Writer Wednesday

So, wordcount for January was 40K, not bad considering that I’m only just now starting to take care of my health. I’m not aiming at 500K this year, unless the meds kick in and in the second half of the year I gain some momentum.

For now I’ll just do what I can and allow my thyroid to recover. I have a lot of compulsive reading to do this month, so I’m afraid I won’t have much time to write, but in March I hope to get back on track. I mean, I spent most of October and half of March NOT writing last year, and still had 470K words at the end of the year. So, not really worried here.

The publishing is also slowed down because I didn’t even have time (or energy) to translate something back in Italian (besides, Cinder Boy in Italian is still selling since December, so…)! πŸ™‚ There will be a title out in February and maybe two in March – I’m also trying a new proofreader with stories I wrote last year and I’m currently expanding.

Some writerly links! The Data Divide! Which includes links to the Authors Earnings report and lots of other stuff. A great analysis of the world of publishing, as usual. And if you’re still afraid of something, keep an eye on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog.

β€”Do not make escaping your day job a goal for your writing.

I hear this all the time, but the pressure is too much on the writing because the day job, the β€œreal job,” is what makes everything tick.

But don’t worry, if you keep the writing fun, keep your family supporting you, keep learning, eventually the money from the business side will overwhelm the day job money. And by then you will have gotten help to deal with it all mentally, right?

Just don’t make the writing so important, so special, that it threatens the β€œreal job.” If it does, you will grind to a halt fairly quickly because how we were all raised doesn’t allow threats to what pays the bills.

Read that? I’ll have to paste it on my wall. This was on the post about the fear of a real paycheck. I’ll freely admit I’m scared to go freelance after having a steady job for almost thirty years. Unfortunately thirty years ago I wasn’t as strong as Dean was (and was too attached to my family still).

So I’m still considering alternatives (I’d consider publishing a job, not writing, but like he says somewhere else, I can’t just publish myself, I need to have other forms of revenue or it will take the fun out of writing, and I won’t let that happen ever again). Probably Patreon could help with a “steady” monthly income, if I figure out how to set it up well!

Sometime this year, when I recover some strength and feel less tired, though. Like I said, I’m taking it easy this year. I’m a fast writer anyway, and I bought in the rewriting myth once (I called it Rewriting Hell) and swore never again.

I was and will always be a one (maximum two) draft writer (sometimes I expand or rewrite the end because I wasn’t happy with it in the first place – I tend to want to wrap up too quickly and when I go back to it, I realize what’s missing), but then I don’t have an English teacher barking rules in my head, since I’m an ESL writer! πŸ˜‰

kobo-promoBefore I forget! The Path of Water (Quests Book 1) should be at 99cents this weekend! And tomorrow is the last day for the Kobo UK promo – Norman Blood at 2Β£! Onward and have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Sooo, last assignment and checking those Star Minds Third Generation stories… should be ready to go soon, but I’m expanding a couple that badly needed it and adjusting the rest. Wait for them for sometime in March. I have only until the end of the month to finish editing them, since Feb.1 I need to start on the last Quests book! πŸ˜‰

Some writerly links! 10 reasons why you should not write for fame and fortune – about #8, I don’t think I’d care, but anyway, I don’t write for fame and fortune, I only want people to read my stories and allow me to quit the Day Job that currently pays the bills!

Although going from steady job to freelance is a very big leap for me, and I’m a little scared of doing it. But if I find also alternative income sources besides the writing, I’ll definitely take the plunge! πŸ˜€ Now, I could try to combine my two passions and get back to the drawing board…

How much money do cartoonists make? I guess the same money writers make – some make a lot, some make none. And I’m afraid I don’t have the patience (and the eyes) to start another graphic novel. Even Da Strip is still only half-finished (more than half to be colored and a few things to be corrected)!

So no, art is not a good way to have an alternative income source for me. I have an idea or two, but they will take time to develop. Including that Patreon page. I better start curing that tired thyroid, so I can get back to my old efficient streak! πŸ™‚

And the new Authors Earnings report is out! I will let you go through it and make up your mind about it… the market is shifting, my friends… welcome to the new world of publishing! πŸ™‚ Or The World of Publishing like Kris Rusch says (I guess it’s not that “new” anymore, although it’s new to whoever is stuck in 20th century thinking)! πŸ™‚

Please try to avoid excuses and the fine art of self-sabotage! Have a great week and happy writing!

