The Magic Maker

New story is up for sale at Smashwords, pending at Kindle, Nook and up at Xin Xii

To save her brother from being sold as a slave, Tia takes a job running messages for a crime lord. Unfortunately, there are strange things afoot in the city of Vin, and she finds herself embroiled in the machinations of a Sorceress. With an entombed voice begging for help, and time running out, Tia must find a way to save her brother and escape the city before it is too late.

This one was fun to write, I really love…. doh can’t say that. 😛

Now to figure out what the next project will be.

My Madonna is slated for submission, but kids are up and I just can’t work on THAT story with toddlers running around.

Elemental Truth, which I am hoping to put up in Nov, still needs editing
Elemental Storm Needs to be finished

I want to write new words though.
I also want to play my PSP….. Harvest Moon is calling me…

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Redshirts

A few years ago I wrote this silly little story about Redshirts in my novels. It amused me to no end. However when I subbed it I got told by several magazines that since the story was geared towards Authors, not regular readers that readers wouldn’t get it. I was invited to resubmit more work but at the time I didn’t have any. So the little story hung around on my harddrive, I would open it periodically, reading and chortling but at a loss of what to do.


It is now available on Smashwords, XinXii and pending at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Cole’s goal in life is to survive. As a Redshirt in a novel, that is a very difficult thing indeed. Even eating breakfast can become a life and death situation. Redshirts is a piece of Flash Fiction, about 1000 words, or about 3 or 4 pages printed out.

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Listy thing

I had this really long post written out on the publishing industry. I decided to trash it. Mainly because i am not qualified. Instead I will bore you mightily with a list of tomorrow’s (later today actually) list of things to do.

Because you know the life of a writer is oh so glamorous…

Writing Stuff:

~ Look over Edits for Redshirts, fix the issues, Format it and get it ready to upload
~ Go over the Redshirts cover (Must locate a bloodsplatter tutorial)
~ Write at least 1k on E2
~ Print out Magic Maker and see if it is salvageable.
~ Go over the next Chapter in Strunk and White.*
~ Figure out the twitter feed thingy for this site. I know there is a way to stream it…

RL stuff

~ Calls to make
~ Schoolwork to prepare (I homeschool, did I mention that?)
~ Laundry.
~ Dishes.
~ Mommy stuff. (I have the world’s coolest kids.)

good night, I might not get back to the website for a few days…. I think.

*I may never be a grammar expert, however one of the biggest complaints I hear about self pubbed work is the high level of grammar issues. So damn it I am going to get a handle on this grammar stuff. If I am going to be self pubbed I am going to make damn sure that what I put out there is the best quality I can make it.

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Well that was interesting

Due to…. personal developments and a long talk with the hubs, I decided to go ahead and launch. Story 1 is just a short, The Shiny, and is over at Smashwords, soon Amazon and B&N also.

The idea was Shiny and New and ready to be written. Unfortunately, The Writer had other ideas…

It is a humorous story, and I need to say this again, it is a SHORT.

Now to go update other things and let this grand adventure lift off!

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The Great Price Debate

I am slowly learning how to use twitter hashtags. One I was following this afternoon and participating in was #writechat. There was a discussion about .99 ebooks. This is something that I feel strongly about. Mainly because I have heard and read what people think of that price tag. “Crap.” “Undervaluing their work.” “Probably a pile of shit.”

I tend to both agree and disagree.

Let me explain, first go read Dean Wesley Smith’s article The New World of Publishing: E-Book Pricing.

Got it? ok Onward and upward!

When you spend your precious time working on a book, writing it, editing it, covers and so on, that is time you could be spending writing more works. If you have a book that is 50k and up, selling it for .99 as a permanent price feels as though you are not giving yourself enough credit. You are undervaluing your time and effort. Period.

I find this issue with graphic artists too. Holy hell my mother is an awesome artist and for the longest time she would undervalue her art. It would drive me crazy as she would set unbelievable low prices on things she SLAVED over for days and weeks even! It took a teacher at her college to sit her down and explained her time was worth far more than what she was charging people.

