Posts in category Misc

Cat Picture That Has Nothing to Do With Anything

Two of our three cats sitting in windows enjoying the fresh coastal air.

Galley is the old orange guy, Sir Duke is the new kitten.

This is for you, Kris. (grin)

Cats Window

Web Site Update

Great fun. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  If you will notice, my site now looks just like my old one except for all the top stuff. I had to try all the fancy bells and formats and stuff before going back to what worked.

And it is a ton cleaner. Wow.

Still working on content of the pages, such as a list of all my novels, and so on. I do have the list of the Nonfiction Books page done. It will come together.

Also I got the main menu bar stopped from flowing all over the place and I got the silly shaking of the names on the main menu bar fixed. Very weird options that were buried in check boxes. But I found them.

And I went back to one widget because with two, on cell phones the widget came up before the posts. Oh, oh. (grin)

And one column for the posts, which just works better. Not as confusing.

I can’t seem to make that main menu any thinner, but still working on that. Me and Google are having fun there. (grin)

So maybe back to writing tonight. Wouldn’t that be fun? (grin)

Thanks again, everyone. At least now this place is starting to look like a writer’s site.

Cheers, Dean

Ghost Novel: The Day After

I just finished close to a 70,000 words on a novel I was hired to do by a New York publisher.  Did it in ten days here and blogged about my days and how I did the words. The editor on the book reported that it arrived just fine.

I can give ZERO hints about the content of the book, so please don’t ask. I only talked about the writing process and my day around the writing process.

Someone local came up to me today and congratulated me on finishing the book and I said, “Congratulations on going to work today.”  I do not think the person understood. (grin)

Thanks everyone for the very kind thank-you comments on this. And numbers of people seemed stunned that I could go to work for ten days, then go to work on day #11. So for one more day, I’ll do my day here. Just to try to put one more nail in the attempt at killing a few ugly myths about how writers work.

If you are new to this, I would scroll back and start reading from Day 1 and read the comments under all the days so far. There is a ton of answers to questions. And the questions have been great. Thanks, everyone!

And yes, I will put these up under a header that can be found down the road.

Now for one more day of watching paint dry.

The Day After: Entry 1

8:30 PM… Horrid start to the day, but alas I’m back here. A couple of the days in the novel writing I didn’t get into the office until late to write, so back at this like normal.

The day started early for me as well, getting up around 12:00, getting my three breakfast bars eaten while doing some e-mail and then heading to the WMG offices by 1:30 PM. Meetings on all sorts of business stuff, then Kris and I had lunch and I went back for more meeting from 4 until 6:00PM.

Then I went down to a local restaurant to enjoy part of a birthday celebration for a friend, then to the grocery store and back home to cook Kris dinner. We watched the news, I came up here to my office, worked on e-mail and did this. I will now work on the homework for the online workshop I am teaching called Pitches and Blurbs, then head back to the WMG Offices for a time.

I expect to be back here in my office at home by around 11:00 PM and headed for the computer. Up at WMG Publishing tonight I’ll work on putting together Fiction River: Time Streams that I am editing so I can get that turned in on time. When I get back here I’ll tell you what I end up writing on and give page counts.

The Day After: Entry 2

10:35 PM… Back from the WMG Publishing offices. Got my response recorded up there tonight for the workshop and got it loaded to the workshop site, then ended up spending thirty minutes talking with the landlord, who has a shop in the back of the building and is never there at night. He’s a great guy.

So didn’t work on the Fiction River editing, but instead came back here, did some more workshop work, now headed for my writing computer. At some point I’ll go downstairs to watch The Voice. (As I have said before, a writer can learn a ton from this show if you understand what you are watching.)

The Day After: Entry 3

2:15 AM … I worked for about 45 minutes at a new Jukebox short story for Time Streams anthology, got about 600 words in, took a break and a short nap on the couch outside my office. Kris woke me up twenty minutes later and we went and watched The Voice and Castle.

Now I’m back in my office and headed back to the short story. Again, a slow start today because of all the business stuff, but still pretty normal. Tomorrow will be back to normal because I have ZERO meetings schedule. (grin)

The Day After: Entry 4… the last…

3:00 AM … I finally decided I’m done with this experiment to blog about my writing of a ghost novel. So this is the last entry, even though I will be up for a time longer writing.

I finished another 700 words or so on the time travel story. Title at the moment is Home is a Song. That might change, but so far it is fitting.

I’ll keep going and get it done tonight or tomorrow, but not going to post the words or anything here. I also have a thriller I wrote that I need to dig out of my files and get turned into WMG Publishing by Wednesday so it can get into the proof and production stages, so going to do that tomorrow. (Not rewrite, just dig it out and turn it in. A book called “Dead Money” already written, never sold.)

I have a new blog post coming on things in indie publishing on Thursday or Friday in my New World of Publishing series. I’ve been working on that in spare moments and I think it might be something a lot of writers have not thought about, but since it wasn’t fiction, I didn’t count it any more than I counted these.

So that’s it. After 11 days of this silliness, back to regularly scheduled posts… I have writing to do…

Ghost Novel: Day 10

The last day.

As I said in every post so far, I’m going to have one post per day here for the “ghost” novel writing process that I was hired by a New York publisher to do. I have been aiming for 10 days to finish this novel, which I said was the goal at the start. Looks like I’m going to hit it tonight.

I can give ZERO hints about the content of the book, so please don’t ask. I am only talking about the writing process and my day around the writing process.

I will add to this post at different times during the day right up until I fire it off to my New York editor and head to bed, so you can follow the process of this last day.

If you are new to this, I would scroll back and start reading from Day 1 and read the comments under all the days so far. There is a ton of answers to questions. And the questions have been great. Thanks, everyone!

Progress going into this last day…

Day #1… 7,625 words
Day #2… 7,734 words
Day #3… 7,059 words
Day #4… 5,070 words
Day #5… 7,786 words
Day #6… 7,116 words
Day #7… 3,005 words
Day #8… 7,473 words
Day #9… 9,373 words

Total so far… 62,231 words.

Day 10: Entry 1

4:45 PM… Normal Sunday start today. Got up around 1:00 PM, managed some e-mail before heading off to the professional writer’s lunch at 2:00 PM. Got back around 3:45 PM and am now done with e-mail and comments for the moment.

So headed toward my writing computer to get a session done. Later tonight I need to do a few hours on the online workshop that I am teaching called Cliffhangers. I need to get  letters about assignments back to everyone and my in general response recorded. (Still openings in the May and June online workshops if anyone is interested. List under the Online Workshops tab above if you want basically private instruction from me.)

But even with that and the lunch today, I don’t see much worry about finishing tonight. I seem to be powering right along just fine and dandy. Ending is in sight and it seems to be coming in close enough to the 70,000 word number to make my editor happy in New York. We shall see when the day is over what the actual number will be.