Writer Wednesday

So, Quests 4 wrapped. Other stories good to go. Italian title published. Character interviews almost all ready to go. Monthly wordcount not checked yet, but I’m sure I’m on the roll! Phew, this writing business is stressing! πŸ˜‰ Maybe I should take a break and study some.

Oh, and I was interviewed at the awesome Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar! A very funny and unusual interview… it was a pleasure to “talk” to Jessica! Now to some writerly links!

On Jeff Bezos’s birthday another non-fiction book came out! I read and enjoyed the first in the series and I’m really considering getting the rest of them… if I manage to take down my TBR pile a little bit! But I still have dozens of novels AND non-fiction books like this one to read on my Kindle, so… just adding it to the wishlist. Highly recommended author and series.

And more visions of the future by Kris Rusch, which actually gives me hope. If most people are falling off the grid because the gold rush is over, only the people who genuinely like to write and create stories will be left. Less competion, more chances for me! πŸ˜‰

There’s still the discoverability problem in the English-speaking market. I sell 10-20 copies of new titles in Italian because there are so few indie authors in Italy. The English version usually sells 1 or 2 copies (and I’m on first-name-basis with those readers, haha!) because the market is cluttered.

But if the get-rich-quick writers go away, there will be more room for whoever has the stamina to stay. So it’s actually good news for me. Like I mentioned, I might write less, but I’ll keep writing and publishing. There are still plenty of stories that want to come out.

And there’s some that will remain in the drawer forever because either I don’t like them anymore or because I’m changing and I see all their flaws and I’m not excited enough about them to revive them with a redraft. I’ll keep them as background, worldbuilding, whatever, and keep going.

Next on the to-do list: check a few short stories I wrote last year and decide if they’re ready for the editor and the publisher or should just stay in the aforementioned drawer! πŸ˜‰

Have a great week!

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! πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Welcome to Writer Wednesday, where I dispense my weekly writer’s wisdom… not! πŸ™‚ I don’t have real wisdom to pass on, but since I was asked something that really grates on my nerves, I thought I’d give the long answer here. Warning: YMMV or each and everyone of us has a different answer to this.

It all started on Goodreads:


Now, the long answer – and my advice to young writers – is: if you write to the market or to make money, if that’s success to you, you’re in the wrong business. If you want a career as a writer, you must write what you love.

And, by the way, a career happens while you’re busy living. You can work towards it by setting realistic goals – which means something you can control. Your writing output, you can control it. Selling a million copies? That’s beyond your control. It’s a dream, not a goal.

Sure, dream big, but set realistic goals to reach that dream. Decide early on what’s success to you: finishing a story? Putting it out there (trad, self or indie)? Buying yourself a coffee with the first royalty check from a retailer? Writing all the stories that come to mind? Make those darn characters in your head shut up?

I was lucky to grow up before the internet, I guess. I’ve been writing for almost 40 years (my first story dates back to Summer 1978) and of course more than half of it sucks and will never be published, but at least I have a routine, I have fun and have no critical voice because nobody ever told me I was supposed to do this or that to write a literary masterpiece. I was a one-draft-writer for almost twenty-five years! πŸ˜‰

So now, even when I “rewrite”, it’s to adjust plot holes or change the ending or a scene because I came up with a better one. It’s definitely not polishing, which means I’m still fairly prolific. I write the story, I reread it, correct it, send it to proofreader and out it goes into the wild.

How do I measure my success? By the fact that 5 years into my indie publishing life

  1. sales are very slow, but growing
  2. I’m still writing what I want to read
  3. I even stopped “recycling” old stories because I have so many new ideas!
  4. I’m still learning craft and business
  5. I’m still having fun writing new stories

In another ten years I’ll look back and go “Wow, look at my career!” So, if you want to be a professional writer with a career, you can’t

  1. write to the market
  2. hope to strike the jackpot with a couple of books
  3. quit after 1 or 10 books

Quitting is the end of your career along with unrealistic goals.

Now go and have some online workshops on craft and business either at David Farland’s or Dean Wesley Smith’s. I’m currently finishing Teams in Fiction and it gave me an idea for a series I might write when I’m done with the current Silvery Earth and Star Minds stories (all brand new) and inbetween the Vampires Through the Centuries books (that come out 2 a year, 1 novel + 1 novella).

