Category: Publishing

Heroes Inc. Cover Reveal

Heroes Inc. Cover Reveal

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So, here it is: the almost-guaranteed cover for Heroes Inc, first book in The Citizen Trilogy. Picture yourself in full superhero garb, standing on a rooftop and looking out over the city you’ve sworn to protect. Assuming, of course, you can actually find any criminals to deal with.

It’s an awesome picture, I think.

This is a superhero novel, though without any lab accidents or radioactive insects or alien babies crash-landing on Earth.

The “back cover” copy: Armed with a super suit, an IT degree, and a little bit of writing skill, our prospective hero plunges into the heroing business as an official field tester for Heroes Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hamilton Progressive Defense Systems. Criminals and thugs, supervillain wannabes, robots and a giant, he’s got his work cut out for him. And he can’t even manage to pick his own superhero name.

I started out just trying to have a little fun with the sub-genre, but I ended up with ideas for at least three overall stories, all different types of hero stories, and tried to keep things grounded in a reasonably realistic version of our world.

Stolen from the tiny Afterword: nowhere in the story will you find our hero’s name mentioned. This is 100% intentional. You might also have noticed there really isn’t a physical description built in anywhere, other than that he’s obviously in good shape. It’s possible that reveal will come later, but it’s equally possible that it will remain a mystery through all three books.

The cover image, courtesy of Foundry on Pixabay, may be part of the San Francisco skyline, but don’t read anything into that. I wanted an urban landscape and loved the picture. The story could take place there (although snow happens and it gets cold, so probably not), but it could just as easily be Detroit or Chicago or Toronto or any of dozens of other cities. That’s also intentional. Feel free to mentally place events in your home town.

Scheduled publication date is currently 24 May 2019.

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2019 Writing Goals Update

2019 Writing Goals Update

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So we’re four months and a bit into 2019. I thought it might be worth touching base on this year’s goals. The writing year is going quite well for me, and I’m hoping for that to continue. Working for that to continue. It occurs to me I should maybe be looking at these goals quarterly to see how I’m doing. As if I don’t have an excel file tracking progress on all of my goals for the year, even the ones I haven’t made public. Still, a quarterly review might be good and help keep me on track.

But this time out:

Writing Goals

  1. Plotting of the four novels. Unified Destiny plotting completed. Scorpion’s Prize and an as yet untitled book partially taking place on Curaçao in progress.
  2. First draft of three novels. Um, I’ve kicked this one already. First draft of the last Troll World book, Welkiri Corps, Big Hair Day, and A Matter of Honour, all completed in 2019. Three of them started this year. The last is a Star Trek fanfic story converted from audio drama scripts which is actually harder work than a regular first draft. Marked complete.
  3. Three novels to final draft. Only one so far: Hero’s Life. I’m working on the Troll World books as a group, so we’ll see how that turns out.
  4. 12 Short Stories. So far, only two complete, but one was an almost 9000-word novelette. A 3000-word short just finished yesterday.
  5. Editing on all of the Undead stories. Done. In fairness, about a quarter of them were at 3rd draft on January 1st. Marked complete.
  6. ST:FU to Final Draft. Complete. Just moved from one draft to the next and it worked out well. Marked complete.
  7. Finish the Haiku book. Still waiting for the lilacs to bloom to get the image I want.
  8. Book-length non-fiction project. I’m listening to the ISIRTA episodes at my leisure, but haven’t really started the detailed level of note-taking this is going to need.
  9. 100 Blog Posts. 51 so far. Half done at less than half the year complete, but it’s still a little lighter than I’d like, overall.
  10. 50 Journal entries. 71 so far. Honestly, I didn’t expect to journal this much. The Stretch Goal (which I’ll talk about in another post) here was 60. The Super Stretch is 75. Thinking that’s going to work out okay. Marked complete.

Which says to me I can mark 4 of the 10 goals complete. Not bad for four months into the year. But remember that I set them based on minimum bench marks, bench marks I’ve been thrashing pretty handily so far. Whether life continues to cooperate is part of the equation.

Publishing Goals

Pushing ahead into the next phase of a writing career is the publishing side of things. Six primary goals set here.

