Writer Wednesday


The past week there was very little writing, but I was busy setting up the anthology I announced on Sunday + doing online workshops + preparing all the uploads before the retailers shut down for the Holidays (see the box set page) + there was the small and medium publishers book fair in Rome, in a new location, so I did attend that one too.

During the weekend I managed to add some 3K to the latest sci-fi novel before sending it off to the proofreader and this week I’m finally getting to write that story I need to complete by the end of the month if I want to submit it to the market I wrote it for. It’s a Silvery Earth short story anyway, so it won’t be wasted, but I’d like to submit it first! πŸ˜‰

And about the short story challenge… having more or less decided to write at least 10 novels in various series and maybe a couple of novellas, I don’t think I can also manage the 30 shorts in 60 days. It would take all the fun out of the writing. So I’ll still be writing short stories in January, as many as I can cram in, then I’ll move on to next year’s projects.

Now a short rant on the book fair, where I attended a couple of professional panels just to get a feel of how publishing is doing in Europe. It’s still stuck in the 20th century, trust me. Grants and prizes are only for traditional publishers. Translarions only through traditional publishers. And nobody mentions the indie revolution because we’re the shadow market nobody wants to think about, from Holland to Italy passing through France.

Italy is actually the worst. Now it has agents dealing with Italian authors (when I tried them in the 1990s, they dealt only with foreign publishers for translation rights). And they still put vanity publishing and self-publishing together. And the only way for an indie to sell paper books without a distributor is to attend these book fairs (that are totally indie-author-unfriendly) and share the table (otherwise it’s way too expensive).

I’m really considering starting some kind of indie authors’ guild, in Italy for now, but maybe it could be a good idea to have a European Indies Association/Federation/Guild/whatever you want to call it. We could book stands at book fairs and sell our books there. I personally hate it, but I’m afraid it’s the only way on this continent where traditional publishing ignores us.

Anyway, the only writerly link is about craft this week (might be also because I’ve been doing craft workshops, LOL!): Chekhov’s Gun: using story details strategically. Now if you’d like me to elaborate on the workshops – well, I’ve been taking the Writing Series and Writing Science Fiction workshops and I highly recommend them (like all the other workshops from WMG).

I still have the sci-fi assignments to do, but I’ll do them in January, writing the stories that spawn from them. After I finish the current short, I need to go back to my spy story. I even asked a few questions to the Italian police who had a stand at the book fair! It’s slowly becoming a novel, but you won’t be able to see it until next year.

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

 

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Writer Wednesday


So, the small&medium publishers fair is over, and I’m sorta kinda bummed. In my blissful ignorance I hadn’t realized there are Italian indie authors who earn a living in SFF. Sigh. Now I feel waaaay behind in my publishing history, but I’m also aware this is the beginning of phase 2, so…

As soon as my least favorite month of the year ends, I hope to be strong and determined enough to make plans for phase 2, because I freely admit that currently I don’t feel like I can tackle the next five years of indie publishing. Must be end of the year blues or this very bad year for the world or whatnot.

Anyhow, still pounding out wordcount, and then I’ll have to check how the year went, so I’ll have another bout of depression, LOL! By February I’ll have recovered and be ready to move on. I still have stories to publish that I wrote this year, but I plan to publish less next year anyway.

Upcoming temporary sale – Kobo only! December 40% Off Sale Dec 15 2016 – Dec 19 2016 on Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness! Here’s to finding a few more readers on Kobo and that the person(s) who found me on Apple back in October will go back for the i-bookstore for the Holidays! πŸ˜‰

And if you need books to read for the Holidays or want to gift some ebooks to friends, StoryBundle still has three great bundles also for your writer friends:

NaNoWriMo Bundle (for writers)!
Leading Ladies Fantasy (for fantasy lovers looking for strong female characters – this ends really soon, so grab it today)!
Immerse or die (indie authors that grab the reader)!

And more bundle galore at BundleRabbit as well:Fabulous Familiars and here’s a list of all the other available bundles! Yes, even on your favorite retailer!

