Prices Slashed on Audio Courses

Hi Folks,

value_160Just a brief mid-cycle post for an announcement. If you find this post of value, please consider pinning it or otherwise sharing it with your friends.

As I’m endeavoring recently to build a new publisher website for myself and my personas, I decided to slash the prices on all of my Audio Courses on Writing. Every course now costs $5 per session. So if there are only two sessions in the course, that course now costs only $10.

If you’re interested in purchasing more than one course, there are also bundles available for a lower overall price.

Best of all, once you purchase a course, you can listen to it at your own pace. You can also return to it anytime you want for a refresher.

Current course topics include Writing Realistic Dialogue, Creating Realistic Characters, Writing Dialect, Writing Narrative, Point of View, The Seven Writerly Sins, Writing Great Beginnings, Writing Flash Fiction, Writing Poetry, Poetry Techniques for the Fiction Writer, and the popular Writing Off Into the Dark.

Upcoming courses will include Smart Self-Publishing, Writing the Character Driven Story, Employing the Persona, and Writing & Selling Short Fiction.

This is nuts and bolts writing instruction from a National Book Award nominee and prolific professional fiction writer. No fluff. You can see all the Course Descriptions Here.

Let me know if I can help with anything.

‘Til next time, happy writing.

Harvey

Brave New World of Publishing

Hi Folks,

Man things change quickly in this new world of publishing. On the first of this month, so just over two weeks ago, I devoted an entire blog post to telling you why I was no longer going to publish and distribute my books through Smashwords.

And then this morning, I uploaded and published ten new titles to Smashwords. It seems Smashwords recently signed a contract with Gardner’s, a massive book distribution agent in Great Britain. You can Read About It Here.

So this morning, I uploaded… well, I already said all that, didn’t I?

Only one thing seems to remain the same in this new world. For independent publishers — and by extension, for readers — things just continue to get better.

This post is for those of you who already have made the leap into indie publishing AND for those who are still thinking about it.

Now understand, when I say “indie” or “independent” publishing, that has absolutely NOTHING to do with subsidy publishers like AuthorHouse or Wheatmark or Booklocker or ANY OTHER “publisher” who charges you an up-front fee PLUS keeps part of your royalties.

If you’re going through those, you are not self-publishing and you are not independently publishing. Those are scams, folks, in every case. They play on your ego (wanting to get your work out there), and they play on your fear that your work isn’t good enough to get published otherwise. And it’s all hogwash.

Okay? So by “indie” or “independent” publisher, I mean a writer who has set him/herself up as a publisher. It isn’t difficult to do, and there are no big overwhelming legal issues. In fact, you can learn most of what you need to know in my free PDF ebook, Quick Guide to Self-Publishing & FAQs. And there are other things that will help on my Downloads page.

But for today, MAN do things change quickly in this beautiful new world of publishing!

Let me just lay out for you what I’m doing now and why. Remember, successful indie publishing isn’t about the unlikely prospect of making a bajillion bucks from one revenue stream (like that nasty old Amazon KDP Select).

Successful indie publishing is about the much more reasonable and likely prospect of making a few bucks here and there from as many different revenue streams as you can lay your paws on.

My paws have been busy lately. Here are my distributors:

Pronoun — This is a brand new publisher/distributor. I signed up this morning. They are not yet fully operational, but when they are, they will distribute my work to Amazon, Apple, B&N, Kobo and Google Play. (This will keep me from having to mess with Amazon’s incredibly frustrating upload process, and I get the same royalties from all of these venues that I would have gotten otherwise. This is a win/win.)

Draft2Digital — After Pronoun stands up, I will still use D2D to distribute to Inkterra, Oyster, Scribd and Tolino.

Smashwords — Effective earlier this morning, I’m using Smashwords to distribute my books to Gardners Extended Retail (400 ebook stores powered by Gardners operate in 32 countries and serve customers in 138 countries), Gardners Library (2,000 public libraries in the U.K., and 400 academic libraries in the UK, Europe and Middle East), Baker & Taylor Blio, txtr, Library Direct, Baker & Taylor Axis360, Overdrive, and Flipkart. Plus of course in the Smashwords store.

XinXii — After visiting XinXii and seeing what great strides they’ve made regarding distribution, I reactivated my account there. XinXii will now distribute my books to Angus & Robertson (Australia), buch.de (Germany), buecher.de (Germany), Casa de Libro (Spain), Der Club Bertelsmann (Germany), Donauland (Austria), Family Christian (familychristian.com),  Fnac (France),  Indigo (Canada), Libris BLZ (Netherlands), Livraria Cultura (Brazil), Mondadori (Italy), OTTO Media (Germany), Rakuten (Japan), Thalia (Germany), Weltbild (Europe), Whitcoulls (NZ), and WHSmith (Great Britain). Plus the XinXii online store and plus Google Play if Pronoun doesn’t work out for whatever reason.

OmniLit (also All Romance Ebooks) — I only recently found OmniLit. It and All Romance Ebooks are run by the same folks. Granted they are only one venue, not a distributor, but hey, they’re big and one more venue is one more stream of revenue.

