summit in 1906 by time and timeline travelers. (First book in the series is called Thunder Mountain.)

The reason I picked that location is because there were always rumors that there had been a lodge on Monumental Summit, but no one could ever figure out where it was. Even soundings were taken to look for any kind of foundation and none were found, at least by the group I read about who searched.

I’ve been on the top of Monumental Summit five or six times, and it’s not very big. It’s a saddle between two high rock peaks that is not much wider than a football field and about fifty steps from one side to the other. On one side it drops off into a Monumental Valley a thousand feet, the other it drops off almost as steeply into a valley holding a ghost town called Stibnite.

(The first picture below is Kris and me standing near the drop into Monumental Creek. The ghost town/lake of Roosevelt is about five miles around the bend below to the left.

Now understand, I’ve personally walked every foot of that summit. A number of times. No ruins, no foundation stones, no signs of logs being cut for construction, no sign of anything.

So tonight, I found some ads from the April 1905 edition of the Thunder Mountain News newspaper. Notice in the lower corner the ad for the Summit House on Monumental Summit. I damn near fell over backward out of my chair when I saw that tonight.

Hey, Kris, you up for another trip up to Monumental Summit?

Dean and Kris Top of Monumental SummitAdds in Roosevelt Newspaper April 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Ad page is from the Valley County IDGen Web Project and is Copyright © Steven Harshfield.)

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Writing of AVALANCHE CREEK: A THUNDER MOUNTAIN NOVEL

Day 1… 900 words. Total words to date……900
Day 2… 1,750 words. Total words to date……2,650
Day 3… 1,200 words. Total words to date……3,850
Day 4… 1,150 words. Total words to date……5,000
Day 5… 2,800 words. Total words to date……7,800
Day 6… 5,450 words. Total words to date……13,250
Day 7… 1,000 words. Total words to date……14,250
Day 8… 2,550 words. Total words to date……16,800
Day 9… 1050 words. Total words to date……17,850

——–

Totals For Month 12, Day 19

– Daily Fiction: 1,450 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 28,350 words

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,250 words

– Blog Posts: 500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,350 words

– E-mail: 19 e-mails. Approx. 500 original words. E-mails month-to date: 486 e-mails. Approx. 14,750 words

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

 

For projects finished in the first nine months 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

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Writing in Public: Month 12, Day 18

Month 12, Day 18 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day off from writing the novel Avalanche Creek: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

I had a hunch today was going to turn into a bust for writing and it did. But a fun day anyway.

Rolled out scary early 11:30 a.m. which is like someone who normally gets out of bed at 7 a.m. getting out of bed at 4:30 a.m. Yeah, that will screw up your day and it did mine.

But I made it to WMG Publishing offices by 12:30 to wait for the lumber to be delivered. “P.M. Delivery” is all I could get them to confirm.”

So I read more of the Author Earnings report and then answered a question about my opinion of them and decided to write a short New World of Publishing Blog about it, which is below this. Those numbers from Author Earnings are really amazing, and confirm what so many of us already know. (See my post below for links and such.)

WMG Publishing, for those wondering, fits perfectly into the medium and small press part of Hugh and Data Guy’s definitions. We have eight authors total, and have well over 400 titles. (All eight author names are me and Kris except for the stories in Fiction River, which we don’t count.)

But WMG Publishing functions completely like an indie, using all the same portals, same distribution, everything.  We’re large enough now we could negotiate directly with the different stores and distributors, but we flat don’t want to. We like the indie portals. Just another data point.

So I wrote that blog and did some cover work and waited around until 3 p.m. when a writer friend showed up. We’re spending a couple hours ever week talking various plans on indie side. And right as he arrived, the lumber arrived. And right as the lumber arrived, an old friend from the collector’s world arrived.

A really fun few hours after we got the lumber unloaded (building a new audio room starting Monday). Talked collecting and writing and other things.