Oh, and let’s not forget planners for writers. I have used the Writing World planners for the past 2 years, but I wasn’t totally happy with the 2016 version. So I might try this version instead – or just do without in Phase 2! πŸ˜‰

I’m hopeless with widgets… the sidebar allowed you to subscribe to the newsletter but didn’t go directly to MailChimp, therefore you won’t be able to claim the free story for subscribing… So for you who signed up through the previous form, please do so again here, or click on the image on the sidebar. Sorry about that.

Last but not least – indie authors Golden Book Awards. The first phase is free, and feel free to pay the fee if you get to the finals. Enter your books here and/or vote for the entries. I have added a couple of mine… but vote for whoever you want! πŸ™‚

Now I better go finish the previous bundles and the paper book I’ve started… Reading year coming soon… Have a great week!

Sunday Surprise


So, today I’m not going to the book fair (it’s Sunday, Dear Nephew is at Mom’s and we’re celebrating that it was St Barbara on Dec.4 and blah blah blah) and I thought I’d do a summary. I might go again either this afternoon or tomorrow to meet with a gal who has posted great “reportage” on Facebook – she’s an artist, and I’d love to hire her, I have some rebranding to do next year, LOL!

But in the meantime! Five minutes of teasing my friends who kept talking about PayPaul – I left, sick of listening to them butchering English, but today I asked “Who is Paul? The alien from the movie?” I always wonder where they find their pronunciation of English words – how “pal” became “Paul”.

Luckily there was also an important guy from the Ministery of Foreign Trade who translated everything into Italian (and I was about to say “Yes, you don’t say ‘selfie’ you say ‘autoscatto’!”, since so many people, especially those who call themselves great managers, throw in a lot of English when it’s not needed – and I won’t tell you how they pronounce it).

Anyhow, this guy told us that Italy is actually very sought after abroad – and not just for Food, Fashion&Furniture. But we’re locked in and are afraid of sending our stuff abroad. Apparently Italian is the fourth language taught in the world (not spoken as first language, but that means there are a lot of people who want to learn). So… doh. Opened my eyes and reminded me of a talk with my Canadian workshop buddies last October who said “But look how successful is every author who writes about Italy!”…

I always thought everything would just get lost in translation – many things did when I turned Technological Angel from an Italian novel to an English novel (and then back into Italian, the original beta-reader was very happy with the rewrites and continuation), and I had to leave some Italian in, since it was dialect and untranslatable – but maybe all those people are actually right.

So, for 2015, I’ve put on the list to publish something set in Italy, but written in English. If it’s a short story, I might do a bilingual edition – as an experiment. Or maybe I’ll translate one of the novels I already published in Italian. I don’t know, but stay tuned for a Barbara Sangiorgio title in English sometime next year! πŸ™‚

See why I need Writing World 2015 planner? Gotta schedule time for writing, time for editing, time for translating, time for formatting, time for uploading, and time to figure out how to do business in Italy! Gee, I’m tired already…

Just kidding. Being a Virgo, I only have to figure out times (like 1 hour of translation a day) and I’ll be just fine! πŸ˜‰ Have a great Sunday! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday


After a few years of just Torino Comics, I finally managed to go back to the Turin Book Fair, albeit only for one day. Unfortunately I missed the European Manager for Kobo Writing Life (she was on a panel while I was on the train and Kobo didn’t have a specific boot, although Kobo e-readers were available in a couple of places), so I couldn’t ask her my questions. I guess I’ll have to write to KWL support and see if I can get an answer.

Anyhow, I managed to pay half price entrance ticket as a writer and now they have me on the list if I want to go back next year. I found the startups at Books of the Future quite interesting, but I missed the panel on sending ebooks to bookshops because it was already full. Maybe next year I’ll check the program in advance and stay for the whole 5 days or something! πŸ™‚ I also saw old friends (one I hadn’t seen in years and he commented on it – yeah, I had vanished from his radar, but with good reason! ;p) and was even asked to do a workshop on how to write fantasy. Uh, no thanks, I can’t teach, so I won’t have your money for something I can’t do.