Now, if you’re anal enough to have counted, you will see that my books will be in 36 different venues, not counting Amazon’s and Apples’ and others’ subsidiaries, and not counting the 400 stores and 2400 libraries offered by Gardners.

Oof. A year ago, I was scrabbling around to find 100 venues. (Amazon was in 57 countries, Apple was in another 23, and so on.) And today there are so many, I can’t even realistically count them all.

Ahem. Of course, if you decided to go exclusive with Amazon KDP Select, you’ll miss out on selling through those other 430-some stores, not to mention around 2500 libraries now. But hey, that’s your decision.

Okay, that’s it for today. Note this is an extra, not in the usual rotation. I just didn’t want to wait until the 21st to put this out there to you.

By the way, you know I started writing seriously on October 19, 2014. That’s 365 days (one year) ago tomorrow.

On many of those days I didn’t write at all. On many of those days I wrote only a few hundred words. On two or three of those days I exceeded 5,000 words. On maybe fifteen or twenty of those days I exceeded 4,000 words.

Yet right now, since October 19, 2014, I have written over three-quarters of a million (750,466) words of fiction. Of those, in the same time frame, I’ve published all but 11,000 words. Those comprise the currently stalled Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga.

Now I’m not telling you that to brag. I’m telling you that to show you what’s possible even when you don’t write every day, even when your best day is only a few thousand words.

It all adds up. Keep writing.

‘Til next time,

Harvey

Note: If you find something of value in these posts or on this website, consider dropping a tip into Harvey’s Tip Jar on your way out or just click paypal.me/harveystanbrough. If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much. If you can’t make a monetary donation, please consider forwarding this post to a friend or several. (grin) Again, thank you.

Farewell, Smashwords, and Why

Hi Folks,

First a couple of announcements—

1. On September 23, Author Earnings released a new report that ALL writers should see. Especially if you’re locked into traditional publishing or if you’re on the fence.

The previous report I mentioned talks about market share in ebooks from traditional publishing vs. indie publishing. So it was kind of abstract.

But this report shows the actual distribution of income to individual authors who choose to publish traditionally vs. independently. This probably will surprise you. And if you’re an indie publisher, it will surprise you in a very good way. http://authorearnings.com/report/individual-author-earnings-tracked-across-7-quarters-feb-2014-sept-2015/. I encourage you go follow this link and sign up to get your own reports as they come out.

2. Yesterday, September 30 2015, was the final day for my Daily Journal blog. I created a spreadsheet that enables me to track what I write, how long it takes, and my daily, monthly and annual numbers. So no more need for the journal.

However, past editions of the journal will be available on this site for a limited time in case anyone wants to go back over some of them for the topics. Just click the tab.

3. And a note — If you self-publish, you are an indie publisher. If you publish through ANY subsidy publishing house — in other words, if you pay money to a publishing company to publish your work PLUS they keep a share of your royalties — you’re not an independent publisher. You’re just lost. Please don’t fall into that trap, and if you’re already in it, please do yourself a favor and break free. Every subsidy publisher, every place that charges you an up front fee PLUS keeps a share of your royalties, is a scam.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming. (grin)

If you are an independent (self) publisher, this is an important post for you.

In the previous post, I busted a few of the myths of digital publishing. In that, I talked about the distributor, Smashwords. Recently I decided to leave Smashwords behind and switch all my distribution to Draft2Digital. Below is why.

Now this was strictly a business decision, as you’ll see below. If Smashwords cleans up their act quite a bit, I probably would go back to them, at least for partial distribution. This post appeared in slightly different form in my other blog, the Daily Journal.

Back in 2011, during the first year of the “gold rush” of electronic publishing, I signed up for a Smashwords account. Today, I have 143 books (nonfiction, novels, short stories and collections) published with them.

When I finished a work, whatever it was, first I published it to Smashwords. I allowed them to distribute it for me to 12 of 13 sales venues (all but Amazon). Then I published it to Amazon.

Enter Draft2Digital http://draft2digital.com, a sleek new company that does what Smashwords does but MUCH more quickly and efficiently. They distribute to the same “big six” that Smashwords distributes to (Apple, B&N, Kobo, Inktera, Oyster, and Scribd) plus Tolino, a growing ebook store in Germany that was created specifically to rival Amazon.

Yesterday, I published a short story to D2D and Amazon, but for the first time, did NOT publish it to Smashwords. Why? Because then I’d have to clunk my way through the “opt out” radio buttons thirteen times so Smashwords would not distribute it (because D2D is distributing it).

Now admittedly, if I HAD done all that, the story would still be available in the Smashwords store, and I’m always advising writers to sell in as many markets as possible. But the thing is, having to spend a half-hour clunking around on Smashwords’ site just so a short story will be in their store… well, it simply isn’t worth the time.

Another thing, through the Smashwords online store I’ve sold mostly nonfiction. And most of that I’ve sold when I’ve created coupons for it, and then advertised the coupons. Again, it’s a lot of effort for very few sales.
I’m not lazy when it comes to expending necessary effort, but any time I spend uploading etc. is part of my investment in my writing. Since it’s part of the investment, I have to consider what return the effort will yield.