  1. Shop 2 novels to agents and small presses. I haven’t done an awful lot of this yet.
  2. Independently publish 3 novels. One done, one ready.
  3. Indie route on a collection. Graceland is slotted to drop at the end of the month.
  4. Four shorter pieces to be indie published. “Thorvald’s Wyrd” and Turn the World Around have been released. “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus” is ready to go. “Mummy Powder” slotted for June. Three more planned for the year at this point, but I don’t promise that won’t change.
  5. 100 short story submissions to magazines, websites, and anthologies. So, with about a third of the year gone, I should be around 33, right? The actual count is 7 so far. Need some improvement here.
  6. All 7 of my Star Trek shorts will appear on Wattpad and maybe wind up being downloadable PDF files as well. Definitely PDFs involved. Three released so far with the rest slotted one per month beginning in July.

So none of these met, but five of them in very good shape. A little more work needed here, but I’m almost caught up several fronts. Looking to make some additional inroads on the submissions and agent/small press front over the next little while.

Be well, everyone.

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Skip To My Luu

Skip To My Luu

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Quick post to remind everyone that I’m pushing ahead on the indie publishing thing.

Skip to My Luu, my first independently published novel, is now:

  • Available as an ebook on various Amazons including com and ca,
  • Getting processed to be a trade paperback (which I’ll link as soon as I see the notification that it’s done),
  • Starts serializing on Wattpad tomorrow if you want a taste (although I think I set a decent free preview percentage on Amazon).

The cheesy “cover” copy: “Just finishing their final year at Tranquility University a group of friends decides they’d rather pool their resources and talents to go asteroid prospecting instead of looking for normal, boring jobs. Even once they manage to secure financing, the challenges only build, and their journey will to take them a lot farther than the Belt. Individually and together, they’ll find pursuing a dream is a lot harder than having one.”

And the beautiful cover.

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Book Releases for 2019 Q2

Book Releases for 2019 Q2

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The basic plan for the second quarter of this, my first Indie Publishing Year, has a total of 6 things in it: 2 short, 1 long, 1 collection, and 2 fan fiction pieces.

In a little more detail:


Turn the World Around, a SF novella coming in at just barely under 35,000 words. Inspired by a particular episode of the Muppet Show. The original Muppet Show. Ebook and probably paperback.

Wolves and Sheepdogs, a 5,300 word short story starring Lieutenant Leslie of Star Trek, The Original Series fame. PDF only and only on the fanfic page here.


Heroes Inc, a superhero novel and the first book in The Citizen Trilogy, the final book of which I’m drafting right now. Ebook and paperback for sure. cover not done yet, but it’s coming.

“Babysitting the Taran-saurus”, a 14,000-word SF novelette I serialized on Wattpad several years ago. Now with a brand new cover and becoming a downloadable ebook.


Graceland, a collection of stories inspired by what was probably the most influential music on my listening, the Paul Simon album of the same name. Discovered as a teenager and still in the rotation more than 30 years later, there’s a story inspired by each song, some with bits of lyric almost directly pulled out and some a little less obviously (I hope).

Fractured Unity, my first novel-length fanfic, catching up with the crew of the Enterprise as they return to Cestus 3, more than three years after the initial encounter with the Gorn.

And there’s Q2. Not that I don’t have specific plans for Q3 and Q4, but the plan is more flexible the farther into the future we look. Right now, I’m trying to get to the point where I’m working two months ahead in terms of covers, formatting, and compiling. I’d like to stretch that to three to give myself some breathing space. More would probably be smarter, but I’ve got to hit the two-month mark first.

And I certainly have to keep working on new stuff. Constantly.

Be well, everyone.

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Indie Marketing

Indie Marketing

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So I’ve been planning and working on this whole indie publishing thing for quite a while, figuring things out, understanding processes, finding tools, working out Amazon and its particular tools and procedures, and so on. At this point, I feel like I’ve got a fair grip on the production side of things. Not that I know nearly enough, but I think I might be on the upslope of the Dunning Kruger bowl.