I want to thank you all as well for the great comments and questions. If you haven’t read all the questions and comments on every day, you want to make sure you do that. You never know what tiny bit of information from somewhere will help you with your own writing.

Now off to write and finish this novel so I can get started on something of my own again, plus I have at least three short stories editors are waiting for.

Day 10: Entry 2

6:45 PM… Managed just over 2,000 words in the last two hours. Firing right along now toward the ending…

Now off to the standard nap. White cat is waiting for me at the top of the stairs pretending to be asleep. (grin)

Day 10: Entry 3

10:00 PM… I had a nap and dinner and then came back here to my office and worked on the homework assignments for the Cliffhanger workshop, then did the video here in my office as well for that workshop. Too lazy at the moment to go up to the WMG Publishing offices where I normally record the videos.

So now, with the homework done, e-mails mostly answered, I’m headed back to my writing computer. Make a run at the end of this thing so I can get all my chapter files combined into one file and the entire novel sent off to the New York editor. And then they will owe me money again, which, of course, knowing traditional publishers as well as I do, won’t arrive until August and then only after I scream for a time. Ahh, I hate that part of this business.

Back to the fun part, the writing.

Day 10: Entry 4

11:00 PM… Taking a break…powered out about 1200 words in an hour before needing to stop for five minutes. This much faster pace is normal for me near the end of a book. Not sure if I write more because I want the stupid thing over or I write more because I’m bored and need to go fast to get finished.

3,200 approximately done for the day so far, plus lunch with writers and all the homework done for the workshop I’m teaching. On schedule…

Not a clue how much more. Back to typing…

Day 10: Entry 5

12:15 AM… another 1,000 words done before another break.

Day 10: Entry 6

2:30 AM… Done.

I still have to spend fifteen minutes and combine it into one file and fire it off to the editor. But the writing is done.

The ending worked out fine and came quickly, as I expected. I’m slightly under the 70,000 words asked for in the contract, but not enough to worry about. (total below)

Ten days, pretty normal days for me, actually. I taught the online workshops, did a ton of business, read, watched television, and mostly got full nights sleep each night.

In other words, I did nothing different this week except do more blog posts than I normally would do and answer more comments than I normally answer in a week. But that was fun as well.

Remember, the total below is only original fiction words in the last ten days. It does not count hundreds of e-mails, all the workshop letters in the workshops I am teaching, or all the comments answered in these posts. I don’t count any of that, or these blogs either which were just over 1,000 words each for ten days. The only thing important to a fiction writer like me is new fiction words.

I hope this exercise was worth the time for those of you watching. It wasn’t much unusual for me except that this novel contract allowed me to do this.

Good luck everyone fighting the myths that stop you.

Writing really is fun. If you let it be fun.

—-

The Word Count for Writing a 70,000 Word Novel in Ten Days

Day #1… 7,625 words
Day #2… 7,734 words
Day #3… 7,059 words
Day #4… 5,070 words
Day #5… 7,786 words
Day #6… 7,116 words
Day #7… 3,005 words
Day #8… 7,473 words
Day #9… 9,373 words
Day #10… 6,719 words

Total… 68,950 words.

 

Ghost Novel: Day 9

As I said in every post so far, I’m going to have one post per day here for the “ghost” novel writing process that I was hired by a New York publisher to do. I am now aiming for 10 days to finish this novel, which I said was the goal at the start. I can give ZERO hints about the content of the book, so please don’t ask. I am only talking about the writing process and my day around the writing process.

I will add to this post at different times during the day right up until I head to bed so you can follow the process.  At the end of each post I will add up the daily word count and project word count. You want to see what a professional writer’s day is like, I’ll put a post up here every day until this book is done.

If you are new to this, I would scroll back and start reading from Day 1 and read the comments under all the days so far. There is a ton of answers to questions. And the questions have been great. Thanks, everyone!

Progress so far…

Day #1… 7,625 words
Day #2… 7,734 words
Day #3… 7,059 words
Day #4… 5,070 words
Day #5… 7,786 words
Day #6… 7,116 words
Day #7… 3,005 words
Day #8… 7,473 words

Total so far… 52,858 words.

—–

Day 9: Entry 1

4:45 PM… Horrid slow start on this fine Saturday. Managed to get out of bed later than normal and have been doing e-mail and working on business stuff with Kris. Of course this turned out to be a week of major business things. Figures….

I should be at this after I head out for a quick lunch, then back here for some writing.

Day 9: Entry 2

7:30 PM… I went out to the auction and had a great time working with the owner there over some collectables, then grabbed myself some lunch and the mail, then got back here and did two quick sessions. So far around 1,800 words total for the day.

Now off to nap with the cat.

Day 9: Entry 3

11:00 PM… The ending on this caused me to make a major change in the plot, so I went back to the beginning and changed that detail and wrote some new scenes and such around that one major detail shift.  Then ran forward, so about 2,000 new words since about 9 PM plus the changes.

No, that was not rewriting, that was a detail shift that was required by something I found two hundred pages later, that required new words inserted in a few places up in the front of the book. That is what I call “cycling” or “fixing.” If I wrote like Kris writes, she would have made a note and kept typing forward and then gone back on a “fix” draft and put that in. But since I am mailing this book tomorrow night to the editor, I needed to fix it now, the moment I realized the needed detail insertion.

Note: the reader getting to the end will think the author was brilliant because he could plant such information and have it turn up later in the book. Or they will think the author must have really outlined the book to make sure such information was up front that was needed later. (grin)

Powering forward…

Day 9: Entry 4

1:45 AM… I did another thousand words, then went up to WMG Offices and dinged around up there for a time because I just felt like I needed to for no reason at all that I could think of.  Then came back, watched an hour of news and television, now back up here in my office for the rest of the evening.

Seems this book is just not speeding up or slowing down. Just normal days dinging along on this. I’m around 5,000 words so far today, so we shall see how this ends up.

Day 9: Entry 5

3:30 AM… I did another couple thousand words in just under two hours, with one short break to get something to drink.

Still going…night not finished yet.

Day 9: Entry 6

6:30 AM… I’m up a little late tonight. Wrote until after 5, then went and watched some bad television.

Managed about 2,500 more words.  Total for the day is 9,373 words

Progress so far…

Day #1… 7,625 words
Day #2… 7,734 words
Day #3… 7,059 words
Day #4… 5,070 words
Day #5… 7,786 words
Day #6… 7,116 words
Day #7… 3,005 words
Day #8… 7,473 words
Day #9… 9,373 words

Total so far… 62,231 words.

