"It's impossible to discourage the real writers; they don't give a damn what you say." Sinclair Lewis

Monday, January 9, 2012

Industry Tidbits

From Linda S:

With the tremendous success of ebooks and the closure of many bookstores around the country, everyone in the publishing industry has had some new challenges to face. For those of us who have been in the industry for twenty or thirty years, the changes might be harder to get our minds around. Things simply aren't the way they used to be, from submitting your work, to selling it, to marketing it. It's a whole new way of doing business and things are changing so rapidly it can be rather daunting for those of us used to doing things the old way. But there's a lot of information out there if you can find the time to weed through it. Here's an article and a site that has a lot of good information and might be of interest to both new and seasoned writers. "Five Big Publishing Stories of 2011" at Digital World.

From Carol:

In Sky Magazine for January, there was a short piece on self-publishing. According to “By the Numbers: Self Publishing,” $1500 is the average cost for an author to self-publish hardcover, soft cover, Kindle and Nook versions of a book. The cost of most self-published e-books is between 99 cents and $2.99. One young adult sci-fi writer earned $2 million from self-publishing before signing a contract with a major publishing house. At one time, three self-published books appeared simultaneously on the New York Times top 35 best selling fiction titles. Lulu.com has published 1.1 million authors. Self-publishing companies used to offer 25% of profits to their authors. That figure has risen to 70%.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and Goals

A few members of our group laid out some resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. We thought we'd post them here to encourage ourselves to complete them, and perhaps encourage other writers to make up their own set. It always helps to have a deadline, even if it's self-imposed. At the end of the year, we'll revisit this post and see if we accomplished what we set out to do. Ought to be fun!

Linda Tirrell

Finish my "book!" Sigh! Let go of the fear of my book not being good enough--let go of feeling it needs to be perfect! I did give the latest revision to Mae's husband (the story is about Mae). He read it and gave it back with recommendations for adding more! Started doing some research on the items he recommended (i.e., learning about things like the Red Sox and the Texas Towers!)

Bill Corbett

My goals right now are to work on getting my screenplay, Buddy's Misadventures, to a marketable state, and getting my novel, Shadow Revolution, published. The screenplay needs a bit more work on character development, and I'm working on a final edit and proof read for the novel. I also have another novel I'm going to pull off the shelf, dust off, rewrite, and polish.

Karen Finnigan

My short-term goal is to finish my novel, Return to Cloudberry, so I can get queries out to agents. The story is done, but I have two sets of reader comments to address. My long-term goal is to find an agent who handles women's fiction and who believes in my story enough to sell it. I think it's enough for my year, given all else that's going on. I will try to start something new, but I’m not going to commit to that yet.

Linda Sandifer

I want to get a rough draft of my new novel by early summer and have a final draft by the end of the year, ready to start submitting to agents. But this idea keeps growing, so I don't know where it’ll take me. I would also like to get a couple of my older western romances into eBook format for Kindle and Nook. My long-term goal, which I know I won’t meet this year, is to have all my books available as eBooks.

Richard Rice

Here are my goals, in order of priority:

1. Find a publisher for at least one of my two novels, Incendiary and Seeking Gemini
2. Find a place for my two short stories, “Sophie's Gift” and “Magpie”
3. Finish my novel, Star Eaters

My resolutions to make this happen are:

1. Spend some time every day on writing, editing or marketing.
2. Smarten up on social networking

Too much? We'll find out in a year when we open the time capsule.

Sherry Roseberry

I'll start out my resolutions/goals by vowing NOT to go on a diet or get so wrapped up in exercises that I fall short. (Maybe taking it from this angle something will happen.) I will get back to blocking out time for writing and/or research five days a week. I will finish the first book in the series I am starting and proposals on two more for a three-book contract. Then I will search for an agent. While I'm doing that I'll start my second book. With my fellow BSers in my corner how can I go wrong?

