Month: April 2011 Page 2 of 3

Platform vs. Network

Okay.  I’m here to ask for a favor.

Writers, please get off your platforms and network.

Platform:  A high place from which I say blah blah blah.

Network:  A series of nodes where we all trade favors.

Platform:  Experts preaching to the choir.

Network:  People learning how to exchange ideas and be inspired by each other, often by putting their feet in their mouths.

Platform:  Professional.

Network:  Amateur <3.

Platform:  Racking up the Twitter followers!  Yes!  Five times more people follow me than I follow!  HAHAHAHA!  The power!!!!11!!!111!!!

Network:  Being interested in the people who are interested in you.

Platform:  BUY MY BOOK!

Network:  Telling your favorite authors you’ll trade them for a review, and HAVING THEM SAY YES.

Platform:  Famous.

Network:  Helpful.

Platform:  Limited, one-way communications.

Network:  Living in a sea of ideas.

Platform:  Relying on the news for your news.

Network:  Knowing and flowing and being the news (statistically speaking).

Platform:  TV.

Network:  Telepathy; Internet.

Platform:  Get it right.

Network:  Put your foot in your mouth and move on.  Just like in a real conversation.

I would like more people to play with.  Thank you.

Attack of the 50-Foot Sushi Monster on sale!

Now at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

This weekend only!  Get “Attack of the 50-Foot Sushi Monster” FREE at Smashwords using coupon code SX86U.  More sushi than you can shake a stick at!

Attacl of the 50-Foot Sushi Monster

Sometimes Playing with Your Food Can Be Deadly

When Cat holds her birthday party at a sushi restaurant, she doesn’t expect her meal to attack!  How can one girl defeat a 50-foot-tall monster made out of raw fish, rice, and seaweed when stuffing her face is not enough?

A hand reached from behind Cat, delivering a sushi roll on its tiny wooden table.

“Ewww!” her friend Marilyn squealed. Other kids laughed or made faces.

Cat rolled her eyes. “Just try it. It’s really good.”

Marilyn shook her head; she’d never eaten sushi before. But Cat was no scaredy-cat. She’d eaten sushi plenty of times.

But this wasn’t what she’d ordered. She’s ordered crab and masago, orange eggs so tiny that they crunched when she ate them—her favorite. Instead, the waiter had brought her a roll in the shape of a doll, with two seaweed-covered legs, strips of sesame seeds and masago on its belly, and avocado arms. The doll scowled at her, tiny pieces of seaweed snipped into a face on top of a piece of tuna.

Maybe that’s what the sushi restaurant made for everybody on their birthdays. She didn’t know.

The sushi-doll’s hands, made out of tiny green leaves, seemed to move, but it must have been the wind or something.

The waiter reached over and stuck a candle in a pile of green wasabi and lit it, and the kids and parents around her started to sing Happy Birthday

Suddenly, the sushi-doll sat up, and everyone screamed, including Cat. The sushi’s head turned back and forth, still scowling at everyone, and its little mouth opened into an O.

“You murderers!” it squeaked. It pushed itself off the wood, bending one knee underneath it, then slowly, wobbly, getting to its feet. “Sushi killers!”

Math and Chocolate Night

Written last night at Ray’s school, where they were holding a math and chocolate night.  My only regret:  they kicked her out at seven.  I rambled; Ray was coloring and cutting out pattern shapes elbow to elbow with other kids, and it seemed like it took forever…

At the chocolate and math night at school.  It simultaneously seems like there are too many kids and not enough kids.  I wish that Ray’s teacher would teach like this, but I just don’t think she thinks this way, making and playing (and bribing with M&Ms).

As sometimes comes to me, math strikes me as the philosophy of “there’s a trick to it.”

There’s always a next-order solution.  Sure, you could count on your fingers, but it’s easier to know how to add (especially once you start getting into double digits).  Sure, you could laboriously trace this pattern, but you could also use folds to give you the shapes you need to cut out.  There’s a trick to it.