Here are a few stark numbers:

  • At Amazon.com it takes me about 15 minutes from clicking Create New Title to clicking Publish IF the process is uninterrupted by Amazon’s ridiculous page-loading times and jumping around. Probably the average time is 20 to 25 minutes. However, Amazon is currently my best venue, so the frustration, while annoying, is worthwhile.
  • At Smashwords.com it takes me about 10 minutes to go from entering the title of my book to clicking Publish at the bottom of the form.
    • But then I have to go to their ISBN Manager to assign an ISBN for distribution to some of the big six as well as several tiny library venues (where I’ve never sold a book).
    • Then I have to go to their Channel Manager. There I have to find my book (there are three pages) and then click thirteen “opt out” radio buttons one at a time so Smashwords will not distribute to anyone except the Smashwords.com online store.
    • Even after I’ve done all that, even though I’ve opted out of distribution to every place that requires an ISBN, I continue to see a message saying I need to assign an ISBN to my books. Very, very clunky system. I skip over the ISBN Manager since I no longer use them for distribution, but using the Channel Manager easily adds another 10 minutes and roughly half a ton of frustration to the process. Not worth it.
  • And D2D. Ahh, D2D. At Draft2Digital.com it takes me about 3 minutes from Add New Book to Publish. On the final page I check the stores to which I want them to distribute my work (so seven checkmarks), verify that the work is either mine or that I have the rights to publish it, and I’m done. They assign an ISBN for the venues that require it, but I don’t have to do anything with that.

D2D does for me what Smashwords does but in a lot less time and with absolutely zero frustration. Score!

So for me, it’s bye-bye to Smashwords. I might put my major publications (novels, collections) up in their store, but frankly I doubt it. I really REALLY don’t like having to “opt out” 13 times per publication.

Now I’m a fair guy, so I will be addressing this issue with Mark Coker soon. Well, relatively soon. I probably won’t do so until I’ve moved my major nonfiction books over to D2D. Anyway, I’ll keep you updated, but I think he’s pretty entrenched in the way he does things.

So it’s like this. Five years ago, Mark and his company were on the cutting edge of ebook publishing and distribution. Today they’re eating dust from every other major player.

If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to try to answer them for you. Please ask in the comments section below.

‘Til next time, happy writing.

Harvey

PS: UPDATE: I’ve also found another sales venue. To look it over for yourself, visit OmniLit.

Note: If you find something of value in these posts or on this website, consider dropping a tip into Harvey’s Tip Jar on your way out or just click paypal.me/harveystanbrough. If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much. If you can’t make a monetary donation, please consider forwarding this post to a friend or several. (grin) Again, thank you.

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/30: On Being Organized, and a Major Change

Rolled out a little before 3. I had forgotten how much “little work” would be necessary to create a new publisher website. This morning I created folders for covers. I filled one with covers that are 150 x 225 pixels, another for 180 x 270 pixels, and another for 300 x 450 pixels.

That and sorting them took three hours, but it’s necessary when you have to upload covers for 9 novels, 20 short story collections, 15 nonfiction books, 5 poetry collections, and 110 short stories. Of course, it’s a good problem to have and I’m not complaining. (grin)

Anyway, now when it comes time, I can upload all the covers of each size to the new website at once. And that will save me a huge chunk of time.

If I hadn’t done this, I’d have to open the individual folder for the novel, collection or story, upload the cover in each of three sizes, then go to the next individual folder. To repeat that 159 times would take considerably more than three hours. (grin)

After I get the new publisher website up and running, I’ll put together a few more collections. With twenty plus uncollected stories, that should be six collections (four each with 5 stories and two with 10 stories). Then I’ll start thinking about box sets. It’s all about opening several revenue streams for each story.

The writing today will be a big push to advance this novel and to close out the month. With my dismal showing the last couple days, I won’t make 70,000 words of fiction for the month but I should easily clear 65,000. I’ll take it. (grin)

Good post over at Dean’s blog today on a new scam traditional publishers are pulling on their authors.

No walk today. I’ll continue working on the website until around 8 or 8:30, and then start writing for the day.

After I wrote much of this blog post, I had some time left before my writing time begins. For awhile now I’ve been wanting to design a spreadsheet that will enable me to see daily and monthly details as well as annual trends in my writing. So I started messing around with that.

I tried three different structures before I hit on one that does what I want in a compact space. (BTW Dawn, I did this without looking at yours. I want to compare them after the fact to see how similar they are. (grin)

Anyway, it worked. And you know what that means, right?

Because it worked, this blog is going away. Only four of you were not subscribed to my Pro Writers blog, so I transferred you over. You won’t have to do anything. And then probably I’ll start posting to that blog once a week or so instead of every ten days. I might also report, briefly, on my own progress on projects at the end of those posts just in case anyone is interested.

So there y’go. After posting here almost every day since October 19, 2014, and after 210,525 words of what we’re all agreeing is nonfiction (grin), I’m shuttin’ ‘er down.

Thanks for hangin’ in with me all this time. See you on the flip side.

Today’s Writing
Good enough day of writing today. It is what it is, and tomorrow is a new month.