Within sight…

 

Ghost Novel: Day 6

As I said in every post so far, I’m going to have one post per day here for the “ghost” novel writing process that I was hired by a New York publisher to do. I am now aiming for 9 to 10 days to finish this novel. I can give ZERO hints about the content of the book, so please don’t ask. I am only talking about the writing process and my day around the writing process.

I will add to this post at different times during the day right up until I head to bed so you can follow the process.  At the end of each post I will add up the daily word count and project word count. You want to see what a professional writer’s day is like, I’ll put a post up here every day until this book is done.

If you are new to this, I would scroll back and start reading from Day 1 and read the comments under all the days so far. There is a ton of answers to questions. And the questions have been great. Thanks, everyone!

Day #1… 7,625 words

Day #2… 7,734 words

Day #3… 7,059 words

Day #4… 5,070 words

Day #5… 7,786 words

Total so far starting Day #6… 35,274 words.

I’m about halfway to my hoped-for-and-contracted-word-count of 70,000 words. Seemingly right on schedule for my ten day pace. So we shall see how the next half of this goes.

As far as the plot, I still have NO IDEA at all where this is heading. But I am having fun writing it. I know that bothers many people who fear writing into the dark, but at the moment it’s great fun for me. The characters are just moving forward and occasionally I get to the end of a chapter or scene and know what needs to be in the next chapter. But that’s it. I hope in a few days to have some idea how this will end. I’ll let you know when that happens. Or if I get stuck.

Now off into the second half of the novel and Day 6.

Day 6: Entry 1:

3:30 PM… Rolled out of bed at 1:30 today and got to the internet computer around 2:15 with my breakfast bars. It’s a stunningly beautiful day here today, with the ocean a little rough from a light wind. Last night as I was writing I was sneezing like crazy, driving poor old Walter White Kitty nuts. I’d sneeze and he’d yell at me. Not sure what he was saying, but I know where the sneezing was coming from. I had my office window open and the wind was out of the east, something it rarely is here, so all the crap from the Portland valley was blowing over this way. I must be allergic to something growing over there. Thankfully, today the wind is shifting back off the ocean so there is clean air again like we are used to here.

I had a ton of e-mail and workshop stuff to answer this morning, so it’s now 3:30 PM and I’m headed to the writing computer for a session before heading out to WMG offices and the mail. Later…

Day 6: Entry 2:

4:15 PM… I wrote about 500 words, then realized I was running late and jumped out of here to head for the post office. I then stopped by WMG Publishing and went down and talked to the fine folks at Ella Distribution for a few short minutes, then grabbed some Burger King and came home.

5:00 PM while eating I heard a noise outside and opened the door to find a long-haired gray cat spooked off the porch and under the car. So I got him/her some food and it came right back up to eat. Clearly hungry. We thought it a neighbor’s cat the first few times we saw it, but now we’re not so sure anymore. It is thin and too hungry to be a neighbor’s cat. We just hadn’t seen it much. So now it looks like I’ll be trapping and talking in another cat. Sigh…

5:45 PM finally got back to the writing computer after answering a few more e-mails. I got another 1,100 words in.  It’s now 6:45 and I’m going to head back to another thirty minute writing session before heading down to the media room for a nap with the Waltese Falcon, as Kris calls him.

Day 6: Entry 3:

8:00 PM… I got back up here and started into the homework on the Ideas workshop, working my way slowly through that and then recording the response video for the week. I was finished with that about 10:00. Some great stuff in those assignments, fun reading.

10:00 PM… Finished the workshop homework for the night, answered a few e-mail, and then came in and told me her new blog was done, so I went out to the kitchen and read that. It’s a great one, about taking chances. She’s talking this week about something we do so normally around here it’s like breathing, but most writers don’t. In fact, the myths I’ve been pounding at here in all these comments are about writers afraid to try something new or something they believe “won’t work for me.” Anyway, it’s a great column and it will be up tomorrow morning like normal (Thursday) on her site, so read it, folks.

10:30 PM… headed back to my writing computer as soon as I get a cup of tea.  Not sure how far in I am today. I think I’m past a couple thousand words, not great, but considering the day, not bad. I’ll add it up later.

Day 6: Entry 4:

11:45 PM… I was taking a short break and Kris sent me a picture she had of Walter, so here it is… Back later with a writing update…

Walter white

 

Day 6: Entry 5:

1:45 AM… Not a clue how much I have done, but it doesn’t feel like enough. For some reason really tired tonight.  I haven’t lost the will to live yet, but there is no doubt I am dragging on this book at the moment.

Might have something to do with the fact that I still don’t have a clue where this thing is going. Or that I ended up doing far too many other things today, including just spending an hour plus watching television instead of writing.

So now I’m going to go back to my writing computer and do what I tell other writers to do: Write the next line.  I’ll be back later with the end of the day numbers and such.

Day 6: Entry 6:

4:15 AM… I’m giving up, even though I have a hunch I could go farther tonight and do another session, another 800 words. I just flat don’t feel like it, so headed for the basement to watch some really bad television, then go to bed.

Somehow in the last few hours I managed to write another 2,500 words or so, so the day ended up better than I had expected when I added it all up. I had over 2,000 words done before I went for a nap, dinner, and then did the homework for the online workshop. And it seems I did another 2,500 or so words before going down to watch some television earlier.

Then I managed another 2500 or so in the last few sessions, with five minute breaks and doing about 800 or so words per session. So maybe this is picking up speed a little. If I can get a fairly clear day on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I still might finish this in nine days. Again, we shall see because I still don’t know where it’s going. But I am getting there at a decent and pretty consistent clip. (grin)

Day #1… 7,625 words

Day #2… 7,734 words

Day #3… 7,059 words

Day #4… 5,070 words

Day #5… 7,786 words

Day #6… 7,116 words

Total so far… 42,380 words.

And that, folks, is how you write a short novel in 6 days.

You ever wonder how writers like Lester Dent (Doc Savage), Max Brand, and other pulp writers and mystery writers in the fifties and sixties did it, that was how. Take one day off and start again. Four short novels a month. And I taught workshops and did a bunch of other stuff at the same time. And got full night’s sleep every night.

Now onward to a novel of 70,000 words because that what this stupid contract says and I still don’t have a climax, let alone an ending. But I will. I will.

I trust the process.

A 1973 Picture for Fun

In the lecture on Heinlein’s Rules, I talk about my writing years between 1975 and 1982. But frighteningly enough, I had a couple of professions before I took up writing while in architecture and then law school. I was an avid skier and golfer, but in 1971 I quit skiing and teaching skiing and went fully to golf, turning professional in 1972.

Yeah, I know, hard to imagine me as a golf professional looking at the pictures at the top and side of this blog. But I was pretty good in those days. (I got worse every year for decades after those years. They were my peak.)

I was what was called a “trunk slammer” on some tour stops, meaning I went to the Monday morning qualifying to get into the big tournament and then when I didn’t get in, tossed my clubs in the trunk and slammed the lid and either headed for the next stop or back to my course to practice more.

