Last Call for September Online Workshops

Last Call. Workshops starting on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 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 … (Cancelled)
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.

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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: Year 2, Month 1 Summary

Year 2, Month #1 Summary of this Writing in Public challenge.

August 2014

Once again, as with last month, this was a pretty solid month, all things considered, but not a great month. Below I have both last August and this August comparisons since I am leaving every month on the charts below.

Last August I did 124,250 words total while this August I did 105,700 words total.

Last August I did 78,900 words in fiction, this August I did 60,450.

So this second year is off to a slower start than last year when I first started the challenge. Nothing to do with anything but the time I needed to take to work on the WMG projects this month.

Smith’s Monthly is going right along. #11 is done and shipped to subscribers. And #12 is already back from the proofreader and I am starting on the formatting.

I spent part of the start of this month doing some additions to the novel I finished last month, Avalanche Creek, then started the novel I am still working on.

As I said last month, the online workshops might seem like they take a lot of my time, but they honestly don’t because they just don’t fill up with writers most of the time. Especially this time of the year.

Also, back in June I moved the workshop schedule to only three days per week, which has helped me a great deal.

However, I did have a couple of large projects with WMG Publishing in August that took a bunch of my days and a lot of my brain focus, so that didn’t help here on the numbers.

As before, on this report and during the month, I only reported new words on everything.

I also got 7 new covers done. Those were fun.

My responses to questions on my blogs and to questions in the workshop web sites I still don’t count. I did a rough count of them in July and decided to just skip them. It would add about seven to ten thousand words per month in the total writing, since I answer comments on four web sites. (Here, the workshop site, the lecture site, and Smith’s Monthly site.) I don’t mind answering comments, so I decided I’m NOT going to count those words at all.

I had a total new words written of 105,700 words, almost identical to June and July.  60,450 words of that was new fiction, just slightly less than July. 

I had no idea I could be that consistent. Stunning for me.

Coming New Month

Just as I did with the thirteen months before, I’m going to start the counting over for September. And I’ll start the project list of completed projects for the month over as well. Up under the Writing in Public tab at the top I will put the completed projects per month and links to summary post of the month, so anyone can go back and look.

I am also going to keep comparing the pervious year’s month every week or so.

Please don’t be afraid to comment if something strikes you. I enjoy them.

Stay tuned.  Here we go with the second month of Year Two.

Monthly Totals

Fiction:
August: 78,900 words
September: 81,200 words
October: 86,200 words
November: 56,800 words
December: 52,000 words
January: 34,150 words
February: 35,450 words
March: 70,250 words
April: 56,025 words
May: 80,650 words
June: 52,800 words
July: 60,750 words
August: 60,450 words

Nonfiction: 
August: 1,000 words
September: 2,900 words
October: 2,000 words
November: 1,950 words
December: 1,700 words
January: 1,400 words
February: 6,550 words
March: 7,800 words
April: 2,500 words
May: 7,100 words
June: 14,700 words
July: 2,100 words
August: 2,300 words

Blog Posts: 
August: 21,300 words
September: 16,600 words
October: 15,150 words
November: 12,550 words
December: 17,300 words
January: 11,450 words
February: 10,000 words
March: 14,800 words
April: 15,300 words
May: 19,600 words
June: 14,800 words
July: 16,350 words
August: 18,600 words

E-mail:
August: 809 e-mails. Approx. 23,050 words
September: 861 e-mails. Approx. 24,600 words
October: 647 e-mails. Approx. 24,450 words
November: 622 e-mails. Approx. 24,250 words
December: 621 e-mails. Approx. 29,700 words
January: 802 e-mails. Approx. 19,200 words
February: 759 e-mails. Approx. 21,250 words
March: 980 e-mails. Approx. 33,200 words
April: 841 e-mails. Approx. 25,700 words
May: 921 e-mails. Approx. 24,800 words
June: 827 e-mails. Approx. 22,900 words
July: 823 e-mails. Approx. 26,450 words
August: 839 e-mails. Approx. 24,400 words

TOTAL NEW WORDS

AUGUST  2013… 124,250 Words

SEPTEMBER… 125,300 Words

OCTOBER… 127,800 Words

NOVEMBER… 95,550 Words

DECEMBER… 100,700 Words

JANUARY  2014… 66,200 Words

FEBRUARY… 73,250 Words

MARCH… 126,050 Words

APRIL… 99,575 Words

MAY… 132,150 Words

JUNE… 105,200 Words

JULY… 105,650 Words

AUGUST… 105,700 Words

—–—

Stories and Projects Finished in August

In order of production with the most recent at the top.

