Editorial Demand

I got the editor’s feedback on Masters yesterday morning.  Good stuff! 

I spent a good chunk of the day, and an hour and a half late at night, moving her corrections and tweaks from the .rtf file she sent me into Scrivener.  That was a bit annoying because I had to do it by hand.  No just clicking “Accept Changes” like you can do in Word.  So that’s one downside to using Scrivener exclusively, I guess.  Oh well, no worries.

Looking at her comments, most of the corrections are for comma usage.  Which is rather funny, considering I always thought I was good with a comma.  Oh well, just goes to show you don’t always know your own strengths as well as you think you do.

I also got some more feedback from a beta reader, who was very delayed in reading the manuscript.  He had a lot of good points about some technical issues, and pointed out one plot point that could use expansion.  Another reader had an issue with that particular plot point as well, and I totally get what they’re both saying.  So with two data points, I’ve determined that I need to add a chapter into the middle to elucidate a bit.  Also, I want to add a little bit to the ending.  I think I sort of let the story peeter out instead of giving it a proper ending.  All told, I’m probably looking at an additional 3,000 to 4,000 words.  Of course, I could really stretch and find 7,000 words to push it over the boundary to my next pricing tier.  But only if the story needs it, of course.

So I’m getting close.  It’ll probably be ready to go by the end of the week.  Finally.

Stay tuned.

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.

Unproductive? Not really….

Wow.  I’ve gotten almost no writing done in the last two weeks.  1800 words toward a short story, that’s it.

But that’s ok.  In reality, I was probably not going to get anything done during this time, however I may have thought differently going in to it.  It’s about priorities.  I’ve been home, off work, sure.  But not idle.  Helping the better half take care of the kids, and in particular little Vasili who just had heart surgery, is far more important.  And fun.

The little man is doing great.  He had his two-week follow-up with the cardiologist today.  Everything looks perfect.  His incision wound is just about fully healed.  The doctor removed the (ONE) suture that closed up his chest tube hole today.  In a week’s time, according to our discharge recommendations, he can go swimming again, if that tells you anything.  Pretty amazing.  🙂

So yeah, I won’t call the last two weeks unproductive.  Not at all.

That said, I got more feedback on Masters.  All good, and all containing valuable input for spelling/grammar and some content issues.  I must admit, I was a bit dejected at the first guy’s input, because he was a bit negative.  Not completely: he did say he enjoyed it.  But there were negative aspects to what he had to say.  That said, these things are subjective, right, and the other feedback aggregates out to being overall positive.  So I feel a bit better now.

So I’ve gone through and corrected spelling and grammar issues that these first readers were good enough to point out.  I’ve got some more readers who I haven’t heard from.  Then we’ll see what Jeroen comes up with.  I’m looking forward to that.  He’s a pretty darn good artist, so I expect it’ll be cool.  Find out soon enough.

So that’s it.  Not too much else new to talk about.  I’m heading back to work on Monday.  That’s a bit of a drag, but you gotta do something to earn a paycheck, right?  Actually, it’s not bad at all.  It’s pretty fun, most days.  Today more than most.  I got my annual nuclear power/submarine officer bonus check today, so I’m feeling particularly upbeat.  Based on that check, I paid off my undergraduate student loan (finally..took long enough) and the remaining principal on the loans to both mine and my wife’s cars.  So that puts us quite a bit closer to our goal of being completely debt free.  Over the last couple years, we’ve become acolytes of Dave Ramsey.  Last year we paid off the credit card, cancelled the account, and cut it in half.  I tell you, it’s a great feeling to not have that stupid thing anymore.

So yeah, I guess things are going pretty well.

That’s really it.  Until next time.

Feedback

Well, my rant the other day caught some interest.  Yesterday I got the most hits ever on this blog.  Hopefully I haven’t made any eternal enemies.  😛

So the first of the folks who are reading Masters sent me some feedback.  It was overall positive, but the reader gave me some good things to think about that I hadn’t considered.  Interestingly, he said he thought the story was too fast paced, and that by making it that way I didn’t do the story justice.  Honestly, that surprised me, because I was, if anything, worried about the opposite.  As those who read the rant can no doubt attest, I can be long-winded, especially when I get a head full of steam.  So I expected I’d fall into excessively lengthy descriptions and the like, so I tried to keep the story moving forward vice getting bogged down in minutia.  According to reader #1, maybe I should have gone into the minutia a little more.  Or something.

Obviously, this is just one data point.  I’ll see what the other readers have to say before I go make any radical changes.  But I found that feedback interesting.

Gaining a Following?

I took a couple interesting screen captures the other day, from the wordpress stats page:

Interesting.  I started this blog on 28 January, so counting the January stats is pretty meaningless.  But aside from that, readership here has pretty much doubled each month.  Neat, huh?  I guess what they say about just being consistent and posting regularly being the key is true.

Breaking it down by day in April,

The peaks and valleys are very interesting.  The biggest day was April 5th, when I revealed how much better my wife is at figuring out movies than I am.  That also corresponded to when I un-screwed myself on Facebook and set up an author page instead of a second personal account.  Telling all my friends/family about it generated some traffic, apparently.  Next biggest was 15 April, when I posted my rebuttal of the Game of Thrones Review in the NY Times.  I guess people cared about that.  Or not.  It’s very easy to see when I made a post and when I didn’t, though.

What’s all this mean?  Probably not much.  I just thought it was neat.

Anyway, I did a first re-read of Masters over the last couple days.  Well, not the first really.  I tend to go back and read what I’ve written, removing typos and such, as I go.  But this time I read straight through.  I found a few glaring continuity errors in the later chapters, a consequence of jumping around and writing out of order, I guess.  I fixed those.  But I need to get outside eyes on it.  So far, five people offered to read and provide feedback, so I sent copies to them.  I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

Another thing on the to do list is cover art.  Many people have raved about Jeroen Ten Berge‘s work, so I sent him an email.  He seems like a pretty good guy, his price is in line with the market, and he takes the time to read through the books he’s doing art for.  So what the heck?  I sent him over a copy of the manuscript with some of my thoughts.  We’ll see what he comes up with.

So yeah.  It’s been a good week.

Next week should be even better, since we’ll get the little man home.

I’ve got the next two weeks off to help him recover, so that will be a big help for the better half.  But not going to work should also give me some time to write short stories (I hope).  I’d like to get at least three or four done this month.  That way I can send a couple to magazines and post the others for sale, both singly and in a five-pack with the two I’ve already put up.

Then, in June, I’ll start book number two.  Not the sequel to Masters.  Not yet.  It’ll either be the dragon story I’ve been thinking of or the follow-up to Passing in the Night.  Probably the later, but we’ll see.

So that’s where things stand with me.  It’s been an interesting few days in the book blogosphere.  Now that I’m out from under surgery, I’ll have some thoughts on some issues shortly.