Stop Being A Child

Passive Guy, over at The Passive Voice, had a couple great posts this morning.

The first was a link to, and comments on, Sarah Hoyt’s continued discussion about why she dropped her agent.

The second was a discussion of comments on Courtney Milan’s blog (she has a couple excellent posts about the perils of agents acting as publishers, btw), and one in particular that was almost mindless in its blind trust in a person who calls himself an “agent”, even to the point of not caring if that person’s dealings are sketchy.  PG is astounded at that sentiment, as am I.

But I’m not surprised.

One thing I’ve learned about writers since I started this gig seven months ago is that a lot of writers seem to have a pathological aversion to common sense, critical thinking, and basic business.  I attribute it to the very silly and annoy tendency of writers to think of themselves as “artists”.

Before I go on, I feel I should expand on this particular label: “artist”.

I have a very low opinion of “artists”.  From everything I’ve ever experienced, people who call themselves “artists” are delusional, to one extent or another.  They either have this silly notion that somehow their “art” is going to change the world (yeah right!  Show me one painter, sculptor, musician, or fiction writer who actually did that through their “art” and I’ll give you a large sum of money.  Never happened.  Never will.), that their art portrays deep truths that others never saw before (also yeah right.  There’s nothing new under the sun), or that they’re somehow superior to other people because they make “art” (they see further than the rest of us, you see).  Basically, they put on airs to make up for a lack of practical skills, intellect, and capacity for reason by telling themselves they’re smarter and better than the normal people, that they’re better than they are.  It’s freaking childish, but I guess that’s the point.

Too harsh?  I think not.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  People who work in the “arts” are not special.  They differ from other people only in that they chose to focus their attention on honing skills that other people did not.  The same as attorneys, engineers, or the members of any other profession are not special.  In my experience, only “artists” have this need to place themselves on this pedestal of greatness and specialness, often in the face of all evidence.  I can only speculate as to why.

As soon as someone starts calling himself an “artist”, it seems like this becomes a license in that person’s mind to stop thinking, a lot of the time.  How else could anyone make such an asinine statement as the one PG quoted?

When it comes to agents, I’ve gone off on enough rants that I think I’ve made my stance pretty clear, particularly about the subject of agents acting as publishers.  I’ve got to say, though, that PG has been much more eloquent than I on this subject, and if you haven’t read his multiple posts about it, you should.  Read Courtney Milan’s as well.

I’ll go ahead and summarize, though.  In this day and age, I see no value whatsoever in an agent.  Particularly if that agent also purports to be a publisher, or to be a “self-publishing assistant”, or whatever euphemism they choose to use.  I don’t say that as some jaded writer who’s been screwed by agents one to may times, or who’s bitter toward the whole publishing establishment, or whatever.

Because I’m not that guy.

I’m just an intelligent, confident guy who’s been trained in business, management, and leadership and who’s learned a lot in the last seven months about how publishing works and how things are changing in this business.  And frankly, I don’t see the point of what an agent does.  At least, not for the money that an agent charges.  I’d pay a flat fee for the sales services that agents offer.  Maybe.  But a percentage forever?  Hell no.

Now I could be wrong.  There may be all sorts of valid purposes for an agent these days.  And I’ll happily change my tune if someone presents me with a compelling case.

But I sure as hell would never purport to trust an agent, or anyone in any business relationship, without question, no matter what that person does.

Sorry.  I’m not an “artist”.  I’m an adult.  And a businessman.

And it’s about time more writers started being the same.

Sample Sunday – 31 July 2011

It’s time for some more Sample Sunday action!

Here are the first 500 words from my short story, Falling Softly:

Through his spyglass, the assassin watched Lord Padmar disembark his carriage.  He was dressed in his best: a dark red coat with gold buttons, loose about the shoulders and tight at the forearms and belly, an off-white ruffled shirt with lace at the throat and cuffs, tight black leggings that tucked into polished, knee-high, black turned-down boots, and a golden sash from right shoulder to left hip.  He wore a jaunty hat of the same color as his coat and a broad black leather belt that supported a gold-pommeled saber on his right hip.  The rumors said he actually knew how to use it, a rarity among the upper nobility these days.