Now there are TONS of theories out there, tons of opinions for that matter. Having a sales plan “For now ______ story is priced at .99 on such and such a date that price is going to bump up to ________ get it while it’s cheap” might not be such a bad idea. Others price the first book in a series at .99 to “hook” the reader on their stories then when the reader goes to get book 2 it is full-priced. I can see the logic behind those two plans and I am sure there are others which make as much sense.

But when it boils down to it isn’t your work worth more? Isn’t your time worth more?

Now I might find myself thinking differently when Launch day comes around, I personally like the pricing plan DWS has listed.

So, my minions readers what do YOU think? Razzle and dazzle me!

why is it I never notice typos until AFTER I post?

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The future is bright, where are my shades?

The squirrel* thing has been biting me pretty badly. I look over my work and my list of projects to someday play with and I get excited. I can release ________ story as a series of novellas or I can do something with ________ story now, or …. or…..or…..

I’ve been fighting the urge to jump before my Launch date, working on the covers. I have some more things to do, betas to hear back from.

And write…

Oh yeah that’s what started it all to begin with. DWS also has a post about this scatterbrained planning that hits writers ready to embark on a new venture over here in which he discusses priorities.

I was considering listing off some of my projects I have planned to release between Sept 1st and Jan 2012, I have been playing with making covers and skimming over other works to get ready to send to my dear grammar nazi friends, I have two grammar books I am planning on going through to get a firmer grasp of those damn commas that breed every time I turn off my computer (I mean really, they are as prolific as my plotbunnies!) I have been skimming over tax laws and making sure my stuff that is already ready to go is properly formatted getting all this stuff done… But I haven’t written a new word in almost a week. Well, outside these blogs and the twitters and honestly re-writing E1’s chapter 7 doesn’t really count does it?

I think my biggest fear is loosing touch with the creative part of me, loosing touch with the new stories, the new ideas, the new words that are tapping the inside of my skull saying “Is it our turn yet?”.

It is a must to slate time to actually write NEW words on NEW projects (or projects who have been set aside for years). That is why I am doing this, that is why I am going to put my stuff out there. I am a writer, I must write. So with this bright new future stretching out before me, I will grab my shades, my notebook and pen (I don’t care for pencils) and write. Not sure what yet.

Look towards the future, my friends, not with fear of what might go wrong but with wonder and excitement of what can go right! Grab hold of your dreams with both hands and don’t let anyone take them away.

Have a great weekend people, those of you who are in the heatwave areas of the USA please stay hydrated and cool.

*Read Kris Rusch’s post on Popcorn Kittens if you haven’t already to understand the SQUIRREL! reference.

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Linkage

I have started reading several blogs around the web that are geared towards helping authors make informed decisions about their careers. I have found these blogs to be informative, eye opening and giving me a better understanding as to what is going on in the confusing world of publishing today. I thought I would link to them and give my opinion on them.

first of all over at Paranormal Ladies she just posted a interview (scroll to the bottom) with the Passive Guy from The Passive Voice blog which he discusses his reasons for starting the blog and his upcoming book. I highly recommend giving it a read then cruise through his blog.

In fact Paranormal Indies list of Blogs of interest lists off blogs that I read, which I find very enlightening.

Kevin O. McLaughlin, who recently got booted from AW for pointing out facts about self publishing (and he wasn’t the only one) has a blog up today about what you need to sell your book. Yes, Mr. McLaughlin, I am taking careful notes. 😀

Michael Kingswood is one I have just started following as I was retracing the Sarah Hoyt/TKA train wreak of last week (more on that later). From what I’ve seen so far his blog is interesting and this quote:

a lot of writers seem to have a pathological aversion to common sense, critical thinking, and basic business.

Had me in absolute giggle fits. I think because I’ve seen this myself among authors both experienced and inexperianced. It was sobering however to know that i am not the only one who has noticed this.

Behler Blog has a good post on the consequences of Agents stepping into the publishing arena over here.