Fiction Words: 3538

Writing of “The Coming of Simon Stark” (SF novel)
Day 1…… 3800 words. Total words to date….. 3800 words
Day 2…… 1516 words. Total words to date….. 5316 words
Day 3…… 2942 words. Total words to date….. 8258 words
Day 4…… 4261 words. Total words to date….. 12519 words
Day 5…… 3039 words. Total words to date….. 15558 words
Day 6…… 2600 words. Total words to date….. 18158 words
Day 7…… 4634 words. Total words to date….. 22792 words
Day 8…… 3149 words. Total words to date….. 25941 words
Day 9…… 3641 words. Total words to date….. 29582 words
Day 10… 1900 words. Total words to date….. 31482 words
Day 11… 1476 words. Total words to date….. 32958 words
Day 12… 3538 words. Total words to date….. 36496 words

Total fiction words for the month………… 65135
Total fiction words for the year…………… 530176

News of Import to Authors

Hey Folks,

This is not part of the usual sequence and it will be very short.

If you’re a writer and/or an indie publisher, this is some VERY exciting news.

The 2015 Author Earnings Report just came out. It turns out ebooks are NOT declining as reported by traditional publishing’s “Big 5.” Ebook sales by traditional publishers are declining.

It turns out, indie published ebooks are on the increase. They also are taking a lot larger market share. Ebook sales overall actually are increasing.

This truly is great news in this wonderful new world of publishing.

The upshot is this: If you write well and are indie published, hang in there. Great things are coming.

If you’re still traditionally published, you should seriously consider witholding e-rights for future books or, smarter yet, break away altogether. See for yourself at
http://authorearnings.com/report/september-2015-author-earnings-report/.

I urge you also to visit the website of Dean Wesley Smith where he provides a brief discussion of this. Very interesting stuff.

Best,
Harvey

The Journal, Tuesday, 9/8: Challenges

Rolled out a little before 2 this morning. I think I’m almost caught up on my rest. Still, not much in the mood to write, although I’d better GET in the mood as the clock is ticking for the next short story. (grin)

Again I didn’t do much this morning but catch up on more of my preferred reading. Later I also opened all the pics (over 400) from the Gila trip. I separated out the ones my partner wanted to see and put them in a special folder to share. (As soon as they’re synced in my Dropbox, Dan, I’ll send you a link.)

Went for a walk, though it was more to take more pics than anything else. Still, turned over just less than four miles. Also managed to take 168 pics. All that in about 2 hours.

Did a little more yard work after I got back from the walk.

Topic of the Post: Challenges

I was reading Dean’s blog post a little while ago. He set a mega-challenge for himself. To meet the challenge, he has to write three novels in September, two in October, three in November and two in December. That’s ten novels in four months. He’s thinking around 40,000 to 60,000 words each.

He’s getting a slow start on the first month. He needed to write a novel every 10 days during September, and today, on the 8th, he’s written only about 15,000 words. But he isn’t worried.

For one thing, writing “only” two novels during October and December gives him a little catch-up room if he needs it. For another — and this is the biggie — if he “fails” in his challenge and writes “only” 7 novels or 8 or 9 instead of the 10 novels he plans to write, won’t that just be terrible? (grin)

The real value in a challenge is teaching the writer that Failing To Success is a good thing.

I said something similar a few posts back. Even if I stopped writing right now and didn’t write anymore fiction for the rest of the year, I would still end the year with over 466,000 words of publishable fiction. And all but 11,410 words of that is actual PUBLISHED fiction. This year.

So even if I just stopped right now, I would have “failed” to success.

But that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? (grin)

A New Challenge

Back in July, Dean set himself another challenge. He challenged himself to write 31 short stories in 31 days. He then published them individually as short stories, but he also will publish them in a collection titled The Stories of July (or something like that).

Now seven days of September are already history, but I really need to jumpstart my writing. I need to get my writing blood pumping again. So I’m setting a new goal, publicly. As Andy Griffith would say, “Right chere, right now.” (grin)

Before October 1, I will write at least 30 new short stories, one for each day in September. Not really that big a deal. It just means that I’ll have to write two stories on seven of the remaining twenty-three days. (grin)

Now, just so everything’s above board, to satisfy the challenge, these have to be actual short stories, not flash fiction (6 to 99 words) or short-shorts (100 to 2,000 words). So they all have to run over 2,000 words. I don’t dictate to my characters how long stories have to be, so I might write some of those shorter ones too, but if I do they don’t count toward the challenge.

Stay tuned. This should be a blast.

Today’s Writing

Okay, first a note about the Wes Crowley saga. I’ve set the most recent novel aside for the time being. From what I can tell, it doesn’t feel like being written right now, so that’s that. I still feel as if there are at least two more novels in the story, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

I think this is the right thing to do. Book 9 was rough from the beginning, and it isn’t supposed to be like that. On that one thus far, I wrote only 11410 words in 8 days. That’s an average (aritmetic mean) of only 1426 words per day. On a novel full of characters that I love. That isn’t me.

So it’s off to the races on the challenge. I hope maybe some of you will join me.

Well, a slow start on the “race.” (grin) Only 721 words on a brand new story. Absolutely no worries. I expect to finish this one in an hour or two in the morning, then write a second one. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even knock out a third one tomorrow.

