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Hi Folks,

For several years, I’ve posted writing advice here either once a week or once every ten days. In all that time, I’ve seldom missed a day. I’ll continue to post here occasionally, but the time has come that I am going to cut it way back.

More and more often, I’m finding myself repeating in this blog something I recently posted to my Daily Journal. And actually, most of my nonfiction efforts go into that blog.

But it’s a well-kept secret thus far, with only around 30 subscribers. By comparison, this blog has around 500 subscribers. And most of them are missing the meaty, real-world writing advice I pass out over there almost every day.

If you enjoy the tips you find here, I recommend you Sign Up for my Daily Journal. It’s a double opt-in process, so after you click the link, you’ll receive an automated email. You have to click the link in it to sign up for the Journal.

As an alternative, I can add you to the list for the journal myself. Of course I won’t add you unless you ask me to. So if you’d rather do that, just email me and let me know. You can reach me directly at harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

To help you decide, here are a couple of recent articles from the Daily Journal.

Numbers

Again it’s been brought to my attention that some people find word count somehow a less than honorable way to think about writing. So I’ll clarify briefly.

FOR ME (emphasis intentional) keeping track of the number of new words I put on the page is both a catalyst and a measurement of productivity. To explain, I’ll use a simple example.

Say two writers both meet their goal to write one new short story per week. So at the end of a year, both have written 52 short stories.

The problem is, “short story” isn’t a measure of quantity, though certainly “52 short stories” is.

But say one writer writes stories that consist of 2000 words or less. The other writes stories that fall between 3000 and 6000 words each.

Both can claim to have written 52 short stories in a year (an accomplishment) and both can claim a streak that’s lasted at least 52 weeks in a row (another accomplishment, and a huge one).

But the first writer has written 104,000 new words of fiction or less, whereas the other has written between 156,000 words at the minimim and 312,000 words at the most. So who is the more prolific writer?

Depends on whether you want to call “story” a measure of quantity. Either way, both have achieved something incredible. On the other hand, the second writer has gotten a LOT more practice.

And if you want to improve in your storytelling ability, you must practice.

Not to mention, if you’re a writer, you must write. Right? If you’re a mechanic, you fix stuff. If you’re a carpenter, you build stuff. If you’re a writer, you write.

I should also point out here that “story” and “writing” are different concepts.

Story is what you have in your mind, or what the characters bring to you. It’s what you run through with your characters if you’re fortunate enough to have learned to trust your subconscious.

Writing is the mechanical act of putting little black marks on a page in such a way that sometime later another person (the reader) will decipher them. When he does so, the same “story” that you enjoyed will be in his mind as well.

So whatever you choose to do, however you choose to touch benchmarks on your writing, I will continue to use cold, hard numbers. If for no other reason than because it’s more practical (FOR ME) to count mechanical words as a benchmark of how far I’ve come.

It’s also practical (again, FOR ME) to use numbers to set future benchmarks (goals) for where I want to be with putting little black marks on a page a month from now, two months from now, and a year from now.

And while I’m on that topic, here’s a related one.

Short Fiction and Streaks

Some of you will remember that at one time I had a streak going of writing at least one short story per week. I finally intentionally broke the streak (yes, intentionally… I’m just that stupid) at 70 weeks. I’ve been taking half-hearted shots at starting and maintaining a new streak ever since.

Partly as a result of that streak, at one time I had short stories lined up for the Short Story of the Week out as far as three months in advance.

I just realized this morning, it’s been awhile since I wrote one. But the ones I had queued up kept right on posting every week. And in fact, the last short story I wrote posted last Monday (May 23).

Yet my readers expect a free short story every week. So I’m thinkin’, maybe I’d better get hot.

So I’m starting a new personal challenge to write at least one short story every week. And of course, that’s in addition to this blog, novels, etc.

Just to challenge myself a little more, I waited until after the last story posted to write a new one. Just to make it a true week. But from here on, for at least awhile, I’ll HAVE to write at least one new short story every week just so I’ll have something to post.

Plus a lot of Donors have gone awhile, patiently, without anything new from me. Thank you all. I’ll be getting some new stuff to you soon.

