WritersEra |OT| Publish before you die

UCBooties Published Works list
  • UCBooties

    Oct 26, 2017
    Pennsylvania, USA
    I'm home!

    Previously published works:

    "Irreconcilable Divergence" in Trumpocalypse!: A Total Disaster from Zelmer Pulp
    "Footfalls in Shadow" a tie in for Beneath Nexus from Silverclutch Games (Read for free here, .pdf link at the bottom of the Patreon update)

    Upcoming published work:

    "The Adventure of the Disintegrated Man" will be appearing in Sherlock Holmes: In the Realms of H. G. Wells from Belanger Books (Kickstarter pre-orders will run through November 19, 2017)
    AngmarKings Published Works list
  • Oct 26, 2017
    Writing-Era Challenge Update!

    The 10th Entry has gone live on Amazon!

    After getting pretty dark and bleak in the 8th Entry, then getting on the road back in the 9th Entry, I returned to the lighter adventure-y "Princess Bride" tone here in the 10th Entry.

    10 down. 2 to go. Whew!

    As for the business side, still really getting el zippo in actual sales. I continue to see random Kindle Unlimited page reading bursts. I made $3 this month. "Don't quit your day job!"
    Xagarath’s Published Works list
  • Xagarath

    Oct 28, 2017
    North-East England
    I have found that many agents only want to be queried for completed works. At least from newer authors. How much reception are you getting for your pitch? Are you able to leverage the fact that you already have a completed work to get more attention from agents?
    I've actually been invited to pitch the project (which isn't strictly a novel) by a company based on my having an already-published book, though I had to send them a bunch of concepts first.
    Can you post a link to your current book?
    Certainly I can!
    Or on goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36317772-lamplight
    Katana’s general writing tips
  • Dec 14, 2017
    I mean I am always open to tips.
    the more I can absorb right now, the less I have to edit later :P

    it's also why I try to help where I can publicly so that others can call me out if I have the wrong idea somewhere lol
    Ok, here goes!

    I sent this as an email for my local critique group early on. I'd already been in an online critique community and figured I could share some of the things I learned. I wanted to post it here to see if you agree or disagree with any of it and so that YOU could share YOUR craft advice too. Alright, everything beneath this is from the email:

    I thought I’d just share some things I’ve learned in critique. Take or leave as it suits you.

    1. Prologues: Don’t. If you need a prologue, it means you don’t know how to fold world-building into your writing. There are no good prologues. You’re asking your reader to begin your story twice. The best you can hope for is a tolerable prologue. Tolerable means that you sit through it in order to get to the actual story. Please don’t ask your readers to do this. So why do so many beginning writers write prologues? It’s cheap, easy world-building. It’s a place to info-dump.

    2. Start of story: Don’t start your story any sooner than is absolutely necessary for your reader to understand. What that means is that if the beginning of your story is really backstory, don’t start there. Don’t start with world building. Epic Fantasy folks have a little bit of leeway here, but only a little. Why do we start our stories too early? Because it’s shit we, as authors, need to know about our characters. The reader doesn’t need to know these things, except in passing or as a brief recap. It’ll be in your first draft because it might need to be for YOU to understand your characters. Take it out and start at the latest possible moment in order to make your story comprehensible to your reader. Use beta readers to determine whether you’ve started too soon. Beta readers can’t be friends or family—they’re not reliable.

    3. Don’t use ‘was-verbing’ unless it’s truly contemporaneous to what’s happening. Examples of proper use of ‘was-verbing’: “He was rifling through her purse when she walked into the room.” That’s reasonable because it’s better than “He rifled through her purse as she walked into the room”. He was doing it before she entered the scene and you’re describing that he’s also currently doing it. This is especially true if, in this instance, your POV is hers and not his. Why do we so often write ‘was-verbing’? Because we’re writing the story as we see it and it’s the most natural way to write it. There’s gonna be a lot of ‘was-verbing’ in your first drafts. You have to go back in and change ‘was standing’ to ‘stood’. It’s easier for the reader. Also, every incidence of ‘was-verbing’ changes a unique verb into a repetitive ‘was’ version simply by the inclusion of ‘was’. It makes all the verbs sound the same. Killing it auto-magically makes your writing less repetitive.