The Lord strode quickly to the front door of his manor, where his chamberlain waited.  In his late middle years, the chamberlain was tall, but portly, with thinning gray hair.  He stood with a pronounced slouch, probably from a lifetime spent bowing and scraping.  The Lord spoke with him briefly before he went inside, not bothering to acknowledge the other servants’ deep bows.  The chamberlain lingered for a moment.  He looked around, his back to the other servants, then nodded and touched his right thumb to the tip of his middle finger and raised both to the center of his chest.  That was the signal: all was in readiness.

The assassin smiled thinly.  Lord Padmar was well known as an overbearing, sanctimonious, and cruel employer.  Among the serving class, tales of the punishments he doled out for the smallest infractions were legendary, leaving only the most desperate willing to even entertain the notion of going into his service.  The chamberlain was immune from the worst of those punishments, but all the same it was ridiculously easy, and cheap, for the assassin’s representative to obtain his cooperation in this night’s hit.

Lord Padmar, it turned out, was a man of habit.  The assassin had been watching him for three weeks, and knew his routine by heart.  Tonight was his weekly card game at Viscount Ephrim’s estate.  The Lord always returned promptly at four bells, and was in bed by five.  Padmar’s wife found her own entertainment on this night each week: she had a lover in a manor outside the city.  It strained credulity to think Padmar didn’t know, but clearly he didn’t care.  Most weeks, a high-priced companion was ushered in through a side door before he arrived and awaited him in his bedchamber.  Perfect.

Putting down the spyglass, the assassin slithered back from the roof edge.  Careful to avoided showing a silhouette, he rolled behind one of the many chimneys atop the building.  Vargas was there, waiting.  Clad the same as the assassin, in loose-fitting black clothing that covered him from head to toe save his eyes, he carried a longbow and a full quiver.  A long-bladed knife was sheathed on his left thigh.

“All set?”

The assassin nodded quickly.  “I’m going in.  Keep a sharp eye out.”

“I always do.”

Falling Softly is available for purchase in all ebook outlets for $.99.  Or you can get it for free from Smashwords, as part of their July sale that ends today.  Obviously, I’d prefer you go to a paying site, but I put it on sale for a reason, so no hard feelings if anyone snatches up the free copy.

Right.  Have a great day, then.


Call me anal, but…

So I went by my mailbox this afternoon and found an envelope from Writers of the Future. It was my Honorable Mention certificate!  Cool!

Now, I have no idea what percentage of entrants get Honorable Mentions, Silver Honorables, and the rest.  But I know there are only three winners each quarter out of…eight?…finalists.  And I suspect they get several thousand submissions.  So I’m going to go out on a limb and think that Honorable Mention ain’t half bad, especially for my first entry.  Hey, it’s not a flat-out rejection, so I’ll take it.  🙂

Anyway, here’s the certificate:

Honorable Mention Certificate for Passing in the Night

Pretty nice, huh?  That was my first thought, too.  Then I looked at it more closely, and I had to do a facepalm.  Let’s read, shall we?

The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest does hereby certify that Michael Kingswood is awarded the certificate of Honorable Mention for their story Passing in the Night

Did you catch that?  Michael Kingswood is awarded…for their story…

Oy.  Ok, I realize there are no gender neutral pronouns in English, and it would be a lot more pricey to do gender-specific printing for each person who gets an Honorable Mention or better.  But really?  This is a prestigious writing contest, and they screwed up singular and plural on the award certificate.  If it was me, I’d have said <insert name here> is awarded the certificate of <insert level here> for the story <insert story name here>, and saved the trouble.  I know, this really doesn’t matter, and I don’t have much standing to get all nit-picky and anal about this.  But hang it all, I’m an Engineer and a Navy nuke.  I am nit-picky and anal.  I tend to notice these sorts of things, and they irk me.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I have the utmost respect for this contest, the people who run it, and the people who judge it.  Getting even a bit of recognition from them is very flattering.  This certificate’s getting framed and hung on my “I Love Me Wall” alongside my other cherished records of earlier accomplishments.  It just struck me as a bit odd, that’s all.