In those years I was based in Palm Springs, California and actually was a head professional in 1973-74 of a country club there as well as playing tournaments occasionally. I also drank far too much, but that’s another story. (grin)

This last weekend, while in Boise visiting family and friends, I wondered into a room at my mother’s house and saw the picture below on her wall and asked her if I could take it and copy it. So this picture is a scan of a copy of a very old photograph. (The first one I put up was very faded, but wonderful Veronika from the UK grabbed it and tweaked the colors back some. Thanks!!)

Since I had a house fire in 1985 and lost everything, including all pictures, this is the only picture I have of my golf course and me back in those days. Yes, the kid in the picture was the head professional of that eighteen hole country club. (The restaurant is behind me and the tennis courts in the background.)

Thanks, mom, for the picture.

So just a glimpse into one of my earlier careers after skiing, but before architecture and writing.

Now the question is: Who stole my 1973 body? I want it back in exchange for this thing I’m limping around in now. (grin)

Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: You Must Give Your Money to an Agent First


The myth is simple: All your money must first go to an agent before you can have it.

Oh, wow, is this myth buried deep in this business, so deep that no writer thinks of questioning it, often even after having an agent take money from them.

I’m going to do what I often do in these chapters, and that’s build the history first of why this myth came about and why it is so strong, then build a solution. So hang on for the ride and try to hold the anger down until you have read all the way to the end.

SOME IMPORTANT HISTORY

In the beginning, meaning way back when agents started into publishing from the theater and movie industry, agents lived in New York City and writers sometimes didn’t. The writers who did live in New York would never think of having their agent paid first, and most didn’t need an agent and didn’t use one. But those writers outside of New York had their agent drop off manuscripts in editor’s offices and pick up the check, then the agent would mail part of the check to the client and keep the 10% fee. The agents knew the editors personally and it was a very small business.

All that was fine, a practice that started when agents picked up checks. Some writers questioned it and some didn’t right up into the late 1960s when publishers started bringing in the large computers to do payroll and keep track of checks. In the early 1970’s a few publishers starting noting that for some of the larger agencies they had to cut more than one check. They figured it would just be easier to write the agent one check and let the agent divide it between all of his clients.

(This no longer applies today with modern computers and internet banking.)

And thus in the early 1970s, about the point I was coming into the business, the practice became solid. But also remember in that time period, the standard belief was that you and your agent were “married” and trust me, you knew your agent. You had spent a lot of time with your agent and you were friends. So this system worked right up until the early 1990’s.

By that point the writers were hiring agents out of books, on a quick meeting at a writer’s conference, or simply because some person with a business card said they were an agent and the young writer got all excited. Scams and theft of writer’s money became almost the norm at this point and continues to this day.

And writers don’t know about most of it or care. 95% of all writers don’t even ask for rejections, or sign their own overseas contracts, or even see them, or bother to check royalty statements enough to even notice that for some odd reason the numbers don’t match up. Or the statements stopped coming. Agents know this about writers. Trust me. And the scam ones take advantage of it in every way they can.

Then things got even worse if that was possible. In the mid-to-late 1990’s writers started signing contracts with publishers that had inserted in it (by the agent without writer permission) an agency clause forcing the publisher to pay the agent first on all matters concerning the contracts. Did one writer’s group object? Of course not. And even though completely unenforceable, these agency clauses now try to hold the rights past the termination of the contract. And writers believe them.

And we all signed them, me included.

Now remember some facts:

1) Agents are not regulated or schooled or trained. Anyone can become an agent.

2) Writers are hiring strangers posing as agents to handle sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars of their money without even a simple background check.

3) Most writers don’t bother to check the paperwork their agent sends them on any money payout.

4) Agents get all the paperwork FIRST before the writer on the money and thus don’t have to pass it along. Some writers are stupid enough to go so far as even give an agent power of attorney to sign documents. (That’s so far past stupid I gasp at the scale of ignorance.)

That’s the situation as it stands now.

Examples of How This Turns Ugly

Example: Writer has a nice selling book in North America, didn’t sell overseas rights. Agent phones one day and says “Sold German rights for 5,000 E.U..”

Actually the offer was 7,000, but somewhere along the way you were only told 5,000. Agents keep the rest plus 20% of the 5,000. How can this happen? More ways than you ever want to think about. And it happens all the time.

Example: Writers makes nice sale to Germany, royalties to be paid twice a year. No statements ever make it to the writer. Writer has no way of knowing if there was any more payments in Germany or not. And go ahead, demand those statements from your agent and see how far you get. And the excuses and “reasons” the agent doesn’t have them. Go ahead, I dare you.

Example: A book in the States is earning out and running royalties starting on the third statement, but you only saw the first two statements and don’t know it had checks attached to the third one because the agent kept the money and didn’t bother to tell you. And you don’t think to check because most writers are very, very bad at business and filing and don’t track the payments or book sales. Not all, just most writers. And if you have told the agent you want all the paperwork, and then demanded it, they won’t try this one on you.

I could go on, but the scams are far, far too numerous to list, often done by agents with top reputations and top clients.

For example, did you know a major agency with top clients holds everyone’s money as standard practice for seven days? Now, for those of you who understand accounting, this is called “the float” and this major agency as policy holds sometimes millions in this float account for a week, collecting the interest. Not much at the moment, but when interest was 10% it was a ton of money they earned off their client’s money. Again, a scam and major bestsellers let them get away with this. Not kidding.

SO WHAT IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF ALL THESE PROBLEMS?

Answer: Your agent gets all the paperwork and all statements and all money before you see it.

That’s the problem. Plain and simple.

THE SIMPLE SOLUTION

From this moment on, with every contract, you do the following simple steps.

YOU replace the agency clause in your contract with a clause that does two things. The new clause needs to state clearly:

1) All payments will be split 15% to agent of record and 85% to you, listing the address of both.

2) All paperwork and royalty statements will be sent to both you and your agent, or if the publisher balks at the extra expense, the paperwork is sent to you and you forward a copy to your agent.

Problem solved.

A simple and easy solution. You sign your own contract, you simply talk with the editor and insert that clause instead of the agency clause. Do that with all overseas contracts as well. (The contracts must be in your own language, so don’t let an agent tell you otherwise. If the agent pushes that you must do it their way, that is a sure sign of a scam going on. Contracts under international copyright agreements are always in the language of the author. Get them and read them carefully.)

If your agent objects to this overall or say they can’t do it that way, you have someone who is invested in scamming you and taking your money so fire them instantly. And I do mean instantly. You are giving them their 15% directly from the publisher in the contract. They don’t need your money as well, do they? They have NO valid reason to handle your money.