As always, I’m proud of the mix of people who come here.  My daughter isn’t going to school where people who are Black or Hispanic (or Indian) don’t exist, invisible.  Parents in suits, parents in sweats.  But that’s math, too–she’ll grow up knowing that most of the world isn’t white.  I feel like that will do her well in the future; more and more of this country is shifting.  Although almost every single teacher here is white, and a woman.  The janitor, the PE coach.  I think that’s it for guys–both white.

That concerns me.  I think it distorts how kids learn.  The teachers seem to treat the kids equally, but I’m  not in the classroom.  I do know that Ray seems more “girls rule” this year than last year, by a good bit.  I have to talk more to her about how she treats and talks to boys than anything else.

This year started out with boys bullying her all the time.  That seems more under control, but I still hear all kinds of stories about boys in trouble, boys always in trouble.  And that concerns me, too.

Boys and girls should be in a similar amount of trouble; when they’re not, it says something is out of whack with teaching methods.  On the one hand, girls need to be built up as much as boys.  On the other hand, boys don’t need to be torn down as much as girls.  It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.  But I’d like to see more men recruited as teachers, more people who aren’t white.  Quotas?  No.  Not hard numbers.  But more scholarships.  More begging.

Ray’s cutting out pattern blocks, the kind of thing you make mandala-like patterns with.  She did tangrams earlier, and I showed her what they were for.  We made a girl with a jaunty hat, a duck, a cat.  They’re just there to play with, the kind of play that teaches kittens how to hunt.

She’s supposed to be completing eight stations, collecting stamps on her card and candy in her bag (candy…getting hungry…).  One of the mothers says, “This is the last table, baby.”  But this is our third, and part of my brain says, “Do what you’re supposed to do, rush her from table to table, before they run out of time!  What are they supposed to do, stay until midnight?  Hurry…”

School seems so full of those useless, mindless, repetitive tasks.  Add.  Add some more.  Write all your spelling words followed by the number of vowels, a slash, and the total number of letters.  That kind of thing, day after day.

They must really think that there isn’t enough routine our kids’ lives.  Moo.  And with all that repetition, that sheer mass of tasks that take up her time, the rare project that asks any more of her has to be gone through quickly, without obsession.

And so I let her play as long as she likes.

But I still stand over her shoulder, watching, wondering if she’ll see the trick to it.  Sometimes yes.  Sometimes I butt in, catching the small errors that might mislead her–have to count all the sides of the rectangle, not just the long ones.  But she’s got it, and I feel like I’m just in the way.

Math is what you like when you like finding out the trick to it.  “The trick to it” is just another way of saying “the pattern.”

We ended up not getting to all the stations.  But they let us enter the drawing for the free book anyway.  I’m hoping for Magic School Bus.

Trailers of Meh: Tangled and Thor

Okay, here are a couple of movies I Irrationally Have No Interest in seeing:



There’s so much hype for both, that I had to stop to think what it was that turned me off.

It may not have anything to do with the movie; I think it’s the marketing.

With Tangled, all I got to see was in the early trailers was “There’s a girl!  She has hair!” at first.  Whoop de bloody doo.  Now, I look at the full trailer, which is a little more interesting, but still mostly says, “The most interesting thing about this girl is that SHE HAS HAIR!!!”  The guy has a personality, but it comes across as so trite and contrived as to be worthless, really.  And yet lots of people have told me that it’s a wonderful movie.  As far as I can tell, the story is, “Girl goes out into the world and achieves a personality, with the help of her trusty sidekicks.  Ends up happily married and with a haircut, the end.”

With Thor, again, early trailers were lame:  “There’s a boy!  He’s Thor!”  But wait, Kenneth Branaugh’s directing, so It Must Be Good.  Again with the whoop de bloody doo.  The full trailer, again, a little more interesting, but still mostly says, “The most interesting thing about this boy is that HE IS THOR!!!!”  Again, the main plot being “Boy goes out into the world and achieves a personality (personality makeover, in his case), with the help of his trusty sidekicks.  Ends up happily re-divine and with his hammer, the end.”

Or maybe it’s the movies themselves.  Maybe I just play too much with stories that are similar, “Person gets new outlook on life” stuff, and it sticks out like a sore thumb, a message that I need to move on to more interesting things.