Recently several agencies have, in recent months, taken a step to enter the publishing arena the one that caught my attention was the kerfluffle with The Knight Agency. If you didn’t hear about it (tho I think everyone has by now) Sarah Hoyt blogged about her decision to go indi and to drop her agent. In the post she highly praises TKA who has represented her for several years, and explains that she didn’t feel comfortable with the e-publishing step being taken by TKA. Their response was less than stellar which she shares with her response here which she STILL highly praises the very people who tried to bully her (threatened legal action) to retract her statements. She is a better woman than I, let-me-tell-you. I don’t know that were I in her place I would be so nice.

But that leads me to the question; why is such a reputable agency, one that was on the top of MY list of agencies to query, jumping to do something that seems to be a conflict of interests? If they are acting as a publisher then who will they query when finding their clients a publisher will they query themselves? It feels shady and I know for a fact that I am not the only person thinking that. Which is sad, everything I have heard about them outside of this has been stellar.

Now real life is starting to pick up here so I have to go before my kids destroy my house :P.

4 weeks to go…

I do wonder if I should list off my projects and projected launch dates… hmmmm

Take care all


Edited to include Nephele’s input on The Knight Agency side of things;

The link is here and I’ll quote what I consider the key comment here:

Our program includes our taking on the prep work that an author would do to self-publish on their own: finding cover art, converting the format, securing the copyright for their work, obtaining ISBNs, etc. We are not actually publishing anything, but working with the various self-publishing programs at major e-retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, etc. We are not taking a publisher’s commission or cut, but just our standard agency rate of 15%.

And they also state it is for clients only, fyi.

and here is Lucienne Diver’s input on the program.

Why take the trouble? Because the only way to make an informed opinion is by looking at all sides.
That said, I think what bothers more than what still doesn’t feel like a good move by the agency, is their over reaction to Ms. Hoyt’s original post. Their inability to gracefully and gently say good luck, so long. I feel, they overstepped their position and by doing so embarrassed themselves.

But who the hell am I? Some no name, some **gasp** self pubber?

I am a person who once wanted to have The Knight Agency represent me. And when you have hopes like that, at least I put people up on a mini pedestal. Finding out they are, in reality, just human is kind of disappointing.

Anyways, those are my thoughts, hopefully clarified.

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Socializing

Due to the negativity and what feels to me to be attacks on self-pubbers over at AW I decided to check out the kindle boards. It is a dangerous thing, I have discovered, to open up the Kindle boards in the Writer’s Cafe. Why is it dangerous? Because there are lots of interesting information about numbers and sales, lots of conversation about different aspects of writing.

So far I haven’t seen much negativity, no slamming numbers, pointing out issues or errors, no goading others like I saw at the other place.

It is heartwarming to see. These people seem really nice.

Not to mention there are some really kick arse covers in there. OMG I want to ask them what programs they used and whatnot but I find myself a touch shy. -.-


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Sunday Thoughts

There is a stigma to Self-Publishing that is very strong and very real. Even though I have decided to go this route for most of my work, I find myself struggling at times with the idea of validation. If you publish through the big/small publishing companies you have that stamp of approval from a “pro”. If you self-publish there isn’t that stamp of approval.

I’ve read on many boards, many places from people who simply avoid the self published books.

Why is there this stigma? Because there is a lot of crap out there. As stated over here

It’s like being allowed to make my own clothing line out of burlap and pubic hair and being allowed to hang it on the racks at J.C. Penney.

**snerks at visual imagery**

But seriously, think about it. Then go and cruise through some of what is out there. I have gotten the occasional self-pubbed bit o shit and deleted it from my nook midway through it because it is so awful. The biggest reasons have been tense issues, head hopping, grammar*, poor dialog structure, the list goes on.

I do find myself a touch nervous about this issue. How much harder it is for readers to find and trust my work. I have several grammar nazi friends and am considering looking into hiring a professional editor because I want to make sure my writing is quality.

Negativity in any DIY endeavor is bound to happen. There will be those people who simply will not go outside of convention to find a good read. Luckily though, I can’t help but think there are those who are willing to.

As my grandmother says, you can’t win them all. I’m not going to insult their intelligence, just ask they keep an open mind.

Here is another article by Catherine Howard over here which I found interesting (and quotes the same passage I quoted earlier).

