The Writing of Challenge Story #32: Just Shoot Me Now!

This one started from the artwork for the cover, of course.

I was browsing through Dreamstime the other night and ran across this piece of art and knew instantly it had to be a Poker Boy story. And I had the title instantly as well. Weird how that happens.

No idea what the story was about, but knew it was a Poker Boy story.

So yesterday (September 28th in the A.M.), when I finished posting the previous story, I took a short break and then sat down and started this one. I think I got about a thousand words into it before calling it quits and going to watch some television before going to bed.

I got up (still the 28th), worked on some estate stuff and at the storage unit that gets moved on Thursday, then came home and went back to work on the story. After a nap and dinner I finished it, took a break to watch the new NCIS and Craig, then did the cover and wrote this and got it launched up on Kindle, Pubit, and Smashwords (I will on Smashwords later in the day…they are down for some reason).

So a story from the cover art this time. Great fun. I might have to do that more often this fall. And two stories in two days, basically. I’ll be starting another shortly, trying to keep this daily streak going for a few more days until I head up to Whitehorse in Canada to teach.

TOTAL HOURS SPENT (Including writing, cover, publishing it on three sites electronically, and putting it up here and writing this post) 6 hours.

Actually started September 28th. Published September 29th. Posted here around 3 in the morning on September 29th.

Word Count: About 3,000 words.

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12 Responses to The Writing of Challenge Story #32: Just Shoot Me Now!

  1. Works of art have inspired to write many times. When I lived in London I used to go to the National Gallery to write. The guards looked at me askance for a while but eventually got used to me.

    For my novel, I had no real cover art in mind. When I began looking at Civil War photos on the Library of Congress website I found one that almost exactly replicated a key scene in my novel. Weird.

  2. Zero chance that I’ll try to reach the numbers you are with your challenge, but you’ve inspired me to get one new story written every week. Just finished my first, and I used “Just Shoot Me Now!” as my prompt. Unlike you, I’ll have to do some serious revisions, but I’ll have enough for a collection or two by year’s end. Thanks!

    • dwsmith says:

      Candice, good luck and just keep at it is the key, even when life tosses a few major curve balls at you. And when I look back at the 32 stories I have done that I wouldn’t have done without this challenge so far, it is fun. I honestly don’t remember the stories, but it’s fun having them back there. Keep at it and have fun.

  3. Eric Cline says:

    Dean, apologies in advance for this question (because I’ll bet you’ve covered it in some other post somewhere):

    You have consistently noted that you publish on Smashwords, Kindle, and Pubit. But Smashwords says they distribute your book to (among others) Kindle. So why convert your stories to both Smashwords and Kindle?

    I assume there’s an advantage to publishing directly to Kindle for you, but what? Cleaner format? Higher percentage?

    • dwsmith says:

      Eric,
      More baskets, basically. Plus Smashwords does not yet get to Kindle, even though they hope to. I go straight to Pubit and to Kindle and everything else through Smashwords at the moment. I just click off distributing to them in the distribution panel on the control board. No other reason. Just hate having all my eggs in one basket. Besides, Smashwords still reports and pays quarterly, which is beyond annoying, while Kindle and Pubit pay monthly (net 60 days, which means they are paying sixty days behind, but it still is payment every month.)

  4. “I go straight to Pubit and to Kindle and everything else through Smashwords at the moment. I just click off distributing to them in the distribution panel on the control board. No other reason. Just hate having all my eggs in one basket.”

    I get that, Dean, but going through Smashwords gets a much better royalty rate through its distribution channels if you’re charging less than $2.99. For short stories at $.99, it seems to me you’re shooting yourself in the foot to take the 40% that Pubit pays instead of ~60% that you could get by publishing to them through Smashwords. That’s quite a difference in cash flow, and it seems like it’d be worth it to wait for quarterly payments to get it.

    Is there some other factor that went into your decision that I’m missing?