I suspect it’s both, a little bit of lame marketing relying on “cool factor” instead of conflict, and a little bit “sick of that plot already.”  (Thor has to prove himself worthy?  Okay, lame.  Hair girl has to learn how to live in the real world?  Also, lame.  No conflict.  Thor, kicked out of Valhalla, totally his fault, accidentally stumbles on Loki’s plot to destroy the world.  Thor must stop plot even though Odin doesn’t believe a word Thor says.  Give a crap about Earthlings vs. Stop Loki:  there’s a conflict.  Hair girl finds out she’s being used by charming rogue to steal impossible object.  Being a good girl vs. Adventure.  Also a conflict.  Turns out the trailer’s all about Mr. Rogue, and how roguish he is.  Lame.)

So.  Could be perfectly good movies.  Trailers of meh.

Ketchup Day

Another writing post.  This is not because interesting, non-writing things don’t happen to me.  For instance, Ray was giving me The Teenager Look this morning.  She’s nine.  That was pretty interesting.  No, it’s because I made a major shift in my writer-mentality, and I’m still trying to work it out.

This morning, I felt like I’d tipped over some edge of mental exhaustion.  Not too surprising; I’ve been working for over a week straight, even though I took a couple of half-days off last week and weekend.  And it’s not like I couldn’t push my way through today; maybe I will, after I get caught up enough on a few things to stop stressing myself.  It just seems like I have Too Many Things to Do today, and if I Don’t Get Them All Done, I’m Doomed.

And so, a ketchup day, to work on a bunch of stuff that’s not on deadline, because I’m going mental about having too many plates spinning at the same time, and too tired to think straight.

On the other hand, I have to admit that this new book is kind of kicking my butt.  It’s a cozy, which I love reading but haven’t written before (although the murder mystery party games help with plotting, clues, etc.).  And it’s about cooking, so I have to do it right both ways.  Doing a lot of research about souffles at the moment.  Not sure if I’m catching the main character’s tone right.  Keep finding myself trying to censor her:  she doesn’t swear, but she make sex/food jokes all the time, and I keep having to wonder if comparing avocados to testicles is appropriate in a cozy.  Really, I might as well quit second-guessing myself; I can always self-publish.

At any rate, I need to make sure that I’m not just avoiding my story today.  And so, a relax, a stretch, and onward.

Storybox: Writer Software

Disclaimer:  Mark gave me a free registration for Storybox in exchange for promoting the software.  However, 1) you can try it for free as long as you like and 2) I was going to talk it up anyway.

One of the guys that I met out at the marketing workshop a few weeks ago, Mark Fassett, isn’t just a writer and musician, he’s a programmer, too, a professional one who does a lot of mobile game apps.  He got sick of apps for writers that didn’t work the way he wanted to write, so he made his own:  Storybox.

I generally don’t screw around with software for writers.  I paid my dues learning how to make the various flavors of MS Word my bitch, and it’s a point of pride to keep up my skills, although I have to admit I can no longer navigate pre-2007 versions from memory when questions come up at parties, etc.

However, during the workshop, Mark kept talking about his software (he wasn’t bragging about it; related subjects just kept coming up), so I had to check it out after I got back.

Well, crap, man.  I wish I’d seen it before.  Although I suppose I wouldn’t have used it, not having had Kris inform me that I had to turn off my spell/grammar check underline wavies for the rest of the proposals for her part of the workshop.  First, THAT was an experience.  I wrote faster and better, just from getting rid of my reds and greens.  After I told her about my experience of finally remembering to run a proposal through spell-check after turning off autocheck, and finding only one misspelled word anyway, she said, “Good.  That’s why your proposals got so much more voice all of a sudden.”  So by the time I got home, I was ready to consider using software that wasn’t softly clearing its throat from over my shoulder all the time, instead of being proud of my ability to tune that throat-clearing out.

I got home, installed the software, and ran with it.

It was quite the experience.