‘Til next time, happy writing!
Harvey

 

Writers’ Resources

Hi Folks,

Every now and then I offer a post about writers’ resources. Most of the ones I use are in the left sidebar on my website. I add to them often, and I change one every now and then. So it’s a good idea to check them out from time to time to see what’s new.

Awhile back I added a Readers’ Resources section too. The Writers’ Resources are below that.

Also, Dean Wesley Smith, on his website, is now offering his Originality workshop free of charge. (It used to cost $300.) To access it, simply visit his site, click on the You Tube Videos tab near the top of the page, and then click on the Originality workshop dropdown list.

Each week contains five or six videos, and each video is around five to ten minutes long.

He also is starting a new online workshop titled Teams in Fiction. I signed up for this one as soon as he listed it. If you’re serious about your writing career, I strongly recommend this investment.

You can find information on this and other online workshops at the same website under the Online Workshops tab. I also recommend many of his Classic workshops (downgraded to $150) and his lectures (most are $50).

Finally, I recommend signing up for my own Daily Journal. I offer a great deal more writing advice there than I ever will on this website, plus links to items of interest to writers.

To visit the Journal, click HEStanbrough.com. To sign up for a free subscription, click The Daily Journal in the right side of the header on that website or on this one.

That’s it for today. Until next time, happy writing.

Harvey

Update to Brave New World of Publishing

Hi Folks,

This morning as I emailed a friend, I had occasion to revisit an old blog post, one I wrote here back in October, 2015. The information in it bears repeating, especially in light of recent posts over at Dean Wesley Smith’s website. I recommend you read my older blog post before continuing with this one, even if you think you remember everything about it. To do so, click Brave New World of Publishing.

After that, to read one of the more important posts to come along in awhile in the way of advice for writers from a guy who’s been doing it successfully for decades, read Dean’s Blaming the Reader (for no sales).

His post includes a list of reasons your books don’t sell even a few copies. It was so good I copied/pasted it into a Word document, mostly so I could re-read it in the future and also to share it with others.

But back to this post. This is an update on the information I shared in the October 17, 2015 post.

First, I no longer use Pronoun. They don’t allow the author to select the venues to which they distribute the author’s work. For me, that’s a deal killer.

As for XinXii I have sold one copy of one short story collection through them (as far as I can tell) for a grand total royalty of $1.10. That’s in well over a year. So I’m not pushing them anymore either. Then again, $1.10 is a minuscule price to pay for a lesson.

I also had some problems interfacing with OmniLit’s website (they’re also All Romance Ebooks). I found the website clunky at best and unresponsive at times. Soon I decided the few sales I might get through them wasn’t worth the hassle. But that might have just been me. I recommend you check them for yourself, especially if you write romance or erotica.

So today, my titles are distributed through Amazon, Draft2Digital, Smashwords, and through direct sales at StoneThread Publishing.

Yes, Amazon remains the biggest seller.

Draft2Digital remains by far the easiest distribution venue to use, and they pay fair royalties.

I still despise Smashwords’ extremely clunky interface. If you have only a few titles to manage, it isn’t a big deal and it isn’t bad. But if you But with 200 titles in my account, using the channel manager or anything else is a nightmare. Still, the number of big-deal sales venues they offer makes the aggravation acceptable.

Back in the Iron Age (2011) I didn’t mind the clunkiness at Smashwords so much. It was pretty much state of the art. But today, all you have to do is compare the submission process at Smashwords with D2D to see what I mean. If D2D had the venues Smashwords has, I’d drop the latter in a heartbeat.

I haven’t mentioned CreateSpace. They are by far the best choice for do-it-yourself print production and distribution. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you’ll need to look around and select a print-layout and cover design service. Because loyalty and honesty are important to me, I cannot in good conscience recommend any service in particular.

If anyone out there knows of any that you recommend or if you do your own layout and spine and back cover AND ENJOY IT, please let me know.

Of course, if you aren’t writing and producing new work, none of the above matters in the slightest. Ahem.

That’s it for this time. ‘Til next time, keep writing.
Harvey