I finally headed home around 6:30 p.m. to do some e-mail, nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes. Then back up to WMG offices to work on covers and Smith’s Monthly around 9 p.m. But instead I started into learning QuickBooks, which I’ve been wanting to do. I spent about an hour watching tutorials on Lynda.com and playing before Kris showed up to walk.

I went upstairs with her and worked on packing boxes and cleaning off a table and basically doing exercise tasks. Home by midnight to watch some television.

Back up here to this office by 2 a.m., exhausted, of course. And brain dead.

So I figured it’s now 3 a.m. and I wrote just enough on the novel to realize that words were not going to form well before stopping. I figured I’d write this blog, then do some brain-dead work like looking for art and such to keep me awake so I can get back on schedule tomorrow.

——–

Totals For Month 12, Day 18

– Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 26,900 words

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,250 words

– Blog Posts: 900 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 9,850 words

– E-mail: 14 e-mails. Approx. 400 original words. E-mails month-to date: 467 e-mails. Approx. 14,250 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 3 Covers

 

For projects finished in the first nine months 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

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What About Those Numbers?

What About Those Numbers?

Over at Author Earnings, Hugh Howey and Data Guy released the July sampling and talked about it. Worth the read, folks.

http://authorearnings.com/july-2014-author-earnings-report/

The rest of this post is an expanded response to a question on my daily blog about what I thought about those numbers.

It’s hard to argue with numbers like that, even though they are taken from only one bookstore. Yanking a sampling like that only once is an interesting thing, but having the numbers remain consistent over three samples spread six months apart is stunning and is giving the data more credibility.

The idea that traditional publishing is the “only way” to publishing heaven is long gone for most writers. Only those lost in myths or so set on having some sort of “anointment” or flat too lazy or too scared to do it themselves are left believing New York is the only way. And their voices are getting very shrill.

Especially in the face of this kind of data.

A lot of writers I know are hybrid writers, going both ways, which is also proving dangerous for traditional publishers, since a writer doing that has clear, clear, scary-clear comparisons between a book going traditional and a book going indie. And in short order, as I have been hearing, the traditional-published books are flat losing the comparison between indie and traditional.

The huge myth that indie writers hold that they can’t get their books into bookstores is the last hope of traditional publishers. And that myth is getting pounded on by more people than just me and Kris. When that myth vanishes, traditional publishers will be faced with some issues of what they can say they can do better.

Traditional publishers do a lot of shouting into the wind on different things they can do better. They claim better editing, but any indie writer knows we can find our own editors just fine. And little or no editing is done anymore in a traditional house beyond making a writer change a book to better fit a line of books.

Traditional publishers claim better copyediting, but that’s just a laugh and indie writers find great copyeditors. (And many of us do much, much better covers and blurbs as well.)

Traditional publishers claim support in promotion, but every hybrid writer knows that a publisher does no promotion anymore for anyone other than mega-bestsellers. They expect the writers to do it, so why do it for a part of 25% of net when you can do the same thing for 70% of gross. Even the most math-dead indie writers got that advantage.

And if you want readers? Well, go ahead and try to get readers with your electronic edition priced at $11.99. Indie writers can sell electronic books at $4.99 to $6.99, do sales to get even more readers, and give readers real value.

And that’s not even talking about contracts. Traditional publishers won’t and don’t talk about contracts. Period. Traditional publishers know they are flat screwing writers in the contracts, buying all rights, taking rights they will never need, controlling writers output into the future.

The old days of publishers being nice and being partners with writers is long gone. If you don’t believe me, just take a standard publishing contract to a regular attorney and watch their face go white. In any other industry, a standard 2014 midlist writer contract would be considered a scam contract and no reasonable attorney would ever let you sign it.

Unless you are getting offered at least a six figure advance (getting rare these days) you have ZERO clout in contract negotiations. And as the stock report for one major company came out and said, agents work for the publishers. Agents are slipping faster than traditional publishers and will take a ton of writers’ money with them when they go down.

A traditional-published writer will sell a book for all rights for the life of the contract for a small advance. And will never control or see that book again in any reality.