I hate to brag (really, I mean, I like to be praised, but I’d rather people just found out about this stuff and said nice things about it without me having to toot my horn).  But I typed anywhere from 1.5-2K an hour for a 21K novella, which is almost double what I normally type.  It was logorrhea.  No spelling/grammar prompts.  I just turned on the fullscreen view and went for it.  It was like getting a powerup in a videogame.  Kind of scary.  A lot of “Am I writing utter and complete shit?” went through my head.

I finished the spelling/grammar check on Saturday.  I had some honest typos, but most of what Word pulled up was sentence fragments and other things that I’d done on purpose.  Screw you, Word.  You’re a worry wort, and I know from worry worts.  I checked for dumbass errors, made a few minor corrections.  Done.  Too @#$%^& easy.

The story was all right.  I like it.

The other thing I did, mainly (I’m sure I didn’t use half of the features, like the typewriter sound, sorry Mark, that’s just doofy, but I know some people like it) was to pop out of fullscreen view to consult my brief outline and list of character names.  I normally write out an outline in longhand in a notebook and try to hit all the points as I write.  This time, I typed it into the synopsis window and popped out of fullscreen whenever I got stuck.  Fast, and I didn’t have to have extra crap on my desk, and the files are all organized together, so I can’t lose/misfile anything.  Same thing with character names.  Stuck them in notes.  I’m always screwing up character names (and place names), so it was very nice.  I think it’ll be a help if I write anything with sequels; I think I can just import the character names into the sequel.  I’ll have to see.

Another thing I should point out – you don’t have to save in Storybox.  Every time you stop for more than like two seconds, it background saves, which removes another niggling background distraction.  And switching programs by alt-tabbing back in forth, while you’re in fullscreen, is not going to work, so if you’re like me and have this automatic twitch to go to the Internet every time your brain is trying to think up the next thing, you’ll have to take an extra step, to think about it before you do it.  Nice.

You can export to .rtf if it makes you happy, or you can cut and paste the whole shebang into whatever Word template you feel like using.  Mark figured out a way to epublish directly from Storybox, which I mentally registered but didn’t check out yet.  I’d like to see exporting directly to an .rtf file formatted for novel or short story standard ms format, but I can see were that might take some doing, and his time might be better off spent writing (he has a high fantasy novel, Shattered, out on various ebook sites that I’ll be reading shortly, after this monster tome I’m savoring right now).

Anyway, please, as writers, go look at Storybox.  I’m up to writing 2 stories and a novella on it already, and it has saved me a ton of time and has probably let me write just that leeeetle bit better that I’m always greedy for.  I like reading good books…so I’ll share 🙂

Zombie Girl Invasion on sale!

Now at, Barnes and Noble, and

This weekend only!  Get “Zombie Girl Invasion” FREE at Smashwords only using coupon code MF89W. Act now; zombies are waiting for your click!


Neil hates zombies.  Neil hates girls.  Dang ol’ zombie girl.

Neil hates zombies. Neil hates girls. Bleah. But then the zombies invade, and he has to save the zombie girl from being eaten…by other zombies!

Neil hated zombies.  I mean, really hated zombies.  If he ever saw a zombie, he would tear the refrigerator off the wall and smash it over the zombie’s head, so it squished out the bottom like a packet of ketchup.  Or shoot it with a shotgun, right the head, so its head would explode like a tomato.  Or burn it up with a flamethrower, or chop its head off with a samurai sword, or lasers.

It’s okay to kill zombies.

His dad understood that it was okay to kill zombies, as long as it wasn’t too loud, or in church or at school or at the grocery store, and then it was okay to kill zombies as long as you did it quietly.  His mom didn’t understand at all, but that was girls for you.


Putting it all together.

Wow.  I just feel completely dried up as far as blog posts go.

So, rather than write no blog post, I’ll just write a lame blog post!  A braggy post to build myself up.  It feels @#$%^&* weird.

The last six months have been a transition from “writer” to “pro writer,” which is something that, subconsciously, I never believed I would hit.  So just feeling like this is an unexpected milestone.  Other people have believed in me, but this is the first time I’ve believed in myself, as far as writing goes.

It’s been made up of mini-milestones.

