Posts by dwsmith

Topic of the Night: Balancing the Parts of Modern Publishing

BALANCING THE PARTS OF MODERN PUBLISHING

Over the last week I have received three different letters from writers worried about the same problem. That problem is simple to describe, but very complex in nature.

How do you balance the writing with the production and promotion of your work?

That sound familiar? I bet just about every indie writer nodded to that. I am no exception, neither is Kris, or any of the other professional writers around town here or in the workshops.

This balancing act we all must do is a continuous battle. We all talk about it all the time.

And I do mean all the time.

Of course, in the old days before indie publishing, these parts were different, but yet there were always tasks that took away from the writing. If you believe in the myth that traditional publishing takes less time than indie publishing per project, I have some wonderful land in swamps in Florida ready to sell you.

Truth. Selling a book to a traditional publisher takes a ton more time and energy than it does to indie publish. especially after you sell it. Go ahead if you don’t believe me, then come back in five years or so and say I was right. I’ll be nice, I promise. (grin)

What are the parts to be balanced in the indie world?

I tend to look at all this as dividing into three parts. Writing, production, promotion.

Any of those three parts get out of a natural balance and there will be issues, both short term and long term to careers.

(Here we come to my opinion. You can agree or disagree freely, but nicely if you would like in the comments. Or write me privately.)

I believe that the balance, a natural balance, should be 80/10/10.

Eighty percent of your time goes to creating new work. Writing. (Rewriting and research are not writing. I have covered that issue over and over.)

Ten percent of your time should go to production. (This is higher in the early leaning-curve days, but once you know how to do a cover and how to contact a copyeditor, and how to layout a book and run it through Jutoh to get clean epubs, the time goes down. Including loading to all the sites in this time.)

Ten percent of your time goes to promotion. And this time should not just be the new book, but books already out. Also updating websites, social media, newsletters, and all that sort of thing. Ten percent is a lot of time for this sort of stuff.

The Problems of Focus

For those who are not writing all the time, who let their critical voice into their offices, who let what others say about their work into their offices, writing is a painful thing at times. So it is easier to focus on promotion of what you already have done.

I have seen a lot of writers in the last four years get all caught up in promotion and almost stop writing.

The one thing you really should have in your office on your wall if this is your problem is “Your Next Book Is Your Best Promotion.”

Very few people after the learning curve time get lost in production.

But wow can the focus get lost in promotion.

An Example

Warning… a little math…

Say you write about 500 words per hour on a novel.

60,000 word novel is 120 hours. Simple. (If you do it right, following Heinlein’s Rules your book is done right there.)

120 hours is 80% of 150 hours.

So you have 30 hours to divide between production and promotion.

When you get going, after the learning curve, you should be able to lay out a novel, do the covers, and get it to all sales sites in 15 hours easily. Chances are it will be more like 10 hours, letting you have an extra 5 hours for promotion side of things.

So you have 15 hours for promotion. That is a bunch of time. Wow.

The Problem of Real Life

Sounds so simple, huh? But to figure this out for yourself, you actually have to understand your real-world time. You have to keep track.

You want to spend 150 hours on a book from start through promotion. Great.

But the best you can do is scrape together 10 hours per week out of your family and job and such. So what do you do?

My opinion… 80/10/10 every week.

Every week.

Period.

Spend eight hours working each week on your new book.

Spend one hour doing some sort of production on an older book, your last book maybe that just came back from the copyeditor.

Spend one hour per week doing promotion on the book that came out a month before.

In other words, write all the time, promote all the time, do production all the time.

It doesn’t have to be on the same book, folks. Shock, I know. But most publishers, which you are a publisher, work on multiple books all the time.

What I have watched kill writers is the black/white thinking. The black/white thinking goes like this: I have to finish a book, then do the production, then do the promotion, then at some point get around to starting a new book.

They do all of it for one book at a time, so their publishing company comes to a complete standstill and then has to restart with every new project.

Bad business to start with. Killer for momentum in your writing.

If you have ten hours in a week to dedicate to your writing profession, make eight hours of it always writing. Always.

Then divide the other two hours between promotion and production of other books you have already done and have in the pipeline.

If you do that, all things sort of balance out and the writing of a new book gets a ton more fun without the pressure of promotion and production.

You are doing production on another book and promotion on yet other books.

This is a very freeing and normal business way to organize all this, folks.

Hope my opinion helped.

Keep having fun on the writing.

Day of Progress

 

A DAY OF PROGRESS

Lots and lots done today. Feels good.

——-

THE DAY

Made it up to WMG around 1:30 p.m. after running errands and worked there on collection and store stuff until 3:30 p.m. Then worked on Smith’s Monthly before heading out to walk.

