Writer Wednesday


And it’s another Kobo Promo! On the front page only this week, then it will rotate back untill the end of the month! Go grab it now! Doesn’t it look great? The cover is by awesome Shafali Anand… Go to this page now!

Kobo Next Promo

No writerly news, since I only revised Kaylyn while in London and I had another manuscript to read in Tuscany. I should be back to writing soon, maybe this afternoon itself, but I better reread where I was. Jumping from the past to the future takes some adjusting even for me! 😉

Besides I’m coming up with new vampires and I bought 3 non-fiction books in London for the next stories (more on that Friday), so… more notes that eventually will become the “Guide to Vampires Through the Centuries” – although I’m not sure yet if it should be a PDF or a web page. Both I can update whenever a new title comes out… we’ll see! 🙂

Oh, and I was interviewed! Check this chat with the wonderful Fiona McVie who was patient enough to wait for my return from my week off to receive my answers! Naming names, giving away tidbits and no spoilers ahead! 🙂

Now if you’re still thinking of going traditional with your novels, please check this article: Traditional Publishing Takes Less Time… NOT! And beware of agents. I mean really beware of agents. Now let me go back to my own writing and have a great week! 🙂

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Writer Wednesday


After struggling with 2 documents for different reasons (an old Word.doc from 2004 and a brand new OpenOffice.doc typed on 2 different PCs), I think I know what the problem is. In spite of having the same version of OpenOffice on Desktop and Laptop, they don’t work the same way. Desktop (Old Guy) can’t accept what I do with Laptop (Young Gun). Grr.

I moved all my documents to Dropbox so I could work on them from any of my PCs. But when I opened BodySwitch (completed on Laptop) on Desktop, m-dashes were gone and “Senor” had lost the Spanish n again. I tried to put the m-dashes back in, but saving the document didn’t save the m-dashes on Desktop (it was easy to check, as there are 2 on page 1), so I had to work on Laptop to complete the manuscript and send it for the last editing pass. Oh, and, by the way, here’s the final cover AND title.

If it becomes a series, with Samantha switching people at will, I won’t have to retitle it, LOL! 🙂 Thanks for the input on the cover, BTW. I’ll let you know when it’s available for purchase.

Technology, friend and foe. You probably heard of the hacker attack on Kris Rusch’s sites – read a summary here and follow all the links she points you to. And don’t miss Dean’s post on agents either. He’s not the only one pissed at AAR, of course, but do you really still want an agent? After all that’s come out in the past year? You can hear also Joe Konrath’s comments on Writers House president Simon Lipskar open letter – again, happy I’m not a member of any of those (because I’m not American? Mumble mumble…). Or Passive Guy reposting the rants of Scott Eagan – worth reading the comments too, with Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath quipping in and the agent himself deleting more and more of his posts while the comments spread – maybe he has deleted his whole blog by now, LOL! And who got in his defense? Joe Konrath, saying he’s funny and does satire. Maybe, but unlike Bad Agent Sydney, he passes it off as Agent Wisdom and people might believe him. Very bad satire, Joe! 😉

I will now muse about e-book pricing here. Like I said before, there are 2 kinds of readers: the downloaders and the real readers. And I think downloaders have now filled their devices, so no need to have more free books. Here’s my experience with “free on Amazon”.

Jessamine went free last August or September. It reached #5 on Free Kindle Titles – fantasy and #277 on general Free Kindle titles in a couple of days.

BoI – Prequels went free April 30. 130 downloads the first day, and then we’re still a little over 100, 15 days later. It’s never going to climb Amazon’s list. Does that mean people are sick of free or cheap e-books? Hopefully.

And again, people who download free books, won’t come back to buy more. I have plenty of free downloads on Smashwords Premium distribution, but very few actual sales (and only at Barnes/Noble + 1 at Apple Germany *waves at her German pen-pals – is it one of you?*). At Sony and Kobo they download free titles but don’t get the paid ones. So either my free titles suck or they’re just downloaders and not readers! 😉

Now, here’s a post on how to get reviews – even from Mighty Amazon. Will have to work on that, but I’m kind of tired to beg for reviews. I’d rather they come unsolicited, LOL! So please, my beloved 5 readers are kindly requested to leave reviews on Amazon, Smashwords or wherever they can, thank you! 😀 Am I the only reader who chooses his next read based only on blurb&cover without checking the sample and/or the reviews? Sigh.

