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Writer Wednesday

Published 25/10/2017 by Barb

This month’s writing is almost done, except one last story that should pour out within the week. Then I may write something in the same “universe” to submit somewhere – I’m currently reading the previous anthology to get a feel of what they’re looking for and I’m mostly having a blast. Ideas churn in my head with each new story – I know the where and when of mine, but the story is still nebulous.

These last 2-3 stories are shorter works, but in November I’ll get back to longer works. I have deadlines for submissions, so I’m doing those first. Did you read about Dean’s latest challenge – write his age? I could do it this year, I’d have to write/publish one story a week, but two months have already gone by since my 52nd birthday, LOL! I still need to reach my goal of half-pulp-speed (500K a year) and I probably won’t reach it this year either, so I’d rather skip this challenge… which will make it more worthwile whenever I decide to actually do it (when I’m 55? 60? We’ll see…).

Anyhow… next week I’ll be off DayJob, so I’m already putting up some kind of schedule. I’ll have to work on more PODs, even though CreateSpace is closing down its shop. Might be a good time to try KDP print. At the same time, Amazon seems to be less and less author-friendly. Which is a good reason for not having all the eggs in that basket.

This very interesting analysis that tells a tale of two marketing systems also got me pondering. I supposedly should use the Wide Tortoise method, although I’m using neither right now. I’m giving up on the marketing weekends again after reading of Facebook’s new policy in Pages newsfeeds. They keep offering me to boost my posts, but there must be some other way to reach fans! 😦

I don’t know, I also have to sign up for Pronoun and possibly other sites, so… one thing at the time! πŸ˜‰ I also should add a “clean fantasy” label so my newer books. Gone are the times of those “Adults only” titles on both Star Minds and Silvery Earth. I called them ACE-friendly, but maybe, at least for Silvery Earth, it’s just clean fantasy.

But then I should change the publisher’s byline that it’s “books for adults with a youthful mind”! πŸ˜‰ I mean, I’m an adult and I don’t really need to read about sex in every book. I also wrote all the violence I could think of out of my system. Mmm. I guess I’ll have to ponder and make a more generic byline “books for everyone”? Not really. “Books and stories” too bland?

Lot to ponder. Of course authors can’t make a living from books anymore, they never could, unless they were bestsellers. It’s even worse in traditional publishing, but even indies… most don’t thrive, including yours truly. But if you’re one of the lucky ones, you might find Trackerbox useful for your earnings. Here’s an interview with the creator, who has a kickstarter going for the Mac version.

I still go with Excel sheets and paper notebooks, but I’m not really thriving yet. Anyhow, if you want advice on self-editing your novel or five stages to revise it, there you go. And some habits of the world’s most successful writers. And a reminder that I have a few bundles out or coming soon… stay tuned for more!

Oh, and if you write mystery or romance, Hallmark is now accepting novels. I write neither, unfortunately, so go for it! πŸ™‚ Have a great week!

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Random Friday

Published 13/10/2017 by Barb

Smashwords Deal announcement – this weekend Honorable Assassins is 50% off only on Smashwords. If you missed last weekend’s opportunity, now you can get it half-price. The coupon is public and feel free to share.

POD news – edit. I have found a “new” cover artist, my old friend Federica Manfredi, therefore I will doΒ  the paperback for Axelle within next month, along with another. So Shashank is not the last you see this year! πŸ™‚

Bundles fever: I have been checking the other three bundles that should come out this month and I’m very excited. I will be in bundles with the likes of Kevin J. Anderson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (twice!), Leah Cutter, and people I’ve met on the Oregon coast such as Stefon Mears and Karen Abrahamson (who areΒ  also in the fantasy bundle that will soon be archived), Russ Crossley and his lovely wife Rita, M.L. Buchmann, Robert Jeschoneck and Blaze Ward, and then Thea Hutchinson and J.A. Marlowe and a few more that I look forward to discover!

Now I better finish what I’m reading and start discovering new authors… And I’ll keep ya posted on those three bundles! They all come out before mine, Vampires of the World, so… I know, we can all stock up for the long cold winter (or darn hot summer for those of you who live down under!)! πŸ™‚

Writing weekend ahead. Lots of catching up to do, gotta finish those stories! Have a great end of the week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wendesday

Published 04/10/2017 by Barb

And there’s a new bundle out with Technological Angel it it! This is all of cyborgs and machines and all that stuff, in fact it’s called Cyborg City! So if you’re all for sci-fi, go grab it at BundleRabbit which has also the links to the other retailers… it’s only 4$ for 12 novels!