And the writers still under the traditional spell seem happy about this.  Color me puzzled.  But I have a lot of friends who are still signing those contracts.

(However, in all fairness, I signed about 40 media book contracts where I got nothing but an advance to write Star Trek, Spider-Man, Men in Black, and so on. And I signed a bunch of ghost-writing contracts for all rights as well. So I wrote books for only advances, just as modern traditional writers are doing. But I got better. And I never once did that for an original novel.)

So back to the original question… What do I think of Hugh and Data Guy’s numbers?

I think the reports take a ton of work, I think those two humans are doing the work of the saints for no money, and I think those numbers should send a chill through every boardroom in publishing.

Traditional publishing, at least the big publishers (and their smaller group of older medium-sized publishers) have decided that the only way to come out ahead in this is to make sure the old way of doing things remains. Therefore, because Amazon opened the barn door to let the poor writers escape their cages, Amazon is bad.

The Author Earnings Reports shine a light on what is really happening and that light is amazing for us indie writers and scary as hell to traditional publishers.

Think of traditional publishers this way:

They are holding buggy whips and are chasing those new-fangled automobiles down the road shouting “Get out of my world! I’ve been here longer than you!” While the drivers of the cars can’t hear them because they have their new music systems turned up and flat don’t care to look in the rearview mirror.

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Writing in Public: Month 12, Day 17

Month 12, Day 17 of this Writing in Public challenge.

Day eight of writing the novel Avalanche Creek: A Thunder Mountain Novel.

This month is sure dragging along as far as the writing. Wow. And it’s not the novel, just me goofing around too much. Novel is going great when I sit down to work on it.

Anyhow, rolled out around 1:15 p.m., early for me, to get out of the way of the housekeeper coming in at 2 p.m. Met Kris for lunch and then went back to WMG Publishing to meet with a friend and talk architecture for a time. Great fun.

After that I worked on Smith’s Monthly for a time, then home to do e-mail, nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes. Kris and I worked on some planning for workshops and such until around ten when I headed back to WMG Publishing to work for an hour.

Back home around 11:30 p.m and watched television until 1 a.m.

Then in here to work on the novel.

I managed 800 words before taking a break, then went back and got another 1,050 words, then another short break, then another 700 words before tossing it in since I have to get up even earlier tomorrow to meet a lumber delivery at the office.

So 2,550 words on the book. Still not the slightest clue where this is going, but it’s going forward, so good enough for now.

Fun picture tonight is of Kris in her new Porsche in 1988. But, of course, I was the first one to get a ticket in it. She never did.

I was driving about a month after she bought the car and we were going out across the Oregon Desert between Bend and Burns, headed east toward Boise. I had owned Porsches since 1969 when I bought my first one and loved them. Before I met Kris I had owned four different Porsches. But this one was our first one as a couple. And it was hers completely. She loved that car.

We were cruising along around 110 mph across the desert and just talking when Kris reminded me we were getting close to Burns and it was often a speed trap.

I slowed down to what seemed like a crawl, and we kept talking and the next thing I knew a police person was asking for me to pull over. Seems I had slowed down to ninety in a fifty-five zone. Seemed very slow in the flat desert.

Kris didn’t stop laughing for an hour, I kid you not.

Kris Porsche3

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Writing of AVALANCHE CREEK: A THUNDER MOUNTAIN NOVEL

Day 1… 900 words. Total words to date……900
Day 2… 1,750 words. Total words to date……2,650
Day 3… 1,200 words. Total words to date……3,850
Day 4… 1,150 words. Total words to date……5,000
Day 5… 2,800 words. Total words to date……7,800
Day 6… 5,450 words. Total words to date……13,250
Day 7… 1,000 words. Total words to date……14,250
Day 8… 2,550 words. Total words to date……16,800

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Totals For Month 12, Day 17

– Daily Fiction: 2,550 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 26,900 words

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 1,250 words

– Blog Posts: 400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 8,950 words

– E-mail: 17 e-mails. Approx. 500 original words. E-mails month-to date: 453 e-mails. Approx. 13,850 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 3 Covers

 

For projects finished in the first nine months 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.