Now I’ve prepared a schedule for the next two weeks, since I’m off DayJob and need to work on a few things, such as bundles and other experiments. And yes, writing, of course. I made a priority list also for the short stories I need to write this month. And I need to publish a novel in Italian, so today I’m re-reading that old file, then I will format it and publish it during the weekend. Busy indie life! πŸ™‚

Some links: Scott’s surefire formula for achieving artistic commercial success! Yes! Truly! You wouldn’t believe how simple it is! And in case you don’t think it’s true, check Dean’s post on killing the sacred cows of indie publishing. And then Joe Konrath’s tend your garden. Read that? Five to ten years. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. So now get off the internet and go back to writing.

Unless you feel you need to improve your craft. So check either Dean Wesley Smith’s online workshops or David Farland’s Story Doctor. I might take one of these soon too – although I prefer in-person teaching and intereacting with other writers. I’m already a hermit in my writing cave, online workshops don’t help my sociability! πŸ˜‰

David Gaughran on piracy (I have a Kindle, but I don’t buy from Amazon unless it’s one of those wretched KDP Select authors) and Mark Coker on Scribd’s improved copyright protection systems. And if you’re still worried about pirates, at the book fair I heard of these people who check the web for you – dunno if it’s a paying service or not but they put this up for indies, or so they say. They gave an example of monitoring one day of Stephen King’s Dr Sleep (Italian version): 26K+ illegal files and 700K+ total downloads from torrent and peer to peer sites… But that’s Stephen King! πŸ™‚

Now really stop worrying about sales and piracy and get back to writing. Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to follow any course, keep writing AND reading, and your craft will magically improve! Just don’t give up and you’ll be fine. Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


I was afraid this year we wouldn’t have snow on WP blogs (which is the only snow I’ll get to see in December in Roma, LOL), and finally Monday I saw the snowflakes – hence the change of theme for a month. The old one will be back in January, when it stopsΒ  snowing on my blog! πŸ™‚ If you’re new to WP, it’s under Settings – General – tick the box for “snow until Jan 4th” and have fun! πŸ˜‰

Of course I must start with an announcement – I’m particularly excited because it’s my first serial series (meaning I’ll have to make very clear that subsequent books are part of a series and probably don’t work well as standalone, LOL) and as it’s my latest baby, I’m very happy with it! πŸ˜‰ Star Minds book 1 – Technological Angel is out NOW on Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, DriveThruFiction and XinXii!

You’ve already met Kol-ian, so stay tuned to meet the other characters of this science fantasy saga. I spent the weekend working on book 2, expanding it (but it’s still half of book 1, LOL. Well 30K vs 50K). The print version will come out only when the series is complete – mostly because it’s short books, which doesn’t matter in e-book format, but in print… I already have thin printed books and I’d rather have a big one for a change. I have a wonderful cover by great artist Phoenixlu, but I’m keeping it for the complete series. For the single books, you’ll have to bear with my drawings, LOL!

There’s an ongoing discussion on Goodreads about free titles. I have already mentioned I don’t like those downloaders who want only free titles, hence I find useless KDP Select. Real readers are very happy to pay for a title, and they’re actually wary of free/cheap titles. So let’s hope all indie writers will get the message and stop underselling their work. We are professionals, we ought to get paid for our writing, right?

