Regarding “Freelance Editors” Who Do More Than Copyedit

Hi Folks,

If you are fortunate enough that a professional writer who is much farther down the road happens to offer a critique of your work (most won’t, and I don’t), consider carefully what he or she has to say. Then decide whether to apply it to your own work. Apply it or discard it. Up to you.

However, if you receive any free critique of your writing from anyone else, my advice is to nod, smile, say thank you and go back to writing the story you want to write.

The thing is, nobody else knows your story. Period. They know only their version of your story.

And that goes double for so-called freelance “developmental” editors who offer paid critiques.

The paid critique is nothing more than a tool they use to stroke your ego, then upsell you on other services.

Recently I studied a critique (meaning I read it twice) for a friend. The critique was written by a “freelance developmental editor” whose training consisted of being asked by visitors to her husband’s bookstore years ago to look over their manuscripts and see what she thought.

Turned out she enjoyed telling those writers her opinion and has turned that into a living.

She has never written a novel or short story that I can find. On her website, she wrote, “[A]lthough I have the know-how to write a book, my real passion is helping other writers bring their books out into the world.”

In other words, “I could easily write a novel. I’m sacrificing my art to help others. Umm, for cash.”

Uh huh. They have a term for that sort of thing in Texas, and the term refers directly to bovine excrement.

As I said, I read the critique. The first three-quarters of it was how she would have written the story.

And remember, folks, this woman doesn’t have the ear of any particular publisher. She doesn’t work for a major publisher in New York. She’s just another non-connected reader with an opinion. You might as well pay your neighbor to read your novel and give you an opinion.

Don’t get me wrong. All readers have opinions, and they should have opinions. But they should not foist those opinions on writers as to how the book should have been written. And they should definitely not charge people money for that disservice.

  • She talked about characterization and character arcs, but she has never developed a character or written an arc of any kind.
  • She talked about deepening scenes (she didn’t call it that) but thought the writer could do that through the characters. (Uh, no.)
  • She listed specifics, like wanting in one case to make a character work by herself when the character preferred to be teamed up with another character. (Again, no. The characters are IN the story. Let THEM decide.)
  • She talked about weaknesses in the plot, apparently never having heard Bradbury’s quote that “plot is the tracks characters leave as they run through the story.”

Sigh. This sort of stuff washes over me with waves of weariness.

Look, you’re the writer. You get to choose.

  • You can either be the Great Writer On High, directing everything the characters say and do (THIS is where writing becomes drudgery), OR
  • You can resign as General Manager of the Universe, toss off all that responsibility, get down in the trenches and run through the story with the characters. That’s where the fun is.

This “editor” probably is a very nice woman. But she charged my friend $300 for this “critique,” which was only a little over 4 pages long. And remember that upselling I mentioned earlier? In the last several paragraphs, she recommended three different “levels” of editing:

  • a “developmental edit,” during which she would go through the manuscript and note in the margins what the writer should do in each instance (um, developmental editors work in New York for big publishers, and I wouldn’t even let THEM touch my work);
  • a “line edit,” “to ensure everything is in the best place [what?] for the flow of the story, that all the character reactions are in good shape [huh?], and that all those plot issues have been addressed.” (She wouldn’t do that during the “developmental” edit?); and finally
  • a copy edit to “address all the wording and sentence structure concerns, as well as most of the grammar, punctuation, etc.” (Really? Just “most”?)

And yes, of course, she would charge a different fee for each level of edit.

Now, here’s some of that free advice that you can accept or just chunk on the junk pile. At least it won’t cost you anything.

As I told my friend,

  • Write your story.
  • Then have a good First Reader and/or copyeditor go over it to find wrong-word usages, typos, inconsistencies, and places where the story is confusing.
  • Then do your “second draft” to correct What You Agree With that the first reader or copyeditor finds.
  • Then publish it and write the next story. Don’t look back. Look forward.

Please. You’ll be a much better (and happier) writer.

I welcome comments on this post.

‘Til next time, happy writing.
Harvey

Note: This is one of very few remaining “instructional” blogs at this location. I write those, almost daily, over on my Daily Journal now. If you want to continue getting advice from this professional novelist and short story writer, visit http://hestanbrough.com and subscribe! It’s free.

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

Setting Goals — 2016 Is Almost Here

Hey Folks,

If you’re a human being with dreams and aspirations, this is a great time to be thinking about what you want to attain or achieve in 2016.

If you’re a writer, that means thinking about goals.

At the minimum I recommend setting a daily writing goal, one that automatically resets at the beginning of each time period. If your goal is to write 1000 words per day and you meet or exceed it, great. At the beginning of the next day, it resets to zero and your goal is to write 1000 words. See how many days in a row you can meet or exceed your goal.