The world of publishing is a very complex one, one I won’t pretend to understand fully. Negativity surrounds it, on all sides. I think that if we can keep our heads up and stay positive while the larger Publishing Companies figure out how they are going to adjust to the changing climate things will be much better in the long run.

Today I work on covers.
Just felt the need to share that. 😛

Take care all.

*I don’t consider myself a grammar nazi but if I notice bad grammar you know it HAS to be bad.


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Am I good enough?

I have heard this a lot. How do I know my writing is good enough? We have discussed it in chat, had conversations about it in IM conferences and I have seen several good posts about it on the web.

How do you know your writing is good enough to self pub? Is a question I got hit with the other day. To be honest I scrambled for an answer. Was I being ego-centric by saying ‘I just know it is? Or should I be humble and wait for it to make a round through the betas and then on to editors? I don’t remember what I said in reply to be honest but this morning I ran across an article by Dean Wesley Smith over here in which he rants a bit. Go read it, it is interesting. This is what stood out to me (the emphasis is mine):

Writers, grow a backbone and start trusting the readers. If your book doesn’t sell given enough time (meaning a year) maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with your cover, your blurb, or the opening of your novel. But for heaven’s sake, TRUST THE READERS.

Trust the readers.

I have stories that people have enjoyed. They aren’t masterpieces of literature bound to change with world with their wit or wisdom! They’re just simple little stories, tales that I enjoyed reading, that others have enjoyed reading.

And I have to say that that is one of my greatest joys, knowing that something I wrote was enjoyed by other people.

So how do I know my writing is good enough? I think I will trust my readers, trust the people who are looking for a read that will take them, for however long, out of this world.

I am good enough.


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Topics for discussion and other things

Yes this is a baby blog, I don’t have a huge following and I have more in my life than my writing. So I am asking those who do venture here for topic ideas. See I have this idea for a series of posts on time management, haven’t quite gotten the…. **coughs** time to do it yet.

RL just pounced on me.

Topic Ideas:

Time Management
Guest Blogs
Book Reviews
Intricacies of Self Publishing

http://kriswrites.com/2011/07/13/the-business-rusch-popcorn-kittens/

that is a must read, because ….. SQUIRREL …… is exactly how I feel right now.


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Define Success….

Each of us has a diferant view on what is successful, in writing, in our personal life. Since this is a writing blog, lets focus on success as a writer. When just starting out, finishing a story was a goal of mine. Man I had so many unfinished stories, I wanted to finish one. Doing so left me feeling successful and I raised the bar. Finish 2 stories… 3…. complete NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) and so on. My successes are personal, but mean a bunch to me.

So when writing what defines a “successful writer”? For many people Success = Bestseller. Being picked up by an agent and having their stuff bought by Big Name Publishing. Personally I wanted to have my books published by Tor books. After all that’s who put out Anne McCaffery’s books, right? (TBH I am not sure who is now putting them out, but that was my first dream with writing)

But there are many paths to success and defining YOUR path to success may take some time and adjustments.

What one person considers a success, another person inevitably will not think much of it. Basing your success on the opinions of another person can lead to trouble, emotional stress and frustration.

I feel it is important that we figure out what we want in writing, (what we want in life is a whole other post and I am not doing that today).

You have to ask yourself “What do I want out of writing?”

If the answer is money, riches, fame, go be a doctor or a lawyer. (My opinion based on the research of many hard working authors I read and some I know.) Writing is NOT the path to fame and fortune. Yes people have become famous authors; Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyrs, but it isn’t something you can count on. Stephen King has written for YEARS, Rowling and Meyrs happened to fill a hole and gave a door to others who saw the need they did and jump on it.

It just doesn’t happen like that very often. And they work very hard.

So what do I want out of writing? For me? I write to shut up the stories in my head. (Unfortunately other stories begin caterwauling but that is another subject) I want other people to read my work and enjoy it. I want people to love my characters as much as, if not more than I do.

Money would be nice, but that isn’t the sole reason I write.

I write, because I can’t not write.

What do I feel will be a success with MY writing?

~Improving. I want to write better, I want to give the stories in my head the best chance I can to find a readership.