Like I said in that discussion, B.G. Hope doesn’t have a blog, or a Facebook page, or a Goodreads profile. Well, she sells more than Barbara G.Tarn. And she has NO free titles. And only one novella so far (my bestseller) as I’m still working on the second novella I hope to publish before Christmas. Again, people going for free reads are DOWNLOADERS, not readers. REAL READERS are wary of free and cheap titles. So put a price on your darn novels and get paid for your work! πŸ™‚ Best sellers like John Locke and Amanda Hocking who sold at 99cents are exceptions, not the norm. Have a collection of shorts introducing to your world (like my BoI – Prequels) and put a price on your novel! πŸ™‚

Even temporary discounts haven’t brought in new readers – because again it cathered mostly to Downloaders. So the only real marketing strategy is writing more books – eventually you will be discovered. And remember, e-books are forever. You can’t expect instant success. I had 0$ royalties last year, 100$ this year (all from Smashwords – the DriveThru royalties were enough to pay for the print versions of SKYBAND, though, so I’m very happy with that retailer too) and both my pen names are starting to sell now, months after I published the first title (B.G. Hope had only shorts until I published Johnny&Marian).

Now, if any reader would like to quip in about e-book pricing, feel free – as long as you remain civil, of course! πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear your thoughts. I think both readers and writers have changed with the e-book revolution during this very year, and I’m very curious to hear about the situation in Italy. From tomorrow until Sunday it’s the Small&Medium Publishers Book Fair in Roma again (link in Italian only), and I sure hope it won’t depress me as much as it did last year! I’ll let you know next week what I figured out! πŸ™‚

SPAL has an excellent post about Amazon & Facebook. If you’re a marketing freak, that is. If, like me, you hit that “publish” button and write the next book, you’re probably not really interested. But it’s now obvious that this is not a get-rich-quick venture. Sales take time. And the stars of indie publishing are not the norm, like I said above. Be realistic in your goals – remember, you can control what and how much you write and publish, not how much you sell. Unless you have a crystal ball or a tarot deck – in which case I’d love you to read the cards for me as well, thank you! πŸ˜‰

See also Mark Coker’s post on Amazon KDP Select offer (with the comments from at least one KDP Select author, I didn’t read all the comments, LOL!). Of course Mark is biased, but I still think he has a point. Like SPAL says in the previous link, not everybody owns a Kindle. And you’re missing a lot of readers by staying with Amazon only. It’s a big wide world. You never know where your next reader might be. Yes, my bestseller sold 2 more copies on Kindle US this month and none nowhere else, but I don’t care. One day some i-pad owner might discover B.G. Hope. Or a Kobo owner. A Sony e-reader. A Nook owner – you get the point! πŸ˜‰

You probably have heard that Simon&Shuster opened to self-publishers… not! Here’s David Gaughran’s excellent post on who’s actually “behind” this S&S venture. Writer beware indeed. I guess we can’t trust the Big 6 anymore, if they hire scam companies to run their self-publishing branches! 😦 Like Dean Wesley Smith says

Let me be clear here, folks. Money flows to the writer. Period.

And don’t forget to check his latest post on the New World of Publishing as well. It’s your career and your business choices, don’t fall into the hands of those scam artists still thriving out there! Dean again:

The truth is that the best way to sell books is write a lot, work on learning how to be a better storyteller constantly, get your work in front of editors or readers or both, and plan for the long haul.

So, what are you doing still reading my blog? Go back to writing, you lazy writer! πŸ˜€ Happy writing!

Summary of the past week(end)


So, I was off DayJob and somehow managed NOT to sign up for Six Sentence Sunday. I was sure I had done it when I prepared the post, but then on Sunday I didn’t see my name on the list. Sigh.

Before the Book Fair (started on the 7th) I’ve been working on the print version of the longer works that came out in the past three months. Thanks to Lulu&UPS, I should soon be able to check those books and make them available for sale – in case you want to buy a paper book as a Christmas present! πŸ˜‰

The Book Fair – boy, what a riot, at least for me! Interesting panels that gave me some ideas on the Italian market, but I still have to figure out some things. The Italian e-distributors are NOT author-friendly, so I’ll stick to Smashwords and Kindle for now, hoping to try XinXii soon. And I’ll stay away from the KDP Select program for now, I’m seeing too many discussions about it, and I don’t want to be stuck with legalese on Amazon, I know they’re not my friends, but the people who are looking into it are, so I’d rather trust them! πŸ˜‰