    4. POV changes must be earned. What does that mean? It means don’t start your second chapter with a POV change. The exception is romance, where a ‘her POV’, ‘his POV’ is common and quite natural. It doesn’t work for epic fantasy. We need to become attached to your character before your POV changes. A great time to change POV is on a cliff-hanger because, although the reader doesn’t want to change POV, they’ll tolerate it to find out what happens to the character they’ve now become attached to. While they’re suffering the POV change, you MUST strive to make the next character as compelling as your first. If you do it right, the reader will be thrilled every time you change POV after the first few.

    5. No adverbs in dialogue tags. '“What do you mean?” she asked bashfully.’ We should read ‘bashful’ in the dialogue and what has preceded it. If we can’t, you need to sharpen your dialogue. Most often I see this when the author doesn’t trust the reader to get it, so they hit them over the head in the dialogue tag. What I mean is that ‘bashful’ is in the dialogue or the action tag, but the writer doesn’t trust the reader to ‘get it’. You can’t cure idiocy. Don’t even try. If it’s there, the reader hears it. Exceptions include: Slowly, quickly, etc., because there you’re actually showing how the dialogue should read. Some people will still bash you for using it, but I think that it’s acceptable. That’s me, not a golden rule. Another exception: Always use an adverb when the alternative will be clunky. What I mean is that I’ve never seen a ‘show’ version of ‘gingerly’ that wasn’t more awkward than the word ‘gingerly’.

    6. Structure notes: The ‘inciting incident’ should happen within the first 25% of your novel. The inciting incident is the thing that means that life can’t go on as normal. The man finds his wife in bed with someone else, the portal to the next dimension appears, the character comes across an orphan and has to re-think how he approaches his life. This is a lot more vague in ‘literary fiction’, which means you have to be a hell of a lot better writer to pull it off.

    7. Try to reduce filtering. We talked about this briefly in group, but what this means is that you want to limit your use of ‘heard’, ‘saw’, etc. We assume the viewpoint is from the POV indicated, but when you draw attention to it, it has the bizarre effect of distancing the reader. I used the example: “She heard a shot from the other side of the room.” The reader assumes it’s what the POV character heard, so state it as, “A shot rang out from across the room.” This allows the reader to identify with the character instead of coming to the realization that the character is not THEM. The exception here is that sometimes you need to let the reader know that it’s something specific to the character. “She’d heard the news, and it wasn’t pretty.” (Note to critique readers: You’re gonna find a lot of this in my work because I have a lot of ‘internal’ stuff for an action genre. Point it out, because I can’t always see it and it’s like sleeping with a stripper…you’ll never get the glitter out of the sheets. It’s just everywhere for some of us and we need to have it pointed out.)

    8. Adverbs. You’ve heard adverbs are bad, right? But why are they bad? They’re only bad because they serve to shore up a weak verb. “Walked slowly” is “crept”. “Listened attentively” is better described by showing the facial expression and movements of the character. If you keep this in mind, you’ll still use adverbs occasionally (see what I did there?), but you won’t overuse them and you won’t use them for the wrong reason. You can break any rule you want if you know WHY the rule exists and address it.

    9. Take a drill and lobotomize the part of your brain that has learned the word ‘really’. Really. You almost never need it. Exceptions include dialogue, because people honestly talk that way. While you’re drilling into your grey matter, remove the word ‘almost’, at least for fiction except for dialogue. You can do anything you want in dialogue because people speak like imbeciles. This is especially true if they’re talking to someone to whom they are attracted.