OK, I don’t care, I’m proud to be a black sheep, LOL! 😀 Guess you have enough images today, so I’ll leave my Sunday drawing (I had to decompress after fighting with Open Office for one day and a half! ;-)) for Random Friday… Have a great week!

p.s. I signed up for a blog hop, so tomorrow you’ll have an extra post that will stay up “sticky” until the 20th… I signed really late, but thanks to Arshad Ahsanuddin who mentioned it on Goodreads. So in less tht 24 hours you’ll have a new post that will stay at the top of this page for the next 4 or 5 days – scroll down for regular Friday post.  Stay tuned for the Hop Against Homophobia! Tomorrow on this very blog! 😀

Linky Friday


First an announcement: Stories for Sendai, the charity anthology for the Japanese earthquake, will be on sale until Dec.15. I’m still reading it and hope to review it by then, but I have a busy book-fair week and not much time to read. So hop now to buy your copy before it goes out of print/publish.

Also, Michelle’s books are at 99cents for the month of December if you want to check them out (I recommend Cinders, but I’m biased! ;-)).

Now, to links. A semi-serious post on how to write book jackets for indie authors. Apparently not everything written here is ludicrous, so have a careful look at it – and hey, it’s B&N! 😉

Kris Rusch on how to evaluate a trad pub company.

Guest posts between C.S.Splitter and Cambria Hebert – self-publishing vs. trad publishing with a small company.

C.S.Splitter’s short guide to self-publishing, which goes well with IlonaAndrew ‘s post on book cover design and Ruth Ann Nordin’s how to write 4+ quality books a year.

David Gaughran on how a bestselling self-published novel inexplicably disappears from Amazon UK. And I’m still struggling with the whole thing. Yikes.

Literary Lab on research! You know, that thing you’re supposed to do to write better… something I discovered only lately when I decided to write historical novels? 😉 Yeah, I’m still struggling with that!

Blood Red Pencil on Kindle and Smashwords quirks. Yeah, we all deal with the MeatGrinder and whatever KDP calls its system…

On agents and editors: Passive Guy, Dean Wesley Smith (on agents) and how we should demand some respect from editors (again Dean Wesley Smith) and hope for a writer-friendly trad publishing (Kris Rusch).

A guest post at Joe Konrath about e-book prices and the adventure of an indie.

Finally Writers Beware destroys some myths on finding agents and publishers.

Hopping off to my book fair… Have a great day! 🙂

Linky Saturday


New books announcements:

Creative Review’s charity anthology Christmas Lites – in the words of our very own Amy, the founder of the best Goodreads group. Check it out, and buy the best version.

Also, The Willing is out and The Reluctant in free for a limited time. Check C.S.Splitter’s works now (link to the interview on this very blog). I have both on my Kindle, and hope to read the first soon.

More on the Penguin controversy: everybody seems to be against the launch of Book Country. Check David Gaughran, Dean Wesley Smith (you saw that coming, didn’t you? ;-)),  JW Manus and even Writer Beware, who, believe it or not, is the less hostile of the lot.

Formatting and other writing issues: help on manuscript formatting from Loralie and everything you ever wanted to know on dashes/ellipses/hyphens from Blood Red Pencil – I think I’ll keep using them and the ellipses the European way, but it’s an interesting post! 😉

On literary agents: why would you ever need one (Dean Wesley Smith) and a compendium of their conflict of interest with epublishing (Passive Guy).

Writer Beware started a page of Small Presses and what to be wary of.

Michelle on professional envy – we all fall into it!

Rachel Aaron on how to boost your daily wordcount.

Passive Guy AND Kris Rusch on book contracts.

Have a great weekend! I’ll be busy with the last touches to BoI – Earth and OK, this time you can have a sneak preview of the best cover of the 5. Ladies and gentlemen, the five Immortals in one of their many forms! 🙂

on publishing


Michelle pointed me to a series of post by agent Sarah Polla and I’m giving you all the links here. It’s interesting because it’s an agent’s view of self-publishing – and we thought agents didn’t care! 😉

Here goes the self-publishing/indie-publishing week at an agent’s blog:

What’s the deal with self-publishing

Interview with Marilyn Peake

Interview with Tracy Marchini

Interview with Karen Amanda Hooper

Interview with Michelle Davidson Argyle

Personally, I’ll stick to my own productions for Silvery Earth, as I don’t think any publisher (big or small) would do both novels and graphic novels – and that’s what Silvery Earth has. So I’m probably better off on my own for that.