Back after the walk to continue on Smith’s Monthly. Got it all the way laid out so all I need now is table of contents and a few more ads and off it goes to the printer.

Home to cook dinner, then do e-mail, then I took a nap (a productive thing to do), then read some stories, then got back into this office to do a writing session.

Got 900 words done before heading to watch some television.

Back in here around 1:30 a.m. to do another session on the novel. Another 1,200 words. Novel is going right along now. No idea where, but it’s going.

Took a break, did another 1,200 word session starting at 2:30 a.m. before moving over to do the topic of the night post and this post.

3,300 words today.

For those wondering about how I stay with the numbers I suggested on that topic post above, just think of all my work on the stores and at WMG in meetings and such as my day job. So my work on Smith’s Monthly is production, and my work slowly getting this blog together is promotion. I tend to short shift the promotion by my calculations, but the rest is about right. I do manage about 15-20 hours per week on the writing beyond my day job.

 ——

MARCH WORKSHOP LIST

All of the March online workshops below have openings.

Also note that in April the AUTHOR VOICE workshop will be starting and I am taking sign-ups for that as well. It’s going to be a great workshop. If you want to learn how to understand and recognize your own author voice, how to alter your voice depending on stories, or even write invisible voice, and a ton more, that workshop will be for you.

Remember, each regular online workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time during the week.

All workshops have openings.

Class #21… Mar 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Mar 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Mar 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #24… Mar 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #25… Mar 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Mar 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Mar 8th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Mar 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Mar 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Mar 9th … Advanced Depth

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.

Full descriptions of the workshops and how to sign up under the Online Workshop tab above.

——

TOPIC OF THE NIGHT: Balance of the Parts of Publishing

See above…

——

The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(List shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish. And I am fairly certain this book will not end up as long as the words I have put into it. Normal for writing a puzzle mystery into the dark.)

Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.
Day 24.. 3,950 words.  Total words so far… 44,100 words.
Day 25.. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 46,100 words.
Day 26.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 47,150 words.
Day 27.. 1,150 words.  Total words so far… 48,300 words.
Day 23.. 3,300 words.  Total words so far… 51,600 words.

——

Totals For Year 3, Month 7, Day 11

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 874

— Daily Fiction: 3,300 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 7,500 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 1,300 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 9,100 words

— E-mail: 15 e-mails.  Approx. 500 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 216 e-mails. Approx. 10,600 words

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

——–

You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.
Oo4th_patreon_name

If you would like to leave a tip just hit Paypal.me/deanwesleysmith (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)

Collection

 

COLLECTION

Totally crazy day all around.

——-

THE DAY

Made it to WMG offices around 1 p.m. for meetings, then took off around 2:30 while the meeting was still going on to join Billy and Josh who were packing up the large X-Files collection we bought yesterday. It was raining, so we needed my van, which we filled and a bunch of Billy’s car as well. Big collection from an avid collector.

So back to meetings, then talked with Billy for a time about the collection, then Kris came back and we went out to dinner.

Back to the office for a number of hours to work on Smith’s Monthly.

This weekend or Monday I should have an issue for Paetron supporters and subscribers. Then a second one will be right behind that. And Heinlein’s Rules book will be out this month, later on.

Home here to work on workshop stuff and e-mail. Then a bunch of television.

 ——

MARCH WORKSHOP LIST

All of the March online workshops below have openings.

Also note that in April the AUTHOR VOICE workshop will be starting and I am taking sign-ups for that as well. It’s going to be a great workshop. If you want to learn how to understand and recognize your own author voice, how to alter your voice depending on stories, or even write invisible voice, and a ton more, that workshop will be for you.

Remember, each regular online workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time during the week.

All workshops have openings.

Class #21… Mar 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Mar 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Mar 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #24… Mar 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #25… Mar 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Mar 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Mar 8th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Mar 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Mar 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Mar 9th … Advanced Depth

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.

Full descriptions of the workshops and how to sign up under the Online Workshop tab above.

——

TOPIC OF THE NIGHT: Nothing Tonight

Between the focus on the planning meetings at WMG, the nifty collection, and Smith’s Monthly, I didn’t get much focus on the novel again tonight.

For those wondering, I started Dead Hand in late November. The slowness has nothing at all to do with the book. Just my focus.

But one good thing about this novel being slow. Now I can officially tell people it takes me about three or four months to write a novel. That always makes people happy. A lot happier than telling them I can write a novel in ten to fifteen days when focused. (grin)

——

The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(List shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish. And I am fairly certain this book will not end up as long as the words I have put into it. Normal for writing a puzzle mystery into the dark.)

Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.
Day 24.. 3,950 words.  Total words so far… 44,100 words.
Day 25.. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 46,100 words.
Day 26.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 47,150 words.
Day 27.. 1,150 words.  Total words so far… 48,300 words.

——

Totals For Year 3, Month 7, Day 10

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 873

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 4,200 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 4,000 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 7,800 words

— E-mail: 11 e-mails.  Approx. 400 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 201 e-mails. Approx. 10,100 words

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

——–

You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.
Oo4th_patreon_name

If you would like to leave a tip just hit Paypal.me/deanwesleysmith (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)

Focus

 

FOCUS

Over the last month plus, my focus has been all over the place. Thought I would talk a little bit about focus and writing tonight (See below).

——-

THE DAY

Made it to WMG offices around 1:30 p.m. and took off shortly after that to go look at a vast X-Files collection with Billy, the WMG sales manager. Turns out the collection was huge, filling a lot of a garage. And the wonderful people who owned it had been collectors of other fine stuff over their lifetimes. And they had been major dealers at shows around the country and were now retiring completely.

When working with another dealer, you have to be flat honest with value and sales and such. Dealers can see right through another dealer’s tricks. So after getting a wonderful tour of some of their major collections, we got to work on trying to figure out what would be a fair price for the huge X-Files collection.

The collection fits perfectly in what we sell and will be selling at the new store. Pop Culture. So I was honest with them as to what we could make and pay and they agreed and we came to an agreement and I wrote them a check and tomorrow we will be moving the collection. I love working and dealing with other dealers.

And we all think that the pickers on that show called Pickers miss a ton of stuff every episode that the rest of us would grab instantly. (grin)

So back to the office, then the store, then home to cook dinner.

Then after a short nap, about 9:30 p.m. I went to work on the novel.

The thing had seemed to be going slowly and I couldn’t figure out what was happening because my focus was not on it. So I went back to the start of the novel and went through it, putting the book into my head once again and driving the focus back into place.

Changed almost nothing other than marking a few plot side trips that didn’t I had a hunch didn’t need to be in the book, but I’ll wait until I find the ending to deal with those. I have no idea, those plot side trips might be part of the coming ending. Still working into the dark, so don’t know. But now the book is back with me and I’m pretty happy with it so far.

And I’m focused on it again.

I’m not counting any words once again tonight, even though the book progressed seven or eight hundred words forward. I’ll just start writing forward tomorrow and count that.

 ——

MARCH WORKSHOP LIST

All of the March online workshops below have openings.

Also note that in April the AUTHOR VOICE workshop will be starting and I am taking sign-ups for that as well. It’s going to be a great workshop. If you want to learn how to understand and recognize your own author voice, how to alter your voice depending on stories, or even write invisible voice, and a ton more, that workshop will be for you.

Remember, each regular online workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time during the week.

All workshops have openings.

Class #21… Mar 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Mar 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Mar 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #24… Mar 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #25… Mar 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Mar 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Mar 8th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Mar 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Mar 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Mar 9th … Advanced Depth

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.

Full descriptions of the workshops and how to sign up under the Online Workshop tab above.

——

TOPIC OF THE NIGHT: Focus

First off, a couple people wrote me privately and took offense, slightly, at my saying that I was surprised that with all the vast amount of press KU gets, that it was such a small percentage of overall books sales.

(Seems the Author Earnings report showed their silly sales king wasn’t wearing cloths.)

Let me get this straight…For a chance to get 13% or so of book sales, you cut out the other 87%? That just puzzles me.

And then on top of that, you limit your possible amount you can make and depend on Amazon to just give you money instead of you making it from sales. Yup, I am disdainful of that for any reason because it is just another one of those things in publishing that is flat silly when you look at it closely.

So yell at me if you want. I would rather sell books to 100% of the possible audience, including paper and audio. I have always said that, can’t imagine ever changing that.

As for the topic tonight, focus, I have noticed what we all know. When life takes your focus away from writing, the writing production suffers.

Sort of a well-duh.

And most of the time in my life, except it seems in December, January, and February, I have been able to mostly keep the focus on the writing. And honestly, I still am focused on the business, on learning craft, and on writing, but it tends to be that I give fewer hours to the writing part and more hours to the business and learning parts in the winter.

Not at all sure why that is.

Of course, major life issues that pull focus away sharply, such as sickness or death of a family member, just take time to recover from. The key with those is to recover. Some people I know had a major life event years ago and are still using it as an excuse to not write.

And some people just wait around, not writing, with their focus on waiting for the next major life event to hit them. That would drive me crazy.

So right now, it’s winter, I am doing a ton of stuff to try to get this web site shifted in the next step, and I am trying to help fire up a new physical store, which is my love and passion. So my focus is distracted.