But like I said, it doesn’t matter.


Another Story Bites The Dust

Well, it’s been an interesting couple days.

Holy cow, a lot of people sat up and took notice of my post yesterday about ebook pricing.  There’ve been almost 200 views of that post alone in the last day and a half!  Considering that until now my best month in terms of blog hits was June, with a bit over 500 total, I’m pretty bloody amazed by that.  Wow, you comment on two big name people’s blog posts, and look what happens!  I was pretty impressed by the people who came by and left comments, too.  It made for a fun day or so of discussion.

So thanks to everyone who came by.  It’s been a fun couple days, thanks to you all.  🙂

Ok, on to new business.

First, I finished another short story tonight.  Lords of the Remnant tells about an alien invasion (sounds cliche, I know, but trust me on this one) from the point of view of an infantryman on the front lines.  Through his recollection, we learn what happened earlier in the conflict, and then we’re thrust into the middle of a desperate firefight to repel the invaders.  The infantryman sees his comrades dying all around him and is sure he won’t survive either.  But then, unexpectedly, he is presented with a choice.  The outcome of his choice will have a huge impact on his future, and potentially on the future of all mankind.

It came in at just under 3,800 words.  I initially wrote it thinking it would be #5 in a five story collection that I want to release in parallel with Masters.  But in proofreading it, I decided that was silly, and I should submit it to a market.  I’d thought about sending something to Clarkesworld for a while.  They’ve got a quick turnaround, are well respected and well known, and they pay well.  So what the hell, I fixed a few boogers in the MS and submitted it.  According to their submission site, I should hear back in just a few days.  So I guess we’ll see.

Speaking of Masters, it’s going to be a little while still before it’s ready for release.  The editor, bless her, has suffered a series of calamities over the last couple weeks, culminating in her computer dying just the other day.  Fortunately, she was able to save all her data and get things working again, but her schedule’s been shot to hell.  There are a couple people she’s working with who have hard deadlines at the end of this month, so I consented to let her focus on them and get back to Masters as soon as she can, next week.  I’m hoping to have everything squared away and ready for release by the 10th, since that’s when my Mom’s book club meets next, and apparently they want to do Masters for the month of August.  That’s a good enough reason to set a deadline as any, I guess.

Last but not least, Kris Rusch had another great Business Rusch post today, it being Thursday and all.  This one struck home to me, because as I’ve mentioned before I’m seriously thinking about submitting my scifi thriller novel to traditional editors once it’s done, and in this post Kris talks about things to think about when negotiating a publishing contract.  And more specifically, what could be a deal breaker in that negotiation.

I left a comment on her blog post.  To summarize what I said there, I can see a couple things that would definitely be deal breakers for me in a traditional publishing contract, namely the non-compete clause and the reversion clause.  The more I think about it, the more I think I’d want any publishing contract I sign on to to have a limited timeframe, say five years.  After that, it’s time to renegotiate.  The idea of long, open-ended contracts that could turn into life of the copyright if I’m not lucky is unappealing.  A publisher would have to pay me a LOT, a WHOLE LOT, of money to consent to that, since at my age a life-of-copyright contract could extend out as long as 120 years from now.  And I don’t think they’ll be willing to pay enough.  So shorter terms seems better to me.  The non-compete clause is equally unappealing, because at least part of the purpose, these days, of getting a traditional deal is to get advertising for one’s indie published work.  And if a non-compete clause put shackles on what I can write under this pen name, that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Anyway, as usual Kris’ post is great.  I highly suggest anyone who hasn’t done so go read it.  She always puts out great information.