Fiction Words: 0721

Writing of “Untitled about Mavis Harshbarger” (short story)

Day 1…… 0721 words. Total words to date….. 0721 words
Day 2…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

Total challenge stories for the month……… 0 (Goal is 30)
Total challenge words for the month……… 0721
Total fiction words for the month………… 2311 (1590 on Wes)
Total fiction words for the year………… 467352

 

The Journal, Monday, 9/7: Reading

As you can see from the title of this post, beginning today I’m offering a slightly different format. I’m including at least a hint at the Topic of the Post in the title. When I don’t include a topic for that day, I’ll try to slip something in there to give you an idea of what the post is about.

I’m also going to be removing older posts from the website. They take up unnecessary space, and there’s no need for that. I’ll leave some of them up in case anyone wants to scroll back. Maybe a week’s worth or something. But if you enjoy a particular topic or something like that, be sure to save it for yourself.

Rolled out around 3:30 this morning. The trip to the Lower Gila Box was very good, but more exhausting than I realized. We both (Michael = Dan, and I) got a lot of good pics. I thought a few of mine would slide up into the excellent category, but when I opened them on my computer last night, they just weren’t all that. I’ll post a few of them on Facebook later. Probably. Maybe.

Haven’t done much this morning but catch up on reading online news and newsletters, emails, etc. Later today I hope to read more in a book of Bradbury interviews. More about that in the topic below. I’m also going to mow the yard in a while, and I plan to put together a few daylong seminars. So no fiction writing today.

No walk today either. Maybe even for the next couple of days. My buddy and I walked only perhaps 3 miles per day on Friday and Saturday, and another mile or so on Sunday before we left to come home. But a great deal of that walking was on some pretty steep slopes. And it seemed we were always climbing, never descending. Weird how that works. (grin)

Okay, so rather than boring you with minute by minute details, I’ll just say generally today will be some nonfiction writing, some reading, some exploring a new sales venue I found (I’ll report on it later if it works out), some work out in the yard, and a lot of sitting under a fan trying not to move so I won’t burst into flames.

Talk with you again mañana.

Topic of the Post: Reading

Of some significance, while we were camping in New Mexico, I caught up on a bit of reading. Specifically I read parts of a book called Conversations with Ray Bradbury. Edited by Steven L. Aggelis, this is a compilation of Interviews with Bradbury, whom I consider to be the best short story writer—and maybe the best storyteller—of all time.

I strongly recommend this book.

The title is not yet available as an ebook (darn it), but I got a mint-condition paperback copy for 99 cents plus $3.99 (or thereabouts) shipping. If you’re interested, just look for the title at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, then pick which copy you want. I think you won’t be disappointed.

In many ways, the writing advice imbedded in Bradbury’s responses validates my own beliefs about good writing practices, including writing into the dark, reading your work aloud and many others.

But I have also learned a few things (in less than a few hours’ reading time) that might have taken me years to learn if I hadn’t picked up this book.

Bradbury’s process is slightly expanded over my own and over what I teach. He does write strictly from his subconscious (writing into the dark). But instead of sending his work off to a first reader, he then reads over his own work, reading aloud, looking carefully to trim anything that is unnecessary to the work.

He isn’t looking to rewrite anything. He isn’t looking at sentence structures. He’s looking only to trim the fat.
The, I believe, he submits the work or publishes it. (I say “I believe” because in one interview, when pressed, he told the interviewer he makes at least seven passes at his work, cutting more each time. I seriously doubt that is true. I suspect it’s something he feeds writers who need to feel that their own “rewriting” process is valid.)

The point is, remain open to learning. The more open-minded you remain, the more information you can take in, assess, and choose to retain or discard. And the more your skills as a storyteller and writer will improve.

Today’s Writing

As I mentioned above, no fiction writing again today. Just kind’a getting used to being back. Also I put together three daylong seminars I’m planning to offer to the good folks in the greater Phoenix area and also over in Tucson. We’ll see whether anyone’s interested.
Here they are just in case you’re interested:

Writing Off Into the Dark (daylong writing intensive) — Major subtopics include Heinlein’s Rules, Productivity, Writing Myths, The Difference Between Short and Long Fiction, How to Practice Writing, The Difference Between Rewriting and Revising (Cycling Back), and a lot more.

Writing the Character Driven Story (good for any length story, daylong writing intensive) — Major subtopics include Where to Get Story Ideas, How to Write from Inspiration, The Importance of Setting and How to Write It, How to Write an Opening, How to Select a Genre, The Five Senses Exercise, and two more in-class and take-home exercises.

Smart Self-Publishing (daylong seminar on the publishing side of writing) — Major subtopics include Why Self-Publishing Instead of “Traditional” Publishing, The Difference Between Self-Publishing and Subsidy Publishing, Copyright Explained (It Costs Nothing), ISBN and LCCN Explained (Don’t Buy Your Own), Set Yourself Up as an Indie Publisher, Epublishing and Print Publishing, Getting Paid as a Self-Publisher, Your Book Available Worldwide in a Matter of Days, Price Your Ebooks and Print Books Competitively, The Importance of the Book Cover, Where to Find Cover Art, and a handout listing specific URLs and recommendations for formatting, print layout and cover design.