And a huge part of the new store will be a bookstore, for those of you who think bookstores are fading away.

So tonight, I turned around and said enough of the distraction, time to get back to writing. Time to give the actual writing a focus.

We all have to do that at times. We all have to just say enough of the distraction and get back to writing.

So I did that today, even after buying a major collection for the stores. I came home and got back to focusing on the novel.

I gave the novel three hours plus tonight in focus.

Felt really good, honestly. So if you are distracted right about now, might want to give focus a try. (grin)

——

The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(List shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish. And I am fairly certain this book will not end up as long as the words I have put into it. Normal for writing a puzzle mystery into the dark.)

Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.
Day 24.. 3,950 words.  Total words so far… 44,100 words.
Day 25.. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 46,100 words.
Day 26.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 47,150 words.
Day 27.. 1,150 words.  Total words so far… 48,300 words.

——

Totals For Year 3, Month 7, Day 9

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 872

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 4,200 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 1,000 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 7,400 words

— E-mail: 12 e-mails.  Approx. 400 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 190 e-mails. Approx. 9,700 words

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

——–

You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.
Oo4th_patreon_name

If you would like to leave a tip just hit Paypal.me/deanwesleysmith (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)

Author Earnings Report

 

AUTHOR EARNINGS REPORT

Yesterday I mentioned we had a professional writer’s meeting. Well, what we talked about during a large part of that meeting was the new Author Earnings Report that officially came out today.

You can get the February report at:

http://authorearnings.com/report/february-2016-author-earnings-report/

——-

THE DAY

Made it to WMG around 1 p.m. for meetings all day, some lunch, then back for another meeting.

Then home to cook dinner, do all the assignments for the workshops, then read ten stories and watch some television. Crazy day but a lot of things done.

 ——

MARCH WORKSHOP LIST

All of the March online workshops below have openings.

Also note that in April the AUTHOR VOICE workshop will be starting and I am taking sign-ups for that as well. It’s going to be a great workshop. If you want to learn how to understand and recognize your own author voice, how to alter your voice depending on stories, or even write invisible voice, and a ton more, that workshop will be for you.

Remember, each regular online workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time during the week.

All workshops have openings.

Class #21… Mar 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Mar 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Mar 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #24… Mar 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #25… Mar 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Mar 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Mar 8th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Mar 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Mar 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Mar 9th … Advanced Depth

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.

——

TOPIC OF THE NIGHT: Author Earnings Report

Once again the traditional publishing world is going to throw stones at this, but honestly, this has to scare them to death, at least the smart people working in traditional that have their heads out of the dark and are not in denial.

This report talks more about how the data was collected, then goes on to show a ton of stuff. I highly suggest that each of you read this. As Hugh and Data guy have always said, they do these reports to give writers more information when making decisions.

So to get the information, go read the report. Study it and understand it. Link at the top here.

Let me give you some of what I took as highlights out of many from this report.

But first off, realize that WMG Publishing is in the small/medium-sized publisher category. My books are not indie published in this report. At the meeting on Sunday we had two medium-sized publishers and eleven indie publishers. (All known these days as professional writers.)

So keep that in mind. The indie numbers are under reported on this report, as Hugh and Data guy both say is the case.

Also keep in mind that the traditional big five all publish the likes of Cussler, Patterson, Roberts and so on. Those are included in the big five numbers.

It would sure be interesting to see the top 50 major bestseller numbers pulled from that traditional publishing number to see how really, really small it is for the normal writer.

Hugh? Data Guy? Would that be even possible? Just a thought. Might help the traditional mid-list genre writers understand their positions a little more.

So to the points that I found amazing in this one.

— Indie alone is almost 45% of all ebooks sold. Add in a bunch of the small and medium-sized presses like WMG and that number rockets past 50% easily. The “shadow industry” is now selling more books than the regular industry. Wow, just wow.

— Daily ebook sales stunned me as well. Remember, these numbers are just Amazon just in one day. WMG Publishing sells more ebooks on other sites combined than it does on Amazon on any give day. Not counting paper and audio. So this is the big store, sure, but not the only store.

Amazon’s daily ebook unit sales (January 2016):

 TOTAL 1,064,000
Indie Self-Published ebook KU full-read equivalents 155,000
Indie Self-Published regular retail ebook sales 293,000
Small/Medium Publisher ebook sales 204,000
Amazon-Publishing Imprint ebook sales 115,000
Big Five Publisher ebook sales 244,000
Uncategorized Single-Author Publisher ebook sales 53,000

 

First off, for all the press that KU gets among indie writers, it does a very, very small part of things. For Indie and Small/Medium presses, we sell about half of all the titles. (Not counting KU.) That’s a stunner.

