Scammers in Pretty Clothing

Note: This post was originally scheduled for early 2015. It didn’t post to MailChimp, so I’m posting it again now. I’ve revised the original post so it’s up to date.

This post first appeared in slightly different form as an article in the November 2014 issue of  the Society of Southwestern Authors (SSA) newsletter, The Write Word.

Hey Folks,

I recently received an email from a place called Publish Wholesale. They were interested in “publishing my manuscript for less.” For just less than $1000, they offered all the same “features” offered by scammers who charge sometimes 4 or 5 times more.

But the specific name of the subsidy publisher doesn’t matter. A scam is a scam, and all subsidy publishers are scams. All of them. Period.

DON’T  CONFUSE  SUBSIDY  PUBLISHING  WITH  SELF-PUBLISHING.
THEY’RE  NOT  THE  SAME THING.

1. WHEN YOU USE A SUBSIDY PUBLISHER

  • You pay an up-front fee, usually hundreds or thousands of dollars, to publish your work. Most of them then continue to up-sell you on other services or products or offer as premiums things that you could easily get free by yourself (a website or a Facebook or Twitter account, for example).
  • The publishing company retains ownership of all files they create during the process (Read the Contract!) including the text and cover and the website if they create one for you. If you decide later you want to self-publish, you have to pay a stiff penalty to retrieve your own work, and often the company’s watermark will be imbedded on every page so you have to retype the whole thing anyway.
  • The publishing company insists on receiving a split of your royalties. (Seriously? Are you kidding me? You paid them to publish your work. That should be their total cut.)  In other words, they continue to charge you a fee for publishing your work. Again, read the contract.

2. WHEN YOU CHOOSE TO SELF-PUBLISH, you have two options: you either format your document for ebook and/or print yourself and design your own cover, or you pay someone to do those things for you. Whether you do it yourself or pay someone to prep the files for you

  • YOU retain ownership of your copyright and all of your files, including the cover(s).
  • YOU retain 100% of net royalties.

Formatting your Word document for epublication and/or POD publication is not difficult, but it is a tedious and exacting process. If you don’t want to take the time to learn to do this yourself, I recommend paying someone to do it for you. My recommendation is ArenaPublishing.org, a service provider, not a subsidy publisher.

The book cover is the first thing the potential reader sees. Creating an attractive, attention-grabbing cover is essential. Whatever you do, don’t just slap something together for a cover and declare it “good enough.” It isn’t, and it will cost you sales.

I’ve seen a LOT of amateur covers on what might be very well-written books. A bad cover will cost you a lot of sales. Don’t skimp in this area.

I recommend downloading the free version of Serif’s PagePlus desktop publishing software. It rivals Adobe’s program and even the full Serif PagePlus program is only a fraction of the cost of anything Adobe makes. I use Serif PageMaker (the full version) to create all my covers.

But again, if you don’t want to learn to do this yourself, let someone else do it for you. Again, I recommend ArenaPublishing.org. Even more strongly, I recommend Cover to Upload.

Copyediting too, is essential. I am a professional fiction writer as well as a copyeditor. For details, or just to learn what comprises a good copy edit, please visit Copyediting. It costs less than you think.

WE’RE LIVING IN A BRAVE NEW WORLD OF PUBLISHING. As an example, in the 16 days between October 27 and November 12 of 2014, I compiled and published five 5-story collections of short fiction, three 10-story collections of short fiction, and a novel. All of those were available as ebooks in over 90 nations worldwide and as print books within a week or so of publication.

UPDATE: Between April 15, 2014 and September 14, 2016 (so 2 years and 5 months) I’ve written and published over 1,500,000 words of new original fiction. That includes over 150 short stories, nineteen novels and a novella. I’m also 4,000 words into my twentieth novel. That’s what’s possible in this wonderful new world of publishing.

These publications didn’t cost me a dime out-of-pocket because I did the formatting and covers myself. I retain ownership of all my files, and I retain 100% of net royalties.

Even if I had paid say $200 to get each of these titles out there, that would be my total expenditure, period. It’s an investment. I’ll never spend another dime on them, and the passive income from them will continue for 70 years after my death.

Because they’re all self-published, there are no royalty splits, no returns, no torn-off covers, no remainders. There is no “shelf life” as there is with traditional publishing. And like I said above, these stories—individually, in collections, and the novel—will continue to bring in passive income until 70 years after my death. Again, that’s passive income. If I work, it comes in. If I stop working, it still comes in. And when I kick off, it will still come in for my children and grandchildren.

So don’t be confused over self-publishing vs. subsidy publishing. Self-publishing is a very good thing. Subsidy publishing is a scam, period. A subsidy publisher can’t do ANYthing for you that you can’t do for yourself at either no cost or low cost.

For a lot more on self-publishing, visit http://harveystanbrough.com/downloads. It’s free. You won’t be sorry.

Next up in this series of posts, some tips on Starting and Restarting your writing.

‘Til next time, happy writing!

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. If you’ve already contributed, Thanks!

