Is there a more controversial topic among writers than the dreaded one about publishing your own work? Probably not. As little as 10 years ago it was unthinkable for anyone aspiring to commercial success to even consider vanity publishing. Of course, back then it was pretty dang expensive, unless you got tied up with a place like PublishAmerica.
Today? Well, there is still a stigma, but the practice is becoming more accepted. For those who haven’t caught on yet, my books published under the MoonHowler Press logo are self published. For the most part these are books that have been previously published in various small presses but the rights have come back to me. I want to recap my experience with the small press before continuing.
3F Publications — The original publisher of Shara. The company published around 200 copies, never paid me a dime other than some free copies, and went out of business within a couple of months after publishing my book.
Double Dragon Publishing — The original publisher of Seven Days in Benevolence as an ebook. To date I have not been paid anything by DDP because the book doesn’t sell. Bad book? No marketing?
Last week I re-read Book 2, looking for any last minute corrections to the Page Proofs.
It seems that every time I get one verbal tick under control, another one crops up. In this book I’ve decided that people sigh too often.
Now to be truthful, I sigh a lot. One of my editors once told me that a sigh was a sign of deep emotions, but I don’t see it that way. Sighs are for tiredness, for irritation, for mild amusement, for weltschmerz, for a whole league of emotions, many of which are mild…
My characters aren’t going to stop sighing any time soon….I just need to remember to use other ways to say that.
And if I get that right in Book 3, then I’ll probably have some other problem crop up!
After doing some serious reading in January, I completely fell off the wagon in Feb when I started serious revision of Book 3. By the time evening came, I was worded out, and didn’t get much reading done.
So for February, a total of 3 books. Meh.
10) Where Shadows Dance, C. S. Harris
11) When Maidens Mourn, C. S. Harris
12) What Darkness Brings, C. S. Harris
I will received the next book on the 4th of March (which probably means the 5th), and I hope to have time and brain to read it.
I did also beta-read a novel for a friend, but I’m not sure that counts, since it wasn’t really reading-reading.
After book 3 is turned in May 1, I’ll be diving into serious reading for a week just to reset my brain.
This was the title of an article on NPR’s Morning Edition this morning (available here)
The general upshot of the experiment cited in the article turns out to be, “It is hard to make things of very poor quality succeed — though after you meet a basic standard of quality, what becomes a huge hit and what doesn’t is essentially a matter of chance.”
So it’s apparently not all about the quality of the work. Something can become a great hit without being of super-high quality (For example, Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown come to mind….huge hits, but comparatively ‘workmanlike’ prose*. It was, instead, their stories that got the attention, and then they went…well, viral.)
This suggests that a lot of what happens in the art world is out of the artist’s control. I know some very good writers whose novels seem to be languishing unread. And I wonder how much of that was simply not being in the right place at the right time…
And it makes me even more grateful that I’ve gotten as far as I have. ;o)
*I’ve read their work, and this is how I would describe their prose. It’s not poetic, or even particularly high grade-level reading. That is, however, totally my opinion. I won’t argue if you want to hold out that Meyer is the true scion of Shakespeare. (FWIW, I would also classify my writing as being on the ‘workmanlike’ side of the line.)
Got back from ConDFW, which was lovely. I met some new people there, and got to talk to other authors, which is always a blast.
The con was, BTW, very well organized and everything seemed to run smoothly. I’d love to go back again next year ;o)
Today is my down day.
I always plan a non-busy day for right after a con. I find cons mentally stressful, both because I’m socializing, but also because I’m forced to be out of my routine. Not everyone feels that way, but that’s how it works for me.
But I was tired (for one reason or another) going into this con, so I was in less-than-perfect form from the outset. By Saturday afternoon that I noticed I was having trouble paying attention to conversations. (That’s the first thing to go…my audio attention span.) Sunday morning, someone made a joke and, despite recognizing that it was funny, I just didn’t have the energy to laugh.
So yes, recognizing that I was slumping, I took off about noon. There’s no point in being at a con if you’re beyond socializing effectively….
And today the only people I have to socialize with is my husband and my dogs, which is pretty low pressure. ;o)
I have about 2 and a half months to turn my terrible first draft into a readable draft to send in. So the first thing I do with it is RE-outline the book.
All the columns aren’t filled in there, but they’re scene #, Chapter #, Date and Day of week, POV, weather and moon, clothing (and anything like bruises, injuries), and what happens in the scene. While it might look organized, it’s really a mess.
Also, I’ll probably go forward without the last 1/4 of the book done. It’s very easy to have the outline twist and turn and then, by the time you get that far, it’s completely off course. So I’m probably not going to spend the time now doing the last quarter….I’ll re-outline that part when I get closer.
And now I have to dive in head first, and may be very scarce around here for a while….
I’ve got my schedule for ConDFW, which is as follows:
Friday Feb 21-sat Feb 22
Friday, 5pm: Historical Warfare: Writing Realistic Combat
Panelists: Taylor Anderson, Kevin J. Anderson, Adrian Simmons (M), J. Kathleen Cheney
Do you know the difference between an arquebus and a flintlock pistol? Do you know what types of
first aid were used in different times of history? What were the four humours of the body? There are
many questions which can trip you up if you cover combat in historical fiction. Our authors talk about
the research they’ve done and what to look out for when writing for this type of background.
Saturday, 2pm: The Return of Heroic Fantasy!
Panelists: C. Dean Andersson (M), Martha Wells, J. Kathleen Cheney, Chris Donahue, Christopher
Fulbright Ever wonder what George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones would be like if Conan were in it? So much for
winter, by Crom! Bringing heroic fantasy back to the writing world one sword at a time, our panelists
discuss how to write in this genre, and what separates it from Epic Fantasy such as Middle Earth and
Saturday, 5pm: Exploring the Trousers of History: Alternate History Explained
Panelists: Taylor Anderson, Chris Donahue (M), J. Kathleen Cheney, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, KB Bogen
How does one make believable alternate history? Terry Pratchett once described it as “the trousers of
time” and made use of alternate timelines several times in his Discworld setting. Our panelists discuss
how to create an alternate timeline in such a way that it doesn’t cause mental disconnect.
READING (Trinity VIII)
Saturday, 6pm: Jeff Dawson, J. Kathleen Cheney, Mel White
And that’s it. Heavy on the historical, which is fine by me.