Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Does it Mean?

I received a link from Writer Beware with January's report from The Association of American Publishers sales statistics. Here's the summarized bullets of the fiction categories for you:

When I look at these stats it tells me a couple things (domestically, not internationally). Now, remember these are my own conclusions. You read the article and let me know your ideas on where the industry is trending.

In regards to the overall book sale declines, this could just be an indication of the Christmas spending period ending in December. It's not a big percentage and ties in the the national spending dip in January every year.

I do have a little concern with the Adult Hardcover, but since the paperbacks and e-books are increasing my thoughts are purely economic. People won't or can't afford to buy the elaborate hardbound books and are opting for the cheaper version. It's the same story, just different medium.

The Children's/YA hardcovers and paper backs shows a dramatic trend away from traditional reading methods. My inclination is that these younger readers are part of the mass increase in e-books and are reading from their generation-specific technologies.

And moving to that amazing percentage in the e-books category...WOW! I think this is the biggest alert for the industry of the direction reading is going. Just like the last days of the CDs. People were in denial about the MP3 and Ipod's...but it came and it came quick. Now look at the CD sales.

Paper books are just on the end of their life cycle. It's not bad. It's not good. It just is. We have an eco-friendly society that is on the technology advancing bandwagon. The good thing is reading is not going with the paper formats. It's still there, just different.

I'm going to keep an eye on these figures. It plays a lot into my publishing goals, marketing/promotion strategies, and target market objectives.

Good writing all! (No matter what format you work ends up in.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Know Your Worth

Know your worth as an aspiring writer, my friends. Yesterday evening I received an email from a publisher...or so called publisher. Thank goodness for the resources and networks I've built up in preparation for my novel submissions.

In just two weeks they read through my whole manuscript (or so they say) and deemed it "worthy of publication". Imagine how grateful I felt. They'd attached an agreement, marketing plan, and publication schedule, along with a FAQs page.

I read through the contract and other attachments and let me tell you, it was the best fiction I've ever read. Here's some highlights:
  • I purchase all copyrights, but give up all rights to my story for ten years
  • A whopping $25 advance
  • Mandatory 100 copies purchase that I have to make
  • No advertisement, promotion, or marketing budget/plan or obligation by them (the marketing plan was what I should do with the 100 copies I have to purchased from them)
  • A "No Sue" clause
  • They have absolute control over changes and edits with no approval needed by me
  • No out clause for me if they do not hold up their end of the bargain
  • 3% royalty for hardback, 10% for paperback, 25% for ebooks, but they then take out the costs of production and manufacturing from that and I get what's left
  • And no actual payment schedule for royalties I earn

I laughed reading through this and my hubby joined in. I then crafted a very clear response and reported them to two sites that are invaluable to all writers.

Before you start any submission, make sure to read up and know what you're getting into, because snakes like this company are everywhere in the business. Research, research, research. Knowledge in powerful and helps you maintain cool and calm in what will be a long and interesting journey into the world of publication and authorship.

She did get one thing right in her offer email...my story is worthy of publication. However, it's worthy to be published by a house who will treat it and me with worth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's a Writer's Life?

I got a bug in my brain about what kind of writer I am. Don't know why, it just happens sometimes. So, I'm dedicating this blog to categorizing the various types of writers and then deciding where I fall in. Remember, these are my opinions and I'm not cementing this in any way as fact. Hello, I write fiction...and sci-fi at that. Take all this with a grin and nod. It's what my family does when I get in these little fits.

Okay here is my fictional "facts" of what I think are the major writing categories:

Writing is Life: These people work, live, breath, and eat writing. It's all they think about and is way beyond just a passion. Words, sentences, paragraphs. The structures and magic they make. All this 100% of the time. They can no longer read for the pleasure of a story. They read for the pleasure of dissecting a piece. These people amaze me. Their dedication is envious. When I was young and just starting to look at life beyond Dawson Creek phase, this is what I thought of.

Writing is a Hobby: These people enjoy writing periodically. It's not a driving force in their life any more or less than any other hobby they might have. Mostly it is a passion, but not a part of their everyday existence. I've seen many of my "hobby-writing" friends go months without writing anything and not have a single withdrawal. When I hit up against the limits of my writing development and publishing goals I envy this group the lack of pressure and dependence writing has on them.

Writing is a Major Force: This group is somewhere in the middle of the other two. It's where I fall into (I think). I have a successful career and enjoy what I do for the most part, but my life passion is writing. I can't go a single day without writing something. Anything. Even if it's composing a Facebook entry. My Muse is definitely capturing everything for potential use later.

No matter what category you fall into, or if you are in a category all your own, every writer is of value. We each contribute to the art and collective that is writing. Why? Because every writer adds something to the written history of Humans.

Who knows, one day thousands of years from now it may not be Shakespeare an alien race finds on our now desolate planet. It just might be one of your or my stories that was printed in some obscure magazine.

Good writing all...and keep documenting our lives!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Quickie Writer's Moment

A block away from work, I started thinking about my new space epic. Puzzle pieces started falling from the sky for the next 3 blocks.