The Big Five, which includes all the major bestsellers at the top, only does about a quarter of all books sold. Wow, just wow. I would have guessed that to be a lot more since they get so much press as well.

Seems the press on both sides (for KU and for Big Five) is really overblown when looking at hard numbers.

— Hugh and Data Guy have really changed their tune now about indie authors doing paper books and audio books. Now they are suggesting in their summary that all indie authors do both as they can.

Kris and I have been shouting that all along, of course. Great to see the guys with the information and math skills finally come along and back us up.

So folks, this report is stunning. And I am sure each person will get something a little different out of it.

If you are serious about being a fiction writer in this modern world, this report every three months is a MUST READ.

Feel free to come back here and make comments about it.

——

The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(List shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish. And I am fairly certain this book will not end up as long as the words I have put into it. Normal for writing a puzzle mystery into the dark.)

Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.
Day 24.. 3,950 words.  Total words so far… 44,100 words.
Day 25.. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 46,100 words.
Day 26.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 47,150 words.
Day 27.. 1,150 words.  Total words so far… 48,300 words.

——

Totals For Year 3, Month 7, Day 8

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 871

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 4,200 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 900 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 6,400 words

— E-mail: 44 e-mails.  Approx. 3,100 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 178 e-mails. Approx. 9,300 words

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

——–

You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.
Oo4th_patreon_name

If you would like to leave a tip just hit Paypal.me/deanwesleysmith (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)

Topic of the Night: Some Audience Thinking

AUDIENCE THINKING

Over the last month or more, I’ve been approaching the same topic from a number of different ways. From what is success to how to measure differences in indie and traditional methods of publishing.

Some basics that need to be clear first before I mention this next topic.

This new world of traditional publishing has only been going on now for about four years. Before that, for a few years, the gold rush days of indie publishing happened. Before that, before 2010, basically, the only viable route to being a long-term published fiction writer was traditional publishing.

So as a few of us have come to realize, long-term data in this new world is pretty sketchy and only good for short projections into the future. There just isn’t long-term data. Yet!

Even the wonderful Author Earnings reports only go back 23 months with the new one coming out shortly.

Fantastically short amount of data in any business world.

Clear on all that?

So when I was asked if there was a similarity with what many call the “long tail” of indie publishing to any area of old traditional publishing, I instantly thought of the young adult and children’s book traditional world.

Back when Publisher’s Weekly did the yearly shipped-book results, the backlist (meaning previously published) for young adult always sold more copies than the young adult front list.

Classic young adult books and some classic children’s books constantly sold in waves as new generations of readers came up to find and enjoy them.

While at the same time, very, very few of the adult fiction books that were published traditionally before 2010 were in print after a year. Very, very few. (In fact, no reports dealt at all with backlist adult fiction titles except in the small “literature” genre.)

Then,  along about 2010 comes the electronic book revolution and the unlimited aspects of book shelves. And adult fiction titles started to come back into print as authors indie published their backlist and discovered that unlike what traditional publishers thought, those “dead” backlist books could find a brand new audience.

So that is a key that I do not hear many, if any writers talking about.

The RENEWAL OF THE AUDIENCE. 

When your book isn’t forced out of print, it should be able to find new waves of NEW readers every five to ten years.

And if you keep your covers fresh every three to five years, and keep up with the major changes in the business to help your books get found, there is no reason your book can’t sell just as those backlist young adult books used to do.

Lack of bookstore shelf space drove our books out of print in the old traditional world. Now that is not the case. Shelf space is unlimited. Both for electronic and for paper and audio books, since half of all readers buy online in some form or another.

Paper books have unlimited shelf space as well online, something I hope that the smaller physical stores start to understand pretty soon. (We will have two physical stores shortly and five or six major online ways to buy books and collectables from the stores.)

So back to the point: We have very little data in this new world. Very little.

But we do have the reality that the audience for all of our books will renew every decade or so as new readers poor in.

And the niches and genres will shift and people’s tastes will change and fads will drive some books to the top and pull down others.

I know thinking about the renewal of your audience takes a long-term mindset. And most indie writers, because of the suddenness of this new world, don’t think long-term or even try.

But as this new world matures, some of us are thinking long-term.

So maybe if a book doesn’t sell well at the moment, maybe it will sell better in ten years as tastes and the audience renews.

Or maybe it will just sell a few hundred copies a year on average and in ten years have sold thousands total.

Audience renews.

I love this new world. Have I said that before?

 

Writers’ Meeting

 

WRITERS’ MEETING

Today turned out to be one of those special writers meetings. A bunch of professional writers always get together for lunch every Sunday, and since our favorite restaurant is in the process of moving, we are all brown bagging it up at WMG offices.