The Real Problem With $.99 Ebooks

Yesterday, Dean Wesley Smith linked to a great post by Zoe Winters about why she doesn’t agree with charging $.99 for novels, and why that should never, and will never, be the standard price for novel-length fiction.

For the record, I agree with both of them.  When the editor is done with Masters and I’ve got a final draft ready to go (there have been some unavoidable delays in the last couple weeks on that front; unfortunate, and annoying, but I understand stuff happens so I’m not too terribly antsy about it), there’s no way I’ll price it that low.  I keep going back and forth between $3.99 and $4.99.  I’ll talk price points a bit later.

But that said, I think there’s a key economic principal that both Dean and Zoe are missing.  Now, I’m not an economist.  I’m just a guy with an MBA.  But I’ve done a bunch of reading on matters economic, and routinely listen to economics podcasts.  And I think I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express once.  So allow me to elucidate, por favor.

Price serves a very important purpose in economic realms.  It’s a signalling mechanism, a way to let people in the marketplace assess the relative value of their options, so they can make a rational choice about how to use their resources.  Hayek wrote extensively on this subject.  Don Boudreaux, the chair of the economics department at George Mason University, wrote an article in the Concise Encyclopedia of Ecnomics (CEE), hosted by the Library of Ecnomics and Liberty, that talks about this concept better than I can.  I suggest you take a read.  Beyond that article, there are literally dozens of others, written by top economists on just about anything you might wonder about when it comes to economic theory, public policy, or things like that.  A disclaimer: econlib and the CEE is hosted by George Mason, which is about the most anti-Keynsian place in the country.  As an institution, it has a very libertarian slant, but from what I’ve seen they do a good job of keeping their biases out of their scholarship.  As much as anyone can, really.  Now, I agree with their biases, but that doesn’t mean we shoudn’t be aware those biases exist.

Getting back to the topic at hand, if price is a signalling mechanism, and fiction of all lengths, shapes, and sizes gets priced at $.99 indescriminately, then the signal we’ve sent to the consumer becomes confused, muddled, and chaotic.  How is the buyer to evaluate what he’s getting for his money, or whether he’d get better value going somewhere else?  Oh sure, you can put word counts in your product description, but I think writers project a bit when they think that solves it.  I’m 35 years old.  I started writing fiction last December.  Before then, if you’d told me a document was 2,000 words or 20,000 words, I would have recognized that one is longer than the other, but in terms of what that really means…yeah, not something I thought about.  Now granted, somewhere nestled in the back of my mind was the 250 words/page that I learned back when I had to write essays in school.  But it wasn’t something I routinely accessed, if you know what I mean.

So I think just throwing a novel out there at $.99 muddies the waters.  When I can get a short story, novelette, novella, novel, or a door stopper for the same price, it’s a poor representation of value.  A poor signal.

My idea of pricing goes like this:

  • $.99 – Short Stories < 10,000 words
  • $1.99 – Novelettes 10,000 – 20,000 words
  • $2.99 – Novellas 20,000 – 50,000 words, Collections of 5 Short Stories
  • $3.99 – Novels 50,000 – 75,000 words, Collections of 10 Short Stories
  • $4.99 – Novels 75,000 – 100,000 words
  • $5.99 – Novels > 100,000 words

I think this pricing scheme works well, both in terms of signalling to the consumer what he’s getting for his money and in terms of paying the author proportionate to the amount of work required to produce any given piece of work.

Sample Sunday – 24 July 2011

I expect to get the editor’s comments on Masters of the Sun tomorrow.  Assuming that happens as planned, and assuming there are no huge boogers that need extensive fixes, I’ll probably have it up live on the various ebook sites before the month is out.

With that in mind, and in honor of #SampleSunday, here’s an excerpt from one of the many exciting scenes in Masters of the Sun, to wet your whistle for more.

“No more cover between here and the riverbank.”