(And agents, if you really are reputable, there’s no reason to continue this practice. You start changing it. If agents as a group start changing this, it will soon become clear which agents are the scams and which agents are solid and honest. But until agents start changing this for all of their clients, it will be up to the writers.)

Will any writer do this?

No. (Or very few.) Too simple. And all writers are too afraid of their agents, and thus the agents who have no regulations or training but all the writer’s money will keep scamming the writers. It is a sad fact of life.

And right now I can hear hundreds of writers with agents thinking, “Luckily my agent isn’t doing that to me.”

HOW DO YOU KNOW??????

You have given them all the paperwork that comes with your money from publishers and all the money FIRST. Do you really know what a royalty statement looks like exactly from Bantam? How simple is it for an agent to make up a false one? Duh..

And so many, many other ways of doing it.

The fact is that YOU DON’T KNOW as long as you are letting perfect strangers touch your money first and all the paperwork with that money. And you can’t know.

Wake up, writers!

This is one Sacred Cow of Publishing that needs to be killed about a million times and then buried as a deep, ugly part of the past of this business.

But sadly, it’s not going to happen. Why? Because agents want to keep the money they are skimming and scamming and writers are too afraid of agents to object.

With luck, this new publishing industry that is going to emerge in the next ten years won’t include many agents, and writers can start coming to their collective senses.

Until then, we writers should change our names to “marks” because that’s what con artists call those they take money from. And we are the best marks ever invented. We willingly in a contract agree to send the con artist all of our money and the paperwork with it.

Luckily Bernie Madoff didn’t know about this. He would have been the best agent ever and he’d still be working and out of jail.

————————————————

Copyright 2010 Dean Wesley Smith
————————————————–
Because of the new world and technology, my magic bakery got a lot more valuable lately. This is now part of my inventory in my bakery. (Confused on that, read the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post about making money with writing.) I’m giving you this small slice as a sample. I’m giving you a taste, but not selling any of the pie.

If you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip jar on the way out of the Magic Bakery.

And I would like to thank all the fine folks who have donated. Once this book is done, I will send you a copy. The donations and the comments both after the posts and privately are really keeping me going on this. Thanks!

If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this chapter along to others who might get some help from it. Every week or so I will be adding a new chapter on the myths and sacred cows of publishing. Stay tuned. Upcoming are chapters on bestsellers, losing control of your writing, having it made, speed equals making money, more on agents, and so much more. This business has a lot of myths. An entire book full.

Thanks, Dean


Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Editors are Evil Myth


Off and on for years I’ve been hearing from newer writers that editors were evil, that they didn’t want to send their manuscripts to editors to be butchered, that they wanted an agent to help protect their work. As a former editor, I mostly just ignored this because it was so absurd.

But now comes along electronic publishing where writers can go directly to readers with their work and suddenly this “evil editor” myth is coming in strong as an excuse to not mail anything to New York or any major publication. And I said excuse, because there is no reality in this myth at all. None.

Period.

The truth: 99% of major publishing editors are very, very nice people. They love books, they love helping create books, they are good at corporation politics, they don’t get paid enough, they work seven days a week, and the only editing they do with an author is to fix mistakes and help the author make the book they wanted to write more of what the author wanted. Editors are the most underrated, underpaid workers in all of publishing.

So, where to even begin on this myth that editors are evil? Maybe at the beginning, the origin of the myth and why it has been growing.

ORIGIN OF A MYTH

In school we all heard about those famous editors of the past who helped major writers like Fitzgerald and Hemingway get their work into shape. So right out of the block we are all afraid of editors for not only that reason, but a hundred other reasons. They have the key to publication in their hands. They seem powerful and all-knowing from a distance. They don’t seem human to new writers, they seem like gods. All perception problems that lead to the following reasons for the myth of “evil editor.”

1) FEAR.

Writers have this fear of rejection which makes no logical sense at all. Editors can’t hurt you, won’t come to your home with a gun, and won’t write rejection letters like Snoopy got in the Peanuts cartoons. The worse editors do is not respond, the second worse is that they send a form rejection along. From there it’s all up.

But baseless fear controls all young writers, so instead of taking a chance that their work might get rejected, which it will because we all get rejected, they make up things like “I don’t want anyone butchering my sacred words or my sacred story.” Thus the young writers don’t have to confront their own fear of rejection. Easier to not mail something with an excuse than it is to take a chance and mail it.

Also, fear of publication does this a great deal as well, even though that sounds odd. Many, many writers are deathly afraid of having someone like their work because they know how easy and fun it was to write. The new writer didn’t struggle over it enough like they were taught was important in college. So therefore the story must be bad and if an editor bought it the writer would be exposed for a fraud. So it’s easier to make up an evil editor excuse and not mail the story.

2) EDITOR AS HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER

For some reason a lot of new writers think that an editor’s job is to train them to write, and to mark up their manuscripts in red pens like their high school teacher did. They don’t want that, so instead they start thinking of editors as evil.

Does in reality your manuscript get marked up? Yup, copy edits and slight editing that you have the ability to say no to every change, unlike high school. Go back to many other chapters in this book to remind yourself that writers are in control of their own work. There will be marks on your manuscript for your approval. 99% of the marks are either moving to a house style or catching a mistake you missed. Sometimes you get a bad copy edit, but not enough to cause this myth. The evil editor myth comes from writers hating their English teacher and thinking that editors are the same. They are not.

3) THE INCREASE IN BOOK DOCTORS

Book doctors, whom you can hire, are for the most part a scam. (There are a couple with hearts in the right place who really want to help writers, but very few.) There is one New York agent right now telling new writers who come to him to hire his wife for a ton of money as a book doctor. Scam. Book doctors do exist, but they are hired by New York publishers to help get an already bought book into shape with the agreement of the author. These are normally nonfiction books. Most of the real professional book doctors are former editors with major houses. You don’t know who they are and you couldn’t afford them.

The problem comes in with the fact that new writers only see the scams. And these scam book doctors call themselves EDITORS. And some of them are horrid. (I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard a new writer say “Oh, I hired an editor to help me and fix my book.” Shudder….)

So this myth has built from those horrid book doctors who do mark up manuscripts like an English teacher because that is all they know how to do. They wouldn’t understand a good story if it bit them, so they have to pay attention to only the words.

Stay away from those types at all costs!!!! They are not editors. Editors work for major publishers. You can’t hire them.

4) AGENTS PRETENDING TO BE EDITORS

The slush-reading agent who wants writers to rewrite before mailing a book is more than likely the biggest source of the increase in this myth in the last ten years. We’ve talked about horror stories of some writers rewriting a dozen times for an agent. Now trust me, thinking of your agent as your editor is a quick way to death of career and will certainly drive this myth that editors are evil. Editors who work for major publishers are great people. Some agents, on the other hand, are truly evil and scam artists. Never confuse the two for any reason.