Believe it or not, however, the production piece is the easy piece. Fundamentally, the step from finished manuscript to e-book and even paperback, in current days, is primarily technical skills. And technical skills that, honestly, aren’t incredibly complicated anymore. That was probably not the case even five or six years ago. But, in that respect, the barrier to entry is actually lower than ever. The tools and experience out there are such that you can teach yourself those technical skills, no matter how tech phobic you might be. Patience and practice. Yes, I’m deliberately leaving out cover design. That’s as much art as tech to that, and finding the right combination of imagery, font, and layout is not necessarily easy; I don’t claim to be good at it, but I do like what I’ve produced so far.

And you thought the hard part was writing the book, but that gets easier the more practice you get, too. Not that it’s ever necessarily easy, and not that it isn’t a massive pain in the ass sometimes, but that’s the piece of things you became a writer for, right?

No, the hard part is the marketing. More importantly, it’s the marketing on a super tight budget. Or, depending on what kind of other commitments you have in life, the marketing on no budget.

There are a tremendous number of theories on marketing for independent authors and artists (and there is actually a crazy amount of talent that there). My research, because that’s the way you have to look at it, research, seems to indicate that there is no one right answer, surprise. You have to find the combination of things that works for you and put your name in front of the people who want to see your work.

For me, I don’t really have much of a budget. I’m actually loath to spend any money that doesn’t somehow contribute to the well-being of my family or its future. My immediate plan involves mostly social media. With, once I’ve had a tiny bit of success with that, adding in some contests and giveaways, and building some engagement tools.

Most of us treat social media like a time sink, something to do when we have nothing to do. It’s also a way keep up on what’s going on in our friends’ lives, engage in political debate, confirm our existing biases, and even discover new things that we might not have run across before.

I’ve got Facebook going, trying not to put too much of my writing and publishing stuff in front of my friends on my personal stream and getting most of it to my author page. I’ve you do things too much on your personal page, I think it seems like you want all of your friends to come and buy your stuff. And that’s not what I want. I do want my friends to know that I have stuff, maybe buy it if they like the look of it. If you’re reading this and we know each other, whether it’s virtually or in real life, and you don’t normally read science fiction or fantasy, honestly, spend your money on stuff you will actually enjoy. Don’t buy something just to support me, buy it because you want to read it. That said, I have plans for several projects over the next couple of years that are not, either strictly speaking or even necessarily at all, science fiction or fantasy. Check back once in a while. If you happen to know someone who reads science fiction and fantasy, who am I to tell you not to start a conversation with, “Hey, I have this friend who writes and publishes…”

At any rate, I think Facebook is sort of my primary tool at the moment. Twitter is in the repertoire as well, but it’s so easy to get lost in Twitter anymore, and if you don’t have a zillion followers to begin with, you’re pretty much not going to make enough noise to get in front of an audience. Still, it’s there, and it may be useful as a place for an audience to find you. I used to love Twitter, once upon a time, and I still feel like it could be a place for good interaction, I just don’t see anymore these days.

Instagram, not that I’m super heavy user of it, and by no means a social media influencer, has mainly been for pictures of me or my pets, sometimes together. My most common hashtag is #lifewithOllie, my “small” St. Bernard, who’s still a giant dog as far as most people are concerned. In between those pet pics, I’m throwing out cover reveal or update every so often. The dog pics get more likes, but the cover reveal works pretty well too, reaching at least the same number of people, and it’s not all the same people I would reach on Facebook or Twitter, so that’s a thing. Whether or not it makes a difference is an excellent question.

Good Reads. I used to really enjoy writing book reviews, but that sort of trailed off a year or so ago so that I didn’t really do one for any of the books I read in 2018, but I am still kind of interested in the reviews other people write about books I’m reading. I certainly need to figure out Good Reads more, because that’s where readers go. But it also seems feel like its set up so that you only market to your friends. I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing on that platform, except that I feel like a large number of my friends on Good Reads are my friends so they can market to me.

But, it’s a good place to get reviews, right? That’s where readers go. It is the same reason to keep an updated Amazon author page, but I’m not sure I’d call either of those platforms social media.