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

Think Like a Publisher: 2015… Chapter Four: Production and Scheduling

  

Chapter 4

Production and Scheduling

The first three posts in this series were designed to be a unit and help you get set up as an indie publisher. You should have a business name picked out with a web site domain reserved, understand your upfront costs and have made decisions on how to deal with those costs. Then you should have done a rough guess on income and when each project might break even.

If I had to summarize those first three chapters, I would say this: “Be prepared, set up correctly, keep your costs down, and understand the possible cash flow.”

So the next logical step is the question: “How Do I Get My Books Out To Readers?” In other words, how do I produce and distribute my book? You can’t have distribution without production, so I am starting with production right now.

The first major steps in production are inventory and scheduling.

So to really think like a publisher, you need to understand publishing lists, deadlines, and how distribution must be planned far, far ahead of the actual launching of books.

Basic Production Schedule Organization

Traditional publishers have what are called “Lists.”

Lists are basically a publishing schedule of the books being done each month and how much attention each book will get.

In traditional publishing, the list works like this: If your book is number one on the monthly list, you get better covers, better promotion, and all the attention. And more than likely your advance was higher. If your book is in the number two or three slot, you are called a “mid-list” writer.  If your book is down in the number five or six slot, good luck.

As an indie publisher, you also need to set up a publishing schedule and then, as best as possible, stick to it. And always remember one major thing:

Publishing is an industry driven by deadlines.

Trust me, if you don’t have deadlines, things will just slip by and books won’t get done or published. How you set up your own deadlines is personal to you and your writing. There are thousands of articles and blogs about this topic to help on the writing side.

Inventory

A publishing business is a business of selling product. I know, as a writer, your story is your baby, your work-of-art. But once you move it into the publishing business it is a widget (sort of), something to be sold to readers to enjoy.

You are in the sales part of the entertainment industry.

So as you start your business, you first need to know what inventory is available to you, what will be available, and what can be created.

So do an inventory. Count all your finished short stories and novels. Then count all the short stories and novels that have been published but might revert to you soon, or count stories mostly finished that would be easy to finish.

Then look at your writing schedule and figure out over the next year how many stories or novels you can write.

You will come up with just a simple list. And list them by title under each category.

1) Finished Novels and Stories.

2) Stories or novels available soon. (List each with possible date.)

3) Stories or novels to be produced. (List dates for finishing…deadlines. If you have more than five or so short stories, don’t forget collections as future products.)

This total number of your inventory may surprise you, disappoint you, or scare you to death (as it did with me and Kris). But at least you have a list of inventory now.

Time In Production

In New York traditional terms, a “list” is also the number of books that can be produced every month.  They take into account numbers of employees and all that it will take to produce the number of books on the list. Traditional publishing is very good at figuring the time it will take for each step of production.

So now you need to take a hard look at how you are going to run your business, which is back to the decisions from the first three chapters.

Even if you hire everything done, it takes time. If you do it yourself, and haven’t tried it yourself yet, and maybe need to take some classes to learn, plan a lot of extra time for the first books because of the learning curve involved.

After you have done a few books, got a few things up electronically, you will have a pretty good idea on how long each step will take with your own work and writing schedule.

And then don’t forget to add in getting the books and collections into paper as well. Another calculation that will take some time to figure and learn.

Here are the general categories you need to take into account when figuring production time.

Manuscript Preparation:

— Proofing time?

— Electronic formatting time?

— POD formatting time?

Cover Preparation:

— Finding art time?

— Cover formatting time?

— POD cover formatting time?

Launching Time:

—  Electronic Launching?

— POD Launching, including proofing time?

A couple of hints. Try a couple of short stories electronically first to get the hang of this and figure out your times. And POD times will always be factors longer, so maybe wait on POD until you get comfortable with doing much of this.

But don’t put them off too long. Paper versions are critical to reaching as many readers as possible.

Putting a Publishing Schedule Together

So now you have an inventory and a rough idea how long each project will take to complete and get published.

