Category Archives: publishing

Not A New Year’s Resolution, Just a Sensible Plan

I’ve been thinking about how to approach my writing in the coming years. My instinct was to draft a New Year’s Resolution for this year of our Lord 2016 along the lines of “write 30,000 words a month” or “get 12 rejection letters” (because you can’t control getting published, but you can control how much you submit).

However… last year I did a Short Story Writing Course, and it drove home something that I had thought was just me, but turns out to be a general thing, namely that the editing process takes a hell of a lot more time than the writing process. I can write a lot of words fast, and generally they’re pretty good, but then there’s the long slow process of editing the first draft, and the second draft, and the third draft….and the fourth draft. And then you get someone else to look at it and they point out a lot of problems you missed, so you rewrite it…

To get to the point in the third paragraph, I needed a goal that included editing and not just writing. So I’ve decided to set a goal of 80 hours each month on my wordsmithing – including writing, editing, submitting, marketing, workshopping, making covers, and everything else. This works out at a bit under four hours every weekday, which seems entirely reasonable, even with three kids and the occasional narco-atrocity.

Regular readers of my blog* will know that last year I did The Brainery Short Fiction Workshop, and I got quite a lot out of it. Enough that I signed up to The Brainery Online Novel Workshop. My hope is to learn how to recognise when a novel is ready to publish, and how to get it there when it’s not. If you want to join me there’s only three spots left. At the least you’ll get some very decent feedback on your completed manuscript…

* This is just a little note to myself.

Why Be Vain When You Can Be Yourself?

Ah, publishing… guaranteed to start more arguments about writing than anything except the literature vs genre debate. Barnes and Noble has a piece about the worst book of all time, one that was deliberately written to be bad by a coalition of SF/F writers. The aim was to expose PublishAmerica as a vanity publisher – the main issue being that PublishAmerica insisted it was not a vanity press, but a traditional publisher. Well, Atlanta Nights effectively exposed that to be a lie by being truly terrible (B&N has some examples) and being accepted for publication anyway.

If you don’t know the differences between different publishing methods Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva has a good, if somewhat dated, explanation of the differences. It’s dated because it doesn’t address the notion of e-books, so the self-publishing section talks about print-on-demand and off-set printing, when I think the vast majority of self-publishers these days concentrate on the digital market, and only print a book if it becomes popular or to demonstrate the savings the e-book offers. She also failed to mention the difference in royalties, which is pretty significant.

Vanity publishing may have had a use in the past, but not any more. There’s a hell of a lot of scamming that goes on in the industry, including over-charging authors, selling the useless additional things or charging for things that should be included, and sometimes even claiming copyright over the work. If you can self-publish an e-book at no cost except that of creating the document, and if you can use a print-on-delivery service and only print and pay for a book once it has been sold, why would you spend many thousands of dollars on a vanity publisher? I can’t imagine that particular part of the industry will remain in business much longer.