WHAT DO EDITORS REALLY DO?

For those of you who have never seen the inside of a major editor’s office in New York, let me give you a quick tour.

Editors and senior editors’ offices are often small, not more than about four paces deep and two or three paces wide. Shelves on both sides and a desk and one chair. Assistant editors and associate editors often sit outside in the hall at a desk or in a nearby cubicle. Executive editors have larger offices, but not much, and publishers have larger offices. Books and art are stacked everywhere in the halls and offices, along with piles and piles and piles of paper, mostly manuscripts in one stage or another.

What is a senior editor’s job? Simply put, to produce every month a list of books. Senior editors are at least in charge of one imprint list. The list can be from three to six books per month. So each editor has between 36 and 72 books a year, plus a number of others on other lists that they also buy for. The editor is usually buying two years out, so double that number, and then don’t forget the books already published that are in some stage of promotion. A normal editor can handle 200 plus book titles a year when you add it all up, depending on the house and company and imprint.

An editor’s day is filled with dealing with the art department, with the sales department, with the managing editor, with cover copy, meetings with the publisher, answering mail and email, massive numbers of phone calls, and so much more. Editors seldom, if ever, have time to read in their office. They read at home or on the subway going home or to work. They read on weekends.

In other words, if your image of an editor was what you have seen from Hollywood, with the big offices, the clean desks, the one manuscript sitting on top of the desk waiting to be read, you are sadly lost in a bad myth. Editors’ offices and the area around them are beehives of activity among piles and piles of paper and books and art.

The editors I know who have lasted for years thrive in this corporate craziness. And they do it for the love of taking a book that they have found and helping it get to thousands of readers that they hope will love it as well.

Editors don’t get paid enough. They sit in far, far too many hours of meetings. But when one of their writers show up in town, they do get to use the corporate credit card for lunch, often the only time they can afford to go to a new or nice restaurant.

Editors love and hate working with writers at the same time. They love working with the writers who act professionally and are clear on the process of helping a book become a better book in the writer’s vision. They hate working with writers who haven’t bothered to learn any business, who are lost in egos, or who think that the editor works for them.

It’s working with that type of clueless writer that makes editors sometimes rather work with an agent. At least the agent will usually be professional and understand how the business works. But if you are a clear-thinking writer who knows the realities of the publishing business, the editors would much rather work with you directly than through a third party. Less chance of screw-ups that way.

Editors do their best to protect writers, sometimes too much so. They are deathly afraid of giving a writer bad news for some reason I have yet to figure out.

WHO DO EDITORS WORK FOR?

The publisher of course. Their job, their paycheck, depends on making sure the books sell, that the publisher gets what the publisher needs in profits for the imprint. When faced with buying a book they love, the editor must then turn to a profit-and-loss statement, boiling down the book into numbers of projected sales that both the publisher and sales force have to agree with.

But that said, the editor is also working for the writer.

Editor love the book or they wouldn’t be trying to buy it. They are going to have to spend up to two years on the book in a thousand details and meetings about the book. The editor, while working for the publisher, is your champion inside the publishing house. The editor on a day-to-day level will push and promote and work for you and your book.

So editors are in a tough spot. They get paid by, and report to, the publisher. But they are the champion of the writer who is on the other side of the contract.

When this works the best, which is about 95% of the time, is when the writer and the publisher and the editor are all working together for one purpose and one goal and everyone understands they are working together.

A publishing contract isn’t a line in the sand between two warring parties. A contract is an agreement of partnership to work together.

So editors work for publishers, sure. But they are also your representative in the thousands of details that it takes to get a book published and promoted through the traditional system. They are your champion. But you need to understand their job to help them help you even more.

THINGS DO GO WRONG AT TIMES

The problem is that writers believe they don’t have to learn the publishing business, so therefore really can’t help much in the publishing process and are always surprised when something goes wrong. And trust me, if you have more than ten books published, at some point something will go wrong in some stage of the process. Too many hundreds of steps for it not to happen.

And when you really learn the business and how it works, you will be surprised that even more things don’t go wrong.

At Pulphouse we called certain books “books from hell.” Why? Because it seemed that if something could go wrong, it would go wrong on that book. Nothing to do with the author or the book, just the karma of mistakes and problems happening that seem to pile on one book. About one in twenty books turned into a book from hell.

So something goes wrong and the editor knows you are an uninformed, myth-bound writer. The editor is afraid to tell you. If you have an agent, the editor might tell the agent, but chances are neither of them will tell you and if you discover the problem later, you’ll be angry. Why won’t the agent or editor tell you? Because you don’t understand publishing and will be angry. So for the editor and agent, it’s just better to hope you don’t find out.

Writers who do know publishing and business are usually told at once when there is a problem and can often help with a solution, because again, everyone is on the same side. But your editor has to know you are aware of how publishing works and want to be a part of the process when appropriate. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I helped editors write sales copy and promotion material for my book because they knew I understood what they needed.

But it’s the uninformed writers who get angry and yell and give editors the “evil editor” label when something goes wrong. And then wonder why editors are afraid to tell writers things in general. The last thing an editor needs is to be yelled at by the person they are trying to help. “No good deed goes unpunished.” Editors feel very, very slighted when they have put their jobs on the line for a writer and then the writer out of ignorance yells at them.

IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE THIS MYTH

If you are one of the writers who thinks this myth is true, go get personal help. That’s the only solution I have on this one. The belief is coming from fear of rejection, fear of success, or complete lack of knowledge of a business you claim you want to work in. For any of those reasons, you need help and education, and just self-publishing your own work won’t solve your problem. Thinking of editors as evil is just a symptom of a much worse problem that will eventually bite you no matter how your work gets published.

Well, that was blunt.

If you look back over all the chapters I’ve done in this book, I always say that editors are the best, the hardest working, the lowest paid part of this business. I tell writers to not listen to how to be a writer from editors, since that’s not their business. But I defend editors completely.

Have I had some bad editors over the years in the fifty plus editors I have worked with? One. And he was a great guy, just not my style of editor. Are there editors I hate in publishing who I haven’t worked with? Yes, one. But that’s because he and I are on different sides of a major belief system. I’m sure he doesn’t much like me either, but not because I’m a stupid writer. He doesn’t like me because I challenge him outside of editing in other issues. Yet I have never told anyone to stay away from him as an editor.

I have been around hundreds and hundreds of editors over the years, worked in book publishing with almost fifty of them on books and countless short fiction editors. I am their greatest supporter and I have never heard of an editor hurting a writer intentionally. Ever. Mistakes happen in publishing. Some are head-shaking stupid, and one editor who worked with Kris on a book was so stupid, he made huge mistakes, got fired and is an agent now. But to this day I doubt anything he did was purposeful.

