Thursday, October 25, 2012

Less than a week till November (National Novel Writing Month)

My head's been in planning mode for November and writing more Vanna and Thanos.

November 1st seems closer than it is because I attended a NaNo kickoff party this week.  It was scheduled on Oct. 23rd by the library because there's some other events next week.

I added a NaNo counter on the site here (<- to the left), but it might not take off quickly because I've already been scheduled to work at the second job on November 1st.  I also worked both jobs last year so I think I'm good, but I shouldn't be staying up late on Oct. 31st to start writing as soon as the clock strikes midnight. 

I've also been doing some tweaking on Neferseshotep before I put him aside for the month, unless I write like the wind, complete a novel in less than 30 days, and then can return to writing super-powered fantasy.

My book signing was nice.  I didn't sell out of books, I didn't sell half my books, but I did get a bump on my Amazon rank over the weekend so was it due to me talking to someone?  I also talked about National Novel Writing Month because I had a six foot table and only one title.  I added a selection of NaNo and Young Writer Program flyers to the front side.

Since I also set-up on Friday for the Pet Adoption Fair, I picked the tablecloth color that went best with my book cover. 

Wednesday Addams
Joining me at the table were two foster cats - Miss Wednesday Addams and Mr. ZuZu.  As you can see, I wasn't kidding around about being queen of black cats.

My other fosters were on the table next to us so I could easily answer any questions regarding their awesomeness, or tell off my mama's boy for sitting around with one eye closed like a furry little drama king.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Writing and Publishing

I’m feeling so inspired after reading Chuck Wendig’s blog post ‘Ask the Writer: “How do I get Published?”’ 
I like the storytelling bit, or I wouldn’t have written all that fan fiction while I was unemployed.  Then NaNo came along, and I thought I could write 50,000 words in a month, even though I was back to working, and working two jobs because Day Job doesn’t pay what my Old Day Job used to pay.  To up the ante, I figured I’d write something original – new characters.  An experiment.
Well, that experiment was moving along in November 2011 when I started the month off sick, then I got cheesed off at something so I flipped my writing back into fan fic to make myself happy.   My word count jumped, besides having 4 days off with nothing to do – neither job, no relative wanting me for Thanksgiving  - and I ended on Nov. 29th with 167,756 words.  On the 30th, both jobs had me scheduled, so no writing.
Half of these words were the zero level draft of The End of the World Sucks. The rest was fan fiction that I posted, got some real reviews for, and then got trolled … because that’s the way fan fiction works.
So back to Sucks – I had this chunk of words that I could post for free on fan fiction’s sister site, Fiction Press.  I hadn’t posted anything there, but thought about my CreateSpace coupon and the much-touted *fears* that Amazon was only using CreateSpace and the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest to steal everyone’s novels. 
Not MY fears, all the paranoid people that think they can’t pitch or query their novels because every agent and publisher is out to steal them.  200 word query = 84,000 word novel *stolen*?  Math doesn’t compute, but the logical part of my brain also calculates less people will see it if I never do anything with it.  Posting it free online will get some reviews and feedback, but this is different than fan fiction.  I don’t own those characters or settings so that’s for fun with no chance at recognition except as a quirky pen name. 
What if I wanted to do something for some money – average author annually makes $500 so I’m not thinking about my new Beverly Hillbillies lifestyle, just over time, if I write more books, I’ll sell more, and gradually make it worth the hours I invested in November.  What I didn’t realize is how many more hours I’d invest in edits and rewrites.  I spend more time doing that than writing, but I will hopefully become better when I write future zero level drafts.
I queried and entered contests.  Is it a jackpot moment to talk to an agent on the phone?  Yes and no.  I do really and deeply appreciate the call – no question in my mind that I gained something out of it.  I think I’d compare it most with a job interview.  I don’t mind job interviews so much, unless they’re clearly wasting my time.  And here’s the kicker, this happened early April 2012.  Some people query for a long time before getting THE call.  I got off the phone, bridges unburned.  If I altered my story to a genre-compliant zombie novel, I could submit my manuscript to him.  Since I now had his email address, I could have submitted it with no changes, but I understood what he was saying regarding the marketability. 
While this plum was dangling, I was reading online and going to talks regarding traditional publishing.  I work with metrics and contracts in periods of my professional career so my expectation was different from the way the publishing business works.  However, I can understand their viewpoint because they allow books to be returned by bookstores so the initial shipment does not equal sales.  They also package the author’s product and even if promotion is pushed onto the author, they do make the publication available through their distribution channels, which may have some proprietary aspects.  I can even understand the parts about the advance and it being applied to future royalties so I will not get paid again for that title until x number of books sell.  I didn’t jump into the ‘boo, hiss, they’re evil’ camp because I wasn’t learning about the inner working of publishing, just the author/publisher/possibly agent relationship. 
It didn’t sound like something that’d make me happy.  If I aspire to try to crack $500 annually with my writing, which is way less than minimum wage at the rate I write and edit, then I should go after what will make me happy with this – my plot, my characters, no mystery re: earnings.  Money would improve my outlook, but if only a handful of authors make substantially more than $500, that means that many more earn less.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older that I consider what I would like to do after everything else is done – I went to work, did things for the pets and foster kitties, washed my clothes and now I have free time. I could watch T.V., read, or run loose in the streets yelling my drunken head off (welcome to Sharon’s street – where I see people with red Solo cups dancing around the stop sign on the corner at four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.  
Since I’m not joining the town bacchanalia, I stay inside writing, and I’ll rewrite to bring them up to the level where others should like them.  It’s my time to waste, and if I don’t feel like writing based on a genre formula, well I guess I’m throwing money away so I won’t be cracking the $500/year threshold to make it into Big Time Authorhood.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Help for authors - a couple web sites