Coming next is also Vampires of the World, which is already available for pre-order, plus a couple more not curated by me. Lots and lots of bundles this year! πŸ™‚ I will definitely finish the ones I got from StoryBundle in 2015 then I can start (or finish) reading the ones I’m part of! πŸ˜‰

For next weekend only, Honorable Assassins will be at 99c. The paperback will be available some time next week – I had to redo the cover and order another proof. Sorry about that… Let’s pretend I have the hardcover, while we’re at it! πŸ™‚

I also updated the pre-order documents for Shashank the Fledgling. I have added not one, but two bonus stories! The second is really short and I wouldn’t know where else to put it, so I added it to the ebook and the paperback.Not really bonus-stuffing here, at least the paperback (and the ebook, or course) is richer. I ordered a proof to see how it comes out, along with the revised version of Honorable Assassins.

Unfortunately it’s been a bad month for writing: only 22K for those two stories and some adjustments to other works. Maybe I should retake the novel challenge, LOL! Now I’m writing those final stories for the Fall of the Southern Kingdoms and then I’ll move on to the next project – a rewrite with sequel, then I will really stop recycling old stuff! πŸ˜‰

I also have to write three more stories, two from the current online workshop and one for some open call project with specific themes – there’s is more than one, but I’m afraid I can write only one of those three! πŸ˜‰ And the workshop’s not over, I might have to write another opening, so that’s another story I’m sure I’ll have to write… not to mention the opening of past workshops I didn’t have time to finish yet!

Tips for authors using social media on KWL blog. And a Kickstarter for Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, that will feature also yours truly sometimes next year! πŸ™‚

About telling a story vs. writing a story. I probably mentioned it before, but I’m a storyteller, not a wordsmith. I want to tell stories not spend days on writing down the right sentence of finding a brand new metaphor. I call that purple prose and I skim it when I see it! πŸ˜‰

I tried to read a Jack Reacher book, but I’m not too fond of first person narration, so it has gone in the backburner. I have enough reading to do before getting to that! πŸ˜€

One last thing: if you aren’t on Draft2Digital yet, you can join through referral now. They distribute to the usual suspects, have ebook templates (that I still have to try…) and now even allow audio! What’s not to love? They’re even better and faster that Smashwords whenever I had a problem… So, what are you waiting for? If you’re indie, join Draft2Digital! πŸ™‚

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Published 13/09/2017 by Barb

So, I got my feedback for the novel challenge and I’m going to rework only one of them because my dear offline beta pointed out other problems besides the ones of that specific first reader (Thanks again, Dean, for the opportunity!). I’m glad he got through Shashank even if it’s not his kind of story.

And by the way, the pre-order is live! And I’m writing story that goes with it – if it’s short, I might give it with the newsletter or submit it somewhere. Short fiction is the only thing I want to sell to traditional publishers/magazines. Free marketing! πŸ˜‰ And I got another rejection from Clarkesworld, but I’ll keep that story in the mail – or email!

Oh, and if you want to do the novel challenge too, there’s the second edition coming soon. 30 short stories in 60 days or 3 novel in three months! I am already doing an online workshop, so I won’t be able to take any of the challenges at this time. But I’m one of the Victorious Five of the summer novel challenge! πŸ˜‰

And for those of you who are still looking for a traditional deal for novels, I shall refer you to the people I wanna be when I grow up (sort of, they’re not that much older than me, hahaha!) – Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch who as usual are almost synched in their posts! (and thank you, Kris, for explaining the Rip Van Wrinkle story)

I unfollowed a blogger on Facebook (didn’t unfriend her, but stopped seeing her newsfeed) because she kept talking about Dream Agent and stuff like that. Don’t talk to me about that stuff. I don’t want to hear it. It makes me sad, like Dean. But if you want help to become indie, I’m here to help, like Kris suggests.

Take your head out of the sand and join us – we’re a bunch of very friendly folks! πŸ™‚ And you’re lucky to be writing in the 21st century, trust me, I grew up in the age of the typewriter and remained unpublished until the indie revolution happened! πŸ˜€

Now next weekend is the dreaded Marketing Weekend. Do I need to say why I hate self-promoting my books? Just go to Chuck Wendig’s list! πŸ˜‰ I will use those weekends only to try and program sales across various sites that I have found in the past months but didn’t have time to try. So stay tuned for short sales on single titles or even bundles at BundleRabbit.

Actually I have books in seven bundles coming out between September and January 2018, including my own vampire-themed bundle. Still looking for NOVELS with vampires, since a couple of authors are not responding on BundleRabbit. Otherwise it will be a smaller bundle! πŸ˜‰ Please contact me before the end of September, so our Mighty Jo can start working on the cover! πŸ™‚

Have a great week!