I am a professional fiction writer as well as a copyeditor. For details, or just to learn what comprises a good copy edit, please visit Copyediting. It costs less than you think.

If you’d like to get writing tips several times each week, pop over to my Daily Journal and sign up. In the alternative, you can also click the Pro Writer’s Journal tab on the main website at HarveyStanbrough.com.

 

Pricing and Various Sales Venues

Hi Folks,

A little rant this time, but a well-reasoned rant.

It really is attrocious what Amazon does to authors regarding royalties. This problem came fully home to me awhile back when I uploaded the new version of The Wes Crowley Saga (10 full novels in one book) to Amazon and Smashwords.

At Amazon, to get a 70% royalty, a book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. All other prices glean the author a 35% royalty.

The Wes Crowley Saga is priced at $19.99. (Ten novels for $20 ain’t that bad, ya’ll.)

From Amazon, for each $19.99 sale, I get $6.99. Amazon keeps $13.

From Smashwords, for each $19.99 sale, I get $16.24. Almost $10 more. Can you believe that? Smashwords keeps $2.87 and charges a “billing fee” of 88 cents. Of course, that’s for sales directly from Smashwords.

But from Premium Catalog Retailers (B&N, Kobo, and about 30 others), for each $19.99 sale I still make $11.99. The retailers get $6 and Smashwords gets $2.

And what empowers Amazon to do this? Authors who publish through KDP Select, the exclusive program Amazon set up.

When you publish through KDP Select, not only do you cut off those readers who prefer to purchase from other retailers and read .epub files, but you aren’t even allowed to publish and sell YOUR book on your own website. Did you know that?

Oh, and just in case you wondered, yes, I could lower the price for The Wes Crowley Saga (remember, this is ten complete novels) on Amazon to $9.99 in order to take advantage of the 75% royalty rate. And I’d actually make a few tenths of a cent LESS per sale ($6.993) than I make at the 35% rate for $19.99 ($6.9965).

This is the same reason you can purchase my short stories (from 2000 to 7000 words) at Smashwords and all other e-retailers (around 50 of them worldwide) for only $1.99, but if you go to Amazon the same story will cost you $2.99.

Amazon is a business. I understand that. But their devaluing of authors and their works really chaps my butt. Please PLEASE never cave to Amazon’s KDP Select program. If you do, you’ll add one more straw to the problem.

I’m considering “unpublishing” The Wes Crowley Saga from Amazon altogether and doing a blitz advertisement sending Kindle owners to Smashwords to purchase the .mobi (Kindle) file there. The only reason I haven’t done so thus far is because I don’t want to cut Amazon buyers out either.

Maybe I should write a nonfiction book titled Why I No Longer Distribute and Sell Through Amazon and then offer it for sale ONLY on Amazon. (grin) I wonder whether they would even allow it.

Conundrums, conundrums….

‘Til next time, happy writing and publishing!

Harvey

I am a professional fiction writer. If you’d like to get writing tips several times each week, pop over to my Daily Journal and sign up. In the alternative, you can also click the Pro Writer’s Journal tab on the main website at HarveyStanbrough.com.

The Journal, Tuesday, 12/20

Hey Folks,

Probably today will be a nonwriting day, and possibly a non-copyediting day as well. My son will be here in a couple of hours to help me buy, register, etc. a Toyota Tacoma 4WD pickup. I suspect much of the day will be devoted to that and visiting. I don’t get to see my children nearly as much as I like.

Still, for resources alone, this is a Journal entry you don’t want to miss. Read on.

UPDATE: Yep, nonwriting, nonediting day. Just got back around 4. I have a Toyota Tacoma now, but it was an endurance trial. (grin)

* * *

Before I forget, yesterday Joanna Penn posted “Seven Years And 300 Episodes. Creative Lessons Learned…” at http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2016/12/19/special-300/. I’m not big on podcasts, so I read the transcript.

Some great stuff there, including some great ideas you can try for yourself, new ways to distribute your work, etc.

But I was disappointed to see her and her guest (Mark Lefebvre, Director of Self Publishing and Author Relations at Kobo) go political.

It is nothing short of incredulous to me that the political left, for whom the watchword is “tolerance,” are among the least tolerant people on Earth. Witness the ongoing remarks, riots, terrorist acts, plans to disrupt the upcoming inauguration, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam.

There are people whose job is to comment on political goings-on. Entertainers, myself included (as some have pointed out), are not among them.

Of Interest

At Dean’s site, Artistic Freedom and Being a Victim (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/artistic-freedom-and-being-a-victim/).

Dean’s daily post, 12/19/16 Daily, also deserves separate mention. Find it at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/121916-daily/.

Finally, here’s an interview with Dean by Carl Slaughter of File 770, “a major science fiction journal of news and opinion”: http://file770.com/?p=32565.

For those wanting to explore translating your work into other languages, check out Babelcube at http://www.babelcube.com/. NOTE: I am not endorsing this (yet) but merely offering it for your inspection.

For another self/indie-publishing platform (similar to Smashwords and Draft2Digital) check out StreetLib at https://www.streetlib.com/int. NOTE: I am not endorsing this (yet) but merely offering it for your inspection.