Wow, I might be the last person around to know about Wordle created by Jonathon Feinberg.  Dani M.of Florida mentioned it on one of the NaNoWriMo forums as a way to find overused words.

In the past, I've looked at some prowritingaid reports to correct my weak points.  Though they don't seem to understand my New Jersey ways - I love writing 'get' and 'got' in that initial draft. Got that?

I have to say - I recommend both to help authors.

Here's what Wordle did with The End of the World Sucks (yes, I see a big 'get' in there) -

I think it's a very nice representation of the book.  It has a little bit about zombies and there's a vampire, but it doesn't dominate the text.

This one's a work in progress, so Neferseshotep should have a different look later as more characters, settings and action is written.

The largest words are character names at the moment, and there's a tiny 'get'.  I'm still writing and editing so that 'now' and 'like' might disappear also.

I'm just thrilled to find these clever and free tools.  Do you mind me sharing that?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Update: Pet Adoption Fair Flyer

The flyer for the Pet Adoption Fair - if only I had waited one more day :^)

I'm one of the things not mentioned, but that's OK.  It's about the animals, and maybe the bake sale.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pet Fair With Book Signing - Oct 20 and 21, Scotch Plains, NJ

I have a book signing planned in a couple weeks at Parker Gardens’ Pet Fair Weekend.  No, I didn’t write a pet book, but my foster cats will be there, and I was asked so once I also knew the other author in the group who actually wrote a children’s book about cats was invited, I said ‘sure’.  I am the chauffer for my ninja cat attack squad (most of my fosters are black cats), or maybe a better description is I drive the getaway car.
Parker Gardens is located at 1325 Terrill Road, Scotch Plains, NJ.  The Pet Fair is 11am – 3pm on October 20 and 21. There will be hay rides, a hay slide, and a maze.  Also, I have been to Parker Gardens before, and they have a huge selection of fall decorations besides plants. For the Pet Fair itself, there’s the cat rescue group I’m involved with on-site both days with cats taking applications for adoptions, and I believe there will be one dog group there on Saturday, and a second one on Sunday.  There are information sessions such as pet CPR, a pet communicator, and ‘Ask the Vet’. There will be a bake sale fundraiser for us too.
My delay in posting this here, since I was asked in September, is I’m trying to get my hands on the flyer.  That would be nice, and the Pet Fair’s not about me signing my book and talking about National Novel Writing Month and the Young Writer’s Program (under 17, can do less than 50,000 words).   The Pet Fair was not ideally timed to get anyone fired up about writing in November – it’s just a happy coincidence. 
There is another event in November with the NJ Greyhound Rescue group at the Westfield Armory (in New Jersey).  I’m not iffy about attending it, but I need coming-home info from my daughter in college, in case I’m driving to pick her up.  That’s 10 hours for one round-trip – in November – during National Novel Writing Month.  Not to lay any guilt on her because if it’s when I would be at a pet adoption event, I can’t say I get much writing done at those either.