Carol Stilz

My goals at this time are short: First, I intend to finish editing my son-in-law's book on sportscasting by April 3. Second, by year's end I intend to have a contract for my first full-length novel.

Sandra Lord

My goal for 2012 is to finish Winds of Fate and get it to an agent on publisher. Then have a rough draft of my second novel completed. I really hate to make resolutions because it seems I always break them. Maybe this time will be different.

Sue Anne Hodge

My goal is to get both of my "Never" novels done and sent off to the first agent who wanted to see the two finished. If he rejects it, then I will start sending to others I have in my list.

We Live In a Hyper World

By Bill Corbett

Ah … the times, they do change. Ever since computers and the internet came into being, the world seems to be operating at warp speed. We watch TV commercials showing pickup trucks bouncing over rough terrain, splashing through mud puddles at fifty or sixty miles per hour. We see fine luxury cars racing across the salt flats at top speed, only to watch them end their race with a spinning skid stop (who in his right mind would treat a nice care like that). Hardly do we see a movie produced within the last fifteen years that isn’t rife with high-speed action including car chases, rollovers, and cars and people blown off the planet in some fiery explosion. Geeesh!

In the old days, we were perfectly content to spend a leisurely three days on the train to cross the continent. Now we put ourselves through all kinds of humiliation and stress to fly the same distance in three hours. We used to cross the ocean (with a modicum of luxury) on a great ocean liner in eight days. Now we put ourselves through all manner of emotional and physical stress to cover the same distance in eight hours.

This is supposed to be a writer’s blog, so what does all this have to do with writing? Well, I’ll tell you. This same hyper-intensity is showing up of late in the writing, publishing, and editing fields. We meet with an agent or editor and we’re told we have ten seconds to get their attention. They tell us to describe our book in twenty words or less. I had an agent tell me that once, and I was so incensed, I told him since he made such a ludicrous request, I would give him a ludicrous answer. I said to him, “It’s a damn good story.” I then told him I thought he probably didn’t have the time to represent me, anyway, and I ended the conversation.

It’s interesting to note how the accepted writing styles have changed over the last forty or fifty years or so. In the old days, the "ly" words (adverbs) and the "ing" words were used quite extensively, as were adjectives, passive verbs and passive language. I recently tuned into a marketing teleseminar where an editor was discussing all the no-nos that bug editors today. Those I just mentioned are at the top of their list. As a result we have hyper writing and hyper editing with short, choppy, direct, no-nonsense “get directly to the point” sentences. Very few, if any, eloquently flowing compound complex sentences with a few adverbs and adjectives thrown in are acceptable, and only a minimal number, if any, with passive language are acceptable.

I recently picked up a couple of Nancy Drew stories from my daughter’s library the other day and began to peruse them. They were handed down from her mother, so some of them had copyrights back to 1936. Following are a few excerpts to remind us of what was acceptable writing in those days. If Carolyn King, or her ghost writers, were to write in her original style today, it’s questionable whether she would be published. Here are a few examples of her writing which I suspect is indicative of the style of most writers of that era:

--Nancy Drew began pulling off her garden glove.
--What was that? Nancy questioned eagerly, racing noisily on tiptoe out of the room.
--Nancy laughed softly.
--Nancy’s heart suddenly gave a leap.

King’s books are rife with such adverbs and passive language phrases. Such extensive usage of the “ly” words and passive phrases today would cause editors acute baldness, and if they happen to be tee-totalers, well … who knows?

Yes, the times have changed. Not that I agree, but like it or not, I guess we have to change with them, but I kinda like the Nancy Drew stories and the adverbs and passive language. They’re fun reading.

Bill lives in Tucson, Arizona. He is a two-time Associated Press award-winning columnist and writes fiction under the name Will Edwinson. His national award-winning book, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures, is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or by asking for it at your favorite bookstore. Check his web site and blog at www.willedwinson.com. Bill also writes free-lance for IDAHO magazine.