    10. Dialogue should convey verisimilitude, but it should skip the shit the reader doesn’t want to hear. This includes ‘um’ unless you need it to emphasize a pause. PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY TO THIS: Skip ‘dialogue preamble’ like ‘Well,’. or ‘Yes,’. Yup, we use it when we speak, but you can cut it and no one will miss it and it’ll make your dialogue sing. ALSO THIS: People do NOT regularly use a person’s name when they speak because they’re literally talking to the person they’re addressing. Use names as emphasis. Think of them as chili peppers—too much and it’s inedible.

    11. Dialogue again: Never have your characters discuss shit they already know. Try not to have them think about it either. This makes it hard to build your world, but you need to find a way around it. Personally, I use ‘naive’ characters so that explaining makes sense. ****** is using tweens, so that should work, though they already know a lot. I don’t know enough about ****'s character because I didn’t get that far in the reading. I know NOTHING of********'s characters because she didn’t read from her work.

    12. Structure again, because it was mentioned: You MAY have a natural instinct for structure. It may be your strength and it’s why you see authors like King advise against outlines or clear structure goals. The thing is, you can’t teach that which comes naturally to you—you do it automatically, so many authors avoid talking about structure because it DOES naturally come to them. Use critique and betas to find out whether you really can ‘pants’ it or not. Many can, but some writers absolutely can’t find a plot with a flashlight and decoder ring. If that’s you, you need to know as early as possible so that you can plan more. This doesn’t make you a worse writer. The only bad writers are writers who don’t know what they’re bad at and don’t come up with systems to help them.

    13. Equivocation: The word ‘seem’ should rarely appear in your work. You’re writing from the POV of your character and you need to get it across, even if it’s wrong. A character can be mistaken (and it’s fun to use that when you can), but write it as though it’s definitively what’s happening. Don’t use “a little”. It’s vague as a quantity and it equivocates when, almost always, such equivocation is both unnecessary and detrimental to your narrative.

    14. Adjectives, too many. Not every noun needs an adjective. I see it a lot in early work and I STILL do it a lot and have to pull it out. What’s IMPORTANT to emphasize? Emphasize that. You saw in my own work that I used ‘vestigial tub’. I’ve been hammered for it because the tub isn’t important enough for a ten dollar adjective.

    15. THIS BLEW MY MIND: You can skip ‘transportation’. Look at movies. You don’t need to show them crossing a street, you can simply place them on the other side and trust that the reader knows how they got there. My third chapter takes a direct cut to a bar with a VERY brief description of why my MC is there now and how it happened. One reader has suggested that I show the details. I want to kill this reader because it’s bad advice. She suggested it because she doesn’t know the characters very well yet and wanted ‘flavor’. The flavor comes later and in the midst of things. Salt is good IN something, but by itself…I dunno, I guess it kills leaches. It isn’t good by itself.

    16. MOAR STRUCTURE!! The ‘turning point’ should happen by the middle of your novel. The ‘turning point’ comes when the character has tried the easy way out and it hasn’t worked. They accept that they need to change something fundamental. Usually, they hate it. They hate it for the same reason you hate it when your spouse moves your shoes—it takes extra effort and it’s awkward and kind of a pain in the ass. Here’s the thing about the turning point—from here on out, your character is proactively doing shit, not just reacting to the shit done to her. If you wait too long for this change to happen, people will clobber you with ‘passive MC’ slurs. Yes, you can kill them, but then you have to change your structure because they’re right.

    17. Don’t give your readers what they want. Is there a misunderstanding in a relationship? Drag it out. Have them be interrupted before anyone can apologize. Giving your characters or your readers what they want kills momentum. If you DO give it to them, take it back in a painful way. My MC gets to have her love for a side character requited briefly before it’s yanked away. Then you get both the joy of the kiss and the pain of the separation. Let your reader taste victory early on if you’re a bastard like me, but there is no victory of any kind till the end of the novel (and there should be a turd on the wedding cake if you want to turn it into a series).