Today’s Writing

Back tomorrow.

Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 360 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 360

Writing of “”

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 21254
Total fiction words for the year………… 700948
Total nonfiction words for the month… 11110
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 269010

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 969958

Edit Totals

Day 1…… 51 pages. Total to date…… 51 (+16 in the bank)
Day 2…… 26 pages. Total to date…… 77 (+7)
Day 3…… 41 pages. Total to date…… 118(+13)
Day 4…… 38 pages. Total to date…… 156 (+16)
Day 5…… 73 pages. Total to date…… 229 (+54)
Day 6…… 40 pages. Total to date…… 269 (+59)
Day 7…… 36 pages. Total to date…… 305 (+60)
Day 8…… XX pages. Total to date…… 305 (+25)

Prepping to Epublish

Hi Folks,

Note: This post was originally scheduled for 8/30/2013. It didn’t post to MailChimp, so I’m posting it again now. I have NOT revised the original post other than reparagraphing some of it.

This post goes hand in hand with my previous post on Busting the Myths of Digital Publishing.

I often hear from folks who say they want to “publish like you, on Amazon” but they don’t mention any other venues. If you self-publish, you will be both an author and a publisher. The one big secret to building a presence as a publisher is to sell your ebooks in several different venues.

Dean Wesley Smith, to whom I cannot give enough praise for his “Think Like a Publisher” series (now available as a recommended book), even suggests you don’t try to sell 1,000 books per month at one venue. Instead, try to sell 10 books per month at 100 venues. But how do you get into 100 ebook selling venues?

If you publish with Amazon’s Kindle store, that’s around 20 markets already. Of course, through Smashwords your book will also be available worldwide through markets established by Apple (that’s another fifty markets), Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Kobo, Sony and others. That’s a pretty good start.

You can set up a Scribd account and offer your books for sale in the Scribd store. That’s one more venue, and it’s worldwide.

You can set up accounts with Google +, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and others to let your contacts know what you’re up to and to announce book releases, sales, special offers, etc.

(Note: Your primary effort on these social venues must be social, not business, so the better you are at chitchat, the better these will work for you.)

You also can set up a blog through which you give people something of value (if you have something of value to give them), then advertise your books at the bottom of each post. Set up a website and a PayPal account and you can sell books directly from your own website as well. PayPal has a free shopping cart, no problem.

Okay, so what about the prep work?

If you’re going to submit your Word file .doc to Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and Scribd (for starters, for example), surely you don’t want to completely reinvent the wheel each time, right? Right. So here’s what you do:

1. Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble PubIt do not require (or even want) an ISBN, so first, decide who you want to be as a publisher, then create a name. If you’re name’s Jack Smith, I suggest something like JSmith Publishing. It’s just that easy. That’s the publisher you’ll list (or you can list nothing at all in the Publisher block) with Amazon and B&N.

2. Smashwords will provide a free ISBN if you allow them to list themselves as the official publisher. (This entails you putting in the front matter “the Smashwords edition of / a JSmith publication” where the forward slash is a line break.) Otherwise they provide an ISBN but it costs you $9.95. So let Smashwords be the publisher for what you submit to them. Trust me for a few minutes and you’ll understand.

But how do you publish under JSmith Publishing with Amazon and B&N (and Scribd and any other venues you find on your own, like Xin Xii) and yet list Smashwords as the publisher for Kobo, Sony, Diesel, et al? Here’s what you do, and again, most of this is from Dean Wesley Smith:

Then set up a file folder with the name of your book. For example, my latest file folder is named Maldito & Tomas. In that file folder, I keep the standard cover for my ebook (mine are all 2000 x 3000 pixels), the thumbnail-sized cover (mine is 200 x 300 pixels). You will also keep the following:

1. Your original Word document set up with your own publishing info and your own license notes in the front matter. For example, my latest file (.doc) is titled Maldito & Tomas.doc. The first page will be your title page, which also contains the publishing and copyright info and license notes, then the table of contents (if necessary), then the story/novel/memoir, and then the back matter, which for me consists solely of a brief About the Author section. Here’s the front matter for the first document (Maldito & Tomas.doc):

Maldito & Tomás
a StoneThread Publication
Copyright © 2011 by Harvey Stanbrough

StoneThread License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment. Please don’t resell it or give it away.
If you want to share this book, please purchase an additional copy as a gift.
Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

2. A second Word document set up with Smashwords’ info in the front matter. In my example, that file is titled Maldito & Tomas Smash.doc and it’s set up with front matter that reads “the Smashwords edition / of a StoneThread publication.” Making it the Smashwords edition is all that’s required. Here’s the front matter for the first document (Maldito & Tomas Smash.doc):

Maldito & Tomás
the Smashwords Edition
of a StoneThread Publication
Copyright © 2011 by Harvey Stanbrough

StoneThread License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment. Please don’t resell it or give it away.
If you want to share this book, please purchase an additional copy as a gift.
Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

3. A third Word document with promotion information. In my example the file is Maldito & Tomas Promo.doc. This file contains the title of the book, a “teaser” for the cover, a good, strong book description, the author bio, the categories or genres into which the book fits (the shelving sections where you would like it to be displayed if it were in a brick and mortar store) and any Internet search keywords.