So take into account the amount of time you want or can afford to spend on this kind of publishing business, then just do a publishing schedule. Some writers I know just set aside one day per week as a “publishing” day.

Set the date for publishing each title.

If you have a lot of inventory and not a lot of time, this schedule might be a couple years long. If you have little inventory and more time, you may only have a few months of schedule. And then planned books to fill spots on out.

Add in a little extra time for each project.

And then act like that is a concrete deadline.

Writers in general hit deadlines, but there are always a few writers who think it is all right to miss a deadline by a year and still expect their book to be published. And then they get upset when the publisher kills their contracts and asks for their money back. This is a business, a deadline-driven business, so act like a publisher and treat your deadlines like that as well.

Adjusting

Just as traditional publishers, don’t be afraid to adjust at the end of every month. If things are taking longer, which they will at times, adjust the deadline and shift all deadlines at the same time. But be warned:  Too much shifting will really get discouraging.

Say you did a publishing schedule for the next twelve months and wanted to get up two stories or novels or collections a month. You think that in one year having twenty-four projects up electronically and some into paper would be great for your business and your projected cash flow.  (And honestly it would be.)

But then you start slipping deadlines and not giving the deadlines the attention a regular publisher would give them. And you discover at the end of the year you only have ten items up. You will get less than half the income and now you still have a half-year of inventory to put up that should have already been up. Not fun.

So when you set the deadlines, be realistic, don’t be afraid to adjust, don’t get in a hurry, but at the same time do everything in your power to not miss a publishing deadline.

In other words, act like a business.

Time in the Channel

Okay, realize that if you have an internal business publication deadline, don’t announce the exact date because it takes days for a book to come live on Kindle and PubIt and Kobo and iBooks, a month of time at least for any POD with proofing, and such. And to get through Smashwords or another aggregator (and out around the world) at least a month or more sometimes. They claim they are faster, but

So your publication date for your internal business use is when you launch it on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo, iBookstore, and PubIt!.

However, for the public announcement, you would be better served to announce a month later. That’s how most traditional publishers do it as well. Books are often in stores weeks ahead of the official publication date.

Distribution takes time. When setting deadlines, keep that in mind.

Why Deadlines Are Important

A deadline on a book being published allows you to announce the book out ahead. And do promotion on the book ahead of time. And get readers interested and expecting a book to arrive at a certain time. As readers, you all understand how this works. “Coming In May” is a powerful promotional tool, especially for a sequel to a book.

And preorders on books means your book can be selling far before your official publication date.

Using Production Deadlines in Your Writing

This is a wonderful new aspect of this indie publishing. You can set publication deadlines for a book far, far before you are finished with the book.

Of course, this is normal in traditional publishing. Publishers often buy two or three books at a time from an author. And when they do, they have book #2 and book #3 already penciled into a publication schedule down the road.

As an indie publisher, you can use your own publication deadlines to help drive yourself to finishing and releasing books.

Many beginning writers can’t seem to finish a project, or when they finish it they spend years rewriting the poor thing to death and having workshops turn it into a monster with an arm sewn onto the forehead.

Having a publication deadline will do wonders for getting you to write, finish what you write, not rewrite, and get it out to readers. (Wait, those sound like Heinlein’s Rules, don’t they?)

Also knowing a book has a hope of getting read by readers and making you some money does wonders for pushing a writer to write and finish.

So, when setting up your publication schedule, look not only at your existing inventory, but slot in an unfinished novel or two. That gives you a firm deadline and not only will your publishing company help you make money and find readers, but it will also drive your writing.

Summary

Count your inventory, figure your future inventory, figure your time, figure how much time it takes for each step of each project, and then think like a publisher and set a publication schedule.

And maybe use that schedule to help you finish new books as well.

Deadlines drive everything in publishing. And all deadlines are set by publication schedules.

Think like a publisher and set the schedule.

You will be stunned at how much of a difference it will make for your publishing company.

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Copyright © 2014 Dean Wesley Smith

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