    18. “Things happen” isn’t a plot. There needs to be increasing urgency and tension. Exception: “Literary Fiction”. However, if you’re writing lit, every sentence better give the reader an orgasm, because anything short of that will fail in an embarrassing way.

    19. Addendum to number 18: You can’t go balls to the wall all the time. Sometimes you DO have to let the reader catch their breath or even give them something small so that you’re not writing Life Sucks, Why Don’t You Kill Yourself Already, a Novel.

    20. You probably already know most of what I’ve said here. I didn’t and so that’s why I’m writing this. It’s not because I know things. I don’t know anything. It’s depressing. I’m still very much in the conscious incompetence stage of writing. It’s just that it’s (barely) better than unconscious incompetence. It’s more painful than unconscious incompetence, too. Fuck. I need a beer.
    BorkBork’s submission guidance links
  • BorkBork

    Oct 25, 2017
    An oldie but a goodie for anyone who's interested:

    How to Submit Your Writing to Literary Magazines

    This article is designed to be a complete and thorough guide for anyone who is interested in having their short story or poem published in a literary magazine, but doesn’t know where to start. You’ll probably find it most useful if you’ve never sent out your work before, or if you’re just beginning to try and get published. This guide is also quite specific to literary magazines. If you’re looking to publish an article, interview, review or feature then the process is quite different. If however it’s a short story, poem or other piece of creative writing that you want to publish, read on!
    Shoeless’ comics submission info links
  • Shoeless

    Oct 27, 2017
    Even if you just wanted to apply as a writer? That’s weird that they would want sample pages as well, unless it’s so that they can see how the story flows?
    Well, it might be different at the smaller comic publishers, like Slave Labor Graphics, but for the "big boys," yeah. Here's a list of the requirements for the major comic book publishers. Of them all, only Image readily accepts writers via online submission, and even then, they still require finished art work. It's not a huge surprise; comics are a visual medium. You have to be prepared to say "I've thought this out, and here's my artist." They're not so keen on taking on a completely untried writing talent and assigning a new artist to them, hoping it will turn out for the best.
    Shoeless’ agent review links
  • Shoeless

    Oct 27, 2017
    Well I just stumbled upon my first questionable literary agency. Started with me questioning all the formatting instructions for submitting manuscript samples (while also telling you to copy it to the body of the e-mail when much of the formatting wouldn't adhere.) only to discover after a google search that they seem to simply shop your book around to all the low bar publishers that accept direct queries anyway. Dodged a bullet I guess.
    Yeah, it sounds like you did dodge a bullet. If you're interested in doing a decent search of literary agencies, try using the Query Tracker website for useful stats on various agencies, and if you want more in depth "dirt" on what each agency is like, ask around the Bewares & Recommendations sub-forum of Absolute Write. There's literally years worth of writers there sharing their experiences with different agencies, so it's a great resource for finding out whether you're interacting with a reputable agency, or one that's a scam.
    Ziltoidia 9’s Published Works list
  • Ziltoidia 9

    Oct 25, 2017
    I'm running a free promo for something I wrote 4 years ago, well I started writing it about 9 years ago, started as script (which I still have) but I liked the charactor so much I wanted to do a first person stream of thought prose with it.

    Its relatively short, and if anyone was to read it, I'd appreciate an honest review on amazing.

    I was never a great writer in school or anything, but I love to do it even though I have dyslexia. So make no mistake there are probably issues in it, even though I had help editing it.

    If I went back and read it now I'd probably be really harsh on it myself.

    Anyway, if anyone wants it, its got 1 more day left on the free promo - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EFU4232/?tag=era0f0-20
    Shoeless’ editing/proofing advice
  • Shoeless

    Oct 27, 2017
    Question for anyone experienced enough with the process to answer.