When you publish your work to Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Scribd, and pretty much anywhere else, they will ask you for all of this info.

I open the Internet window over 2/3 of my screen and I open the appropriate “promo” file in the other 1/3. Then it’s an easy matter to copy/paste the required info from the promo.doc into whichever form (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc.) you’re using at the time.

To extend the example, here’s what’s written in Maldito & Tomas Promo.doc:

Title: Maldito & Tomás

Cover tease:
Tomás comes to help,
but not everyone in a robe
is a priest….

Description: When Maldito finally escapes his horrible home, he flees to an ancient stone house high in the jungled mountains overlooking the sea where he soon encounters both his future and his past. He makes a new home, finds a vantage point from which he can see the whole world, both past and future, encounters Tomás, whom he takes to be a priest, and begins to become aware of his destiny. If you’ve enjoyed the works of Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende, you’ll enjoy these Stories from the Cantina.

Author: Harvey Stanbrough was born in New Mexico, seasoned in Texas, and baked in Arizona. He spent most of his early life in the home of his heart, the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. After graduating from a 21-year civilian-appreciation course in the U.S. Marine Corps, he attended Eastern New Mexico University where he managed to sneak up on a bachelors degree. He writes and works as a freelance editor and writing instructor from his home in southeast Arizona.

Categories/Genres: Fiction > Fantasy > General / Fiction > Fantasy > Paranormal

Keywords: magic realism, fantasy, short story, stories from the cantina, surrealism, paranormal, stanbrough

As you can see, this appears to be a time-consuming effort, but it really isn’t.

For one thing, you can keep a stock folder on hand with a Word document titled MyFiction.doc and another with Smashwords.doc. In those files, respectively, you can keep your standard front matter and Smashwords’ standard front matter.

Then it’s a simple matter to copy/paste from that document to the front page of your story/novel/memoir etc. Given a finished, formatted manuscript and the promo doc above, I can publish it to Amazon, B&N, Smashwords and Scribd in about a half-hour. With just a little practice, you can too.

Happy writing!
Harvey

I am a professional fiction writer as well as a copyeditor. For details, or just to learn what comprises a good copy edit, please visit Copyediting.

If you’d like to get writing tips several times each week, pop over to my Daily Journal and sign up. In the alternative, you can also click the Pro Writer’s Journal tab on the main website at HarveyStanbrough.com.

Busting the Myths of Digital Publishing, Redux

Hi Folks,

Note: This post was originally scheduled for 8/20/2013. It didn’t post to MailChimp, so I’m posting it again now. I’ve revised the original post so it’s up to date.

First, a brief announcement. I’ve reopened my copyediting and eformatting service. I’ve kept my prices LOW. Former editing clients are preferred, but new clients are welcome too. For details, please click http://harveystanbrough.com/copyediting/.

Okay, back in August, 2012 I updated and republished a post titled “Busting the Myths of Digital Publishing.” According to some of the questions I’ve been fielding lately, it bears repeating. Enjoy.

There are many myths and false perceptions about digital publishing.

Some are being perpetuated by so-called Big Publishing, but many also are being passed around by what we Marines used to call barracks lawyers. Folks who purport to know what they’re talking about when in fact they know just enough to get themselves (and you, if you listen to them) in trouble.

As a writer, publisher, editor and writing instructor (back when I wrote this), it frustrates me to know that so many writers have been fed—and have actually believed—what is nothing more than pure, unadulterated bull cookies.

In this post I will endeavor to bust those myths and discount those false perceptions.

I tell my writing students often, Any time any instructor (or other alleged expert) says something he or she can’t explain to your satisfaction, run. The same goes for me. I can back up everything I tell you with real-world examples and facts.

If you don’t understand something in what follows, feel free to email me at harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

Here are the more prevalent myths about digital publishing.

1. I have to format my work as a .mobi or .epub file before I can send it to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or Smashwords).

Wrong. You can send your properly formatted Word .doc to Smashwords and Amazon. (I recommend allowing Smashwords to distribute to Barnes & Noble.) Amazon converts your Word .doc into a Kindle (.mobi) file, and Smashwords converts your Word .doc into several eformats and then distributes it to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple and Baker & Taylor and about 20 other stores around the world.

If you need help with this, click http://harveystanbrough.com/ebook-conversion/ and check my rates.

To learn to do it yourself, you can download my FREE ebook, The Essentials of Digital Publishing. I also recommend the Quick Guide to Self-Publishing and FAQs, also free. If you check out the Free Stuff tab on my website, you’ll find a lot of other things too.

2. Amazon is the best place to sell ebooks.

Not necessarily. Amazon is only one place to sell ebooks. Rather than hoping for a lot of sales in one venue, work for a few sales in a lot of venues.

If your ebook is for sale only at Amazon, that’s about 20 venues—Amazon US & Canada, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Amazon FR and Amazon Italy—and your work is available only on devices that read .mobi or .prc files.