And then there’s my website, but why would you go to my website unless you already want to see what I’m doing or are familiar with my work in some fashion. Still, I try to keep it current, up-to-date, and with the freshened with at least a couple of blog posts each week.

Honestly, the most important part of my marketing strategy right now is to maintain a steady stream of production, releasing new material regularly, and making sure what is currently my relatively small audience is aware of it.

There is more to come, but it has to build. All the marketing in the world won’t help you if you haven’t got any actual content. So I have not yet tried to solicit any book reviews. I have not yet run any contests. I have not yet done any giveaways. I will, just not yet. Like I said, the most important thing for me right now is to produce a fairly steady stream of content.

Keep your eyes open, because I have a detailed plan for everything I’m going to release this year, a rough plan for everything I’m going to release next year, and a very rough plan for the year after that. There’s also a five-year plan and a ten-year plan, but those mostly involve numerical targets, even though I’m pretty sure that if I covered all the novel ideas I currently have and would like to write, I would be good until about my 60th birthday.

I really should sit down and do some analysis on getting the most productivity out of my free writing time.

Be well, everyone.

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More Learning About Indie Publishing

More Learning About Indie Publishing

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So every step along the way, I learn that there’s more to this whole idie publishing gig than most people think there is, or even than I thought.

I did figure out quite a bit early on just reading, and I had my eyes open going in, I hope, that even though I thought I had a grasp on the various steps, I knew there would be more steps I didn’t know about. That continues to be the case, of course. But I’m also finding that some of steps I knew were there are more involved than the initial presentation.

I have released exactly one thing independently so far and that thing has taught me better preparation and planning the next thing, which I am working on for a release before the end of the month. I’ve actually got the year plotted out so that I’m supposed to be releasing one short or long thing (sometimes both) per month every month for the rest of the year.

This first thing, “Thorvald’s Wyrd”, was, because I have been busy learning new things about indie publishing, significantly later than I thought was going to be. I was, originally, hoping to do it in late January. It’s a novelette, so not gigantic, and I had a cover more or less done on time, and the formatting more or less done close to on time and everything else more or less ready not too late. Emphasis on “more or less”. There were plenty of tweaks and adjustments to make, and since I decided to put it the traditional bits of a book, which aren’t always traditional for an ebook, but mostly, into the mix, not all the things in there were making me happy with the formatting. Surprisingly, e-books and paperbacks are two different things. No sarcasm intended. Well, not much.

But, finally, “Thorvald’s Wyrd” went live on the 10th of March and I’m happy with that. I hope to have the next book up in life by the end of March. From there, my intent is to get to the point where I’m working at least two months ahead, meaning a full two calendar months so that everything I’m going to release in June is ready to go by the end of April.

If I can do that, the indie plan for this year will work fairly smoothly to reach my objective of having a reasonable body of work at there for people to sample and read and, hopefully, enjoy.

But, to effectively work two calendar months ahead, I really need to lock down my basic process for self-publishing from finished manuscripts to pressing go.

Now, I don’t expect ever stop learning, and I don’t expect the process to stay stagnant to make things easy for me, but it would be nice to have things worked out properly so I can mostly just tweak the process from book to book for relevant updates and changes to the way things work. Which probably means I should have made an awful lot more notes as I was going through the process for the first time, instead of working out that process and thinking I’ll remember everything. That’s okay, I can do the second time, or the third, and I should at least avoid having to redo certain things several times and make new mistakes instead.

The plan is to figure out the basic process and how it differs from short fiction to long fiction to fanfiction, because it does differ. Maybe not a whole lot between the first and second categories, but they are a whole bunch of steps that I don’t need for that third category, because it’s fanfiction, and I’m not allowed to make money at it.

For our everyone’s gratification, the copyright page for a work fanfiction needs to be very different, surrendering all rights to anything in the story, and stating that his work fanfiction, and all rights remain copyright holder. It may or may not be legally necessary, but it does show intent and understanding on the author’s part that they’re playing in someone else’s sandbox, and without official permission, even if permission is tacitly granted by the existence of a body of fanfic.