So there y’go. If you’d like to have any of these seminars in your area, email me at HarveyStanbrough@gmail.com or leave a comment below.
Fiction Words: XXXX

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… 1023 words. Total words to date….. 7140 words
Day 5…… 1587 words. Total words to date….. 8327 words
Day 6…… X943 words. Total words to date….. 9270 words
Day 7…… 1084 words. Total words to date….. 10354 words
Day 8…… 1056 words. Total words to date….. 11410 words
Day 9…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXXX words

I’m gonna leave up the number for ol’ Wes while my subconscious continues to turn the story over. If it doesn’t perk up and get with it pretty soon though, I’ll send Wes out behind the barn to think about what he’s done while I’m writing some other stuff.

Total fiction words for the month…………… 1590
Total fiction words for the year……………… 466631

The Journal, Wednesday, 9/2

The Day
Rolled out a little before 3.

Still have a bug but it’s not a major deal. Just very slight headaches that come and go accompanied by (also very slight) chills/fever and nausea. Just blah, y’know?

I did get out for a walk. I decided to do hills, into and out of a wash off Sybil Road. I hoped to shove whatever this is on through my system, but that doesn’t work like it did when I was thirty. (grin) I went only about 2 miles, and I felt worse after it was over. So I guess I won’t be trying that again.

Looked at pics from the walk this morning, posted a few to Facebook. They’re not bad if you like that kind of stuff. You can see them here.  The first one looks kind’a like Granny’s wig.

By the way, I strongly recommend you check out DeanWesleySmith.com today. Great stuff on his challenge for the rest of this year.

Oh, a quick announcement. I probably won’t post anything on this for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I hope to be in the Lower Gila Box Wilderness north of Lordsburg seeing some amazing stuff.

Topic of the Morning: Writing and Selling Short Fiction

Could I do a seminar on this? Yes. I could do a daylong seminar on this. It would depend on interest. If you’re interested, let me know by email please at harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

Recently, some folks who are signed up for my free story of the week have asked why I’m not selling my short stories instead of putting them on the website free. A professional writer friend of mine asked the same question in a slightly different context a few weeks ago.

Think about that for a moment. Why in the world would I limit the audience for my short stories to around 70 subscribers? The answer is, I Don’t.

Yes, if you subcribe (see the Story of the Week link in the header on the website), you will receive a brand new short story free in your email once a week. It costs you nothing and you can read it as many times as you want for the next week or so.

But I ALSO publish each story, usually the same day I write it. I publish it to Amazon, the Smashwords store, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Inktera, Kobo, Oyster, Scribd and Tolino. Through those markets, my stories, collections and novels are available in over 100 nations worldwide within a few days of publication.

To give you an idea of the process, I wrote the next short story of the week yesterday. It’s called “Paper Hearts.” As soon as I finished it, I did the format, created a cover, and published it to my Free Short Story of the Week blog. It will go live on my website on the morning of Monday, September 7. It will go out in email to subscribers on the afternoon of the same day.

So I published it to my website yesterday and set a future release date. But I also published it for sale to Draft2Digital, a distributor who sends it to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Inktera, Kobo, Oyster, Scribd and Tolino. Then I published it to Smashwords, but only for sale in their online store. (You can buy titles at Smashwords.com in any ebook format.) Then I published it to Amazon.

If you want to see it, I recommend you subscribe to my Free Short Story of the Week and wait until Monday to read it. Or just come back to my website on Monday and click the Free Short Story of the Week tab.

But if you’re really in a rush and you have more money than patience, you’re more than welcome to visit your favorite ebook store anytime and buy it. It only costs $2.99. That includes tax, even if you live in Europe and have that horrible VAT thing going on.

Not ony do I sell each individual short story that I write, I also do this:

When I’ve written five short stories, I combine them in a short collection and sell it for $4.99. So my readers can buy my stories one at a time for $2.99 (five stories would cost just under $15) or they can get five stories in a short collection for $4.99.

So when I’ve written TEN short stories, guess what? Instead of buying one or both of the 5-story collections for $4.99 each, my readers can opt to buy one 10-story collection for $5.99 to $7.99. Can you say Good Deal?

From a writer and indie publisher standpoint, each story gives me multiple streams of revenue, too. When I’ve written ten short stories, I get thirteen publications: ten individual stories, two 5-story collections, and one 10-story collection.

That gives me three separate streams of revenue for each short story. Thirty streams of revenue for ten stories. Times the number of venues in which my stories are for sale.

And each of those is for sale at every venue listed above PLUS at those venues’ subsidiaries. Most of the “big” vendors have a few to several subsidiaries to whom they further distribute the books. Cool, eh?

Finally, I also publish each 5-story and 10-story collection as a paperback. Do I get a lot of sales in paperback? No.

But when the reader finds my collection or novel online and sees the paperback price (usually around $15.99) right alongside the ebook price (usually around $5.99) it makes the ebook price look really good. See? Which of course it is.

Today’s Writing

Yeah right. I messed around a bit but not enough to mention. I’m kind’a taking the day off today. Might be a few days like that until I get over this stuff. Sure will be glad to get back up to speed.