 

 

Writer Wednesday

Published 12/07/2017 by Barb

And I’m in another, upcoming bundle! πŸ™‚ Please like the page and wait for it! And a reminder that this (below) bundle is currently available only on DriveThruFiction and it’s a limited time offer, it will be gone after the summer! If you haven’t read the Assassins’ Guild stories, you can grab them in your favorite format here! πŸ™‚

If you want to subscribe to my bimonthly newsletter (the next comes out in September), please do so and don’t ask me to add you manually – I wouldn’t know how to send you the welcome email with the free story… Or you can support me on Patreon, where I regularly post both for writers and readers! πŸ™‚

And hello to the new followers, thank you for deciding to follow this very blog for whatever reason. Not going to ask anymore! πŸ˜‰ Now, to the writerly news.

Novel #2 is well underway and I hope to have that first draft ready for “meating up” next weekend. I’m kind of jumping back and forward on this one because it has a predetermined outline, but I’ll still need to read it all in one sitting or two to see if it flows. Reaching the 20th century is easier and harder at the same time.

I mean, I can describe Jaipur or Delhi like I saw them last year (even though the characters are in Jaipur in the first half of last century), but at the same time… I don’t know. I guess I should do more travelogues, it would definitely help when I write! πŸ˜‰ That darn setting still tends to escape me.

I’m still unsure about a secondary character and I’ll make up my mind when I reach the end and then cycle backΒ  to add some meat. I don’t know why the first draft is always very sparse… maybe I need to think about it more before I cand add stuff?

Or maybe it’s just that my brain is fried during the summer? I hate it when cicadas sing all day, it means it’s too darn hot for my tastes and I should move to Iceland! 😦 Glad I found a nice desk fan for the writing times… πŸ™‚

I’ll start the writerly links with this post by Tracy Cooper-Posey – why should historical characters sound like they’re speaking funny in historical novels? Since I’m currently writing historical fantasy, I think it’s perfect timing. I’ve had some betas pointing out some too modern terms in my fantasy too, but I tend to write plain English (with American Spelling – like Tracy, I grew up with British spelling) for the very reason she states.

I mean, I understand I better avoid 21st century slang, and I did use the “thou” and “art thee” once in a fan fiction, but it was precisely because the character had been locked up and sounded funny to modern English speakers (I sort of mention it in Kaylyn’s novel – Kris tells her that she has a “Shakespearian English” since that’s more or less the time she stopped speaking English).

And as a reader I hate even accents, so I say NO to that kind of gimmick. I hate it as much as purple prose and jolts me out of the story immediately! You want to keep Reader Me happy? Write in plain English. Your translator in some other language will thank you, trust me! πŸ˜‰

And since the heat makes me sleepy, I can’t really read more (reading also makes me sleepy…) so I’ll probably have to pass a couple of interesting bundles because I have already too many books to read. I’m even supposed to vote for the Hugos, except I have read none of the nominees! 😦

Oh, and if you want to be on A Small Gang of Authors, here’s their joining page – you can either be guest, like I was, or join them (if you have a Blogger account)! And Bundle Rabbit has added the collaboration tab, so if you’re trying to set up an anthology, you can use that feature!

Just in case you’re new, Bundle Rabbit allows indie authors to set up their own bundles (and cross-pollinate their readers with other authors) and readers to discover new authors by buying a favorite name along with a few more. I currently have two curated bundles (means that I put them together) – one of fantasy novels and one of science fiction (space opera or humorous sci-fi) – and my books have been chosen for two more that I will announce as soon as they go live.

My next curated bundle will have vampires, so if you have a novel-length vampire story, join Bundle Rabbit and upload it, so I can find it in September when I start putting together the next one! πŸ™‚

Check also the Book Spoltight on Library of Erana (supposedly just one, but there’s actually two, LOL!), with even very short excerpts to give you a taste. Have a great week!

 

Writer Wednesday

Published 31/05/2017 by Barb

While cleaning the spam comments I found an old post of mine from 2010… Let’s see how things have changed since!

Anyway, here are my six:

1) Find an agent

2) Publish a novel (first step of MANY :-D)

3) Start the Silvery Earth web page

4) Become a best selling author in my genre

5) Write and publish all those Silvery Earth novels/stories/graphic novels (for that staircase, the sky is the limit! ;-))

6) Quit the day job and live of my writing (and I’m not greedy, I only want to be able to quit the day job).

#1 Nope. No thanks. No longer looking for that.