    I’ve finished my Beta draft, and am ready to deliver to my handful audience. My question is this: After taking in their feedback (which hopefully isn’t catastrophic), what are the next steps? Query an agent? A professional edit?
    This depends entirely on what you're comfortable with. A professional editor can be a great idea if you find the right one, but that involves a lot of research and, of course, you need to have a budget in place for that. A quality editor will, at minimum, run you several hundred dollars, and that's just for a developmental/structural edit, which only looks at your story itself to help you with pacing/character/structural problems, and makes no attempt to actually edit the prose itself, or fix typos. For that kind of full-blooded edit/copy edit, that will run you even more if you don't have the confidence to do it yourself. Some writers will do this to give their book the best possible chance in the hands of a literary agent, other writers will do this because they're self-publishing, have the money on hand, and want to make sure their writing is as professional as possible before hitting the market.

    But once you've gotten the beta reader comments back, I'd say read them, then sit on them and decide which ones really improve the book for the better. All of this is going to be pure opinion, so not all the beta comments are going to resonate with you. However, if you find that, say, you had 10 beta readers and 7 of them are pointing out a thing and saying it's problematic, you should definitely pay closer attention to that. If everyone's opinions are all over the place about different things, that's just individual taste at work. If lots of them are consistently getting hung up on something, that's a red flag to you that you've probably got something to fix.

    Once you've made the changes, you should try to polish your book as much as possible. You absolutely don't have to pay for a copy or line-by-line edit at this stage, but try on your own to fix as many typos and grammar errors as you can spot. Grammar checker add-ons like Grammarly can help in this regard if you're willing to use the trial, or even just subscribe for a month, long enough to get the job done. When that's all finished, make sure your book adheres to all the standard manuscript submission format conventions, like being double-spaced, 12 point in a font like Times Roman or Courier, all that good stuff. Then take a good long time to work up a good query letter, which, to me personally, I found harder to do than writing the damn book. When you've got a query letter, start looking up the agents that represent your genre, compile your list, or just use some service like QueryTracker to help, and then... welcome to the Query Trenches. You're now slogging it out with thousands of other people trying to get the attention of a literary agent who will, if you're lucky, offer representation, then be your advocate, getting editors to look at your book and trying to convince those editors to give you a deal.

    That's the conventional way to do it. Although the agent hunt these days has a lot of different options, like Twitter pitches directly to agents, going to SFF conventions and pitching to agents in person, or even new activities like "Pitch Wars" where hopeful new writers enter a contest to have their novel considered by established writers who then act as mentors, polishing up the novels, and then bringing them to literary agents to consider. There are a lot of ways to go about these days.
    Flowers’ fight scene tips
  • Oct 25, 2017
    Coming in late on this but great list Butt-shot Katana some really helpful stuff I'm going to use in the future. Specifically the filtering and transportation one.

    *Some advice from me. In action scenes Clarity>>>Style. If people don't know what's going on, your fight scene is automatically terrible no matter how cool you're describing it. Also knowledge of martial arts helps a bit, it lets you expand your vocabulary and a better vocabulary about a subject means you have better ways to describe it.

    *Read stories in the genre you're writing. Make note of what they're doing, how they're writing it, what is and isn't working for you with it.

    *Read stories out of your genre/comfort zone. Variety is the spice of life and all that jazz

    *Nothing is final. Just cause you're writing a thing doesn't mean people automatically need to read it. Its okay to have things for yourself. Experiment, do weird prose, try different styles of writing and know its okay to write and put time into bad things. My prose went from very thick to nearly minimalistic to a bit more of a balance right now. Currently, I'm trying to add some meat to my writing style again because I think my descriptions have been lacking. Experimentation is the key to evolution. In the course of this change, I've wrtiten Bradbury-esque space adventure, dark fantasy adventures, and silly stories of kids falling in and out of love. I've come to terms with the fact no one will ever read those stories and that's fine because I wrote them and I enjoyed it and have gotten a little better with each one.