If you publish it through Amazon and Smashwords, it automatically sells through over 200 venues worldwide (Apple has 50 by iteslf) and is available on literally every reading device and in every electronic format.

In the case of book sales, more really is better.

3. My electronic book has to have an ISBN.

Wrong. Amazon assigns an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN), and Barnes & Noble assigns a similar stock number to books they sell.

Because some of Smashwords’ partners require an ISBN, if you add “the Smashwords Edition of” to the front matter of your ebook and include Smashwords’ License Notes, Smashwords will assign a completely free ISBN for you.

4. Ebooks are a passing fad.

El Wrongo de Mucho. Today (this was in 2013) over 40% of American households have at least one dedicated ereader.

Dedicated ereaders are actual Kindle or Nook readers, iPads, and the various tablets. That doesn’t include Kindle- or Nook- or Apple-enabled telephones or computers that can read PDF files through Adobe Acrobat Reader, and it doesn’t include the free ereaders you can download to your PC or Mac.

See Reader Resources in the left sidebar on my website, then scroll down to Free Kindle and on down.

Additionally, in 2011 Amazon announced that ebook sales had surpassed paper book sales for the first time in its history. My own work has been published in three ways: traditionally, through POD, and now in ebooks. I have sold more copies and made a lot more money since January 2011 (the ebook era) than I made on all of my paper book sales since the mid-’90s.

5. I have to wait for my publisher to publish my book first, or my publisher doesn’t publish ebooks.

Wrong. Simply retain all ebook rights (all electronic rights) and publish the ebook version yourself.

Even if you’re self-publishing, which can take a month or longer from signing the contract to having the books in your hand, you can have your ebook published within only a few hours. If you do allow your publisher to publish the digital version as well, I recommend you negotiate for at least 50% of the royalties on ebook sales, and be sure it’s in your contract.

6. I’ll have to do all the marketing myself.

Okay, yes. This is true, but you have to do all the marketing yourself even with a traditional publisher unless you’re Stephen King. And you aren’t.

7. I can’t get my ebooks into brick & mortar bookstores, and I can’t sign my ebooks or sell them at book fairs.

Wrong. I recommend you purchase and read Dean Wesley Smith’s Think Like a Publisher.

8. Ebook selling prices are low compared with paper books.

Not necessarily, and the royalty rate on ebooks is much higher.

Even if you get a whopping 10% royalty on your print book, for every $14.95 sale you’ll make only $1.49. On the other hand, for every $5.99 ebook sale, you’ll make $4.67 (78%) royalty.

Those are the actual prices and royalty rates of my book, Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction, in paper and in eformat.

When I’ve sold 100 paper copies, I’ve earned $149. Then I have to deduct the cost of gas and the hours of standing around at book fairs, etc. trying to sell them.

When I’ve sold 100 ebook copies, I’ve earned $467. Then I have to deduct the cost of about two hours per week online in the comfort of my own desk chair. Get the point?

9. You have to have a dedicated ereader to read ebooks from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Wrong. You can download a free ereader for your PC or Mac so you can read .mobi (Amazon Kindle) files and .epub (Apple and B&N Nook) files right on your computer.

Again, see Reader Resources in the left sidebar on my website, then scroll down to Free Kindle and on down.

Oh, and if you shop at Smashwords, you can download your purchases as Kindle, Nook or even PDF files.

10. But I like “real” books. I like the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink.

Yes, I know. So do I. But I’m not talking to you right now as a reader. I’m talking to you as a writer and publisher.

As a Reader, if you want to read only “real” paper books, pay more for them and lug them around, that’s fine. I have books out there in paper. I hope you’ll buy them and enjoy them.

But as a Writer, if you want to reach a much larger audience and provide your books in the format those readers are looking for, you need to get with the digital publishing revolution.

I personally love the smell and feel of a paper book in my hands, but I probably won’t ever buy another paper or hardback book. I’ve become addicted to my ereader, and I’ve become especially addicted to having literally thousands of books in my hand. I can open and read any of them at any time, yet the whole device weighs less than a standard paperback novel.

and the biggest myth of all is an outright lie perpetrated by Big Publishing…

11. Ebooks are not nearly as good quality as print books.

Wrong. This is an outright lie. In truth, the large traditional publishers also are producing ebooks today to keep up with all the independent publishers and with a reading public that is increasingly demanding ebooks.

And in truth, thus far when big publishers produce ebooks, they actually are lower quality than books that are produced originally as ebooks. Instead of actually laying out the book for use in an eformat, the big publishers simply scan the pages into a document, then publish it. Because scanners don’t read and translate actual letters, the results are often horrible.

As is most often the case, the truth is simple: Poor writing leads to a bad book, whether it’s traditionally or independently published. Quality writing plus quality layout and design leads to a quality book, whether it’s traditionally or independently published.

‘Til next time, happy writing and publishing!

Harvey

I am a professional fiction writer as well as a copyeditor. For details, or just to learn what comprises a good copy edit, please visit Copyediting.