#2 Done. First of many as advertized. I started publishing in 2011, but I do not wish to count how many are novels or collections or whatnot. That’s almost 150 titles to check, so… just gone and done it! πŸ˜‰

#3 Even better, I have Unicorn Productions web-page, with all the books in all the series and genres and languages and whatnot! Yay! This happened in 2015…

#4 Er… still working on that… And even though I definitely love SFF, I’m also tackling other genres lately, so… maybe I haven’t found my true calling yet! πŸ˜‰

#5 Done and even added the Star Minds series and the Vampires Through the Centuries and the Body Switches

#6 Still working on that one too. By the way, I tinkered with the Patreon rewards again, since it was too complicated having tiers with the same amount. Would you prefer a Paypal Donate button? πŸ˜‰

Moving on! Wordcount for May is 32K, not counting this week. I also spent almost a week doing non-writerly things so I’d be ready for the Novel Challenge starting tomorrow. So hopefully in the next three months I’ll write a lot more because a) I have a challenge and b) it’s the summer, it’s too hot to be outside, hence more time to stay in and write! πŸ™‚

Last week I formatted all the ebooks that will come out this summer, did the covers and so on – I only have one story that will go to the proofreader on Monday and will come out in August, but I’ll tinker with that cover during the upcoming long weekend (June 2 is national holiday in Italy) and since it’s a novella, it won’t take me long to format it for publication.

Still two more authors’ interviews for the Fantasy bundle, then I’ll introduce the Sci-Fi bundle coming in July. Still waiting for Worldcon to let me know my schedule, but I hope to have a panel or three. At least I’m in the list of the Also Appearing now, yay! πŸ™‚

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Published 26/04/2017 by Barb

While on the train to Milan I had plenty of time to think (and to read, but that’s a topic for another post) and tried to express how my way of writing changed in the 21st century. So here goes:

Before 2015: first drafts (or Draft Zero like I called them) were written longhand with almost no corrections by the seat of my pants. I did the research (ex. for historical novels) and then wrote. Then I typed everything in the computer, rewriting as needed so that I’d have a clean draft. I type with 10 fingers, so that wasn’t the hard part. There were no hard parts, since I’ve been a one-draft writer for the whole 20th century and started redrafting only after reading that I was supposed to do that. Wordcount was available only after publication at that point.

After 2015: I started typing Draft Zero and cycling through the first draft. I had a writing netbook with internet access and could stop and Google anything from a translation, a word check to anything else needed. Then I synched with Laptop through Dropbox. I was then able to figure out how much I wrote every year in real time. Like I said in previous posts, I wrote 450K in 2015 and 470K in 2016.

Now Netbook is dead, so the same applies to Laptop. Except it has considerably slowed me down, especially with contemporary or historical works, because I’d stop and fact-check for almost every scene. What might have been quick with SFF became a longer process, mostly because I can’t read on screen and need to print out and highlight manually.

I love ebooks, but not for non-fiction/research. So I might be less productive this year, but hopefully I’ve reached the upper lever of storytelling. Sometimes I wonder if that happened because I switched languages and stopped rewriting old stuff. And I don’t want to turn off the internet while I write because I use Google translator a lot – and all that research helped me expand my English vocabulary.

When I translate books into Italian, things I wrote even two years ago (when I abused of online generators… ahem…), I cringe. Hopefully when I start translating the latest works, I won’t cringe anymore. And I hope the change it’s not too obvious in series like Vampires Through the Centuries (even though all the books are standalone so far)!

What I mean is – you need to find what works for you, and it might change through the years. I have learned a lot since I joined the indie world and will keep learning. Whether it’s the new language or simply that I started learning again (I will freely admit that I was pretty static in Italian, but in English I had to find my voice, and it’s not exactly the same as it used to be – at least from one of my Italian first reader’s perspective).

I won’t take Dean’s challenge because I already have too many stories to write this year on my list – going “pick me! Pick me!” – and I don’t think they’re all short stories. I mean, I know I can write 30 stories in 30 or 60 days if I put my mind to it, but now is not the right time. I am already prolific, I don’t need this to write more! πŸ˜‰

I’m leaving you with some writerly links – Chuck Wendig’s advice after 5 years and 20 books: 25 lessons (special mention #1 and #5, the latter being what I discussed above). David Farlands tips – One Impossibility (to keep in mind when writing SFF, haha!). 14 sites for book cover design @Digital Reader. And more business advice from Kris Rusch.

Oh, and I found a neat marketing blog for indie authors that has both podcasts and written posts! Studied the written parts (podcasts don’t hold my attention, unfortunately) and will try to apply some to that ugly beast called Marketing… Take this post on why FB needs to do something with those darn pages! Until a few years ago, FB gave the option of choosing if one wanted to be herself or the author.

This no longer applies. I was able to attend a FB party a couple of years ago *waves at Joleene* because I simply switched to the author ID. This year it was a nightmare and my private profile showed up a couple of times. Also, this year I’ve seen an option to create groups from the page. But the page still can’t join groups except the one she/it creates…

More coming bundles: Writers bundle @Storybundle and Faery Summer bundle coming soon @Bundle Rabbit. Now I’m heading back to my writing cave to ponder the next bundle and write the next story… Have a great week! πŸ™‚

 

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