For now, I’m supposed to be finishing up the paperback formatting for “Thorvald’s Wyrd”, and I probably should be looking at the final formatting that needs to be done for Skip to my Luu.

And I’ve got lots of drafting and editing to do while I’m at it.

Be well, everyone.

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The Ease of Indie Publishing

The Ease of Indie Publishing

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Stacks of books

Warning: long post.

So diving into the world of independent publishing with your books is easy, right? Finish the story, slap some art on it, save it in the right format, upload, and let the millions role in.

Okay, first, if you’re using the word millions and talking about your independent publishing empire, you’re probably in the wrong field.

Second, easy? Seriously?

When I decided that it was time for me to broaden my publishing efforts into the independent route as well as continuing to pursue traditional publishing, I already had some idea of what I was in for on the traditional side. No matter how good the short story, chances are fairly good that is not going to be the right fit for the first market you send it to, or second, or third, and so on. If the story is good, and you are persistent, it will eventually find a home. For novels, time frames are even longer at every step in the process. Brief reading periods separated widely in time, slush piles that have wait times going deep into the double-digits of months, and agents aren’t a whole lot quicker, although once you have one, certain doors are open that weren’t before.

Worse, in both cases, everyone wants something different. Sometimes a little different, sometimes a lot different, and most of this is to see if you’re paying attention. At least that’s the expression of things. Some significant but not measured by me portion of the time, I honestly think the real reason is that people just want an easy way to reject things to save themselves time. And sometimes, a smaller fraction but still measurable, it’s so that people can be assholes while doing it.

Side trip: I try to read the guidelines thoroughly. I know everyone wants something different. But, an example, if I get a rejection letter back that says, word for word, “I couldn’t be bothered to read your story because you couldn’t be bothered to read the guidelines and you missed this tiny little thing,” I probably can’t be bothered to ever submit to your market again, and while I wish you well, I fully expect you to fail in the next 12 months and won’t cry about it. I have long since decided that if I ever publish stuff that’s not mine, the guidelines are going to be relatively simple and straightforward: double-spaced in a readable font consistently formatted. In the closing days of the second decade of the 21st century, there’s really no need for anything else. I’ll judge spelling, grammar, plot, character, world, point of view and everything else as I read the story. Or novel. Or whatever. But I’ll do it because I’m reading the story not because you missed one blue M&M.

But, we were talking about the ease of indie publishing. And, based on someone of the things I see regularly out there, it is pretty easy. Finish the story, slaps some art on it, save in the right format, and upload.

I don’t think it’s easy to get right, though. And I’m not saying I’m getting it right, but I’m doing a lot of research and figuring out standards and what works and building things as I go, learning the appropriate tools, techniques, and so on. Because there are a lot more than four steps to it, and I want to maximize my chances of getting it right.

Here are the steps as I see them so far:

  1. Finish the story. Yes, this is really important. And finish doesn’t mean publishing your first draft, which I feel like a lot of people seem to do. Somehow, it’s become standard thinking in our society that our first draft is our best draft, our first response is our best response, our first effort is our best effort. Newsflash, the reader can tell. Not going into my process again, but there are multiple drafts involved, and if there’s only one in yours that might be a stumbling point to your success.
  2. Front matter. The stuff that comes before the story. Title page, copyright notice, dedication, introduction, table of contents… whichever of those are relevant to the kind of book you’re putting out. Yes, I’ve read a number of arguments that there shouldn’t be very much between the cover and the story for an e-book, but I don’t think I buy that, not yet. One thing I do like is that realization that frequently people download a whole bunch of e-books at a time and then forget why by the time to get around to reading. So something that might go right after the cover, or right after the title page, is a few sentences worth of exciting synopsis. What, in a print book, would be the back cover copy.
  3. Cover art. These days, there are a lot of online tools to help you find some really awesome low or no cost imagery for your covers (I think my favourite is Pixabay so far). Then there are online tools that give you templates and ideas to (relatively) easily put together your cover. (I like Canva. A lot. Here’s a link directly to book cover templates.) But you need the right image, the right fonts, the right log line (if you’re going to have one), the right layout, and the search for that right image might take some time to find something that really speaks to you and says something about the story.
  4. After that, put in the story itself. Cover art, front matter, story. Consistently formatted, simply formatted, and in a readable font, a font that people will be comfortable having bombard their eyes for the hours they’re going to spend reading your story.
  5. Back matter. Based on my research so far, at the very least this should contain a thank you for reading message, something that suggests that you would love the reader to leave a review for you somewhere, a how to get a hold of you page, and a page with three or four tiny cover shots of other things are published or are publishing in the next few months. Lots of things might fall into this category. I mostly work in fiction, so I don’t really need an index, and if I use alien words that people have a hard time figuring out, I would mostly rather include those and pronunciations in the text rather than having that affect. I probably won’t include a list of characters, even if it’s a very complex story. This is also where you can also include a preview to something else. There are plenty of schools of thought on that, too, but I think I follow the line of “don’t do a preview unless it’s for the next story after the one they just read”. And it’s better if that story is already available. Because, really, have you ever had that experience where you’re 30 or 40 pages from the end of the book and the story suddenly ends? Then you find that there’s this huge long preview of the next book that isn’t coming out for a year? Your mileage may vary, but it drives me crazy.
  6. Now that you got the basic file complete, you need to save it in a variety of formats. There are various preferences out there and a tonne of formats, but I think you need at least three primary formats: EPUB, Kindle, and PDF. I’m still experimenting with a variety of tools to figure out what I like best and what produces the best file.
  7. Okay, now you’ve got the files, where do you upload them? Kindle is easy enough: get yourself to your Amazon author page and start working from there. What, you don’t have an Amazon author page yet? You should probably fix that. And try to keep it up-to-date better than I do. They’ll only take uploads on Barnes & Noble with your EPUB file if you have an ISBN, and those cost money, so are a debate. But, there are plenty of other places to get your e-books up and running. Find the selection that will get you the biggest audience you can.
  8. Seven, you’ve got a website, right? A blog, at least? Probably you should have a dedicated page on that website for the book you’re publishing. A landing page, if you will. One for each book. Cover art, “back cover” copy, and all the important places you can go to buy it.
  9. Is there a store on your website where all of your stuff is available? Something to think about.
  10. While you’re at it, go get yourself librarian status on Good Reads and, not only will this lets you fix those pesky little errors you keep finding in things, it will also let you upload your brand-new book to Good Reads so that people can reviews there as well as Amazon.
  11. I really want to talk about marketing, but this post is already getting too long but, as the independent author, marketing is also your job. Social media is your friend. Find the right ones, the right combination for you, and go out there and be yourself.
  12. Why aren’t you writing the next book yet? Better question, why aren’t you prepping the next book, editing the one after that, and drafting the third one out? By all indications, to be a successful independent author, you need a significant body of work available to your readers, and you need to be adding to that on a regular basis. I’m not saying you need to write and publish four books a year, although if you can, and the quality is good, that’s probably not a bad thing, but there needs to be always something in your “coming soon” section.
  13. And there’s always more you could be doing. More social media, podcasts, video, newsletters, conventions, and on and on and on. What? You’re an independent author. You didn’t think you’re going to get to have a life, too, did you?

Keep in mind, I’m still fairly (extremely) new at the indie gig and I’m working hard to come up to speed. I feel like I’ve been prepping for a long time now and not having much of that show publicly, but when I think I’ve got the basic process figured out, there might wind up being a quick flood of material released in the beginning before I settle into a routine.

Be well, everyone.

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Book Covers

Book Covers

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So it’s 25 February 2019 and, aside from the snow and a minor basement flood, deep February in southern Ontario is pretty much like I’ve grown to expect in recent years.

I know there will be an actual writing update a few days, nut there are a couple things I wanted to talk about a little bit more detail, and in the ordinary writing update, they’ll only get a sentence or two.

This past weekend, I didn’t do a whole lot of editing. Life aside, the time I set up for creative pursuits on the weekend was primarily taken up by cover design. I am a little bit behind where I’d hoped to be at this point in 2019 in terms of e-books and the serial fiction, but then, my goals were pretty significant across the board. They still are. This was an attempt to bring a piece of things back on the track I want.