But I can always consider other ways for other pseudonyms – even Dean Wesley Smith says we should keep feet in both worlds if we can, after all. But I’ll be able to tell you more about Dean Wesley Smith’s opinion when I get back! 😉

So if any of you are still wondering what to do, please check all those very interesting posts… And please, please, please if you choose to self-publish, DON’T go with Publish America! I’ve just found someone on Creative Reviews who even sounds proud of it… where does he live? Ever heard of Writers Beware or Preditors&Editors? Why do writers still fall for vanity presses – in the 21st century? I wish him luck and hope he doesn’t get screwed…

On the Kindle Readers&Writers forum there’s a discussion about writers blogs and you can check your ranking on Alexa. I’m around 5million and change. Oh, well. I still delete those spam comments that tell me I rank low on Google because. Not interested, thank you. Spare me the spam comments and the spam emails – I’ll drive traffic here slowly but steadily, LOL!

You probably know by now that KDP now sends the Kindle books to Amazon.fr, but I doubt there are many English readers in French speaking countries (in fact it will probably be as dead as Amazon.de, but whatever! ;-)). Please do check this wonderful article on ebooks in Europe (and why I haven’t bought a single book from Kindle yet – might change if I go through Amazon.fr, I’d like to avoid that VAT that increases the price of Kindle books).

And Smashwords/Apple iBookstore expanded their distribution, but I tried to find my stuff on Apple Italy and couldn’t search by author (and couldn’t find any of my titles)… so maybe it’s early. Or maybe it’s just me who can’t use Apple Apps! 😉 (I have only i-Nothing, LOL)

You can also upload your books on Indie Aisle, although I’m not sure how it works yet. It’s not free like Feed Books (i.e. you can set a price), so it’s probably very close to Smashwords – except it doesn’t distribute. Dunno, haven’t opened an account there yet, so if somebody has, please share! 🙂

Linky Saturday


Wow, another week is gone, sigh. And it was a week spent at home working! 😦

Update: Fire will go to the editor soon. The Fern and The Cross still needs a lot of work, because there are a lot of things I want to add, and I have to find a way to shove them in without being boring. I’m taking notes on things to add and stories to twist, but I’m still musing on some things. Draft Zero is barely over 50000words, so not a real novel yet, but I want to try to expand it as a novel, and not a rushed story with masses of material in the background that doesn’t come out properly – and I haven’t worked on the end yet at all, so it’s an interrupted job. Will have to get back to study John’s reign before I can tackle that one. But I’d rather adjust the rest before I continue, to avoid too many rewrites later.

To the links! Wicked Writers has some pantser plotting techniques that are very similar to my own.

Contact announces the Steampunk Week at Carina (which is now over) with reflections on steampunk as a genre. My thoughts: I’m trying to redefine fantasy as I like it, and therefore having a hard time. Fantasy readers don’t dig my stuff, non-fantasy readers don’t get. It’s a tough world… I should have chosen a “newer” genre such as steampunk with less preconceived “rules”! 😉

Noobcake tried the speech recognition software! If you like to talk to your computer, please check this hilarious post! 😀

I normally don’t post links to one of my favorite (and updated once a month) blogs, but if you’re afraid of the nuclear fallout from Japan, you can check this post about Radiation is Light. As the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy says: “Don’t panic”. It’s panic that will doom us all. And that’s what the darkness is working towards.

To more light (and writerly) subjects: have some fun with this book review at Blood Red Pencil. They also have a post on punctuating quotations – to which I noticed I’m obviously using British English punctuation with American English spelling. Interesting.

Muchelle Ule of Books&Such got hacked. Read about her Facebook nightmare. Makes you want to cancel all social networks accounts. (Not that I have many personal data on my personal FB account anyway, but still…)

Clarion has an excellent article on who edits you, with pros and cons of each choice.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch on agents

And agent Rachelle Gardner on Skype. Now, I do have Skype (but no web-cam, I have an “old” desktop). But I hate phone-calls anyway! 😉 So I usually use the chat, even for file-sharing (like with my cover artist, because I have an old version of MSN, so she manages to send me files only through Skype). But I have it.  Still don’t believe in Twitter, though.