May 19, 2010 (I know, more than six months) – Quit job, started as freelancer.

September 2010 – first started pulling in regular work as a freelancer.

October 2010 – first semi-pro published story, in Three-Lobed Burning Eye.

November 2010 – wrote about 110K, mainly made out of 5K chunks with a few days off, felt uncomfortable when I broke that rhythm

January 2011 – almost broke even for the first time. Published second semi-pro story, in Silverthought Online.

February 2011 – posted first e-story, “A Fly in Amber.”

March 2011 – honorable mention in Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 3.  Went to DWS/KKR marketing workshop.  That was the kicker, and I don’t know how to thank them.  Roses?  I’m not having any more kids so don’t expect any Deans or Krises at my house.

April 2011 – started small press, Wonderland Press.  Cranking out stories (there’s a new one up today).  Back in the undeniable rush of writing my own fiction.  Plotted out writing and publishing schedules (this feels very good).  Looking at minuscule but slightly-higher-than-hoped-for sales already (I have LOW expectations.)  Going to talk at PPWC at the end of the month.

This, on top of 10 years being a poet, and another 13 years building up my fiction skills (I screwed around a lot).  Fourteen books, two novellas, maybe fifty-some stories.  Like I said, I screwed around a lot, if that’s all I got done in thirteen years of writing…I didn’t really get serious about it until 2003 or so, when Ray was a wee one.  I started out with the commitment to write 100 whole words a day.  And didn’t make it, a lot of the time.  I look back at all the time I pissed away and have to laugh.

So.  It’ll probably be another ten years, if I can hack it, before I have any name recognition, another ten years before I can afford to start thinking about giving Lee the modest slackerdom that he deserves (hey.  I get to define my own success, dammit).  But this is the month where I labeled myself a pro writer.

Now, ask me tomorrow, and something will hit me up the side of the head, and I’ll be a failure again.  But that’s tomorrow.


Formatting for Lulu, Part 2 (covers).

I just finished doing another Lulu gift book, so I better post this before I forget how to do it (again).

Same caveats as in the first post:

If you privately create on Lulu (using the private only option), it does not affect your first publishing rights; you have NOT made the book public.  If you publicly create the book so people can buy it from, it DOES affect your first publishing rights and you have “self-published” the book.  This is NOT a guide for self-publishing the book, but for obtaining private copies ONLY.

I’m assuming you’ve read Part 1, on getting the rest of your book set up, and all you have left to do is the cover.

You can use the Lulu Cover Wizard.  If so, have fun; I got frustrated with it and decided not to use it.  Likewise the old cover designer.  Instead, what I use is the advanced one-piece cover designer, which you can reach by clicking a link near the top of the cover page.

You will have to set up your interior book file before you do your one-piece cover, because you want Lulu to calculate the size of the spine for you.

Keep in mind:

  • Your file must be PDF, JPG, GIF, or PNG.  You can start out with whatever you want, but it must end up as this.
  • Some programs that you use (like PowerPoint, which I go through here) will not save your image in 300 dots per inch (dpi).  This means that when you upload the non-300 dpi file, Lulu will tell you that you have uploaded a file of the wrong size.
  • If any white shows up on your cover preview on the Upload Your One-Piece Cover screen, the white came from your original file, and you have to trim it off manually.


I am assuming you’re using images that you own or have permission to use, that you have PowerPoint and Paint, and are using Office 2007.

Save your file!  Often!