There are no evil editors. Editing seems to attract the kind of person who loves reading, loves books, and loves helping good books get into print for readers to find. It is a really tough job. If you think editors are evil for some reason or another, go find help. It might be the best thing you do for yourself personally.

And if you won’t find help, I would suggest you keep your opinion on this one to yourself. Spouting such a stupid myth just makes you look like an idiot. There are no evil editors, just ignorant writers.

Well, that was blunt again.

————————————————

Copyright 2010 Dean Wesley Smith
————————————————–
Because of the new world and technology, my magic bakery got a lot more valuable lately. This is now part of my inventory in my bakery. (Confused on that, read the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post about making money with writing.) I’m giving you this small slice as a sample. I’m giving you a taste, but not selling any of the pie.

If you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip jar on the way out of the Magic Bakery.

And I would like to thank all the fine folks who have donated. Once this book is done, I will send you a copy. The donations and the comments both after the posts and privately are really keeping me going on this. Thanks!

If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this chapter along to others who might get some help from it. Every week or so I will be adding a new chapter on the myths and sacred cows of publishing. Stay tuned. Upcoming are chapters on bestsellers, losing control of your writing, having it made, speed equals making money, more on agents, and so much more. This business has a lot of myths. An entire book full.

Thanks, Dean


Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: The Power of the Myths


I thought for this chapter I’d talk about myths in general, why they are so strong, why they are often designed to stop writers. And give a study plan to help past some of them.

So far I have done 26 chapters in this book for a total word count of around 80,000 words, with each chapter focused on one area. It’s been great fun, even with the angry letters. And numbers of people have told me that I have helped them again find the fun and joy in writing. That’s fantastic. Thanks!

I really had no agenda when I started this series eleven months ago. I was just angry at the stupidity of the myths and how young professionals coming into this business had no second opinion or logical business voice. So that’s what I tried to be, a second opinion, even in my angry chapters.

To start off, let me give you a summary of what has already been done in this book. Suggestions for future chapters are welcome please. The finished ones are listed in the order I wrote them in.

Just click on the links to go right to the chapter if you would like to read them again. And make sure you read all the comments. Great discussions in the comments.

In fact, I want to take this moment once again to thank everyone for the great comments and Laura Resnick for her fantastic perspective and clear comments. If you haven’t read some of the topics and discussions below, feel free to comment on them after this post. Or after the post itself.

KILLING THE SACRED COWS OF PUBLISHING

(The chapters so far as of July 27, 2010)

Speed.

Rewriting

Agents Sell Books

Workshops

Self-Promotion

Book as Event

Writing is Hard

No Money in Writing Fiction

Agents Know Markets

Agent Agreements

Agents Care About Writers First

Agents Can Give Career Advice

You Don’t Need to Keep Learning

Agents and Your Money

Your Agent Sells Your Book Overseas

Follow the Rules to Get Published

Writers Don’t Need to Practice

Researching Fiction

Asking Your Agent Permission

Rejections

Only 300 Writers Make a Living

Talent is a Myth

Agent and Contracts

Only One Way

The Agent 15% Myth

Agents need to Take Care of Writers

Okay, that’s a bunch of reading. Now on to the topic at hand.

THE POWER OF THE MYTH

Over this last year I have gotten my share of angry letters from new writers telling me how I don’t understand them. I talked about that a few chapters back. And among other angry letters, I got one attack publicly from an editor too afraid to show her face. If a person isn’t willing to stand openly behind their opinions, they sure aren’t worth much in my view. Both the opinion and the person. I have very little respect for fear and cowardice as you can tell.

So why did the chapters of this book stir up so much discussion? Let me see if I can name a few surface reasons.

1) I am going against what just about everyone else is saying. What you hear at writer’s conventions, and from both editors and agents is often exactly opposite of what I am saying. But if this was the only reason, I would be ignored, not attacked.

2) My opinions are based in real business thinking. Combine that with the first reason and my chapters start that faint “feeling of worry” in writer’s minds that maybe, just maybe, I might be right in some places. How dare I question belief systems, but that nagging worry that I might be right makes them mad.

I’ve started or worked in many businesses and been trained in both architecture and law. I even owned my own publishing company for seven years. I love business and the publishing business. So many things I kept hearing as I came in made no sense to me. Now thirty years later they make even less sense. So all the chapters above are based in one way or another in logical business sense. Thus I am telling people that stupidity exists in the business they want to work in. That also makes people angry in defense.

3) Writers as a group want someone to take care of them. We feel we are powerless alone and thus when we come in we must be taken care of. But every one of my chapters in this project push the fact that writers must take responsibility for their own careers.

That’s scary, especially to the generation that came up in the 1980s and 1990s who were trained that they deserved everything they wanted. The “Entitlement Generation” as some have called it. My generation raised that generation, so it’s my generation’s fault I’m afraid. Of course now with this big crash, that “Entitlement Generation” is learning that maybe, just maybe, they aren’t entitled to everything they want and have to work harder than they wanted to get the basics.

We have a long ways to go as a culture to get out of this entitlement mindset. And when I tell a writer they really shouldn’t allow anyone to take care of them, but to learn their business and do it themselves, they get angry at me. It is just not how they were raised.

4) Anger comes from money discussions. In the generation of some of the biggest money scams in history, writers get angry at me when I tell them two things: First, never let anyone touch your money before you do. Second, you can make a living writing fiction. Both seem so logical when looked at common sense business practice and the facts of the money in this business, yet all the chapters I did on those topics got me the most angry letters.

THE REAL REASON THE MYTHS ARE SO POWERFUL

Besides the four major areas above, there is one very large human nature element that causes the myths of publishing to get to even sane people: We all want order.

And we are all trained to expect it. Every one of us, from moment one.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has a wonderful analogy of how writers should act when writing. She says we need to revert back to our two-year-old selves. No rules, just pure joy and exploring. But when we were two, our parents kept putting rules on us. Don’t scream in restaurants, don’t run naked down the street, that sort of common sense thing.

Then we hit school and we were all put in rows, told where to go, when to show up, and what was required to move forward. And for twelve years of school and then on into college we were always told what to do that would move us forward.

Take these classes, get this degree, move on.

Very orderly. Mostly lock-step, sadly.

Then comes fiction writing. There is no school for fiction writers. Creative writing programs in universities are designed to crank out creative writing teachers. Not actual fiction writers. Yet all of us who want to be fiction writers need rules. We need someone to tell us the path to walk, where to sit, when to show up, and how to act. Maybe even what to wear.

But fiction writing does none of that.

Publishing is an international business that writers supply with product. It’s big business and it’s complex. And there is no set path to walk to get into it.

Is it any wonder a set of myths have built up around this business? For our entire lives we were trained to follow rules, then find ourselves in a business with no rules. And we think there should be, darn it.