And by the way, it’s okay to change in course during your writing life. I’m another writer who writes during major holidays because people are too busy with their life and their family to bother me, so beyond the customary lunch or dinner with aging parents, I’m free to do as I please! πŸ˜‰

Now I better go back to Norman Blood… Then some Kaylyn’s rewrites will be in order to adjust it to the other story! Have a great week! πŸ˜€


Writer Wednesday

I would like to thank the guys at Draft2Digital (especially Aubrey) who helped me deal with Apple for two titles in the past week. They’re an awesome distributor and without them I’d definitely stop sending my books to Apple. I’m sick of their rejections. And don’t even think of buying me i-Things because I’ll resell them, I don’t want any Mac-stuff in the house! 😦

choicesetc_resizeI have published a new title, but some distributors are still lagging behind. It went smoothly on Amazon, took a little longer on Apple (with the above mentioned help) and Kobo is still stuck in nowhere land. So I contacted Kobo support. In the meantime here are the available retailers on the publisher’s page.

I should have uploaded it as new title. Meh. Anyhow, if you want to read that story that was a sore project block from September to January, go grab it now. It’s the only new title in that collection, but I think it’s nice – if you like contemporary stories, that is. If you’re only for SFF, skip this title! πŸ™‚

This week I hope to upload the preorder for Charioteer of Buddha, since I now have the wonderful cover by Shafali Anand. I will put a placeholder manuscript, since the editor still has it, but will get back to me before the end of the month.

And by the way, the mighty cover artist is also a writer, can you believe it? She won a Honorable Mention at Writers of the Future like me (in a different quarter)! Read her story at My Story Doctor! And then join me in screaming “We want to read those stories, publish them! Poor babies are sick to be stuck in that drawer!”

By the end of April I hope to publish The Archers on the other sites after its KDP Select term ends (April 20), then the collection of contemporary stories, that will also have a POD version. I’m currently doing the Author Voice workshop, and so far no writing to be done, so I’m good! πŸ™‚

Speaking of Author Voice – the first assignment says I have a solid author voice. Which reminded me of a conversation with a friend in the 1990s when she told me “Can you write a story where you’re not in it?” Since I used to put myself as a character in my stories back then, I objected that I wasn’t in the m/m stories I was writing at the time (since there were no female characters in them), but she insisted I was in them.

I guess I didn’t understand what she was telling me then, but obviously I already had an author voice. It changed through the years, but that’s another blog post. A couple of links, one to make you smile and the other is actually a series. Kris Rusch is talking contracts again – don’t miss any of those posts, even if you’re indie published. Because as you can see from the funny post, writing is a business, therefore it has contracts.

Go read all of them. The first is really short. Now I better go back to Kaylyn and finish it by the weekend! πŸ˜‰

Writer Wednesday

Another half month gone, yikes! Trying to finish that Silvery Earth novel so I can go back to my vampires through centuries. I’m now using every other morning to read the magazines I bought last year or earlier for research purposes, so when I get down to writing the actual stories, I’ll know what I’m supposed to look for.

Keeping an eye on that KDP Select title… hopefully I’ll make a Kindle Countdown soon. Got my January report for KENP read… peanuts. Not really worth it, but I had to try with at least one title! πŸ™‚

When I put the Amazon links, I usually go to the KDP dashboard to get them – and take out everything after the ASIN (mostly because I hate long URLs). Turns out I’m doing something right. If you don’t do like I do, start doing it, and here’s why.

Or you can do what Joe Konrath does. I should probably do my bibliography too at some point. For now you can see the reading order on the publisher’s page for Silvery Earth and Star Minds. I’ll add more when I have more. There’s no real reading order for the Body Switches (and I do plan on writing a couple more)! πŸ˜‰

I was also a guest on a couple of blogs last week – my productivity tips are almost lifted off the How to book, and then there was an interview at Book Goodies. Check them both if you haven’t already.

More writerly links: About Time and Sales, Balancing the Parts of Modern Publishing and Money Talks. Lots of food for thought on all of them. And then there’s the different kinds of English – I use American spelling, but the rest is… European, since I’m not a native, LOL! But then, I write mostly SFF, so does it really matter?

Now I better go booking my next online workshop. Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

January wordcount was over 40K. I redrafted Colors (next title out, currently with proofreader) and turned an old graphic novel into a novella – both these stories are 27K. Now I’m turning another graphic novel into a novel that should come out probably next month.