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

Going on the Cheap

Don’t do it. There. End of lecture.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that’s all it took?

If you’re a writer and if you’re serious about your work and if you want others to take you seriously, invest in your product (your writing, your cover, your book).

The rest of this post is assuming that you already are investing time and money into learning your craft (writing).

But the actual writing is only the beginning of the finished product. If you slap an amateur cover on your story, very few people will bother even picking it up. And even if it has a great cover, if the writing is replete with errors or the formatting is off— Well, let’s just say you’d be better off fishing than writing.

I’ve never understood this kind of reasoning. By all accounts, some people spend YEARS writing and polishing a novel. Then they have some amateur do the copyedit. They have another amateur do the cover. (Don’t try to convey the story on the cover. That’s amateur mistake number one.) Then they have yet another amateur do the formatting.

Seriously? Is that all your writing is worth to you? If so, what makes you think it’s gonna be work anything to a reader?

But you do have choices.

You certainly CAN do all those things yourself.

But you have to invest the time to educate yourself. There is a learning curve to being able to correctly format an ebook or lay out a print book. There is a learning curve to being able to grasp even the basics of cover design.

And you have to invest the money in professional programs (I recommend Serif’s PagePlus) so you can create your own eformatting and print layout and ebook and print covers.

Or you can invest money in paying other people—professionals, not amateurs—to do those things for you.

So what brought this up?

I recently was privy to see a piece of complete and utter literary garbage that was (from the front matter of the book) “printed with the Espresso Book Machine at The University of Arizona Main Library.” I kid you not.

Now it is not my intention to embarrass the author or the formatter. So if you know who he, she or they are, or if you think you know, please keep it to yourself. My only intention here is to use this excellent example of terrible formatting to provide you with a lesson in professionalism.

I can’t say whether the author believes that particular book has now been “published” by the U of A (it hasn’t) or what. Maybe the author uses the service because it’s free. I don’t know. What the “Espresso Book Machine” turned out was so terrible, I won’t even do the few minutes’ research to find out what it costs, whether it’s free, or anything else about it.

What I will tell you is this: Garbage in, garbage out. As I wrote earlier, even if your writing is excellent, if the formatting of the document you feed into the machine looks like garbage, what you get back will look like garbage.

Here’s my brief review. Remember, this is all formatting stuff, stuff that could EASILY be fixed if the person who formatted it had only cared enough about the final product to take the time.

The Table of Contents — The title of this page (Table of Contents) was in the same font, same size, and same attribute (normal, not bold, etc.) as the chapter heads or story heads listed below it. Capitalization of titles varied within the TOC and from the TOC to each individual actual story. The TOC itself was hokey. First was the title of the story, then a space, then the word “page” (yes, lowercase) and then a span of pages, for example 3-16. So in the table of contents, my fictional listing would look like this:

This Is The title Of my story                page 3-16

Overall Layout of the Book — The inside front cover (apparently) was the only title page. The title was at the top, the author’s name was near the bottom, and a page number was at the center bottom. (The title page should not be numbered.) There was no publishing information on the title page. (Usually the publishing company name and city is displayed there.)

The next page was the copyright page. It stated the year of copyright, but failed to mention in whose name the book is copyrighted. Seriously? Then the formatter skipped a line and inserted a dedication. Skipped another line and inserted permission for teachers to reprint parts for classroom use. (Yeah, that’s gonna happen.) Skipped one more line and added a simple disclaimer. Then skipped a few lines and inserted a brief paragraph blaming the Espresso Book Machine for this travesty, although that isn’t how they put it. Oh, and lest we forget, the copyright page is numbered page 2.

Page 3 is the previously discussed TOC, and the first story began on page 4, a recto. Later in the book, some stories began on the verso (left page of an open book, as they should) and some on the recto (right page of an open book).

Finally, on most pages the text began at the top of the page, but on some it began one or two lines down. The same spacing discrepancy appeared at the bottom of many of the pages.

Titles of the Stories — The titles of the stories were the same font, font size and font attribute as the body of the stories. (Usually the title is bold attribute and/or a larger font size. Sometimes it’s even a different but complementary font face.)

As I mentioned in the section on the TOC above, the titles of the stories varied with regards to capitalization. The fictional title above that read “This Is The title Of my story” in the TOC might have read “This is the title Of my Story” above the story in the book. I’m not kidding.

The position of the titles at the top of the page also varied. Some were left justified and some were centered. I suppose we could say it was a win that none of them was right justified, but was it really?

Apparently no standard was applied. The key for good and efficient formatting is standards. They can be your own, but you have to have them, and you have to apply them evenly throughout the work.

The Body of the Stories — The body of the first story was double-spaced with no extra spacing between paragraphs and with the first line of paragraphs indented. It would have been perfect if it were single-spaced. (Remember, this is for a print book.)

Hyphenation obviously was not turned on. As a result the text is broken irregularly with rivers of wide white space running diagonally through the text.

That formatting lasted from page 4 (the first page of the first story) through the first full paragraph on page 8. After that there was an extra space between that paragraph and the next. Then it returned to no spacing after paragraphs until page 13, where the anomaly happened again.