  1. Open Lulu and complete all steps for your project up to the cover file.
  2. Go to the advanced one-piece cover designer.  You should see Upload Your One-Piece Cover toward the top of the page.
  3. Open PowerPoint.
  4. Clear any existing boxes or stuff off the new PP file.
  5. Go to the Page Setup Dialogue (Design | Page Setup).
  6. Set up your page size to match your cover size as listed on the Upload Your One-Piece Cover page.  This means the whole, wraparound cover.  Not the paper size.
  7. On the Total Cover Width bullet in Lulu, find the size of the cover, in inches.  Enter it in PP on the Page Setup popup and click OK.
  8. In PP, insert a rectangle (Insert | Shapes).
  9. Right-click the rectangle and select Size and Position from the dropdown menu.
  10. Go into Lulu and get the number, in inches, from the Spine begins bullet.
  11. In PP, enter the height of the book (from the Total Cover Width bullet in Lulu) and the distance from the left side to the spine (from the Spine begins bullet in Lulu) in the Height and Width fields on the Size and Position popup and click Close.
  12. Move the rectangle to the upper-left corner; it should snap in place and cover the complete left side of the PP slide.
  13. Right-click the rectangle and select Format Shape from the drop-down menu.
  14. Select the Fill item and change the fill to No fill.
  15. Select the Line Style item and change the width to .25 and click Close.
  16. Press Ctrl-C to copy the rectangle.
  17. Press Ctrl-V to paste a copy of the rectangle.
  18. Drag the copied rectangle to the upper-right corner; it should snap in place and cover the complete side of the PP slide.  The gap between the two rectangles is your book spine.
  19. Insert a text box (Insert | Text Box) near the spine.
  20. Type the name of your title, press tab, and type your name.
  21. Select the text box so you can edit the box design.
  22. Change the text direction so the letters go from top to bottom (Home | Text Direction | Rotate all text 90 degrees).
  23. Move the text box so the upper left corner of the box is in the upper left corner of the text area.
  24. Resize the box so it stretches to the bottom of the book.
  25. Resize the box so it fits the width of the spine.  You may have issues with this.  If so, right-click the text box, select Format Text Box from the dropdown menu, select the Text Box item, and select Do not Autofit from the Autofit menu.
  26. Whether you have issues or not, right-click the text box, select Format Text Box form the dropdown menu, select the Text Box item, and change the Horizontal Alignment to Center.  Click Close.  This will align your text in the center of the spine, no matter what you do with it.
  27. Make sure your rulers are visible (View | Ruler).
  28. Set your tabs for the spine.  First, move the edges of the printable areas of the spine closer to the center of the book by 1/2 inch.  This is because the cover you are designing will be bigger than the cover you can print.  You must leave a blank but colored area all the way around your book.  Lulu doesn’t say how much that area is, but I guesstimate it to be about 1/4 inch.  So indent your outside tabs about 1/2 inch, because you don’t want the edges of your letters on the very ends of your book.
  29. On the up-and-down ruler on the left, there is a gray icon that looks like an hourglass with an extra box below it.  Drag that 1/2 inch down.
  30. Above the up-and-down ruler on the left, there is a small box with an L in it.  Click this box until a backwards L appears.  Click on the ruler about 1/2 inch away from the bottom edge.  An L should appear in the ruler, and your name should jump down so the end of your name is at the L mark.
  31. Insert your graphics as desired (remembering that about 1/4 will get chopped off around the edges).  Again, this is presuming that you are making a gift book and don’t need to worry about ISBN or back cover information.  If the graphics don’t cover the whole slide, change the background and/or fill to a solid color.
  32. Insert your title and name on the front cover in text boxes or using Word Art.  Step about 10 feet away and squint.  If you can’t read the title or your name, change the font to make it stand out more or change the art so it’s not so busy.
  33. When you have the cover looking the way you want to, select each of the rectangle shapes in turn and remove the borders (Right click, Format Shape | Line Color | No line).  The positioning of a book cover on a book is apparently not an exact science, and any lines are liable to be just a tiny bit off, so don’t put big borders around the edges.  (Look at the books on your shelves.  No borders, for the most part; if there are, like on the Idiot’s guides, they’re fat borders.  That’s why.)  The borders were just there as guidelines.
  34. Save the file.
  35. Save the file as a .jpg (Office button | Save as | Save as Type | JPEG).  Select Current Slide Only if prompted.
  36. Go to the file location of the .jpg file, right click it, and select Open with | Paint.
  37. Click the Resize button.  The Resize and Skew button should appear.
  38. Select the Pixels button.
  39. Go to Lulu and find the cover measurement in Pixels.  PP doesn’t save in 300 dpi, as mentioned above.  What you’re doing will make the resolution of your images worse. (Don’t like it, invest in Photoshop or InDesign or whatever.  This is the Where There’s a Will There’s a Way method).
  40. Enter the measurement in pixels into the Paint Resize and Skew window.  Click OK.
  41. Save the file in Paint.
  42. In Lulu, click the Choose File button, select the updated .jpg file, and click Open.
  43. In Lulu, click the Upload button.
  44. If everything went well, you should see a picture of your cover with a green border on it.  Everything covered by the green border (approximately) will get chopped off.  This is to make sure your cover doesn’t have weird white edges on it where the printer and cutter misaligned slightly.  It’s standard, so get used to it.
  45. If something important will get chopped off, go back to your PP file and update the cover, then redo the steps from there.
  46. If you get an error message saying the file is the wrong size, review the steps above, especially the part using Paint.  If there is white space around the picture, your paper size is the wrong size in PP; go back to that step.
  47. At this point, make sure you view the print-ready previews of your cover and interior, making any corrections necessary.
  48. Order your book.