Today three professional writers from the valley showed up and joined all the regulars and strangely enough, the entire meeting was talking about writing and publishing for almost three hours. Wonderful fun.

——-

THE DAY

Made it to WMG around 1 p.m. and then talked writing until almost 5 p.m. Then to the store and then home to cook dinner. Then in here to do workshop assignments.

Also, at some point, I read ten stories for the upcoming anthology workshop and did about 800 words on the novel I’m not going to add in tonight.

Then I did a bunch of admin stuff to get ready for tomorrow, Monday, a crazy business day.

Then did the topic of the night.

——

PATREON AND NEWSLETTER UPDATE

For those of you signed up for my newsletter, the first one will be out later this week, toward the end, and then regularly after that. I hope to make it worth your time to get it once a month or so.

Patreon supporters, (and Smith’s Monthly subscribers) I will have an issue of Smith’s Monthly headed your way soon. And then Heinlein’s Rules book and then right after that another issue of the magazine.  A bunch of reading this month. (grin)

As I slowly get the final parts on this blog in place over the next month, I’ll be firing up the free short stories here and also some of the other things I talked about at the start of the year.

 ——

MARCH WORKSHOP LIST

All of the March online workshops below have openings.

Also note that in April the AUTHOR VOICE workshop will be starting and I am taking sign-ups for that as well. It’s going to be a great workshop. If you want to learn how to understand and recognize your own author voice, how to alter your voice depending on stories, or even write invisible voice, and a ton more, that workshop will be for you.

Remember, each regular online workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time during the week.

All workshops have openings.

Class #21… Mar 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Mar 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Mar 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #24… Mar 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #25… Mar 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Mar 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Mar 8th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Mar 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Mar 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Mar 9th … Advanced Depth

Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.

——

TOPIC OF THE NIGHT: Audience Thoughts

See post above.

——

The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(List shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish. And I am fairly certain this book will not end up as long as the words I have put into it. Normal for writing a puzzle mystery into the dark.)

Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.
Day 24.. 3,950 words.  Total words so far… 44,100 words.
Day 25.. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 46,100 words.
Day 26.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 47,150 words.
Day 27.. 1,150 words.  Total words so far… 48,300 words.

——

Totals For Year 3, Month 7, Day 7

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 870

— Daily Fiction: 00 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 4,200 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 1,200 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 5,500 words

— E-mail: 29 e-mails.  Approx. 2,100 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 134 e-mails. Approx. 6,200 words

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

——–

You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.
Oo4th_patreon_name

If you would like to leave a tip just hit Paypal.me/deanwesleysmith (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)

Auction and Construction

 

A FUN DAY OF STUFF

Changed out very heavy fire doors, hung light fixtures, and so on today, then headed to the auction to buy stuff for the new store as well.

——-

THE DAY

Made it up to WMG offices early again today and worked on the new store stuff until about 4:30 when I went out to our first store. Then to the auction.

Found a few nifty things, including getting three great cookie jars.

Then home around 10 p.m. to do e-mail and a little writing and then some reading.

Actually managed 1,150 words tonight on the book. If I actually got back on my normal schedule, that count would triple easily.

 ——

REGULAR CAT PICTURES

IMG_1169

Cheeps, our indoor feral cat is slowly gaining on calming down. He actually likes being petted at times and comes at certain times for pets.

I am picking him up for a few seconds every day to get him used to that. So far I have lost no blood. Knock on wood there. (grin)

He’s turning into a very sweet cat, slowly. Another year or so before he calms in completely.

Miss Ella, who was another rescue, is now a love after four years. She’s Kris’s cat almost completely. But she does love to pose for photos for me.

IMG_1177

——

The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(List shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish. And I am fairly certain this book will not end up as long as the words I have put into it. Normal for writing a puzzle mystery into the dark.)

Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.
Day 24.. 3,950 words.  Total words so far… 44,100 words.
Day 25.. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 46,100 words.
Day 26.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 47,150 words.
Day 27.. 1,150 words.  Total words so far… 48,300 words.

——

Totals For Year 3, Month 7, Day 6

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 869

— Daily Fiction: 1,150 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 4,200 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 200 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 4,300 words

— E-mail: 11 e-mails.  Approx. 400 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 105 e-mails. Approx. 4,100 words

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

——–

You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.
Oo4th_patreon_name

If you would like to leave a tip just hit Paypal.me/deanwesleysmith (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)

Construction Day

 

CONSTRUCTION

Actually, a lot of destruction with the removal of a large wall in the new store. And all sorts of things like that. More to do tomorrow.