One caution here— Set realistic goals. By “realistic” I mean goals that you know you can reach, but that make you stretch a bit. If you find yourself meeting your goal continually, you might want to raise it a bit. If your set your goal too high so that you very seldom reach it, and if that starts to become disheartening for you, lower it a bit.

I also recommend setting a mid-term goal. What do you plan to accomplish before January 1, 2017? It’s only a year away. And what about long-term goals? What do you plan to have accomplished by January 1, 2021? January 1, 2026? Those are only five and ten years away.

A Quick Discussion of Goals vs. Dreams

Beware of confusing these two.

A goal is something that is within your control, at least for the most part.

For example, writing a certain number of publishable words of fiction per day is within your control unless some sort of emergency derails you one day. And if it does, that’s all right because the goal resets the next day.

Writing a certain amount every week also is within your control, again, more or less. You could write a short story every week and see how long you can keep that streak alive. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. (grin)

A dream, on the other hand, is in no way, shape or form within your control.

A dream might be to hit the bestseller lists with your first novel, or to make a million dollars on your first novel. That’s a wonderful dream, and I hope you achieve it, but if you do it won’t be because you decided it would happen. Too many factors are not within your control.

So by all means, dream and enjoy it.

But in the meantime, set realistic goals. Setting goals is your best shot at realizing dreams.

My Goals

Before I do this, one disclaimer — Your goals don’t have to mimic mine. We lead different lives and have different priorities, and that’s fine. If you surpass me by a bunch, I’ll applaud and cheer you on. If you attain your goal of writing only one hour per day, four short stories and one novel per year, I’ll applaud and cheer you on.

If you are a writer, what matters is that you write.

My goals are based on writing approximately 1000 publishable words of fiction per hour. That’s only 17 words per minute. Leaves a lot of time for staring off into space.

So here are my personal writing goals. I know I can achieve them because I’ve achieve them before. But they’re big enough to make me stretch. If you’d like yo watch my progress (or hold my feet to the fire), Sign Up for my Daily Journal.

Daily:

  • 3,200 new publishable words of fiction per day, plus whatever nonfiction (blog posts, articles) I write.
  • write at least 500 words of publishable words of fiction every day (Going for a streak here. Even if I miss my daily goal, the 500 words will keep the streak alive.)

Weekly:

  • At least one new short story every week. (This was recommended by Bradbury, and it’s a great deal of fun. My previous attempt resulted in a streak that lasted over 70 weeks and about 75 short stories.)
  • 22400 new publishable words of fiction per week (the daily goal x 7).

Monthly:

  • One new novel per month (in addition to the short stories and necessary nonfiction).

Annual:

  • Write at least 12 novels during the year. I would like some of these to be in series.
  • Write at least 52 short stories during the year. I hope, this year, to write at least one story in every major genre except mystery. Mystery just ain’t my bag.
  • Write at least one million publishable words of fiction. If I meet my daily goal for at least 313 days I will exceed this goal by 1600 words.

Side Goals:

  • Create an ebook cover for each of the publications above, plus for the five- and ten-story collections I compile from the short stories (so covers for 12 novels, 52 short stories, and 15 collections—79 covers).
  • Format and publish all works as ebooks
  • Layout and publish all major works (novels, collections) as print booksAlso I will have compiled those short stories into 5 ten-story collections and maybe 10 five-story collections. (Giving readers an option.)

I haven’t set my mid-term or long-term goals yet.

Fiction Lengths

For the sake of full disclosure, and because it seems appropriate to this post, here are my personal definitions of the various lengths of literary genres. This is a brave new world in which we no longer have to worry about hitting a certain page count (a certain folio) for traditional publishing’s price points:

6 to 99 words — Flash Fiction
100 to 2,000 — Short Short Story
2,000 to 6,999 — Short Story
7,000 to 9,999 — Long Short Story (or Novelette)
10,000 to 29,999 — Novella
30,000 to 39,999 — Short Novel
40,000 to 69,999 — Novel
70,000 — Long Novel

Okay, looks like that’s it for this time. See you on January 1 with a new post of interest to professional writers and aspirants.

‘Til then, happy writing!

Harvey

Remember, to sign up for my mad diary of a professional writer’s journey and learn by osmosis what to do and what not to do, click The Daily Journal.

To receive a free short story every week in your email, click Story of the Week.

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.

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.

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, Friday, 8/28

The Day
Rolled out a little early this morning at about 1:30.

After waking up with coffee and email, I thought about yesterday’s post. I was a little harsh maybe.

For years I’ve seen writers, even retired, very successful business people, allow various companies to take advantage of them.

I despise those companies, and I don’t mind being vocal about it.

But the thing is, many writers bring these things on themselves. They’re intelligent people, by and large. They don’t have to be ignorant. And I “get” that it’s easier to just trust some faceless corporation to do the right thing than it is to check them out, or even think too hard about what they’re offering.

But you really need to do that anyway. Seriously. We are not living in the same world in which many of us grew up. Anyway, these thoughts led me to the Topic of the Night below.

So from about 2 until about 7:30, I formatted and uploaded eight more collections (all 5-story) to D2D, as well as those three large anthologies I published awhile back that were the results of contests, and the short story, “Coralín.” So all caught up on what I wanted to move over to D2D.

Now I have to update the print covers for the collections I previously published under Stringer’s or Porter’s name (personas).

And Smashwords still has the same books for distribution to a few places that D2D doesn’t go, so I probably need to update the files for them too. Not in a massive hurry for that though.

Hmmm. In fact, I might just “unpublish” the titles from Smashwords altogether. It’s a LOT of work to change the cover and the front and back matter, and the thing is, I’ve garnered a total of FOUR sales from all the remaining Smashwords venues (Baker & Taylor Blio, txtr, Library Direct, Baker-Taylor Axis360, and OverDrive) over the past four years.

Yeah, think I’ll just unpublish them, pull them from Smashwords completely. That’s only the collections that were previously attributed to one of my personas other than Gervasio. I’ll go do that right now.

All of my new short stories, novels and collections will go to both D2D and Smashwords.

Okay, I got all that done (about an hour) and then went for a walk. Though I’d be smart and go after the sun was well up, but it got hotter quicker than I thought it would. Outsmarted myself. Only turned about three miles. Guess I’ll go back to walking earlier for awhile.

I won’t be doing any writing today, other than this stuff and revisiting a magic realism story I (Gervasio) wrote a long time ago. It’s called “Carmen, Whose Face Was Cracked” and it’s a beautiful story in the ethereal sense. I’ll post it as the story of the week for this week. So it will be up on Sunday at the site and posted by MailChimp on Monday morning.

Topic of the Night: Amazon KDP Select and “Scout” Redux

You know, all I can do is tell you what I think is right.

If you go with a program like Amazon Scout, you’re keeping your work from a lot of readers who don’t use Amazon.

You’re also locking up your work for at least 5 years. Amazon’s guarantee to you is if you don’t make at least $25,000 in royalties over that five years, you can pull your book from the program. Now that sounds like a nice, big number, but seriously, can any of you live on $5,000 per year? I can’t.

And like I said yesterday, if it wasn’t a good deal for Amazon, they wouldn’t be doing it. For every person who DOES make $25,000 over five years, Amazon ALSO makes $25,000 over that same five years, multiplied by the number of people who sign up for this program. Shrug.

It just isn’t fair. It isn’t a good deal for any author.

Look at it like this. Say you own a rental property. Would you sign over the deed to that property to someone else and then pay them 50% of your income from that property to rent it out for you? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
This is EXACTLY the same thing. Exactly.

Your writing, every story, every book, is an investment. Your copyright is property.

Don’t give your property away and then split your earnings 50/50 with the new owner. That’s just insane.

Tell you what. If you’re thinking of going with Amazon Scout, you might as well go with a traditional publisher and give the TP both print and ebook rights. At least with the TP you can negotiate a more realistic royalty rate on ebook sales than the paltry 50% Amazon wants to pay, and TP probably would give you a larger advance too. AND they probably would tie up your book for only two or three years (again, it’s negotiable). Just sayin’.

And those who know me know that I NEVER recommend going with a traditional publisher. Never. But compared to Amazon Scout, TP is a better alternative.

One final note: If that $1500 advance looks attractive to you, remember that it’s only an advance. They don’t pay royalties until your book “earns out” the advance. And if it doesn’t earn out the advance? They come back to you to recoup that advance. That’s right. You could easily end up paying it back.

And now I’ll write what I should have written in the first place last night. Then I wouldn’t have had to write the rest of this. Here it is. Ready?

If You Choose To Go With Them, Read The Contract. And have a lawyer read it.

Okay, so that’s all I’m gonna say on the topic. Please feel free to prove me wrong. But don’t expect me to join you.

Today’s Writing

I pecked around a little bit, but no fiction writing today.

I think my numbers are so low for August that I subconsciously decided to take care of a lot of admin stuff instead of worrying about writing. So I did the switchover from Smashwords to D2D, I’ve kept up this blog and my other main blog, and some other non-fiction writing stuff.

Also, although I stand ZERO practical chance of getting anywhere near my 1,000,000 word goal for the year, I’m past 450,000 published words of fiction right now since January 1 of this year, and that ain’t bad.

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