— Finished formatting Smith’s Monthly #11 and turned into the printer. It will be out in late August.

— Turned in the completed Smith’s Monthly #12 for proofing. It will be out in late September.

— Wrote short introduction to a charity book. It will be out this fall sometime.

— Wrote introduction for Smith’s Monthly #12. It will be out in late September.

— Added endings and finished two stories, “Who’s Holding Donna Now” and “A Butchered Whale on a Red Bedspread.” Both will be in Smith’s Monthly #12.

— Finished two large projects with WMG Publishing

 

 

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Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 31

Year 2, Month 1, Day 31 of this Writing in Public challenge.

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

Some fun stuff coming this week. And I will get to the month-end summary chapter right after this.

Tuesday evening, if all goes according to plan, we are going to start off a Fiction River subscription drive on Kickstarter. And it’s got some pretty cool stuff as rewards. Stay tuned, I’ll announce it Tuesday evening and more about it tomorrow night.

As far as today went, I rolled out around 1 p.m. to make it to the writer lunch by 2 p.m.  Great conversation, then up to WMG Publishing at 4 p.m. to work on workshop stuff. Then home by 6 p.m. to do some e-mail, take a nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes.

Then at 8:30 p.m. back up to WMG for more workshop stuff. Then when Kris got there I went upstairs with her and finished moving three large shelves full of books from the main room back to a wall on the outside of our new sound booth.

Then home by midnight to watch some television. Then back in here around 1:30 a.m.

Over to the writing chair and managed to finally have my brain back on the book and got about 1,400 words in a fast 50 minutes before taking a break. I grabbed some ice tea, a breakfast bar, and went back at it, getting another 1,100 words by 3:15 a.m. Light speed for me. Guess it was built up a little.

Then grabbed some peanut butter and some water and sat down in my chair in the living room to rest my eyes for a short time. Made it back in here around 3:45 a.m. and in just under an hour I had another 1,400 words done.

Enough for the night. Off to do the month summary including a comparison with how August 2013 went. I got a hunch after the last week that I am behind last year. Ahh, well. It’s a long year coming and last year I had some really shitty months. So it might balance, who knows. (grin)

And I honestly have no idea where this book is going at this point. I got a hunch I’ve made some wrong turns, but I won’t know that until I find an ending, which might not be for another 15-20 thousand words. No clue. Just all dark ahead still.

——–

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
Day 12… 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 35,200 words
Day 13… 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 36,300 words
Day 14… 3,900 words. Total words to date…. 40,200 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 31

– Daily Fiction: 3,900 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 60,450 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 2,300 words

– Blog Posts:  900 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 18,600 words

– E-mail: 27 e-mails. Approx. 900 original words. E-mails month-to date: 839 e-mails. Approx. 24,400 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 7 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

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Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 30

Year 2, Month 1, Day 30 of this Writing in Public challenge.

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

Rolled out around 1:30 p.m. and ended up doing some e-mail, then heading off to the snail mail, then the store, then to WMG offices by around 4 p.m. I worked there on online workshop stuff until 6:30 p.m.

Then home for the standard nap with the white cat, dinner, news, and dishes. Then back to WMG publishing around 8:30 p.m.

I worked at workshop stuff there until Kris arrived at 10:30 p.m. and then I went upstairs and moved books for a short time.

Then home around 11:30 p.m. and off to watch some television. Then back into this office around 1:00 a.m.

I spent the next hour finishing getting off letters to everyone taking a September online workshop and doing a few other month-end chores that are needed for the workshops.