I stopped at an intersection and pressed the crossing button right as a certain subplot came clear to me. My antagonist's motives and their hidden ties to one of the main characters.

I know it's important she remain unaware, but should he also? How this will impact certain scenes later in the manuscript? How it will affect the dynamics of the other main characters? It means I have to add at least 4 more scenes...

I look up right as my walking symbol finishes: 4, 3, 2, 1, red hand.

Crap, I was so busy thinking about my story I stood through the whole crossing period.

Good writing all...and don't forget about the real world.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Science Updates

Algae Fuel...this is an interesting concept and even though it's scope is for green Earth use, I can see this being mass produced during long space voyages as a sustaining fuel source (not an initial boosting fuel). With a developed algae growth enhancement process, this could have some tangible use.

The Not-So-Secret Secret military space craft is now at final testing phase. Of course, the military is not saying WHAT's going to be it's primary payload. Conspiracy freaks think weapons. Me...I think it's a huge cargo of Twinkies, but don't quote me on it. Seriously, though, this is a nice trigger for the start of expansion on who and what is going into space. This is the next phase of our journey out. And THAT you CAN quote me on.

Reusable Superglue. This is totally awesome. I love this as an alternative to Velcro and other strap devices. This material was inspired by gecko glue research and development. Let's give a hand to them gecko creatures!
Okay, so those are my science updates for this week.
Good writing all!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: Frankenstein Series

You either love his books or hate his books, but every reader knows his name.

Dean Koontz.

A couple months ago I read through his new trilogy about Frankenstein. This isn't your mother's Frankenstein either. This is science fiction to its modern day extreme.

I personally love the casual way Dean Koontz puts his stories together. He knows his readership, other writer's opinion be damned. But don't think because his storytelling is casual that his story is simple. This is exactly demonstrated with the Frankenstein novels: Prodigal Son, City of the Night, and Dead and Alive.

He's built a very complex and dynamic plot with very grey and flawed characters. The science fiction behind this concept is exact and detailed on the threshold of society's interest. He makes writing out these difficult ideas seem very easy.

I like that he placed Frankenstein's monster at the center of this story. He's an unlikely but obvious-once-pointed-to persona to fit the bill.

It's not perfect, as most Dean Koontz book aren't. There's certain parts of his other main characters, the cops, that aren't well developed and at times seem cheesy and two dimensional. Part of their persona even seemed slapped together. But right as they started to irritate me, he'd bring in the evil Victor Helios (read to find out more about his true identity) and all would be happy in the land of "AR Reading Land".

So, if you're looking for a great read then check out Dean Koontz Frankenstein trilogy.

'Kay, good writing all! (And reading)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Back with the Living

Oh my goodness, the last week was crazy! And not the fun writing kind of crazy (well, a little of that).

Life doesn't pause or stop for the Muse, let me tell ya. Wait, why would I need to tell you? You're all writers too...you know.

So, getting back on track, I'm just going to give a few updates on my writing progress/author quest. (I keep telling myself I'm Brain, but I'm starting to realize I might be closer to Pinky.)
  • My new little novel is coming along great. Most of my free time here in Sickville has been outlining, researching, and plotting this new space epic. This'll be my first novel since Galileo War and I'm very excited.
  • I've been collecting a lot of science stuff for my Science Update posts. I'll be restarting that this Saturday.
  • I've got my revised Galileo War on Authonomy under its new title Duty and Devotion to get a big picture idea of what readers think. I plan on keeping it up at least through the end of March, maybe April if I keep getting productive feedback/comments.
  • You might remember the flash I wrote several weeks ago and posted about. On a whim I submitted it to a small magazine, Foliate Oak. Yesterday I got word they accepted The Patient for their next issue. This is very exciting as I wasn't to sure about it. It's not my normal genre/type and glad it worked out.
  • On a last note, I also have a couple book reviews outlined. Those should be coming out, one this week and one next.
Okay, I think that's all the catch up stuff.

Good writing all!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

February Status Check

February was an interesting month with lots of ups and downs. One thing I realized as I was brainstorming, all classic sci-fi concepts, is that many of my ideas the last few months have not been pure science fiction but more speculative. I'm excited my muse has gone back to a more spacey place...it's comforting that I haven't forgotten my root love. (And was a little worried my creativity was maturing.)

New Story Ideas by Length:
Flash Fiction: 2
Short Story: 1
Novella: 1
Novel: 0
Series: 2

Current Story Progress:
Outlined: 6 (3 for each series idea)
In Progress: 2
Halted: 0
Completed: 1
Archived: 0
Published: 2

Agent/Publisher Search:
Queries: 0
Request for Partials: 0
Rejections: 0

Submission Status:
Submissions: 8
Accepted: 2
Revise & Resubmit: 0
Short Listed: 1
Contests: 1
Rejections: 2
Waiting Response: 5

Okay folks, that's all she wrote (literally). Good writing all!