Same agent on will your first book be published: no, Rachelle is right, I will never publish my first books as they are, and not only because they’re in Italian and I now write in English. There was a time I was actually happy to be unpublished so I could twist and turn and change anything I’ve written. Now I’ll have to get used to the fact that when it’s out there, I can’t change it anymore, so I have to adjust the other stories to what’s out! 😉

Oh, and I of course subscribe to Ruth Ann Nordin’s Author’s Bill of Rights in total… 😀

Last but not least, my very outspoken graphic novel character Ludwig, aka Lud, aka Luddyluddy (or Luddino in Italian) is talking about me at Leigh’s blog… so kind of her to have him, but I’ll have to reply to his ramblings sometime next week! 😉 You might have noticed I don’t do characters interviews like Melissa or character guest posts like Loralee, but when Leigh issued her challenge, I remembered I have these characters who KNOW they are in a story, so even if it’s fantasy and they don’t know what a computer is (a magic-thingamagic? ;-)), they can ramble about me… they did so in the graphic novel, so why not here? 😉

Have a great weekend!

Links and musings


Another week is gone, where is time flying? Upcoming for most of you out there is the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, opening on the 24th and ending Feb.6 or whenever they reach 5000 entries, so hurry. Why is it not for me? Because in spite of opening Amazon Italia, Italy ISN’T in the countries allowed to participate. India, China, Austria, Belgium (to name a few non-English speaking countries), but not Italy. Maybe when I become a Kindle best-seller author they’ll open to submissions from Italy? But then it would be too late for me anyway! 😉

Another interesting discussion is between Dean Wesley Smith and agent Mary Kole, pointing to the fact we’ll eventually have agented/packaged writers vs. indy. Now, “packaging” is one of the reasons I quit screenwriting. I don’t want a village taking care of my babies, like agent Rachelle Gardner says. I don’t believe in families either, so I’ll go solo – I’m sick of waiting for other people’s approval. Like Joe Konrath says:

Surfing the interwebs, I’ve found that the most vocal opponents to writers self-publishing seem to be:

Writers.

I have one more reason to go indy this year – watch me get my 5000 readers! 😉

Another reason is this Open Letter I found tag surfing (slow week at work, had time to do it). I am sort of in Cat’s situation – 45 and living in Italy. And I don’t think book signings help sell more copies, but then… there aren’t book signings in Italy. It’s something I already noticed at comicons and book fairs: in France people line up to have their (comic)books signed, even by unknown authors, even children; in Italy, if you’re not Umberto Eco or the latest reality show winner, nobody will show up. That’s why I’m very happy (almost) everything can be done online these days. There’s no such thing as age and availability anymore in my humble opinion.



For genre writers, on Clarion blog the editor of resurrected Realms of Fantasy tells what he’s looking for for upcoming issues. They will even accept poetry! So if you’re still after that short-stories paying market, check Douglas Cohen’s post.

I have completed the book trailer for Jessamine and resubmitted for Premium Distribution on Smashwords, as there were two minor glitches… let me know what you think. I’m enjoying making this book trailers! 😉 Do they come out right or look amateurish?

That’s all for today and this week! Have a great weekend everybody! 😀

Catching up and links


So, seems like blog serendipity (or web word of mouth) made a couple of people talk about the same thing last week. Both Stephen and Colleen Doran pointed to the Cook Source editor bad behavior. Strange Writer Beware didn’t point to it too. It IS a scam if an editor steals your work and doesn’t pay you for it! Anyway, Barracuda Colleen (that’s Colleen Doran in her own words. She’s one of the strongest fighter in copyright protection on the internet) has more on the topic. So I’m copying Stephen’s title here:

Public Service Announcement: The Internet is Not Open Source

Yes, everything is copyrighted, even on this blog, even if it doesn’t say so on each post (but there is a small sign on the sidebar). So don’t steal.

To another topic: another dream agent as quit. Maybe this means I don’t need an agent after all! I think you all follow Nathan Bransford and have heard the news… so, what do you think? Still looking for an agent? I probably still will, with the historical novel. Please check agent Janet Kobobel Grand’s post on the future of publishing – including the comments…

To Rachelle Gardner’s question If you had to choose – being the prolific writer that I am, I choose #2! 😀

Now to Dean Wesley Smith (who had to take down 3 posts where he bashed an agent – and I think he was totally right, but I heard only his side of the story, haha!), he gives a crash course on small publishing (I’m soooo happy because after having spent years with courier, both when I was still writing in Italian and when I was writing screenplay, I had moved away from that crappy typewriter-like font and guess what? I now use Times New Roman 12 spacing 1,5! Yay! :-D) and kills another sacred cow of publishing (New York Big 6) with another great question:

HOW DOES ANY WRITER OF ANY LEVEL KNOW THAT A STORY IS QUALITY?