Now, that being said, I’m not overly worried about it. I mean, yes, I would MUCH rather be writing fiction because it’s SO much stinkin’ fun when it flows like it should. But the words will still be there when I come out of this crap. So there’s that.

In the meantime, all of you can write your little fingers to the bone. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… 1023 words. Total words to date….. 7140 words
Day 5…… 1587 words. Total words to date….. 8327 words
Day 6…… X943 words. Total words to date….. 9270 words
Day 7…… 1084 words. Total words to date….. 10354 words
Day 8…… 1056 words. Total words to date….. 11410 words
Day 9…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXXX words

I’m gonna leave up the number for ol’ Wes while my subconscious continues to turn the story over. If it doesn’t perk up and get with it pretty soon though, I’ll send Wes out behind the barn to think about what he’s done while I’m writing some other stuff.

Total fiction words for the month…………… 1590
Total fiction words for the year……………… 466631

The Journal, Wednesday, 8/26

The Day
Rolled out a little after 2 this morning. Coffee and emails to wake up, and then a shocker from the Smashwords blog.

Mark Coker has decided to end his association with Flipkart, the small ebook retailer in India. That effectively hands Amazon a monopoly in distributing ebooks on that continent.

Although I understand why he’s doing it, I don’t like that even in the title of his post he seems to blame Amazon. Regardless of the circumstances, this was still his own decision. He didn’t have to completely abandon the continent to Amazon. You can read the blog post here.

This is terrible news for indie authors. Competition is ALWAYS better. Your ebooks are an investment. Make them available in as many markets as you can.

Seriously, DON’T go exclusive with any one retailer. If you do, you’re only feeding the beast that will eventually enslave and/or devour you. Amazon has already started paying KDP Select authors less than other retailers pay them. Don’t give ANYONE leverage or control over your work.

I was planning to do a little early morning writing and even get in a walk today. Uhh, no. In light of this news I’ve decided to switch all of my major publication (novels, novella, short story collections) from Smashwords to Draft2Digital for distribution. So I’ll be doing that today.

D2D will now handle distribution of my titles to all the major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Inktera, Oyster, Scribd, and Tolino. Smashwords will still distribute those only to library outlets and something called OverDrive. (I’ve garnered a total of 4 sales through these outlets since September 2011 so I’m not overly worried about it.)

Why do I suspect this will supplant writing new original fiction for the day? Because it entails moving nineteen publications, all but one of which are collections. I’ve also decided I’m going to rebrand each collection under my own name (except the two magic realism collections).

Rebranding means revising the cover or creating a new one. Either way, the rebranding part will take only about ten minutes per title.

But I also have to create new front and back matter. (This is NOT a requirement of D2D. It’s my own requirement of myself because I want my books to look good.) I also have to reformat each book, double check to make sure the new copied/pasted front and backmatter on each one reads right, etc., then upload each title to D2D.

So I’m expecting to be working on this through most or all of today, and probably more on another day. Or two. (grin) That’s all right. It’s an investment. Once it’s done, it’s done.

Okay, my novels and novella were already over there. Today I put up nine of my collections. all of the ten-story collections plus a few others. I also rebranded 14 covers. No more Eric or Nick on collections.

Well, with only most of the day over, I thought I might write for awhile. But I went and talked with Wes a bit and even he agreed that my brain’s too tired to ride with him today.

I’ll do the topic of the night, and then I’m gonna call it an early day.

Topic of the Night: Be Organized
With what I wrote above about switching my books over to Draft2Digital, you can see the importance of being organized.

In the folder for each book, I had the cover (the raw product so it was easy to change for those I rebranded) as well as several sizes of the old finished cover. I kept the old finished covers as well as one size (2000 x 3000 pixels) of the new covers. I’ll make a smaller version soon so I can replace some of the ones on my website too.

I also had a Smashwords edition version of each book, plus a “general” version in each folder. Opening the general version and using Save-As made it a relative breeze to format a new verson for D2D with the new front and back matter I came up with for my D2D books.

Now again, THEY DON’T REQUIRE any particular format, but I like my work to look good and I like it all to look similar from one book to another. So I made all of the books I shipped to them look the same.

In the folder for each book I also thought I had a “promo” document. That’s just a simple text document that contains the title of the work, the short and long descriptions, and the Internet search terms. Having that little text document made it easy to just copy/paste the information for each book.

Of course, that was missing from a few folders. Huge difference. When I had that little document, it saved about a half-hour over the time I had to spend on one book when I didn’t have it.

You get the idea.

Now maybe you think you won’t ever need this level of organization.

Back when I started with Smashwords, I thought they were the be-all, end-all of ebook distribution. Now, four years later, I’m switching everything over to a new distributor, and in the future I might have to again.

So I’m just sayin’, when time is at a premium, it’s better to do the Boy Scout thing and Be Prepared.

If you have any questions about any of this, I’d be happy to answer them for you. Please ask in the comments section so others can see the Q & A.

Today’s Writing
No fiction writing today.
Fiction Words: XXXX

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… 1023 words. Total words to date….. 7140 words
Day 5…… 1587 words. Total words to date….. 8327 words
Day 6…… X943 words. Total words to date….. 9270 words
Day 7…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

Total fiction words for the month…………… 20501
Total fiction words for the year……………… 462901

A Sample of My Daily Journal

Hi Folks,

This will be an extra blog post. On 1 September I’ll be back to posting nuts and bolts how-to information for writing.

I’ve come to see my daily journal, the other major blog post from this site, as eminently more important than this one.

In it, I outline my day (the day of a professional writer) and write a Topic of the Night on most nights. I also generally pass along whatever important tidbits I can about the writing life and the publishing business in this wonderful new world of opportunity for indie publishers.

And then toward the end of the daily journal, I let you see exactly what I’ve accomplished (or not) in writing that day.

I wanted to give everyone a sample of that blog. So below is my post from a few days ago. If you like what you see, I hope you’ll sign up for that blog. To do so, click The Daily Journal, either here or in the link on the right side of the header on the website. Then follow the directions.

You can still keep your subscription to this blog too, but if one or the other goes away eventually, it will be this one.

Here’s the sample. This is actually from the daily journal on Saturday, August 22. Enjoy.

The Day

Rolled out at 3 this morning. Checked email, got my coffee and had to go run off a bunch of coyotes. Ugh.
No walk again today. Just writing again today.

Listen, if you’re publishing your own stuff through your own publishing company, check out https://draft2digital.com/.

I wrote a new short story today. When I went to publish it to Smashwords, for the first time EVER (153 books) my story didn’t convert to any format at Smashwords. I nuked it, tried again, and it still didn’t convert, which tells me it pretty much has to be their problem. So I sent them an email to that effect.

Then I popped over to D2D. I’d heard about it before, but hadn’t tried it. All within about a half-hour, I signed up for an account, uploaded my book and cover, and it was published in PDF, .mobi (Kindle) and .epub (everything else). It was just that quick.

And the quality is incredible.

In my opinion, you still need to do some basic formatting (or have it done) but the service itself is great.
D2D does not have their own online store, but they do distribute to Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Inktera, Scribd, Tolino, and Oyster. I’m going with them from now on for those venues.

I’ll also continue to publish with Amazon KDP (but not Select, not exclusively) and with Smashwords mostly for their online store.

Now for a break, then back to writing.

Topic of the Night: Write What Scares You

Stephen King advises writers to “write what scares you.” Sounds right to me.

Now I don’t mean like “they’re only zombies so I know it isn’t real” scary. I mean you’re tied up so you can’t intervene, your eyelids are sliced off so you can’t close your eyes, and you’re forced to watch as an intruder uses garden shears to lop off the leg, just above the ankle, of a two year old child.

(See? I almost wrote “your” two year old child, but somehow that was even worse.)

The intruder looks at you, sneers, then turns back to the baby again.

The child, wide eyed, screaming, automatically reaches down to grab the stump and— Oh no! No! Snip! Her little hand and arm are gone halfway to the elbow.

Wider eyes. Wider mouth. Louder screams. Just when you thought louder screams weren’t possible.

You don’t have to imagine the child’s eyes stretched wide in disbelieving horror. You can see them, can’t you? And you don’t have to imagine the screams either, do you?

Y’know those coyotes I mentioned before? I have nightmares sometimes about a song dog carrying off my baby girl. Ugh. Following King’s advice, I wrote a very similar scene in a short story called “A Natural Study of the Scream.”

Now I’m just enough of a scientist that I noticed, writing that scene in that story created an odd, almost paradoxical sensation. First, it was easy to write. I would have thought it would be difficult to put on paper, but it wasn’t. It was easy. The writing almost raced away without me.

But it also left me trembling, physically. I was upset to the point that I had to pour a couple fingers of Jameson’s to sooth it away. That was the first drink of alcohol I’d had in a very long time.
It was an experience. One I both dread and will most definitely repeat.

Because that’s good writing.

Today’s Writing

Wrote for a while on Book 9, still struggling with tight stuff and otherwise getting started. Then I wrote the first new story of my challenge. It will publish under the Free Short Story of the Week tab on Monday morning. Felt good to create a new story and a new cover. And the story was FUN. Read it. You’ll like it. (grin)

Fiction Words: XXXX

Writing of “Pete and Repeat” (short story of the week)
Day 1…… 1662 words. Total words to date….. 1662 words (done)

Writing of Book 9 of the Wes Crowley saga
Day 1…… 3213 words. Total words to date….. 3213 words
Day 2…… 1046 words. Total words to date….. 4259 words
Day 3…… 1858 words. Total words to date….. 6117 words
Day 4…… XXXX words. Total words to date….. XXXX words

Total fiction words for the month…………… 15686
Total fiction words for the year……………… 458086

Oh, by the way, I’m doing a new promo thing. I’ve set the price of Book 1 of the Wes Crowley saga at FREE on Smashwords. You can download ANY electronic format there and it costs you nothing.

If you’ve been wondering about this story that’s pushed me through eight books and into the ninth, I urge you to go check it out. You can get it here.

(For Kindle, download .mobi. For other e-readers, download .epub. You can also download PDF. If you read it and like it, consider leaving a review.)