Then it continued normally again until page 17 where the anomaly occurred twice in a row. Finally the story ended suddenly without any sort of signifier such as “The End” or a series of asterisks or a demand to “Go Away.”

The second story was formatted differently. It was left justified, single spaced, with a space after each paragraph, and without first-line indents. Great for a blog post. Pretty good even for some nonfiction print applications. Not so much for a story in a collection of short fiction.

The third story was formatted the same as the second, except in some places it looked as if there was no space between two paragraphs.

The next several stories were formatted the same as the second and third, with no first-line indent, block paragraphs, left justified, and a space between paragraphs. Except sometimes there were two spaces between paragraphs.

About the only thing that was consistent (except among titles) in the formatting of this book was that it was left justified. And that’s the easiest overall problem to fix. Most books of this type are full justified.

This truly was an ugly, ugly book. You’ve heard the jokes. They all apply. “This book is so ugly it would make a train take a dirt road.” “This book is so ugly when it walked into the library they turned off the cameras.” “This book is so ugly, if the author dropped it off at a school he’d get a ticket for littering.”

Oh yes. It was that ugly. And I make that assessment without having actually read so much as a coherent sentence of the actual writing. I never got anywhere close to actually reading. Would you?

Now again, to be fair, the Expresso Book Machine is ONLY a machine. It was not at fault for this thing. Whoever formatted the Word file for the author was at fault. The author should fire whoever laid out this travesty, immediately and with extreme prejudice.

Even if it was the author himself.

Maybe ESPECIALLY if it was the author himself.

Do you understand? If you put out a piece of garbage like this, it won’t matter how good the writing is because the reader won’t get that far.

So as I wrote at the outset, when it comes to downgrading your own work by going on the cheap, Just Don’t Do It. If nothing else, when you’re ready to get a cover and format or lay out your book, think for a moment about the effort you put into writing it. Then simply respect that effort.

And if you want a great copyeditor and formatter (both ebook and print) and cover designer, check out Arena.

There. End of lecture. Again.

‘Til next time, happy writing.

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.

Busting the Myths of Digital Publishing (Again)

Hi Folks,

Well, this is yet one more updated version of a post I’ve published before. Busting the Myths of Digital Publishing doesn’t really become dated because the myths persist. There seem always to be new writers who have the wrong information about digital (ebook) publishing.

And frankly, unfortunately, a lot of writers who’ve been at it awhile also have wrong information about digital publishing. As I write this, I just met with a bunch of them yesterday. This will help you understand and clear away some misconceptions and outright myths.

You won’t be surprised to learn that much of the misinformation about digital publishing comes from traditional publishers. That’s even understandable to some degree.

But unfortunately a lot of the misinformation comes from other writers, especially those who continue to insist on pursuing an agent and a traditional publishing contract. That’s very sad.

Consider, hiring an agent, especially today in this bright new world of indie publishing, is exactly like giving the kid down the block 15% (or more) ownership in your home for mowing your lawn every now and then.

You’re giving an agent 15% of your property (your royalties) for the life of your copyright, which is your lifetime plus 70 years. And you’re giving a traditional publisher 80% plus of your royalties for the same amount of time. It’s a bad deal, folks.

Especially when you could be keeping 70% to 80% of the royalties to yourself, where they belong.

Here are the more prevalent myths about digital publishing.