Still time to jump on for September workshops and all of them have room. And the workshop we cancelled is Originality. That’s done now. I might bring it back as a very long lecture, but it didn’t really work as a workshop as well as we wanted it to work.

Also, the designing electronic books workshop is now gone as well. Clearing up the list some.

Anyhow, around 2:30 a.m. I went over to my writing computer to work on the novel and got some done, but not enough to bother counting before I just decided my mind was not returning to the room. Just too many hours of detail and computer work today. That can kill time spent writing more than anything else. Luckily, this only happens at one point in a month and only for a day.

As I promised in this blog, you get the good, the bad, and the boring.

Off to get a good night’s sleep.

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 30

– Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 56,550 words  

– Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 2,300 words

– Blog Posts:  400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 17,700 words

– E-mail: 30 e-mails. Approx. 500 original words. E-mails month-to date: 812 e-mails. Approx. 23,500 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 7 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

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Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 29

Year 2, Month 1, Day 29 of this Writing in Public challenge.

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

Rolled out around 1 p.m. so I could be functioning just in case the electrician arrived on time to fix where we had a small dryer fire in a plug on Sunday. He did and he was nice and reasonably priced. Stunning for the coast.

So after he left, I did some e-mail, then headed off to the snail mail and got to WMG Publishing around 4 p.m.  I had a short meeting there, then headed to my office to work on the online workshops.

Note: I sent letters out to the first six September workshops. The last four workshops that start next Wednesday will have opening letters sent out tomorrow.

Then I worked on a cover I wanted to use here for a new writing nonfiction book I am doing called Paying the Price for Your Fiction. I will put up the introduction and first chapter of the book here on Monday.

At 6:30 p.m. I headed home, did a little more e-mail, then took a nap with the white cat. Then dinner, news, and dishes. I went back up to WMG office to finish the starting of the September workshops. That took me until Kris got there at 10:30 p.m. and I went upstairs in the offices with her to move books while she walked.

We made it home by around midnight and headed to watch some television until about 2 a.m.

I came in here and instead of going straight to the novel as I should have, I continued to work on the first chapter of the Paying the Price book. I worked on that for an hour. I think total today I did about a 1,000 words of nonfiction today.

Then finally at 3:45 a.m., after a short break, I went over to my writing computer, backed up one chapter and ran at where I had left off yesterday. By 4:30 a.m. I had finished 1,100 new words.

I took a break and while getting a spoonful of peanut butter, I remembered I needed to mail out the starting letters to the September workshops. Oops, just spaced it. So I spent until about 5:30 getting six of those workshop letters out. As I said above, the four workshops starting on Wednesday will get letters tomorrow.

So only 1,100 new fiction words on the novel. But a ton done and good progress on a new nonfiction book. And workshops switched over. So a good day. But sure would be nice to have a few large writing days on this book and finish it.

Plus, Smith’s Monthly #11 was mailed today. Paper subscribers should get it next week, electronic subscribers, you should have gotten it already.

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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
Day 12… 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 35,200 words
Day 13… 1,100 words. Total words to date…. 36,300 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 29

– Daily Fiction: 1,100 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 56,550 words  

– Nonfiction: 1,000 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 2,300 words

– Blog Posts:  500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 17,300 words

– E-mail: 31 e-mails. Approx. 500 original words. E-mails month-to date: 782 e-mails. Approx. 23,000 words

– Covers Designed and Finished: 1. Covers finished month-to-date: 7 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

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Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 1, Day 28

Year 2, Month 1, Day 28 of this Writing in Public challenge.

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

Back at it, which is flat amazing considering the day. A total success for me to get any new words done.

Rolled out around 1 p.m. and headed out the door at 2 p.m. for a meeting in Newport down the coast. Made that fine, then back to the WMG offices in Lincoln City by 4 p.m. for another meeting, followed by yet another.

Finally, around 6:30 p.m. Kris and I jumped in the car and headed back down to Newport (35 miles one way) to have dinner and work on workshop planning.

Great dinner and we made it back to the WMG offices by around 9:30 p.m. Then we took a walk down to the grocery store, then back to the offices where I worked on some online stuff while Kris finished up her exercise.