——-

THE DAY

Construction from way too early until 7 p.m., then cooked dinner, then did e-mail.

Then I actually wrote about 1,050 words. Then did a bunch of reading and watched television.

For those who wonder why I do these short posts that say nothing, it’s because I am keeping up the challenge of posting about my day and writing here. Day 868. How silly is that?

———–

March Online Workshops Starting Up

All of the March Online Workshops have openings. Click the workshop tab above for description and sign-up or go to www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com.

Each regular workshop is six weeks long and takes about 3-4 hours per week to do at your own pace and your own time.

———

NEW WORKSHOPS

We have two really cool new online workshops starting up over the next few months. The first, in March, is Advanced Character and Dialog. The Dialog workshop for short.

And the second in April is Author Voice.

I honestly, when we started this year, did not expect us to do new workshops for a time, and now we are doing two this spring. It will be really fun for me, since I learn a ton trying to put these together in a way that will make sense.

——

The Writing of Dead Hand: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery

(List shortened down because I have a hunch this is going to take some more days to finish. And I am fairly certain this book will not end up as long as the words I have put into it. Normal for writing a puzzle mystery into the dark.)

Day 17.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 30,250 words.
Day 18.. 2,150 words.  Total words so far… 32,400 words.
Day 19.. 1,700 words.  Total words so far… 34,100 words.
Day 20.. 1,100 words.  Total words so far… 35,200 words.
Day 21.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 36,250 words.
Day 22.. 2,050 words.  Total words so far… 38,300 words.
Day 23.. 1,850 words.  Total words so far… 40,150 words.
Day 24.. 3,950 words.  Total words so far… 44,100 words.
Day 25.. 2,000 words.  Total words so far… 46,100 words.
Day 26.. 1,050 words.  Total words so far… 47,150 words.

——

Totals For Year 3, Month 7, Day 5

Writing in Public blog streak… Day 868

— Daily Fiction: 1,050 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 3,050 words  

— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words 

— Blog Posts: 200 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 4,100 words

— E-mail: 10 e-mails.  Approx. 400 original words.  E-mails month-to date: 94 e-mails. Approx. 3,700 words

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

——–

You can support this ongoing blog at Patreon on a monthly basis. Not per post. Just click on the Patreon image. Extra stuff for different levels of support and I will be adding in more as time goes on. Thanks for your support.

Or you can just toss a tip into the tip jar with a single donation at PayPal. Either way, your support keeps me going at these crazy posts.

And thanks.
Oo4th_patreon_name

If you would like to leave a tip just hit Paypal.me/deanwesleysmith (Goes to WMG Publishing account, but I’ll get it just fine.)

Author Voice Workshop Announced

Kris and I spent some time putting this workshop together before now, but always decided it was just not the right time to try it. But then in her blog this week and in the comments, she got a lot of people asking about how to even understand their own author voice.

So we pulled this back out of our notes and decided now was the time to start this, finally. Starts in April and there is another session in May. I am taking sign-ups now. Limited to 12 writers each time.

Here are the details as best as we can explain them. This will be one of those workshops where you will keep saying, “I didn’t know that was possible.”

AUTHOR VOICE WORKSHOP

This workshop focuses on what it takes to develop your original author voice.

How to help your original author voice come out. Things to do to help. And things not to do that kill an author voice. 

Boring always hurts stories. Your original author voice, your personal voice, makes stories interesting and original.  

The Character Voice workshop helps writers understand how to make characters distinct and different. Depth workshop helps you pull readers down into stories using characters.

But what sells stories and makes them memorable to readers often turns on the author voice. And since author voice is our natural voice, we can’t hear it or see it without training. That author voice seems boring to each of us, so writers often take out of their stories the very thing that makes the story original and different and memorable.

Some of the many details about this workshop

— An awareness workshop to start with. The only way to really understand some of these more advanced craft techniques is to become aware of the technique. That goes triple for author voice.

— How to see and identify an author voice, including your own. Once you see another author’s author voice and how it is used, you can see your own author voice much, much better.

— How to know when to use your author voice and when not to. How to even control author voice when you want to.

— How to do more author voice openings to pull readers into your stories. (This is talked about a little bit in Advanced Depth, but mostly Character Voice openings, not author voice openings.)

— How to sustain author voice, when to pull it back, how to spice it through your stories.

— And a ton more. A workshop suitable for a writer at any level. It never hurts to start understanding your author voice.

This might be the most eye-opening workshop we do for writers.

My Newsletter Sign-Up



Smith’s Monthly Subscriptions

Smith's Monthly, an original fiction magazine featuring every month a full novel, short fiction, serial adventures, and nonfiction now available for subscriptions.

And twenty-five of them now exist... Amazing, huh? And hard to hold. Here I am holding the first five...