First, “Thorvalds Wyrd”.

This is probably the final version, which has gone through a few iterations, but, in my search for imagery that suits the story, I did come up with a lot of awesome glacier and snowy things, and an alternate concept that I haven’t taken as far looks like this:

There were also some possibilities using a particular mythological spear, but I couldn’t find one I liked and don’t have the budget at this point to get someone to do properly for me.

Next up, a relaunch of the cover for “Babysitting the Taran-saurus”. I was never really happy with the original cover, because it really didn’t say anything about the story other than that it took place in a large city. And it was built using Microsoft paint. Which, at the time, was about my skill level. Actually, if I’m honest, my skill level hasn’t really progressed a whole lot since then, but I have access to better tools and I have learned a little bit about design in the meantime. On the left, the original, and on the right, the new one, which actually does say something about the story, but you have to read it to find out exactly what.

The last item under the category of complete covers, and, honestly, which took me the least amount time, of the three, the e-book cover for my next to publish Star Trek fanfiction story, this one starring a freshly minted Dr. Chapel in the Motion Picture time frame, or, really, six months or so before it. Having freshly completed her finals for her M.D., Dr. Chapel has accepted a short term assignment as temporary Chief Medical Officer on board the USS Yorktown. It entertained me to make the commander of Yorktown another character that the same actress has played in the Star Trek universe, though earlier. I don’t specifically say that, leaving it to the reader to figure out. This one was just a matter of finding the proper capture I liked from the motion picture that featured Christine Chapel and getting the font where I wanted it. I did start out thinking that it should be the Motion Picture font and color, but this font is closer to transitional between TOS and TMP and the gold wouldn’t show up very well. I think it works, but it might not be quite final yet.

I have also come up with the probable cover imagery, though there are still several finalists in each case, for both Turn the World Around and Skip to My Luu. I’ll share those a little later on when they’re closer to ready.

Technically, “Thorvald’s Wyrd”, “Babysitting the Taran-saurus”, and Turn the World Around have all been serialized before, but only my blog. “Taran-saurus” was the only thing that made it off my blog to Wattpad. This time, everything is also going to become and ebook, though I haven’t quite got all the tools I want to make those effectively. PDF version is easy, but I need a little bit more to work out a couple of major e-book formats – Kindle and EPUB. “Thorvald’s Wyrd”, in fact, was supposed to have been done and beginning to post two weeks ago this coming Wednesday night, but life, always, intervenes. Being a couple of weeks behind on that doesn’t derail the timeline in a big way, just shifts a couple of things a bit.

I set three levels of goals for both writing and publishing this year: the public goals, the stretch goals, and the super stretch goals. I built my background plans with the intent by squeaking in under the wire of December 31 by making the super stretch goals. (And if you think the regular goals are aggressive, well, I’ll share the others as and if I get there.) But I built a plan that way intentionally, giving life plenty of space to intervene, for things to happen. As long as I keep working, keep moving forward, all of the standard goals should be more than doable. Maybe I’ll even get some of these stretch goals in, too. But always reach farther than you think you can, because you never know.

And then there the secret goals. These are things that are technically part of the standard goals but that I haven’t put a timeline of any kind on. Rather, they each hinge on meeting certain other goals. I’m preparing for these in the background, with the appropriate research and skills building has required. There are two major ones that launch when specific publishing goals are reached, and one of them partially hinges on the other. These are things I’m going to do, but will be sort of a surprise for everyone else.

In the meantime, I do still have a fair bit of words to make and editing to do. Lots more.

Be well, everyone.

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Submission Log and More Commentary On Society

Submission Log and More Commentary On Society

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherI have decided that I’m going to reboot the Submission Log, mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious story submitting. I have a lot of short fiction I would like to get in front of readers and there’s no reason I shouldn’t get paid by someone for some of it, right? Even if it’s only a token payment here and there.

I’ve never written or submitted to “exposure” markets, because I disagree with the concept. If the publisher is expecting to make any money whatsoever, some of that money should go to the author. If you’re not interested in paying your authors, I’m not interested in doing business with you.