“So?  No one else has been through here but us.”

“Unless they crossed before the snowstorms.”

Wasn’t he just a ray of sunshine?

“You don’t want to go back do you?  Fuck that!”

Ortiz shook his head.

“Then let’s go.”

Ortiz hesitated for another moment, then began moving again.  As he went, he lowered into a crouch and kept close to the guard rail.  Jack mimicked him.

They were almost across when disaster struck.

One moment, they were moving at a steady pace under cover of darkness.  The next, the darkness was shattered by a globe of light that rose from the bridge span at their feet.  The globe streaked up into the sky then, a couple hundred feet up, it expanded and increased in luminosity until the entire bridge and riverbank was illuminated as plainly as if it were noon.  At the same time, a loud siren, almost like a car alarm, issued from the globe.

They both froze.  Ahead, Jack could see a number of figures moving down the road toward them.  It was an ambush, after all.


Barely had the words left Ortiz’s lips before he was running as fast as he could through the snow toward the end of the bridge.  He began firing his M-14 as he ran.  Jack hesitated for a few seconds, frozen by the shock of being discovered.  Then a bullet whizzed by his head, and he roused himself from his stupor.

Jack raced after Ortiz and began to fire as well.  He was limited by the five round capacity of his rifle, though, and he was soon empty.  The rest of his ammo was in his pack, and besides, loading a bolt action wasn’t something to be done while running, so Jack focused on just running.

Ortiz continued firing: a twenty round magazine sure came in handy.  One of the figures ahead on the road went down, blood spraying from a wound in his chest.  But there were three more that Jack could see.  He looked back over his shoulder, and his heart sank even further.  Half a dozen men, one in black robes, were rushing across the bridge from the south.

They were screwed.

Ok, so it’s just a little taste.  There’s more to come, though, I promise.  Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Artists Are Not Special

Fair warning.  If you consider yourself an “artist”, this post is likely to piss you off.  Read at your own risk.

Oh God, if I hear one more “artist” going on about how he needs to suffer for his art, or how artists are “creative people”, and creative people are more prone to depression, or alcoholism, or whatever stupid cliche the “artist” wants to spout, I’m going to lose it.

Seriously, can we grow up, please?

The thing that’s prompting this particular rant is a thread on the Kindleboards, titled “Can Creative People Be Happy?”  The title alone set me off, because it’s a freaking stupid question.  No offense to the original poster.  He seems like a decent enough fellow, and he pointed out that he doesn’t fall into any of the artist cliches.  But he’s falling for the cliches.  He seems to actually believe them, and they’re complete bullshit.

Yep, utter and complete bullshit.  Here’s why.  It will shock you.

Ready for it?

People who practice the “arts” are not special.  They’re not specially endowed with creativity that others don’t have.

I’ll now pause to allow you to avoid choking to death over the cliched myth.  Ready to continue?  Ok.

Here’s the thing the cliches completely miss, the thing that it seems “artists” desperately want people to forget: everyone is creative.  Yes, everyone.  I would even argue that many professions that are not part of what we call “the arts” require more creativity than what most “artists” do.  Scientists, for instance, have to be incredibly creative as they probe the truths of the universe and come up with testable theories to explain how it works.  Engineers..don’t even get me started.

Ok, I’ll go there.

I’m trained as an Engineer, though for most of the last decade and a half I’ve done little real Engineering since I’ve been in the Navy.  But back when I was actually an Engineer, I won a few design contests, and conversed with lots of my fellow Engineers on a daily basis.  Let me tell you, it is REALLY hard to take a problem, design a solution that will actually work IN THE REAL WORLD, and then put it all together in a way that can be built.  Really hard.  It requires, not just creativity, but a mastery of mathematics and the physical sciences.  Frankly, I’ll put any Engineer on the planet up against any “artist” to see who is actually more creative, and the Engineer will win nine times out of ten.  But you’ll never see Engineers whining about how they have to suffer for their Engineering, or how they’re more depressed than other people because they’re so creative, or any of the other dreck you hear from “artists”.