  • I have to format my work as a .mobi or .epub file before I can send it to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or Smashwords or Draft2Digital).
    • Wrong. You can send your properly formatted Word .doc to Draft2Digital and Smashwords and Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
    • I recommend allowing Draft2Digital to distribute your work to everyone except Amazon, but that’s up to you.
    • Amazon converts your Word .doc into a Kindle (.mobi) file, and Draft2Digital and Smashwords both convert your Word .doc into several eformats and then distribute it to several bookstores.
    • If you’d like to try to do it yourself, you can download my ebook, The Essentials of Digital Publishing, free on the dowloads tab on my website or by clicking the title link. Note that some parts of it are out of date. Nonetheless, most of the information is valid. If you’d rather write and let someone else do the formatting for you, email me for recommendations.
  • Amazon is the best place to sell ebooks.
    • Maybe, but it isn’t the ONLY place to sell ebooks. If your book were available only in paper, would you want it in only one bookstore to the exclusion of all others? Not me.
    • My titles are available in over 100 markets worldwide, and most of them are not Amazon.
  • My electronic book has to have an ISBN.
    • In some venues, yes, it does. In others (notably, Amazon and B&N) no, it doesn’t.
    • Either way, YOU don’t have to buy an ISBN or a list of them. Both Draft2Digital and Smashwords provides an ISBN free of charge for your book.
  • Ebooks are a passing fad.
    • Uhhh, no. When I first published this post back in 2011, over 20% of American households had at least one dedicated ereader. Dedicated ereaders are actual Kindle or Nook readers, iPads, and the various tablets.
    • As of January 2014 according to the Pew Research Center, fully HALF of American adults (not households) owned a tablet or dedicated e-reader.
    • That doesn’t include Kindle- or Nook- or Apple-enabled telephones or computers that can read PDF files through Adobe Acrobat Reader, and it doesn’t include the free ereaders you can download to your PC or Mac. (See the left column on my website, scroll down to Free.)
    • Way back in 2011 Amazon announced that ebook sales had surpassed paper book sales for the first time in its history.
    • My own work has been published in three ways: traditionally, through POD, and now in ebooks. I have sold more copies and made a lot more money since January 2011 than I made on all of my paper book sales since the mid-’90s.
  • I have to wait for my publisher to publish my book first, or my publisher doesn’t publish ebooks.
    • Wrong. Simply retain all ebook rights (all electronic rights) and publish the ebook version yourself. (If you do allow your publisher to publish the digital version as well, I recommend you negotiate for at least 50% of the royalties on ebook sales, and be sure it’s in your contract.)
    • What’s much better is to self-publish (indie publish) and keep the net royalties to yourself.
  • I’ll have to do all the marketing myself.
    • Okay, yes. But you have to do all the marketing yourself even with a traditional publisher unless you’re Stephen King. And you aren’t.
  • I can’t get my ebooks into brick & mortar bookstores, and I can’t sign my ebooks or sell them at book fairs.
    • Wrong. For details, see Dean Wesley Smith’s website. In fact, I recommend you buy his Think Like a Publisher book. It’s available in all ebook venues, and in print as well.
  • Ebook selling prices are low compared with paper books.
    • This is just ludicrous. Yes, ebooks usually cost less than paper books, but there’s a lot less overhead involved in creating them.
    • PLUS the royalty rate is much higher for ebooks.
    • Even if you get a whopping 10% royalty on your print book, for every $14.95 sale you’ll make only $1.49. On the other hand, for every $5.99 ebook sale, you’ll make $4.67 (78%) royalty. (Those are the actual prices and royalty rates of my book, Writing Realistic Dialogue & Flash Fiction, in paper and in eformat.)
    • Look, when I sold 100 paper copies, I earned $149. Then I had to deduct the cost of gas and the hours of standing around at book fairs, etc. trying to sell them. When I sold 100 ebook copies, I earned $467. Then I had to deduct the cost of about two hours per week online in the comfort of my own desk chair. Get the point?
  • You have to have a dedicated ereader to read ebooks from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
    • Wrong. You can download a free ereader for your PC or Mac so you can read .mobi (Amazon Kindle) files and .epub (Apple and B&N Nook) files right on your computer.
    • Again, see the left column on my website, and scroll down to Free.
    • Oh, and if you shop at Smashwords, you can download your purchases as Kindle, Nook or even PDF files.
  • But I like “real” books. I like the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink.
    • Shrug. Okay. So do I. But I’m not talking to you right now as a reader. I’m talking to you as a writer and publisher.
    • As a Reader, if you want to read only “real” paper books, pay more for them and lug them around, that’s fine. I have books out there in paper. I hope you’ll buy them and enjoy them.
    • But as a Writer, if you want to reach a much larger audience and provide your books in the format those readers are looking for, you need to get with the digital publishing revolution.
    • I personally love the smell and feel of a paper book in my hands, but I probably won’t ever buy another paper or hardback book. I’ve become addicted to my ereader, and I’ve become especially addicted to having literally thousands of books in my hand. I can open and read any of them at any time, yet the whole device weighs less than a standard paperback novel.

and the biggest myth of all is an outright lie perpetrated by Big Publishing…

  • Ebooks are not nearly as good quality as print books.
    • Wrong. This is an outright lie.
    • As is most often the case, the truth is simple: Poor writing leads to a bad book, whether it’s traditionally or independently published as an ebook. Quality writing plus quality layout and design leads to a quality book, whether it’s traditionally or independently published.

For more about epublishing, visit my Free Downloads page and get the Quick Guide to Self-Publishing and FAQs.

‘Til next time, happy writing,

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. If you’ve already contributed, Thanks! If you can’t make a monetary donation, please at least consider forwarding this post to a friend or several. Again, thank you.

 

Writing and Selling Short Fiction

Hi Folks,

I’m thinking about doing a daylong seminar on this. It would depend on interest. If you happen to be interested and able to travel to Tucson, let me know by email please at harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

A brief announcement for a friend. JoAnn Popek and Deborah Owen recently told me about a no-fee short story contest. The deadline is September 15 though, so get cracking. (grin) For guidelines, visit Creative Writing Institute and scroll down.

I’ve had questions recently from folks who are signed up for my Free Short Story of the Week. (If you are not signed up, you can Sign Up Here.) They all ask 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 Sign Up Here above), 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 on the day I write 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, as I’m writing this (September 2), 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 posted 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? Besides the two 5-story collections for $4.99 each, my readers can also 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.

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?

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.

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.

‘Til next time, happy writing. And selling.

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. If you’ve already contributed, Thanks! If you can’t make a monetary donation, please at least consider forwarding this post to a friend or several. Again, thank you.

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.)