Posts Tagged Self E-Publication

Enabling

It’s always a bad sign when I feel the need to start a post by saying how much I love certain institutions.  I love Nanowrimo, it got me started in writing and it can be a way of dipping your toes or a push to be more productive.  Fantastic event.  I love Smashwords, I used them for the brief e-publication of Rust and they provide a vital service for authors looking to get their books into various e-markets as painlessly as possible.  Fantastic company.  The Meatgrinder rocks.

Do you know where I’m going with this?

If you don’t, you likely haven’t seen Smashwords/Nanowrimo promotion, by which Smashwords is giving a place for people participating in Nano to put their works, whether in progress or recently “finished,” up for the world to see.

Right now there are only 42 books up, and I’m happy to see that most of them are actually free, but…well…let’s get back to something I said just about a week ago now:

However, please keep a few things in mind.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell this to anyone reading this blog, but what you’re writing the next thirty days is a rough draft.  Nothing more (though in my own experience, occasionally less).  Don’t be that person who is sending their manuscripts out to agents or publishers on December 1st.  Yes, those people exist.  Yes, those people are why Nanowrimo has a bad reputation in some circles.

Yes, I just quoted myself, but I want to repeat that exact point.  What people are creating during Nanowrimo are drafts.  Rough drafts.  Often extremely rough drafts.  They really aren’t stories that are ready for human consumption.  This move by Smashwords feels like an attempt to enable those who feel that the act of creating in November is good enough, that what they have at the end of the month is a novel, and that it’s ready for the world at large.

It isn’t.

I’ve fallen into a similar trap.  The entire reason I eventually pulled Rust off various online stores (in spite of the best efforts of Lulu to keep throwing it back up) was a realization that what I had written had a beginning, a middle, and an end.  But it wasn’t a complete novel.  What editing it saw was my own amateur editing, and I really am my own worst editor.  I pulled it down because it was a bad representation of my writing and a rather poor excuse for a work made available for a price.

I’m not going to pretend there aren’t writers in the world who would put their Nanowrimo novels up on Smashwords on December 1st and pat themselves on the back for being a published author.  I’m sure they see an uptick every year in that first week if they felt the need to put this promotion together.  However, I’m less than enthused about the apparent promotion of that idea, especially the promotion of putting up a work in progress that isn’t just unedited but incomplete.

And beware.  Anyone putting their stories up this way is burning their first publication rights, which will make these novels almost impossible to sell in any traditional way should they eventually be cleaned and polished.

Perhaps I’m being a curmudgeon.  Grumpy Ole Mr. Thurston.  I just want more people who want to be writers to actually be writers, and not just someone who threw something onto a website and called it a day.

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Future of Fortnightcaps

Yesterday’s Fortnightcap marked #14 in what I’m anticipating to be a series of 27 stories this year.  It’s all going far better than I anticipated, so I’m already starting to think what I want to do with them at the end of the year.  I’ve always been playing around with the idea of releasing them in some form or another, likely in the form of a digital chapbook through Smashwords so its available on all platforms.  I’d probably approach it like a DVD, so there would be:

  • “Directors Commentary” on some stories.
  • “Directors Cuts” which would be just me polishing the stories, and maybe lengthening a few.
  • “Deleted Scenes” new stories written for the collection.

I’d probably be charging a small amount, either $0.99 or $1.99, but I do feel the need to add something to the collection other than just collecting together 26 stories that I otherwise made available for free and asking people to now pay for them.  I’m hoping the ideas above will give people some value for their money.

So here’s where I open it up.  Would anyone be at all interested in this?  Is there something else you’d want to see to justify dropping even a small amount on this?  Leave me a comment, let me know.

Also starting to think about what to do in 2012, whether to keep the project going, scale back, or possibly even accelerate forward into a weekly project.  I’ve crashed and burned with weekly stories before, but something about the success of Fortnightcaps has me feeling differently.

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The Week That Is

Just some updates. First, got a rejection from Mammoth Book on Vampires of Mars. Cry cry, depressed, move on. The story is already back out the door and winging its way towards Writers of the Future. This is a story I really believe in, so I’m going to keep it in heavy circulation with its next several stops already well planned out. This is actually going to be a good week for me submission-wise as I send two stories out the door. Other one is for an anthology with a July 1 deadline, but the story is ready and I don’t want it hanging over my head. Especially since there’s another July 1 anthology I’m going out for that I’ve only got a few hundred words written towards. Eep.

Continuing to be told July on the publication of Steam Works, so I’m still hoping that anthology actually does happen.

The bigger news is about Rust. Several months ago I put Rust out for the Kindle and on Smashwords, largely to explore the process and see how it works for a series of posts over on Unleaded. I left it out there because, what the hell, why not? Well, I recently got my first review on Amazon. Two stars. Ouch. And that started the wheels in motion for eventually pulling it back offline. This isn’t a petulant “someone didn’t like my book so I’m taking my ball and going home” move, but rather one that I’ve always sort of planned. The review drove home that Rust isn’t necessarily the best public face for myself. It was a Nanowrimo project with a plot that’s disjointed at times, a bizarre conclusion, and probably less editing than I would have really liked to do. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t throw out a completely unedited Nano project, I gave it several passes. But in part that’s the problem: I gave it several passes. And I’m really not the world’s best editor.

So Rust will probably come down before the publication of Steam Works.  It won’t be today, but it’ll probably be in the next month or so, and likely without notice.  Anyone who still wants a copy is still free to grab one, just remember to keep your expectations low.  I know, that’s the hard sell right there, isn’t it?

I’m likely talking to some new readers.  At least I hope I am.  I’ve been participating in 5 Minute Fiction the last two weeks (if you’re reading this on the morning it was posted, it’s not too late to vote for my story to help me move from a distant last to merely a distant 4th place) and have seen the readership of my blog spike both Tuesdays and stay higher-than-usual in between.  It’s been a hell of a lot of fun doing these pieces the last two weeks, and plan to keep going and evangelize it to other writers as I can.  It’s all the fun of Nanowrimo with just 1/10800th the time commitment!

Finally, I’ve been talked into Balticon, though will likely only be attending one day of the event.  It’s going to be my first attempt at attending a con semi-professionally.  Yes, I’m going to actually meet people and not shyly wander around and not ask questions in panels.  Fortunately I’ll be guided by much more extroverted friends towards the right people to meet and talk to.

So there’s the week that is for me.  It’s Wednesday, which means I’ll also be posting over on Unleaded today, just as soon as I figure out what I’m going to talk about.  No.  Seriously.  I haven’t a clue right now.

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