    *Each scene/chapter/whatever should have some kind of change. Whether if its the characters move locations or soften up on their ideals, there should be a change somewhere otherwise your scene/chapter/whatever is meaningless. That's the secret to pacing, making sure things are always moving even if its just small things like your characters decide tomorrow would be a good day to get coffee. Even your quiet chapters should have some form of change in them. Again, its okay for that change to be small, just so long as its there.

    Also dropping a link to the latest short story challenge because they're great. I've been doing them for like three+ years and have learned a lot from them. They've been great at keeping me writing consistently and we've got quite a few really talented writers in there. If you're not confident in your style and not really sure what might be your strengths/weakness these are a good way to get an idea of what others think of your writing. 10/10 can't recommend them enough.
    Cyan’s beta reader tips
  • Cyan

    Oct 25, 2017
    One thing to consider with beta readers is what you actually want them to give you. To use a simple analogy, a reader can give feedback in the form of a prescription, a diagnosis, or a list of symptoms. (Prescription: "cut these three paragraphs of worldbuilding stuff from this chapter and add some action." Diagnosis: "you have way too much worldbuilding in this chapter, it makes it boring." Symptoms: "I started to lose interest and get bored during this part of the chapter.") All of these types of feedback can be useful in different contexts, but to be frank I don't really want most people to give me prescriptions or even a diagnosis. I'll take that from my trusted crit group (sometimes), but for beta readers I'd rather find out how they reacted to things and then consider what to do with that feedback in the context of what I'm trying to do with the story.

    What I tend to look for (oh hey this is another thing I got from MRK) is for a beta reader to note places they were jarred out of the story for one reason or another, and in particular any places they are confused, don't believe, or don't care about what's happening. Also anywhere they went "oh cool!" so I don't accidentally fix that. And then I can consider whether their reaction indicates a place I fucked up and need to fix (a character's name changes through a scene and it's confusing ), vs an issue with the story somewhere else that is causing a bad reaction here (I need to foreshadow this event earlier in the story so they believe it when it happens), vs their reaction simply being unhelpful and something to ignore (they think this is supposed to be a romance when it's primarily a scifi story), vs weird miscommunication stuff where you might need to spend some effort to track it down (wait why do you think this one character is manic depressive he's not at all oh I see I used the word "manic" two chapters ago, deleted).

    Of course if you have a beta reader who's giving you prescriptive advice and you keep reacting "whoa that's really helpful, she gets exactly what I was going for and this helps me get there" to everything she tells you, by all means keep her around! People like that are gold.

    (As a side note, someone getting facts about the story wrong can be useful feedback in itself: did they miss a detail because it was buried in a giant paragraph, and you need to pull it out or repeat it a few times? Did they zone out in the big explanation scene, and you need to keep it interesting even with all the names and places, or maybe break it up somehow? etc)
    Emerson’s Published Works list
  • Emerson

    Oct 25, 2017
    If you guys will tolerate a brief foray into self promotion, I have my first novel coming out in 6 days:


    It's a 130K word contemporary fantasy that I've been working on intermittently for more than a decade, including a couple completely deleted half-written manuscripts. In the end I'm quite proud of it, decided just to self publish as it's more of a passion project than anything. I have no real expectations for making money but it'll be interesting to see the process play out. I've published several short form things under a pen name, but never anything of this length or with any amount of marketing effort (though still not much).

    More than anything the whole process is just a bit terrifying, honestly. Putting something so personal out there publicly is a weird feeling to say the least.
    Xag and H Pro’s marketing reflections
  • Xagarath

    Oct 28, 2017
    North-East England
    Yup. Horror/dark comedy/slightly sacrilegious thriller with an alcoholic main character. Exactly what a missionary is looking for in a novel. Apparently she really liked the cover so entered it on a whim.

    And yeah? I've been interested in doing more giveaways to try and get the book out there a bit more, especially since it's been out for a while already and I'm not sure how to get people to give it a look at this stage. Reviewers seem to prefer new releases or upcoming releases. What's a 'middle-aged' book to do? :P It's also a bit tough because my publisher is the one in charge of that stuff, so I can't just hand it out willy-nilly. Would you recommend librarythings, then? I just had a look and it seems I actually have a review on there already! (Neato.) The goodreads one certainly made a lot of people add it to their 'to-read' list, but I only got two reviews from that it in the end. I had no idea they charged now, either.

    As for bloggers, that's definitely an option. A bit tough, but even getting one response feels amazing. One of the blurbs on my physical edition came from a blogger who reviewed it after I mailed her. Do you have a list or anything of who's good to send books to? I just flailed around looking for suitable reviewers when I did it, so that might be something we could all compile and add to the OP.

    Anyone want to brainstorm on 'middle-aged' book marketing strategies? :D
    That's a pretty intriguing combination of genres - I'll have to give it a look next payday!

    Librarything are patchy (only a small number of people who win copies seem to review, and there's no way of linking to the giveaway directly) but they have two main advantages:
    - They're free (as opposed to goodreads, netgalley, eidelweiss etc)
    - Their standard giveaway section is primarily for 'middle-aged' books - the upcoming releases is a separate list altogether

    The other giveaway site I use is Instafreebie, but that's less for reviews and more for getting people to download previews of the book so they'll hopefully buy the whole thing. I've had a decent number of downloads (1000-ish in seven months) but no way of knowing whether that's translated into sales or not.

    So far I've mostly been met with a wall of silence on the blogger front so I can't recommend many individually - I got most of my names from sites like Indieview, who list bloggers by genre and accepted formats.

    I've had slightly more luck with local news media - groups like New Writing North seem happy to promote authors who live in the North of England and I think that got me a couple of sales?

    I'd be delighted to brainstorm strategies - my first book came out seven months ago and sales have slowed down quite a bit, and I'm really short of reviews for my newest release.


    I've got two books published to date:

    Lamplight is a contemporary ghost story set in a northen English town, in which a group of friends receive strange anonymous messages to their phones after one of their number goes missing.

    The Stickman's Legacy is a modern-day fairy-tale about a young woman investigating the death of her missing father, and being drawn into a secret world below the surface of London.
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    Milkbeard’s Published Works list
  • MilkBeard

    Oct 25, 2017
    I have good news. A short story I wrote in one of the Creative Writing threads was accepted by a publication. I had, of course, made numerous changes since then, and even changed the title (formerly "Fiend of Galdratia," now "A Chance Meeting").

    The magazine is Mythic Circle, and the story is set to be published in their next magazine which is supposed to come out in August.

    ...And now, I can finally say I'm a published author ;)

    EDIT: Mythopoeic Society homepage. It's under Mythic Circle, under the Publications tab, and the issue is Mythic Circle 40 (Summer 2018). I saw them post that they were going to start making digital versions of their magazines, which is nice. Eventually it will be online.
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    Emerson’s self publishing info
  • Emerson

    Oct 25, 2017
    So I've wanted to write this up for a little while now, but general life has gotten in the way until now. Some of you may remember I posted about my self-published contemporary fantasy novel Black Creek (https://www.amazon.com/Black-Creek-Dan-Kemp-ebook/dp/B07D5KZ8ZQ), which came out a little over a month ago.

    Considering there are a lot of active and aspiring authors here, self published or otherwise, I thought people might appreciate seeing some information on the process and some real numbers from a first timer.

    All the stats I'm giving here refer to the first 30 days of release.

    I started writing the novel in November 2016 and finished it in late May of 2017, at around 130k words. I then put it away for a month or so before reading it myself and doing a first revision.

    I have two professional copy editors in my family, so I didn't pay for any editing services. For more developmental feedback, I have a few friends and writing partners who I trust to give me solid feedback. In all I did four drafts of the novel before release.

    I found the cover artist on Reedsy, which was quite a smooth process, and I'm thrilled with the product I got. It cost me $400. A lot of the quotes I got for original artwork (not just stock photo manipulation) were significantly more. I also looked on places like fiverr, etc. which mainly just offer people willing to turn a stock photo into a cover with some text elements. This might work for some people, but personally I'd always consider spending more on a nicer cover. Also of note, there are some excellent artists on reddit, in subreddits such as HungryArtists, who will show you a portfolio and give you a quick quote for your concept. I've used them for several short stories I've put out, with great results.

    Prior to release, I listed the book on LibraryThing as an ebook giveaway and ended up with 41 people requesting it. I sent those out a little more than a week before release. To date I've gotten only 4 reviews out of those on the LibraryThing website. Only one of those people put a review on Amazon, and none on Goodreads.

    In the days leading up to the release, I submitted to 10 fantasy book review blogs. To date I have only heard back from one, who declined to read it.

    Starting with the release date, I began ad campaigns on Amazon, Facebook, Bookbub, and Reddit. All of them have very similar tools for audience narrowing and roughly similar costs per click. I'll get into them more individually.

    Facebook: Spent ~$70. Facebook campaigns ran very quickly, racking up charges much faster than any other service. I got many thousands of views, but seemingly little sales conversions. I did get a bunch of Likes on my page, but I don't particularly care about that. It's not really possible (with all the concurrent campaigns) to say which campaigns translated to real sales, but I don't feel like Facebook got me much. Considering the way a lot of people use the service, absentmindedly scrolling through, liking and occasionally clicking through but rarely taking any action, I wouldn't be too surprised.

    Amazon: Spent ~$30. Unfortunately they are probably the most annoying service to use. All metrics are delayed by like 3 days minimum, and sales conversions are even more delayed. Eventually I did get about 37,000 views, but this only translated to a handful of sales.

    Reddit: Spent $10 as an experiment. Very specifically targeted on this site towards individual reddits. I don't have these numbers available at the moment but there were not many views, but a relatively high click-through rate. Again, you can't determine if any became sales.

    Bookbub: The easiest service to use, with impressions starting immediately and stats arriving in almost real time. I spent about ~$30 for about 30k views, with about 100 clickthroughs.

    Getting reviews, despite being massively important to sales, seems to be frustratingly difficult. On Amazon, I've only got 4 reviews, with an average of 4 stars. On Goodreads I have 8 reviews with a score of 4.75.

    So what did this all translate to? To date, I've sold:

    7 paperback
    26 eBook
    2,615 pages read of Kindle Unlimited

    The Kindle Unlimited payments are delayed so I'm not certain, but I expect this to come to about $70 total. Obviously, between marketing and the book cover I'm still significantly in the hole.

    Fortunately, I have a well-paying full time job and have no intention on writing for a living, and I have the luxury of spending more than I earn on a creative project. Still, I know this is not true for a lot of people so it helps to be aware of what realistic expectations might be.

    Overall, I always kept my expectations in check and things have played out about what I expected (though less than I hoped of course). I was surprised at the amount of Kindle Unlimited readership I had so far, and disappointed at the lack of reviews. At the end of the day I'm happy that those who do read it seem to enjoy it.

    I hope this was of some interest to somebody here, and I'd be happy to discuss any aspect of the process.
    H Protagonist’s Published Works list
  • Here's my current list of works:

    Dead Endings - Novel w/ art
    Writer/Artist - Jessica Chavez/Irene Flores
    Genre: Mystery/Paranormal Thriller
    Publisher: Chromatic Press Inc.
    Print / Digital

    Dead Leads (sequel to Dead Endings) - Novel
    Writer/Artist - Jessica Chavez/Irene Flores
    Genre: Mystery/Paranormal Thriller
    Publisher: Chromatic Press Inc.
    Digital (currently serialized in Sparkler Magazine)

    Pancakes & Sex - Comic
    Writer/Artist - Jessica Chavez/Crystal Jayme
    Genre: Comedy
    Publisher: Chromatic Press Inc.
    Print - Print bonus in the Dead Endings physical edition

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