I left a copy of Air (the now out-of-print European edition, maybe I should have asked for money, haha) to an Italian publisher, if they’re interested I might translate it (back, but it changed a lot in the meantime) and let them publish the Italian version – if I like the contract, that is. They do mostly the paper versions – e-books aren’t loved over here – and I already have a buyer for that, my former beta-reader who can’t read English! πŸ˜‰

Sunday I was so tired I went back only because Saturday I forgot to buy from my friend – see these?

minor and major arts

And then I bought this with the Italian knights of the 14th and 15th century as my next historical novel might well be in those centuries which I had already considered when at the Paris book fair I found the reproductions of the two manuscripts on the right which are a first attempt at doing “comics” in the 14thand 15th century.

And besides I could throw in the TrΓ¨s Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, so we’ll see. More research to do, but I so love the clothes! πŸ™‚

(Boy, it took me one hour or more to be able to schedule this post – two attempts at starting it and two attempts at uploading the pics! I better prepare the next one during my morning as if I do it in the afternoon, WordPress becomes exceedingly slow! :-()

Going down


OK, as I’m definitely on the “down” curve of my yo-yo moods, I better keep this short. I’m too tired and sick to do a summary of the rest of the fair. Know only that Sunday I went there only because Saturday I forgot to buy from my friend the Templar expert. So I just dropped by to pick that stuff and went back home and slept one hour and a half.

Murphy’s law was still hitting me real hard yesterday. Hectic Monday at DayJob – and being depressed didn’t help. It was pouring rain and the streets were flooded and it took 45 minutes for a 20minutes trip. By car, new place, new “job”. Not something you want on a rainy Monday morning. Hopefully it’s really temporary, and I look forward to my little walks to the bus stop every morning.

When things settle down, I’ll be a little more talkative and tell you more about the new research I stumbled upon when checking facts for the historical novel. I didn’t want to let a day go without letting you know that I’m alive – and struggling! πŸ˜‰

Have a great week!

Discoveries


So, on day three of the book fair I have made some interesting discoveries (mostly about the Italian market I ignored so far, but also on the European market in general).

Europe considers e-books “services” not books, with full VAT instead of the reduced one for books (that’s 14 to 21% according to each European country law). Meh.

In Italy the average price for e-books is 10euros (less than 15$ but more than 10).

The Sony e-reader comes with 2 English dictionaries (American + British), 1 Italian + translations (such as French-Italian, or Spanish-English). And it has WI-FI, like the Kindle. But it’s a touch-screen e-reader like the i-Pad which I don’t like (that’s why I never bought it, I’ve seen it at this yearly December fair every year since it came out, but wasn’t convinced).

Italians who buy e-readers don’t use them to read books. While I understand the i-Pad has other functions, if one buys a Kindle and doesn’t use it to read, what did he buy it for?

But then – Italians write a lot, but they don’t read! πŸ™‚

Italian writers think the only way to publish is through vanity presses. They ask “How much do you want to publish my book/article” even to small publishers who don’t charge.

70% of those small-medium publishers at the fair were vanity presses under different forms.

Italian publishers hate Amazon and its discount policy that make them lose sales in other distributors or their own shops (and I believe we’re talking mostly of paper books here).

E-book sales are slowly rising also in Italy, but I’m still trying how to figure out how to get into the Italian e-distributors. A kind gal at IBS (which was born three years after Amazon and has its own e-reader) told me which they were, but I’m reading their terms of use and I’m not liking much what I see. The FAQs might say one thing, but the CONTRACT says another, and I’m not a lawyer, but I know the CONTRACT is more important than any FAQ or email on the subject. But that’s only one of the two available to indies.

Today is my shopping day for myself, my mum and maybe a couple of friends (plus I have a list from mum who came yesterday and then called to say “can you pick that, that and that, please?”). Yes, dead-tree books, I’m still the only e-reader owner of my family and friends (and if e-books cost as much as paper books, I might as well find a little more room on my shelves…. *cringes at the crumbling sound behind her*).

Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

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