I have a couple of times written for royalties. One time, that was okay. The other, the editorial process was so long and involved that the royalties would have needed to total several hundred dollars to bring me up to minimum wage (at the time) for all of time and energy I put into the process. They were not.

Now some out there may be thinking that writers and artists shouldn’t expect to get paid a lot of money. To which, politely, I suggest that you’re misguided. No artist expects to get rich on their work, but if money is changing hands for a product then the people involved in producing that product should be making a living wage from it, and that includes the artist. I think that’s entirely reasonable, without going into Ellison style rant (but it’s well worth watching – here).

If, on the other hand, it’s your thought that artists should be happy getting their work out there and not be concerned about money at all, my slightly less polite response is, fuck you. You don’t expect your favourite movie and TV stars to work for free, your favourite sports players to work for free, or your favourite musicians to work for free, why would you expect artist to?

See how easy it is to go into a commentary on society?

But it is frequently worth commenting on society, and maybe that’s why I do it a lot. Sidesteps in blog posts here and there, entire blog posts sometimes, frequently in conversations by off and online, and, well, pretty much all the time time. Like or not I live in a society with a lot of problems that need talking about and dealing with. Expectation of writers and artists working for starvation or no wages is one of many.

Back to the point.

The submission log is still on file and looks back to even the first couple of stories I submitted way back when. Since I’m trying to make both submissions and short story publishing part of my overall plan, I really do need to track them. Independently published collections are part of the publishing plan in 2019, as is some novel-length work, fanfiction, and poetry. I’m doing a bunch of Star Trek fanfiction individual stories and a collection, although those will only be available for free. Fanfiction by definition has to be free unless sanctioned by the owners of the property. I’d love to, but never expect to, write Star Trek for money. But, if people like my Star Trek work, maybe it’ll lead some of them into my non-Trek work. If not, oh well.

Releasing something for exposure or giving it away for a little while is far different than someone only willing to pay exposure in order to make money themselves, btw. It’s a valid marketing tactic for indie traditional publisher, but the traditional publisher, no matter how small, needs to be aware that their authors deserve to be paid.

I’ve also got plans to do one themed collection a year for about the next five years, and that doesn’t stop me from just pulling together some of what I feel is my best work to do a non-themed collection. And I will be doing novels, and a poetry collection so self-publishing will be strong, but it’s not the only path. As I’ve mentioned, I will be looking for an agent or small press for some work.

I track word count and goals and I’m certainly going to track who I investigate for agents or publishers, so if I’m targeting five short story submissions per month for the rest of the year, including September (and 8-10 per month in 2019), I need that submission log. I need to know where I send things, who liked my work and should get more of it, who doesn’t bother to respond on rejections, who gives feedback.

Tracking is important. So, beginning any moment now with the first submission of 2018.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Publishing Goals for 2013

Publishing Goals for 2013

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssyoutubeby featherPart 3 of 4 in the “Goals of 2013” series. I don’t want to rehash the Three Year Plan post too much, but the independent publishing goals stand:

  • Small Realities 1-4. Small collection of my short fiction targeted at 28-30,000 words each and published in March, June, September, and December. I’ve already picked the stories for the first one, and I’m thinking about cover art and author’s notes.
  • “Turn the World Around”. 35,000 word Science Fiction novella/short novel. Figuring on late summer for this.
  • “Thorvald’s Wyrd”. Epic fantasy told in 100-word scenes. Late in the fall. It’s a wintery kind of tale.
  • “Where the Water Tastes Funny”, a 6,000-ish short story that needs to be of the illustrated variety. Sometime in the fall.

I don’t promise the list won’t shrink or grow. A lot will depend on how smoothly the year runs, obviously, but I want to commit to Small Realities coming out regularly this year. If it’s even marginally successful, and preferably fun, I’ll continue next year and beyond. I’m not going to stop writing short fiction, so I’ll want to keep sharing it.

Depending on my shopping of Graceland, Skip to My Luu, and Heroes Inc., there’s a good chance at some novel length indie publishing in my future, too. I kind of doubt any of those will be this year, though. There’s already a lot on the plate.

Be well, everyone.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather