Wednesday, August 05, 2020

August IWSG: Pieces and Forms

We made it to August, everyone! Welcome to another Insecure Writers Support Group post. You can learn more about them on their website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

Our hosts this month are Susan Baury Rouchard, Nancy Gideon, Jennifer Lane, Jennifer Hawes (no link available), Chemist Ken, and Chrys Fey.

Our question for this month starts with an unattributed quote: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels, or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be." Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Although I am still more of a pantser than a plotter, I generally do know length of story and genre when I start writing. However, I've written stories that were meant to be standalones but became part of a series. Lyon's Legacy is probably the best example of a story that sparked more stories.

I'm afraid I don't have much to say on this topic, and I should be working on my multiple writing projects. So if you'd like to comment on this post or link to your blog on the same topic, please do so.


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Budgeting Writing Time

Remember that cozy mystery I mentioned last week? The rough draft is done. It's a very short novel, right around 50,000 words, but that gives me space to add more scenes later. The other short story I mentioned is coming along too. Currently it's around 2,600 words. I expect it to be between 3,000 and 4,000 words when it's complete. I'm already plotting out more stories in my cozy mystery series; in addition to a sequel, I also want to write a prequel short story about one of the characters for a newsletter giveaway. All of this isn't taking into account my other series or all the revisions, editing, and formatting I have to do before I can publish these works.

It seems like I'm giving myself more and more projects to manage in less time. In order to make it all work, I'm going to have to figure out how to budget my time better. Either I could block it out by project or by process (e.g., block out hours or days just for writing or editing.)

Do you prefer to work by project or process? Which one works better for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

General Update 7/22/20

1. Remember how I was talking a couple weeks ago about the difficulties of uploading my stories to the Apple Store? I figured out how to convert them to the right format. Although I don't have Apple devices, I do have an Apple ID. I was able to use that to log onto iCloud and access the Pages app. That allowed me to convert my files to EPUBs the Apple Store could accept. I was able to upload my books to the Apple Store.

2. Another part of getting my publishing ducks in a row was updating my universal book links. I took care of that last Friday, which was a vacation day for me. Some of it was automatic, but I had to copy/paste links too. At least I don't have to update the links in my books just yet.

3. My cozy mystery novel is close to 48,000 words. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of the month, though I expect it to be less than 60,000 words. Some sites say cozy mysteries should be around this range, while others say between 70,000-80,000.)

4. I also started an unrelated short story. I don't want to go into detail, but it's a new twist on an old fairy tale. Hopefully I haven't jinxed this project for myself by discussing it.

5. Hopefully once the cozy mystery and the short story are done, I can return to the last book of my urban fantasy trilogy. I left my hero under perilous circumstances.

6. Other projects I've been working on include sewing masks, baking, and making ice cream. Maybe I can host an afternoon tea when there's a vaccine.

7. While we haven't gone out much this summer, we were able to return to the Field Museum on Sunday. It was strange seeing the main hall (pictured above) so empty on a Sunday afternoon.

So, what's new with you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Sale at Barnes and Noble

I mentioned last week that one advantage of going direct to ebook stores is the ability to do special promotions. In fact, a promotion that I set up at Barnes and Noble just went live. If you buy one book in my Season Avatars series, you can get the second one half off. Since the first book is free, you can get the five-book series for about fifteen bucks. Here are the direct links:

Seasons' Beginnings
Scattered Seasons
Chaos Season
Fifth Season 
Summon the Seasons 

This sale goes through the end of September, so pick up some seasonal reading today.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

On Going Direct

Although I've tried using Kindle Unlimited a couple of times for my books, I prefer to go wide with them to serve as many readers as possible. In the past, I've used distributors such as Smashwords and Draft2Digital (I highly recommend the latter over the former). Distributors make it easy to reach multiple sites with one process. However, publishing directly to sites such as Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google Play, and Apple also has advantages. You can have greater control over pricing, gain access to special site-only promotions, and receive higher royalties. So last month, I stopped using Draft2Digitial for the distributors listed above and started going direct.

So far, it's been a tedious process republishing my work at different vendors. Kobo and Barnes and Noble were the easiest, since they accepted the files I'd used elsewhere. Google and Apple are more complicated. I have to submit my manuscripts to Google as PDFs and to Apple as epubs. While Word does a straightforward job of creating PDFs from Word documents, I have to use a conversion program like Calibre to create EPUB files. This worked for some of my books, but others got rejected for embedded font errors, and I haven't figured out why. So Apple currently has only one book out of my five-book fantasy series and Lyon's Legacy but not the sequel, Twinned Universes. I'll have to do some more research to figure out what the problem is.


Once I get everything republished properly, then I have to convince Amazon to set the first books of my series back to permafree. Then I can promote them to encourage readers to get the rest of the series.

If you plan to publish your books on multiple sites, I recommend gathering all the information and files you need before you start. It's not just manuscripts and covers; it's blurbs, ISBNs, and other information such as original publication dates. I wound up collecting some of this information in a single document I can use as reference later.

If you're an indie author, do you publish just on Amazon or other sites too? What's your favorite store for ebooks? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

IWSG: Industry Changes

We're halfway through this crazy year, and I'm sure things are nowhere near settled yet. At least we have the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share our concerns. If you're not already familiar with the IWSG, you can learn more about them on their website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

Our hosts this month are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox.

Our question this month is There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

As a hybrid author, I'm not closely involved with the publishing industry. I have a few short stories in anthologies, but I self-publish my novels and related stories to keep control of my rights. Publishing contacts demand authors sign away all their rights for a fraction of their worth. I'd like to see contracts become more fair. I'd also like to see more opportunities for indie authors to prepare paper copies of their work (I found CreateSpace was much easier to work with than some of the other sites) and to get those works into libraries and bookstores. I hope to see more acceptance of indie authors at the conventions I attend.

What would you like to change about the publishing industry? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Mid-Year Reading Update

Since next Wednesday is July 1st, I'm assuming we'll have another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. I figure I'd do my semiannual reading review a little early. My Goodreads Reading Challenge is to read 150 books this year. Unfortunately, the lockdown didn't give me more time to read; if anything, I feel like I've been busier than ever. I've still managed to read fifty-nine books, but I'm currently twelve books behind schedule. Hopefully I'll be able to use a few more vacation days this summer and spend some time catching up.

Here's how my reading breaks down by genre:

Fantasy: 21
Mystery: 18
Non-Fiction: 11
Science Fiction: 5
Other Fiction: 4

By Format:

Ebook: 44
Paper: 15

Since many of the mysteries I read have a paranormal or fantasy element, I normally count them as fantasy. I was tempted to put those books in both categories, but that would have been confusing.

Here are a few of my favorite books from the past six months:

Oona Out of Order
Half Soul
The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe
The Ten Thousand Doors of January
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

What's your favorite book you've read this year? Feel free to share the title in the comments.


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