Short answer: They don’t.

Long answer: They don’t and never will, even if the story is published by a traditional publisher.

The long answer is, well, longer. Go check it and take his test. For my part I can say that:

1) I have written over half a million words

2) I have paid my storytelling dues

3) I am still studying and learning (mostly because I switched languages, haha)

4) I’m not mailing work to trad.pub. because I don’t think they’d get it, not because I’m not ready. I’m not mainstream enough for them, so I guess self-publishing is better for me. It has been with comics and graphic novels (none of them would be out today if I hadn’t self-published), might work with the fantasy novels as well. We’ll see what happens next year!

Finally, a thought provoking post on Self Published Authors Lounge: Are you the best person to write your story idea? I most certainly can’t write it for you. So those people showing up saying “I have a great idea, would you write it for me?” I’d say “sorry, no”. I can’t even write fan-fiction! 😉

Have a nice week everyone!

Random links and rants


In the past week I found a few interesting posts I’d like to share.

First Justin’s Awkward Writing series on sex, gore and… love! My beta-reader (who is male) told me I’m good with “romantic” moments, so I’m wondering if this “love writing” awkwardness is only for males or also for women… I’m not very romantic anymore, but I guess I can handle love, even if it’s not the biggest theme of my stories! As for sex, I tend to fade to black and leave things to the imagination… or not to be too graphic anyway. I don’t like gore, therefore I almost never use it – makes for very bloodless battles, haha! 😉

Then on Red Pencil there’s a good Writing 140 advice to writers from writers and an excellent post on acting first, explain later.

Colleen Doran and Self-published Author’s lounge both issue a sort of Writers Beware about iUniverse (who didn’t do a very good job on a friend’s novel, IMHO, so I sure hope she doesn’t go back to them for the second book in the series).

The latter also has some Blogging Tips for you, I will do another post about them later in the week to share a little more info and doubts about self-publishing. Oh, I added the little Tweet button to my posts even if I don’t tweet courtesy of their short post on how to do it! 😉

And I found an article on pen-names which I loved (although I already said why I use a pen-name)!

Agents:

Jessica Faust points us to slush hell, a very funny place to be – although, what if I end up there?

Susie Townsend will be “replacing” Colleen Lindsay at FinePrint Literary Management.  She points to the Very Humungous Blogoversary Contest. Colleen, who was a “dream agent”, has moved to other things, so I wish her all the luck.

Speaking of agents, I’m finished with my research and divided them in “first choice” (5), “second choice” and “third choice”. BUT how about in an agency there are TWO agents that look dreamy? How do I choose? Is it possible to pick up one at random and telling him/her to pass it on to his/her colleague if not interested or would they do it anyway?

This looks so complicated, that I’m having second thoughts on the topic. Maybe I should just self-publish. But that is a matter for another post. Please add your views on the matter: to query or not to query? Self-pub or trad-pub?

One last article on the new world of publishing… better than any other I’ve read, but still doesn’t answer my question, so I’m still waiting for your comments! 🙂

One final word: Melissa has given me the Spotlight Award…

I’d like to pass it on to 5 bloggers (because I like that number) in no particular order:

Prue Batten

Cassandra Jade

Seph a.k.a. JPCabit

Janna T

Hema P

Thanks, Melissa! 😀

Agents rant


They say every writer needs an agent. Well, not according to Neil Gaiman, but he’s Neil Gaiman, and he did answer the question about agents – in his own way – here. Then there’s Colleen Doran’s list of “good agents” who also sends to Preditors & Editors (recommended also by Piers Anthony).

But there are also the horror stories: always double check with Preditors&Editors AND SFWA Writers Beware before signing up. Check also the funny adventures of Mr Molotkov and his Agents from Hell.

Authors complain also about publishers – both Piers Anthony and Colleen Doran had issues with their publishers, so… I’m just wondering if in this bad bad world were other people want to feed on our creativity, if there’s a way to reaching our readers and making a living out of it – I don’t want to become rich, but I wouldn’t mind quitting my day job.

Maybe putting it all on-line for free would help? It would bring in the readers, but then what? Should I try to end up with Baen, who has also a free library? I don’t need to be a bestseller, I only need those few readers that would allow me to quit my day job – say 5000? Out of 6billion people (even if not all speak English) it’s not too unrealistic, is it? But which is the best way to reach them in the age of the internet?

Anybody has an answer?

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