I hope this helps.

    How to Fail, Part 10: The End!

    I have to get materials to the PPWC committee by the 13th, so I better finish this up pronto.

    I had intended to include how to submit to other types of markets than short story markets, but I am OUT OF TIME.  I had no idea that writing about short story submissions was going to take up so much damned time.  It’s pretty boring, too; important, but boring, so I think my handouts will focus on the short story subs process, so I can stand up and talk about the fun stuff.  Well, what I think of as the fun stuff.

    The publishing world continues to change quickly.  I started a small press to publish me, myself, as an e-publisher (for now), and I’ve already had people asking me if they can submit to me, despite saying not to do it several times on the site. I’ve told them to head over to Dean’s site and find out how to Think Like a Publisher, because if I can do it, hell.  It’s just a matter of determination.

    I have a feeling that I could make a ton of money setting up people’s ebooks for them.  Charge a fee, they get formatting and cover, I’m gone, they get royalties, goodbye.  I could probably edit them, too, because I’m starting to grasp how to edit people without @#$%^&* up their style.  Except it’s never that simple, and I don’t have the experience to do it right – yet.  I don’t know.  I’m going to keep grinding that learning curve (and mixing my metaphors*) and think about it for later.  I like helping people; I like being the know-it-all, obviously.  But I like writing more.

    Here’s what I think:

    • Write a lot.  Think about where you want to go with your writing – kinda good, really good, world famous.  Decide when you want to get there, and figure out how many words per day it’s going to take to get there.  Write those words.
    • Rewriting doesn’t count.
    • Ask other people to read your writing.  But don’t sweat what they say.  Dude, when it comes to matters of taste, we’re all amateurs, except when it comes to our own tastes, which is what you write.  Try to find out who likes your stuff and why:  that’s your market, really.  Your reader.
    • Getting critiques from other writers is almost more of a way to test yourself than it is to find out how you should rewrite.  Can you survive criticism?  Get critiques and find out.  Then work on your weaknesses, both emotional and writerly.  But don’t kill yourself rewriting; you’ll never get your words done.
    • Submit at paying markets that you would like to read and that publish your kind of thing.
    • Track.
    • Keep submitting until you get acceptances.
    • When you get accepted, read your contracts.

    I have a contract up right now that I’m not sure about.  They want exclusive ebook rights for 2 years, but may negotiate.  Ahhhh, I don’t know.  I want that story where it is, probably enough to never get it back, so I’ll probably take it and fume over the 2 years.  One year, I wouldn’t think twice about, but 2 seems a lot.

    • If you decide to epublish, do your research.  DO NOT throw yourself at small press publishers who are there to put up their own work.  You can do it.  You can do it ALL by yourself.  There’s a tradeoff between money and time.  I advise learning how to do it yourself, before hiring someone else.  THEN decide.  You will have to check everything they do for you; you better know how to do it yourself.
    • Talk to other writers.  We’re nuts.  We’re OFTEN wrong.  But we’re your kind.

    That’s about it, I guess.  Any questions?


    *What do you call it when you compare everything to bacon?  A meataphor.

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