I did a new cover for Colors during the weekend since I wasn’t completely happy with the one I did in December. So I got to draw a swallow for the first time in my life. I found a cute pic on the Wikipedia page and went from there. Not telling you which one I chose, you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks! πŸ™‚ Probably less. And yes, the swallow is in the first scene of the story, so it’s a nice addition.

How to ESL ebookI also published that non-fiction book I wrote last year. I wasn’t sure it was any good, but a very precious beta who is also a cover artist and part-time writer said it’s good – short and to the point – so I’m putting it out there.

As soon as I finish the novel-redrafted-from-the-graphic-novel, I’ll go back to those contemporary stories that I kept on hold until the next offline writers group meeting (Feb.11), so next month expect another title of the discarded pen-name with new stories thrown in. I might then start working on the POD version! πŸ™‚

And then I’ll be back to my vampires, since I need to finish Chandaka and Daya and then start on Kaylyn’s story. As for PODs, I’ll do the new edition with Createspace of the five Books of the Immortals… so I guess February is quite busy. And it’s a short month (although it has 29 days this year). And… I’ll leave the rest to Friday ramblings, LOL!

For some kind of serendipity, there was a lot of talk about contracts and publishers around the internet this week. Kris Rusch on indie contracts, Kameron Hurley on traditional contracts and Tricia Drammeh on choosing a publisher. And then get the guide on how to negotiate anything! πŸ˜‰

Now I better go back to writing and drawing those covers (I don’t like the covers I have so far, but I need different reference for one and I’m not sure how to get it, sigh)… Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

Unblocked the contemporary stories, might finish even the longer work I started back in September… but you won’t see them until next year! πŸ˜‰ Might be this week, where we have a holiday, I have an Aunt Day and less time to write, so I decided to work on those instead of starting a new fantasy story…

From the book fair – the Espresso Book Machine. After the 2012 preview

IMG_8089 IMG_8088it’s now all over the world (almost), including this third world country! That’s a very good way to get into the Mondadori Stores here in Italy – and other places in the world. Although Createspace and Amazon send printed books to many bookstores, the Espresso Book Machine reaches country where Amazon hasn’t set foot yet, so… worth a thought!

Writerly links! Moira Allen’s good-bye and thoughts on the world of publishing, the good, the bad and the changes we all went through in the past beginning of millennium.

If that newsletter is gone, you can still learn from books if you grab this bundle before Christmas (or put it on your Christmas wishlist). I got them when they were separate bundles, and I’m still trudging through them. Wait for the end-of-the-year reading post to see the recommended titles (although it will come out after Christmas, so get it now)!

Numbers – 2015 Smashwords Survey and Authors Earnings report on the UK market. Food for thought. It’s an international market and we better be prepared… Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

Did anyone notice this post is late, or is everyone on newsfeeds or whatever? Anyhow, not much on the writing front. The Desi vampire is out to betas and I’m getting ready for Carrara Show. I shall tell you all about it next week, but I’ll probably be offline the whole weekend and until next Tuesday.

I feel relieved that I have permission to leave my old stories in the drawers. I might rewrite what was done as graphic novel, but the rest may rest in peace. My thanks to Writing Guru Dean and his topic of the night. I had more or less gotten it, but now I can’t ignore it anymore! πŸ˜‰

Another post worth reading is Writing by Committee. That’s one of the reasons I quit screenwriting. I want to keep control of my stories. I don’t want someone else rewrite it because some suit in Hollywood thinks it would sell better if.

And that’s why my editors are mostly proof-readers and I rely on betas for rewrites. I don’t need a “developmental editor”, thank you. I want a reader’s reactions. And that’s what I give when I am requested to beta-read.

You need a trusted first reader who is not a writer. Just a reader. Someone who can be honest with you, and who tells you simply this: Did they like the story? Did they find it compelling? Would they have read to the end if they encountered it in an anthology or bought it off a store rack?

That’s beta-reading to me. That’s what I expect a beta to tell me – along with comments on settings and pacing. I try to give them the most polished manuscript I can write, but there will be grammar mistakes and typos (although my proofreader tells me I send her very clean manuscripts compared to some native writers! πŸ˜‰ I might have become almost bilingual, but I’m still an ESL writer and reader…). Like in any published book.

I will keep this short. I need to prepare the posts for when I’ll be away and get back to… reading. I must finish the novel I’m currently reading before I leave (I probably won’t mention it, since I’m not loving it, though)! πŸ™‚

Have a great week!

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