Questions that challenge the RULES (MYTHS) of Publishing.

So, in the order of the chapters I wrote that are listed above, let me give you a few of the main questions asked in each chapter by people wanting rules and the thinking behind it.

Speed: “What do you mean that writing fast may be the best way to produce better product?” I always heard that writing slow was better.

Rewrite: “What do you mean I don’t have to rewrite unless I want to?” I always heard that rewriting was required, at least five drafts like I did in school.

Agents Sell Books. “What do you mean agents DON’T sell books?” Guidelines all say I can’t mail my own book to an editor.

Workshops: “What do you mean workshops can’t help me fix my story?” A dozen opinions of smarter people should always be better than just my own. RIGHT?

Self Promotion: “What do you mean that my ten book signings won’t help my New York publisher and might actually hurt my book?” I’ve always heard that you have to self-promote. That it is required.

And so on and so on through all 26 chapters so far. We all look for rules coming into this business because that’s the way we were trained.

Breaking that training is fantastically hard.

A Course of Study

So you want someone to tell you what to study? I can’t do that, because I don’t know each of you or your writing. Sorry. And if I tried, I’d be wrong. But I can give you a course of study on how to work against the myths every day and set up your own path into this business. Think of yourself as your own guidance counselor in college. Here is a suggested course of study.

1) Study regular business. Then any time any person in publishing suggests you go against a regular business principle, question it hard. For example: In regular business, anywhere, do you allow someone else outside of your boss to handle your paycheck? Or have a business where an accountant signs all your checks and you never see the money? Of course not! But that’s what you are doing with agents, folks. See all the agent chapters above.

2) Study how your own brain works. You know, the science of the brain. Understand how the creative brain functions, how critical brain functions, and then where your write from. Understand that your own voice will be invisible to you in your writing because it is the same as the voice in your head. Learn how your brain works because that’s where all this creative writing comes from. If you don’t understand how the brain works, you sure won’t understand why rewriting can be very damaging to your art.

3) Always go to writers to learn who are farther down the road than you are on a similar road you want to walk. Editors and agents can’t teach you how to be a writer. Ignore 99% of everything they say when it comes to how to write and how to manage your own business. And then ignore a lot of what writers ahead of you say as well, unless it makes sense TO YOU. Learn to listen to that little voice in the back of your head and question everything. But focus on continuing to learn from writers, both from books and writers’ workshops and conferences. Both craft and business.

4) Study the real lives of successful writers and their working methods. Ignore the hype like Hemingway telling writers they had to write standing up. But for example go find out how long it actually took Hemingway to write some of his classics, how long Dickens took to write some of his, and how long it takes many of our bestsellers to write their books today. Their public face will be one thing, but with some study, you can get behind the public story and to the truth. Every successful writer tells the truth about their methods once in a while.

5) Learn the true publishing business. Understand profit-and-loss statements, how editors actually buy a book today, what agents actually do in the system, what escalators are, what a good contract reversion clause is, and so on and so on. Yes, it’s a great deal to learn, but very possible if you learn it one detail at a time. Start now, with a hunger. It’s where you want to make your living, remember, and if you know more than others, you’ll know how to make more money than others.

6) Try everything once. At least. How do you know that your work isn’t selling because you keep rewriting it if you don’t try mailing out a first draft story or two? Call this course of study a lab class. Write fast, write slow, write a genre you don’t like. Try everything. Challenge yourself in every way you can think of. You might be startled to learn along the way what really works for you. Practice, practice, practice.

7) Stay up on current publishing and electronic changes. Even though a lot of writers and others are claiming the sky is falling and books as we know them are at the end, ignore that and just keep writing and learning. Your opportunity for a career might not be invented yet, or might be staring you in the face. This course could be called “current events.”

Okay, there you go, folks. A path, a course of study, seven simple areas, that will make you even more independent than you are now. I’ll bet your college counselor didn’t even boil it down that simply for you.

With knowledge comes understanding. Learn business, how your brain works, how publishing works, try it all, and stay current.

Okay, now that you have a course of study, here’s what’s ahead in this series so far. Again, I welcome suggestions.

I have shorter chapters on these upcoming myths:

—Bestsellers Can’t Write

—Writing Art

—Writing Media and Work for Hire or Romance is Actually Easy.

—Bestsellers Can Be Made Artificially by a Publisher

—Once you sell you have it made

—Rejections and What They Really Mean

—The Perfect Book.

—Publisher as Gatekeeper.

And, of course, more agent and money chapters to make people angry. Those are always fun and the agent myths just seem to be everywhere these days.

————————————————

Copyright 2010 Dean Wesley Smith
————————————————–
Because of the new world and technology, my magic bakery got a lot more valuable lately. This is now part of my inventory in my bakery. (Confused on that, read the Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing post about making money with writing.) I’m giving you this small slice as a sample. I’m giving you a taste, but not selling any of the pie.

If you feel this helped you in any way, toss a tip into the tip jar on the way out of the Magic Bakery.

And I would like to thank all the fine folks who have donated. Once this book is done, I will send you a copy. The donations and the comments both after the posts and privately are really keeping me going on this. Thanks!

If you can’t afford to donate, please feel free to pass this chapter along to others who might get some help from it. Every week or so I will be adding a new chapter on the myths and sacred cows of publishing. Stay tuned. Upcoming are chapters on bestsellers, losing control of your writing, having it made, speed equals making money, more on agents, and so much more. This business has a lot of myths. An entire book full.

Thanks, Dean


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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 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 #11… Aug 3rd … Advanced Depth
Class #12… Aug 3rd … Character Voice/Setting
Class #13… Aug 3rd … Pacing Your Novel
Class #14… Aug 3rd … Ideas into Stories
Class #15… Aug 4th … Character Development
Class #16… Aug 4th … Depth in Writing
Class #17… Aug 4th … Making a Career
Class #18… Aug 5th … Designing Covers
Class #19… Aug 5th … Writing and Selling Short Stories
Class #20… Aug 5th … How to Write Science Fiction

Class #21… Sept 7th … Pitches and Blurbs
Class #22… Sept 7th … How to Write Thrillers
Class #23… Sept 7th … How to Write Science Fiction
Class #24… Sept 7th … Character Voice/Setting
Class #25… Sept 8th … Character Development
Class #26… Sept 8th … Depth in Writing
Class #27… Sept 8th … Making a Career
Class #28… Sept 9th … Cliffhangers
Class #29… Sept 9th … Pacing Your Novel
Class #30… Sept 9th … 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

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

My Publisher

WMG Publishing Inc. is now my major publisher of all my coming novels, collections, and short stories.

Support This Blog On Patreon

I now have a Patreon page with some nifty rewards for your monthly support.

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