Writer Wednesday

And as usual when I’m in between projects, I wrote less than what I was supposed to write last week, but now I’m well into the novel and hopefully I should churn out those 40-50K quickly enough to write another short story before the end of the month. I still have one on submission, and before I start sending out the new ones, I want to see if that one sells.

Also, I’m done reading my friend’s stories (he did it! 30 stories in 30 days! Yay!), so I hope to have more time to read other stuff – besides the research reading, that is. I may try to catch up on those bundles, some of which are no longer available… by the way, during the creative weekend I had time to make a bundle trailer for Thieves, go check it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Translated from an Italian article: “Today we shouldn’t look at Amazon as just the biggest e-commerce in the world, but like a real search engine. Once upon a time it mattered to rank high on Google, today the aim for authors, entrepreneurs and businesses is to rank high on Amazon because with more that six hundred millions of registered users with a credit card, it’s theย  most powerful search engine of theย  world.”

And still, for authors, Amazon has a lot of problems. Book stuffing, clickfarms and all that stuff David Gaughran keeps warning us about. And speaking of warnings, only you can kill your writing.

And thank you for NOT liking my Friday post, either you’re NOT writers, you’re indies like me (good people) or you’re as deaf as the young author I tried to warn through private message on Facebook. Doesn’t matter to me, I’m not going the agent way, but if you get bitten, I’ll shake my head and say “Told you so.”

Anyhow, you have Dean’s opinion on the agents scandal and the many deaths of a fiction writer. I haven’t experienced any of those yet, but never say never! ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s why I haven’t quit the darn day job yet and I don’t want Mr Writing to be the sole source of income in this household.

So while I celebrate our 40 years together, I’m still looking for alternatives. After I get rid of some stuff, either through eBay or Etsy, I need to find something else, be it translations or maybe book covers or book trailers. Although even for the latter I use Windows Movie Maker, and all the pros would say it sucks. Sorry, not moving to Mac either, I have enough trouble with the various Windows versions and some Linux.

The latest creative weekend brought back a friend who started commenting on my Trust tablet (the cheapest on the market, miles away from a Cintiq or any other kind of tablets for digital painting) and which Photoshop I use and if I can use masks (yes, he taught me, LOL!) – I do not need to upgrade those, since my digital painting abilities will always be limited and I’m sure I can do photomanipulation even with an old Photoshop 7.0 – opening the layered PSDs with Photoshop Elements 11 that is newer.

So yeah, lots of pondering to do besides writing. And I really don’t want to go through another burn out for rewriting hell, so I’ll just keep going. Now I better go back to writing! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

I could ramble some more about GDPR or the very interesting What? comments (20 of them deleted before starting to write this), but since Kris Rusch has opened a can of worms, I shall talk about that instead. Well, she didn’t really open the can herself, but she’s the one I follow, so I read the report from her.

If you’re a young writer and you’re still looking for an agent, STOP RIGHT NOW! No matter where you are in the world, but especially if you are NOT in the US, DO NOT QUERY A US AGENT! Clear? Now, the why.

An Agent Nightmare Revealed by Kris Rusch. And for her Patreon patrons she added a couple of links I will share with you. My commentary will probably NOT be as informed as hers, but well… I’m not her, LOL! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Guardian about Chuck Palahniuk being close to broke because he was with That Agency. I mean, Chuck “Fight Club, now a major motion picture with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton” Palahniuk! It’s one of my 3 favorite movies of 1999 (and yes, I read the book, I have the paperback, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the movie – no Brad’s abs in the book, LOL!)

Here’s were he apologize for blaming publishers and piracy when it was his agent accountant stealing from him.

ย I’ve worked with the same team of people since 1994.ย  To suspect anyone was stealing, I had to be crazy.

And then I wasn’t.ย  You may have read about this over the weekend in the New York Post. ย All the royalties and advance monies and film option payments that had accumulated in my author’s account in New York, or had been delayed somewhere in the banking pipeline, it was gone.ย  Poof.ย  I can’t even guess how much income.ย  Someone confessed on video he’d been stealing.ย  I wasn’t crazy.

If you’ve written to me chances are that your letter passed through the hands of the accused.ย  He’d collect the mail and forward it to me.ย  He seemed like a good guy.ย  Like a prince of a guy.ย  Like man-crush material. ย And then he wasn’t.


So on the minus side, I apologize for cursing my publishers.ย  And I apologize for any rants about piracy.ย  My publishers had paid the royalties.ย  Piracy, when it existed, was small scale.

I do hereby humbly apologize.

Headshaking. So take it from him. Forget agents. They are unregulated and even the big agencies can embezzle your money.

Now I’m not saying you’ll get rich quick by Indie Publishing – you won’t. I haven’t been able to quit my day job and I’ve been doing this since 2011. But I don’t write in the popular genres. And even if you do, don’t take it as a get-rich-quick scheme, cuz it doesn’t work that way.

If you want to go with a traditional publisher, submit to them directly. Cut the middle man. Let those darn agents die the death that awaits any obsolete profession. They are no longer needed. Not for your writing.

You don’t need their approval. Go write and submit or publish. Heinlein’s Rules, remember? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 hisย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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…ย I signed really late, but thanks to Arshad Ahsanuddin who mentioned it on Goodreads.ย So in less tht 24 hours you’ll have a newย post that will stay at the topย of thisย page for the next 4 or 5 days – scroll down for regular Friday post. ย Stay tuned for the Hop Against Homophobia! Tomorrow on this very blog! ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ;-)),ย  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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Linky Saturday

Wow, another week is gone, sigh. And it was a week spent at home working! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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”! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Noobcake tried the speech recognition software! If you like to talk to your computer, please check this hilarious post! ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.ย  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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and I of course subscribe to Ruth Ann Nordin’s Author’s Bill of Rights in total… ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 agentย 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:


I have one more reason to go indy this year – watch me get my 5000 readers! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do they come out right or look amateurish?

That’s all for today and this week! Have a great weekend everybody! ๐Ÿ˜€

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 Openย 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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:


Short answer: They donโ€™t.

Long answer: They donโ€™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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a nice week everyone!

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