~Readers, fans, people who have fallen in love with the worlds I write about.

~Balance.

Balance? Yes Balance. Balance between independent publishing and the more traditional publishing.  Because when it boils down to it, the ‘traditional’ publishing has a far greater reach to readers than I alone will have. I would like to get an agent, to have things traditionally published and distributed. But that isn’t going to stop me from moving forward with self-publishing.

 

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The Grand Idea

There are a lot of posts out there, a lot of talk about indi pubbing, self pubbing, small press, ebooks, and the more familiar ‘traditional’ publication. There are people taking up stances that the ‘traditional’ publishing/big publishing companies are teh evil! Others express that indi/self publishing is only done by people who are lazy, or trynig to make a grab for money. There’s talk out there about how small press or ebooks just aren’t worth the time.

So what exactly is indi publishing?  Well it is interesting, I always thought of Indi publishing as being independent, not going through a big corporation basically another word for self publishing. However I found on several blogs people nit picking the terminology. Apparently it is also thought of as another word for a vanity press in some circles or a small press in other circles. **rubs forehead** not good. I’m actually still lurking through various posts on the subject trying to gather more info, skimming through the comments. Sometimes the information in the comments section can be as informative as the original post.

Self publishing is exactly what it says; you publish your work yourself. Whether POD or ebook or what have you. Personally I am still gathering information, putting together a knowledge base.

Small Press: a small publishing company which doesn’t have the huge sales that the big guys do.

EBooks; wave of the future baby!

Lets talk about ebooks. For the longest time I resisted ebooks. I mean dudes, I LOVE the feel of paperbacks, I love the smell of ink on paper, the feel of the pages between my finger, the absent folding and fiddling with the corners of my books as I read. I mean really who doesn’t love that?  But there is (Amazingly) a downside to the physical paperback or hardbound book. Space.

Space? Yes, space. For instance, I am a mom. I have 9 kids. When I go out I have a loaded down diaperbag, bottles, sippycups, extra outfits, wipes, diapers, snacks, cellphone, planner, diaper rash ointment, bandaids (which are a must with small boys) the list is huge. The bag is heavy! add to it a couple paperbacks.

Now I just recently got a Nook. Which I LOVE. It is lighter. As a mom on the go with so much already on my plate, it is so much easier to carry the nook to dr appointments than fighting with paperbacks. I can also take a variety of books with my nook. So if I feel llike switching from one book to another I don’t have to fill my overfull bag with more than one item for reading.

Has it completely replaced the physical books in my household? No. I still love sitting in the bath with bubbles and a good book. I won’t take my nook in the bath I’m afraid I’ll ruin it!

Traditional Publication. Let me say this, I use the phrase “traditional” for lack of another term. I DON’T care for the term. It reminds me too much of Publish America, which is a vanity press. For more information on the dangers of getting sucked into PA’s trap go check out Absolute Write’s forum.

That said, the route I was taught was the BEST way to go was this. Write, edit, perfect your book, send it to an agent. Why an agent? Well to best negotiate your contracts. Oh, ok. The agent will then try to sell your work to an editor at a publishing company.

Well why not just send your work straight to the editor? Because most will not take unagented work. Ok.

Then you sit, and wait. Write another book, and wait some more. The time span it takes is daunting. And you know from reading the blogs of editors and agents I understand, they have a HUGE work load. But that is still 6 to 8 months of my time waiting for a send me a partial or no thanks and that is even IF I get an agent.

There are folks who will talk very negativly and passionatly about this process, and there are folks who will passionatly defend this as a tried and true way of being a successful writer.

My take on it: Yes it is a familiar pathway. But just because it is familiar doesn’t necessarily make it the BEST pathway for everyone.

I see 6 to 8 months, possibly more that the story could be making sales instead of languishing on someone’s slush pile. It could be gaining readership instead of being crushed under the pile of an over worked under appreciated editor’s table.

For further information and another, more experienced writer’s take on this check out Dean Wesley Smith’s posts here. Very well written and clear cut.

 

*note to self; countdown widgets. I need one…*

Nvr mind. 😀

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