Finally we rolled back home around 11:30 p.m. We headed to watch some television and by 1 a.m. I was back in this office to try to even begin to think about the novel. I finished up some e-mail, did a few things on the online workshops, then moved to the writing chair.

I backed up two chapters from where I had left off and started through it, touching it a little, mostly just reading to figure out where I was at. Got to the spot where I had quit and nothing…

Dead brain.

So I went out into the living room where Kris was reading and reclined in my reading chair. Kris asked me when she should wake me up and I said I wasn’t going to nap, just trying to figure out what happened next in the novel.

So I shut my eyes and I was instantly having a character tell me a punch line on a great situational joke. So after all of three minutes in that chair, I was back up and typing like crazy.

By 2:30 a.m. I had finished 1,050 new words. Took a break, got a spoonful of peanut butter and a glass of water and went back to the computer. 1,100 words later the brain said, “Nope, you have had enough. That was at 3:30 a.m.

So I’m headed to get some good rest. Electrician shows up tomorrow to fix what caused the small fire on Sunday. And I have a bunch of online workshop stuff to do to get things ready for September and send letters out to everyone who is signed up. But I still should have a lot of time to write tomorrow. (Knock on wood.)

And there is still a ton of room in all workshops in the September Online workshops.

So 2,150 new words. That’s a ton more than I expected today. Yeah!

——-

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
Day 12… 2,150 words. Total words to date…. 35,200 words

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 28

– Daily Fiction: 2,150 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 55,450 words  

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

– Blog Posts:  400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 16,800 words

– E-mail: 11 e-mails. Approx. 300 original words. E-mails month-to date: 751 e-mails. Approx. 22,500 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

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Writing in Public: Year 2, Month 12, Day 27

Year 2, Month 1, Day 27 of this Writing in Public challenge.

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

Today was pretty much as I expected, working on one project from pretty much the moment I got up until around midnight. I did take the nap with the white cat and dinner, but went right back up to WMG offices and back to work.

But got it done around the time Kris was done with her walk, so headed home to do e-mail around midnight and then went downstairs and watched far too much television because, to be honest, I’m pooped.

Got back in here around 2 a.m. and worked on more e-mail until 2:45 a.m. I thought about going over to the writing chair and then just decided it would be better to rejoin the novel tomorrow with a brain.

So I spent about an hour doing clean-up on stuff here on this site and a couple other sites. Then did this. So sort of a one-thing day with no writing.

But I can put up a fun blast from my past.

Volks

 

This picture was taken in the late fall of 1969 in a parking lot at the edge of Boise, Idaho. I was 19 and had signed up for college, but wasn’t attending much. No interest at that point.  That’s my Volks (Yes, I had it tricked up and painted a nifty metallic green… Come on, it was 1969. It was the perfect car for running up and down mountains and I was young in the 1960s. It was a fun time, from what I can remember of it.)

The person putting skis on the back is my friend Bobby Young. (I had far, far longer hair than Bobby.) From the looks of it, we were headed up to Bogus (in the background), or off to Sun Valley. No memory of that morning or who took the picture, or if I took it, or how the picture survived my house fire. But since we had lockers up at Bogus for our skis, we might have been headed off to Sun Valley or down to Alta.

Many people don’t know I used to teach skiing and skied with the guys who were in the early days of the hotdogging movement (including Bobby), which became FreeStyle skiing a number of years after this picture. I used to ski and work up at Bogus teaching and cooking in the lodge all winter and then in the spring I would go to work on a golf course.

The year after this picture was taken, I traded in my Volks for my first Porsche, one of many I owned over the years. In the spring of 1972 I decided to pick golf instead of skiing and I headed to Palm Springs, California, in August and turned professional there. (Only skied twice after that.) But that winter of 1969/1970 skiing and teaching and driving that Volks was a great winter.

——–

Totals For Year 2, Month 1, Day 27

– 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:  500 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 16,400 words

– E-mail: 14 e-mails. Approx. 400 original words. E-mails month-to date: 740 e-mails. Approx. 22,200 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

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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.)

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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

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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