Waiting for That Big Check!

I

made some adjustments to the text and Nescient Decoy became available on Amazon August 6th. Several copies of the Kindle version and at least 2 of the paperback have been shipped.

It’s a little soon for the big royalty check to arrive, but I’ve been watching the mail. I’m not anticipating buying an Italian Villa with the first one, but a round of Starbucks for my friends will be possible.

 

The mail has been normal this week – advertisements for cremation services, hearing aids, real estate, etc., several requests for donations (at least one was legitimate), a notice about an insurance premium due…; well you get the picture.

S

o, what should I do while waiting to get rich? My economic experience with the publication of An Odyssey of Illusions wasn’t even reportable to the IRS – $1.37.

How did I make so much when I got the gift books for family and friends at wholesale (which included publisher profit)? I didn’t understand the commercial part of writing. This is not to say I’ve become an expert, but I’ll not be depending on someone else to sell Nescient Decoy.

T

here are several things to do while writing the sequel requested by two beta readers. There is considerable advice about selling a book, so I’ll not waste too much time lining up people whose web sites tout instant sales, etc. I do have a plan outlined, but it needs some tweaking. And, even if I only make 1-cent more than I’ve invested the venture can still be called profitable. Oh – about my time – what else would I be doing when my volunteering is finished, and TV is bad?

Publication Process

I

tried to get the attention of a number of agents and publishers for my current work Nescient Decoy. In one case, I was alerted that its working title New Film Noir didn’t fit the story. I reviewed my protagonist and agreed. Several agents said they were only accepting manuscripts from ‘well established’ writers or current clients. Are you following the series in the comic strip Crankshaft about a librarian trying to get her book published?

I decided I could be waiting for xx days or xx months to hear from someone considering what I’ve written. So, I looked at a number of self-publishing houses. Several do a good job for writers with enough funding to get started. And, I’ve read about some using “Go Funding” for financing. Not my style!

For some covert in my brain reason I avoided exploring Amazon’s publishing advertisements. Last week I decided to set aside the covert purist attitude and take a look. If you have a manuscript and can read, the Amazon process for paperback and Kindle is relatively easy. It provides downloadable templates, step-by-step instructions and free conversion software to process into Kindle format. And, they provide embedded in MS-Word software for processing a manuscript.


M

y preview copies of Nescient Decoy, at printing cost plus shipping, are on the way. After reading the previews, I can make edits or just click on the designated button and the paperback and Kindle versions be posted for sale.

I nearly forgot to mention the IBSN process. It’s affordable from Bowker and the process is easy. I bought 10 IBSNs which drives the price each down. I’m using one for the paperback and one for the Kindle. Even if I find a traditional publisher for other work I have having my own will reduce the hidden fee category.

Just Finished

J

ASON CARTER FINN never thought he’d feel like he was watching himself in one of his grandfather’s generation black and white movies, but that’s how he felt during much of 2016 and 2017. A note on a photograph he discovered in the late summer of 2017 gives personal meaning to something his grandfather said about decoys the last Saturday of the 2000 water-fowl hunting season.

Twenty-five- year-old Finn uses his personal diary and declassified CIA notes to write a travelogue of curiosity, intrigue, mystery, and confusing relationships during 2016 and 2017.
Hoping for another assignment and perhaps more time with another agent, his field assignments become confusing, frustrating, and meaningless to him. Realizing there are few opportunities for satisfying personal relationships as a document reader, the young agent resigns from the CIA and returns to rural Oregon.

Like his change of duties from the mundane reading room to mysterious field assignments, some of his after-career events are unpredictable. Driving away from an ideal location for viewing the 2017 solar eclipse in totality over southeast Oregon is just one of the things he doesn’t anticipate.

 

Search

 

I

have three completed (well, I say so), and I’m in the process of finding suitable publishers. I do have to add a however here. However, I’m not totally opposed to self-publishing.

It seemed to be overwhelming, no, it was overwhelming, to look through the 2018 Writer’s Market book on Kindle for what publishers suited all three. I converted the Kindle format to MS-Word, deleted all but the section on novel publishers, then searched for words like erotica to eliminate those publishers. I did the same for agents.

I found myself loosing track of which of the three manuscripts was meeting posted criteria. I decided to go through the process for just one. But, I chose the one that had the least fit for the general requirements (word count) for novels. I read a blog about why word count is important to publishers. To put it simply – profit! I’m OK with that. Why would anyone go into business (designated as non-profits excepted) to not make enough money to support them and their employees? But, the post was more about high word counts than low word counts. It did give an out for longer manuscripts – one might get a read if the author could justify the story could not be told in fewer words.

I plan to do that for my shorter than general novel length.

Simultaneous submissions are important to me. I just don’t want to wait for a publisher who says, “Responds in 6 months,” or, “Not accepting simultaneous submissions.”

OK! OK, back to my title for this post. The search continues with a careful read of web sites to make a decision on which ones to query.


Advice

S

everal blogs I read give advice on nearly everything writing.

I just read “Bad Advice Boogie: Show, Don’t Tell” by Jeff Somers author of Writing Without Rules and other books. Just enter the title in your search engine to see what he had to say about show, don’t tell.


One important point he makes is in the example, “Mary felt tired, and longed for a nap.” Somers continues, “Or, you could spend 500 words on Mary’s physical and mental state of being, slowly shading in the fact that she’s utterly exhausted and having her think dreamily of her bed at home, the soft pillows, the sense of peace. You could expound on weariness as a human state of existence, research sleep and skillfully edge those statistics and myth-busting into the prose, and before you know it you’ve written an entire chapter about how sleepy Mary is without ever saying it explicitly! Unfortunately, your reader also fell asleep some pages back and likely won’t return.”


For me, the best advice in the piece is, “The more subtle you become as a writer, the more gray areas you’ll encounter, and trying to apply a ‛rule’ like that (show-don’t tell) in a brutal, simplistic way will actually make you a worse writer. In other words, mastering your craft often involves knowing the rules so you can break them with impunity.”

Speaking of advice, MS-Word blue-underlines ‘more subtle’ and suggests subtler in the previous paragraph.


One can check out the authenticity of rules by reading Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue – English And How It Got That Way. Knowing from where the rules originate aids in your having permission to ‘break them with impunity.’


A

nd, another blog says, “Show, Don’t Tell” Is the Great Lie of Writing Workshops.”

The frustrated writer jumping up and down on the concrete floor cries out like a banshee with its forefoot caught in a rusty steel trap placed in the primeval forest by a wantabe explorer, trapper, or guide of the eighteenth century North American frontier, “OK – OK, enough already!”

H

arper Lee writes in Go Set a Watchman, “The hunting club kept the steps in decent repair, and used the jetty as a dock for their bots. They were lazy men; it was easier to drift down stream and row over to Winston Swamp than to trash through underbrush and pine slashes.”

Is she showing or telling?

Oh, and MS-Word advises that ‘repair, and’ should be written without the comma.

Whom are we to believe?