    • dwsmith says:

      Michael, these are uncertain times and Smashwords is a growing company, growing very, very fast. I owned a company that had that problem and could not keep up, thus lost it. I make my living from writing and the amount WMG is making is getting bigger and bigger by the day as we get more and more books up. Granted the Smashwords part is still a small part of the income compared to what we make on Kindle and B&N, but if Smashwords has trouble, I sure don’t want to lose that much MORE money to their cash flow issues. I am sure Mark is doing fine with his business, but as a good business person, the few extra pennies on a short story are not worth the risk at the moment.

      Again, eggs in one basket issue. I like three baskets at least and am working on more, actually. WMG is bringing on a bookstore distribution in 2012 by just going to one new store at a time. And we will spread out electronically, including having our own bookstore online.

      Now you all know I am a supporter of Smashwords. And if Mark gets very rich, so will all of us, and I’m all for that. (grin) So please don’t take this wrong. I just want to spread out my income. Always have. Never, ever, in my writing career, was I only with ONE publisher. That always seemed to be too stupid for words, and over the years that policy kept me paying bills while many other writers just went away. This is no different. I want to be with as many distributors as I can be with. That simple.

      As you will see in the coming next two years, no company, no agency in this business is too big to fail and take writers with them.

  5. I guess the real question is this: Is the extra 15 cents per B&N copy sold from now until Smashwords goes out of business greater than the loss of 1-3 months of B&N sales via Smashwords if Smashwords goes out of business? ;)

    In other words, if you sell 100 copies of shorts at B&N per month, you make $45 via Pubit or $60 via Smashwords per month. The most you can lose in B&N sales if Smashwords goes under is 3 months worth, or $180. You earn an extra $15 per month by using them instead of Pubit. So if Smashwords sticks around for another year and then folds, you break even. If Smashwords keeps going for 13 months or more, you profit more from using them. (And yes, the math scales if you make more or less sales than that – 12 months is the deal.)

    Well, put that way, I think I understand your point. We’ve already seen how much can change in 12 months, after all!!! Will B&N still be around? Will Smashwords? Who knows?

    That makes spreading the sales around to multiple retailers something like diversifying your stock portfolio in volatile economic times, if I’m reading this right. If one part fails, the others are likely to still be there, and the net impact on your revenue will be less.

    Yes? No? Something like that?

    • dwsmith says:

      Yes, something like that. And I would not like the idea of having to relaunch everything, not counting the bookkeeping nightmare of stories sold through Smashwords on B&N that would be trapped in the problems if something happened.

      I don’t think anything will, since Mark is doing such a good job, but no point in taking any undue chances. Spread out as much as is reasonable.

      Going direct to iBooks is reasonable after a steep learning curve and buying a Mac, which I own. But at the moment I’m leaving stuff to iBooks going through Smashwords because of that learning curve.

  6. What about Kobo then, now that they’re offering a direct publishing system?
    http://kobobooks.com/companyinfo/authorsnpublishers.html

    Haven’t tried it yet, was wondering…

    Anyway, very interested in continuing to see how the challenge pans out, Dean. Your ongoing effort here has been a big help in me keeping my own tailbone in front of the keyboard. Thanks!

    • dwsmith says:

      Yup, Kobo usually suggests authors with just a few books to go through Smashwords. And publishers (see my series on how to set up a publisher yourself…Think Like a Publisher, tab above) can go direct. Again, WMG Publishing might go direct at some point, but right now Smashwords is doing great for us with Kobo and Sony and iBooks and Diesel. It’s worth the 10% to have them as a distributor because they make it easy as well. (By the way, that’s pretty standard fee for a distributor including in paper books. Tends to be what Baker and Taylor and Ingrams take as well along the way. Give or take.)

  7. Thanks for writing about your publishing journey and all of your encouragement. Largely due to reading your posts I’ve decided to move more toward producing more writing (which I’m very fast at anyway) and to stop wasting so much time with publicity and marketing. I’ll still do some, but I’m not going to kill myself over it, as it seems to net so little for lost time. Just tonight I even posted the first short story I’ve written in two decades on Smashwords, KDP and Nook. I’m very excited about moving in this new direction!

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