$6.99 electronic and $12.99 trade paper editions are available at your local bookseller. All paper subscription copies are signed. For more information, just click on the cover.

ISSUES IN ORDER

Online Workshop Schedule

These are the starting dates of upcoming online workshops. Limited to twelve writers. All have openings unless I say closed below. For sign-up and more information about each workshop, click the Online Workshop tab at the top of the page.

Class #21… Mar 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Mar 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Mar 7th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #24… Mar 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #25… Mar 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Mar 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Mar 8th … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #28… Mar 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Mar 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30... Mar 9th … Advanced Depth

Class #31… April 4th … Author Voice
Class #32… April 4th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #33… April 4th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #34… April 4th … Ideas into Stories
Class #35… April 5th … Character Development
Class #36… April 5th … Depth in Writing
Class #37… April 5th … Plotting With Depth
Class #38… April 6th … Designing Covers
Class #39… April 6th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #40… April 6th … Advanced Depth

Class #41… May 2nd … Author Voice
Class #42… May 2nd … How to Write Thrillers
Class #43… May 2nd … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #44… May 2nd … Plotting With Depth
Class #45… May 3rd … Character Development
Class #46… May 3rd … Depth in Writing
Class #47… May 3rd … Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #48… May 4th … Cliffhangers
Class #49… May 4th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #50... May 4th … Advanced Depth

Class #51… June 6th …(to be announced)
Class #52… June 6th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #53… June 6th … Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #54… June 6th … Ideas into Stories
Class #55… June 7th … Character Development
Class #56… June 7th … Depth in Writing
Class #57… June 7th … Plotting With Depth
Class #58… June 8th … Designing Covers
Class #59… June 8th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #60… June 8th … Advanced Depth

Sign-up and more information under Online Workshops tab at the top of the page.

Classic Workshops

You can sign up for these and start at any point. They are the regular workshops, only you don't send in the homework and you can take them as fast or as slow as you would like.

They are half the price of a regular six week workshop.

Classic Workshops offered.

Making a Living... Classic
Productivity... Classic
Discoverability... Classic
Writing in Series... Classic
Genre Structure... Classic
Career... Classic

Lecture Series

More information on these lectures under the Lecture Series Tab above.

#1... Heinlein's Rules... Dean Wesley Smith 15 videos... $75.00

#2... Read Like a Writer... Kristine Kathryn Rusch... 8 videos... $50.00

#3... How to Write a Short Story: The Basics... Kristine Kathryn Rusch.... 7 videos... $50.00

#4... Writer's Block and Procrastination... Dean Wesley Smith... 8 videos... $50.00

#5... Carving Time Out for Your Writing... Dean Wesley Smith.... 8 videos... $50.00

#6... How to Research for Fiction Writers... Kristine Kathryn Rusch.... 14 videos... $75.00

#7... Pen Names: Help With the Decision... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#8... Motivation: Starting Easier and Writing More... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#9... Practice: The Attitude and Methods of Practice in Fiction... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#10... Master Plot Formula: How and Why It Works Today... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#11... Prolific Lecture: How to Become a Prolific Fiction Writer... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#12... The Stages of a Fiction Writer: How to Know Where You Are In Learning and How To Move Upward... Dean Wesley Smith.... 11 videos... $50.00

#13... Starting Writing. Or Restarting Your Writing... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#14... Endings: How to Write Them and Understand What Makes a Good Ending... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#15... Audio Narration Lecture... Jane Kennedy.... 9 audio lectures... $50.00

#16... Your Writing as an Investment Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#17... How to Get Your Books into Bookstores Lecture... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#18... How to Think Like a Science Fiction Writer Lecture... Kristine Kathryn Rusch....11 videos... $50.00

#19... Why Some Books Sell More Than Other Books... Dean Wesley Smith.... 9 videos... $50.00

#20... How to Write a Page Turning Novel or Story: Basics and Tricks ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 8 videos... $50.00

#21... The Basics of Designing Science Fiction Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#22... The Basics of Designing Mystery, Cozy, or Thriller Covers ... Allyson Longueira .... 8 videos... $50.00

#23... Paying the Price: A Working Writer's Mindset ... Dean Wesley Smith.... 10 videos... $50.00

#24... Writing into the Dark: The Tricks and Methods of Writing Without an Outline... Dean Wesley Smith... 12 videos... $50.00

#25... Reviews: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#26... Organization... Allyson Longueira... 8 videos... $50.00

#27... Confidence... Dean Wesley Smith... 10 videos... $50.00

#28... Stories to Novels... Dean Wesley Smith... 9 videos... $50.00

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Just click on the image to go to my new Patreon page.