“But Mike, you’re biased, because you’re an Engineer yourself.”  Well, maybe.  But I’ll you what: most Engineers I know also play music, or paint, or write, or whatever in their free time.  I know of almost no “artists” who could do Engineering in their free time if they wanted to.  What does that tell you?

But it goes further than that.  Architects, businessmen, landscapers, teachers, politicians, you name it: the list goes on and on for page after page of professions that require creativity to be successful.  Yes, I included politicians on that list.  Do you have any idea how creative you have to be to concoct lie after lie, many of which contradict each other, and somehow make it seem like you’re clean as the driven snow and the height of integrity?  Seriously, stand in awe, my friends.  But beyond that list, many people who don’t work in fields that necessarily require creativity routinely do creative things for fun, or to make their jobs more efficient.

So I stand by my statement that all people are creative.  Why, then, do those who practice “the arts” insist on calling themselves “creative” people?  Why do they insist on adopting the “tortured artist” mantle?

Of course, not all do.  Most do not, I’d wager.  But still, the cliched image and stereotype continues.  It’s silly.  Delusional.  It’s the height of insecurity, and not just for the artist.  Every other person out there, who by nature of being human is creative, just reveals his/her own insecurity by believing this tripe.  And of course, the “artist” who adopts it reveals his own insecurity because he’s putting on that stupid cloak of cliche and concealing who he really is.

But seriously, what the hell?  Really, you guys and gals who call yourselves “artists”, can you grow up please?  Repeat after me: YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL.  You don’t do something that other people can’t.  Maybe you’re better at it than some people are, but so what?  All sorts of people are better at all sorts of things than other people, but they don’t feel the need to put on airs, or wallow in depravity or self destruction, just to prove to themselves that they’re special.  Really, it’s immature and pathetic.  Get your head out of your ass.

You see, this is another reason why I will never call myself an “artist”.  “Artists” need to grow the hell up.


Ok, that’s it.  Rant over.

Feel free to flame away in the comments.  I can take it.

It Doesn’t Matter If You Prefer Print Or Ebook

It’s Thursday.  And lately, on Thursdays, I inevitably find myself thinking, “It’s Thursday.  I wonder what Kris wrote about this week?”  And so I have to rush over to The Business Rusch to find out.  Today’s a special treat, because Dean has a new post too.  Holy cow, it’s like Christmas in July!  Well, maybe it’s not that awesome, but it does seem I’ve become a fan of the KKR and DWS shows.  Imagine that.

As usual, Kris makes a number of good points.  Also as usual, reading what she has to say makes me question the utility or wisdom of even bothering to submit anything I write in the next couple years to a publisher when I can just indie pub it and avoid all the upheavals going on.  I’ve been thinking to at least try the scifi thriller piece with publishing houses though, once it’s finished.  But geez, it’s looking pretty grim out there.

All that said, I think she’s missing something.  She rightly bemoans the death of Borders and the drawdown of B&N’s book inventory.  But she then makes mention, again, that it’s all well and good that ebooks are on the rise, but 70% of the reading public want physics books, and it’s going to be a lot harder to get those to them with these two chains shutting down and reducing their stock, respectively.  And that’s where I think she misses the boat a bit.

Ok, fine, lots of people currently prefer physical books to ebooks.  Fair enough.  I can respect that, though my inclinations go the other way.  In fact, my wife and I recently agreed that we were going to perform a full inventory of our book collection, replace all but our absolute favorites with ebooks, and get rid of the rest.  We decided that for a few reasons, but mainly because of space and weight.  We move every two to three years with the Navy, and there’s a maximum weight of household goods that the Navy will pay to ship.  With the arrival of three kids over the last few years, along with all their crap…er, I mean stuff…we’ve got a LOT more household goods than we used to.  Time to start losing some weight, and books add up to a lot of weight, quickly.  And then, of course, we’ve got so many books that we’re overflowing out bookshelves.  Definitely an indication that it’s time to eliminate some.

But here’s the thing.  It doesn’t matter if I prefer ebooks over print.  It doesn’t matter if a lot of others prefer print over ebooks.  It only matters what the laws of economics, just as real and immutable as the laws of physics, will allow.  I’ve not seen any studies on it, but I’ll wager that the price elasticity of demand for books is pretty significant, especially in these tough times.  As shelf space lowers, and print runs go down as a result, book prices must inevitably rise to meet the increased cost per unit printed.  As prices rise, fewer people will buy books, thus necessitating lower print runs and higher prices.  And on and on.


But if it goes that way, sooner or later the economics will dictate that paper be replaced by digital entirely.  And when that happens, it won’t matter that some people prefer an actual printed book, any more than it mattered that some people preferred Betamax over VHS or HD DVD over Bluray.  They’ll have no choice but to go the ebook route, whether they like it or not.  Unless they’ve got the cash to shell out for expensive special editions.

I’m sure Kris knows all this.  And she’s right that, in the interim, people will still want print and businesses better figure out how to supply them with it.  But at the same time, readers aren’t going to stop reading just because the format changes.  If they can’t find what they want in print, but they can in digital, sooner or later they’ll either choose to, or be forced to, go digital.

Evolution, baby.  Watch it in action.

Little Vacation

I’ve gotten no writing done since last Friday.  And that’s ok.  After being away from my family for a couple weeks, I decided to just hang with them all weekend.  Then the first couple days of this week…well, I just continued taking it easy.  What can I say?  After hitting it hard for those 10 days, I just felt like chilling.  Sue me.  🙂

Not that I haven’t gotten anything done.  I spent a lot of time pouring through istockphoto and a couple other stock photo sites for potential future cover art pictures.  I intend to go on getting novel covers done professionally, at least for the near future.  But short stories?  I can’t see paying several hundred dollars for that.  So I need to develop the skills to make a good cover.

On a different note, I’m just about ready to (finally) release Masters for sale.  My editor is in the middle of her read-through of the MS.  Initial feedback is quite positive, so that’s encouraging.  At this point, I’m expecting her comments at the end of the week.  Assuming no huge issues, Masters ought to be released by the end of next week.  Pretty cool.

Guess that means I should start looking into blog tours, promotion, and the like.  That said, call me a philistine, but I can’t say I’m interested in that sort of thing at all.  The more I read about the effectiveness of writers trying to market their work, the more I think it’s a useless gesture.  So I think I’ll just write more, and publish what I finish.

But we’ll see.  For now, I’m going to call it a night.  Enjoy, all.

30,000 Word Challenge Wrap-up

Ok, the challenge period is over.

Yesterday, I got back from work at about 5:30 and managed to write until 9:45, when the wife and kids got home from Maine.  It was not continuous writing: I did pause a few time to re-light my cigar, or refill my scotch, or do a little tweeting.  But by and large, I was focused on the task.  To make my final goal of 30,000, I needed to get down about 4,200 words.

Alas, I only got 3,280 words, bringing my final tally for these ten days to 29,088 words.  That, of course, is just a bit shy of my 30,000 word goal.

But I’m going to call this experiment a success anyway.  I missed the goal by just under 3%, which is not too shabby.  Heck, if I’d managed to stay awake better on Wednesday, I’d have made it easily.  And that was really the point: to see just how much I could do if I really hunkered down and focused.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with myself, and with the work I cranked out.  I got a short story written and submitted to an anthology, went from about 4,000 words written on the scifi thriller story to over 20,000, went from next to nothing in The Penitent to 8,600 words, and even made some progress on my cop story and 30 Hours, which is the new title of my heist story.  So I got a lot done, and had some good fun doing it.

Yeah, I’m calling that a win, even if I came in just under my arbitrary word count goal.