The Writer's Mailbag: Installment Eighty-Nine
The Wheels of the Bus Go Round and Round
I’ve got that song stuck in my head today. Annoying at best, so I thought I’d share it with you. Don’t try to thank me. It is my pleasure.
Here we are again, thanks to all of you with questions.
And while I’m thanking people, thanks to all who purchased my first novella/pulp fiction, The Billy the Kid Chronicles. Sales are going well and I greatly appreciate it. You can find the book as an eBook or paperback on Amazon.
Now, after that shameless self-promotion, let’s get it on with some more great questions.
My book on writing
From DDE: “Publishing companies are hard to find these days especially the good ones. You mentioned the best. Please I need to know more about kindlescout publishing?”
Let me share with you the promo written on the Amazon website regarding Kindle Scout:
“Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.
“Authors can submit their full manuscripts of 50,000 words or more (including cover art, various metadata items, and an author photo), about 5,000 words of which are posted on the Kindle Scout website for a 30-day "campaign". Readers can then browse books and nominate their favorites. If a manuscript they've voted for gets published, they receive a free ebook.”
Pretty straight-forward, right?
Here’s my only problem with the Kindle Scout program, DDE, and remember this is just my humble opinion. It’s too new and I don’t think all the kinks have been worked out of it. It’s also a rather complicated system of “rights,” and reading all of the fine print might be confusing to many writers. On the one hand it would be cool to get a $1,500 advance, and to also get the marketing of Amazon behind your book….on the other hand, it is by no means a sure thing, and it seems to hover somewhere between traditional publishing and self-publishing and can be terribly confusing legally…and when you’re talking about the writer’s legal rights to his/her own work, I don’t want any confusion at all. Do you?
I’m sure there will be more opinions in the comment section, so let’s see what everyone else has to say about it.
My Shadows Series Volume 1
Writing a Series
From Mary: “I have a question for you, here or in the mailbag. If you are writing these as a series, how long do you allow between each new novella. Obviously you want to keep the interest going and not allow your fans to forget about you.”
Mary, another great question from you, and I thank you for it.
I doubt there is a “traditional way” to do this series thing. As you said, I think it is crucial to keep the interest going. I’m shooting for one per month, but I may have to be realistic and make that once every two months, or once every six weeks. I sure don’t want it to go much beyond that for the reason you stated.
I was a kid at the tail-end of the “serial” craze. Each week there would be a new serial in print, on the radio or in the movies, and I remember looking forward to reading them, hearing them or seeing them. This may be the year 2016 but I think that interest can be recreated in today’s world if the serial is good enough and interesting enough.
But I think it’s crucial that it appear on a regular basis. I don’t have much faith in the attention span of the average reader. If I let six months pass by before the next installment of the series, I’m afraid I’ve really stretched the limits of memory for many readers.
Did that sound sarcastic?
From Edith: “I’ve read about your suggestions on how to observe people, like taking a notebook along with you, or taking pictures while you’re out and about. My problem is I don’t remember to do those things when I’m out for a walk or running errands. Is there any way you know of to train myself to do those things?”
Sheez, Edith, I’m not a miracle worker!!!!!
All kidding aside, I understand completely. What I suggest is not normal for most people. We go about our days and yes, we observe, but we don’t observe things in-depth. A blond walks by me and thirty seconds later I can’t tell you a thing about her. An old man bumps into me, I turn and say excuse me, and when I get home I can barely remember he was stooped over and had thinning hair.
I don’t have a sure-fire way of training you to do those things. My best suggestion is to set aside a specific time where your only goal is to observe. Go for a walk specifically for that purpose, to take pictures of people or to write down descriptions of people. Two or three times a week go on your “writer’s walk,” and that is the purpose of that walk, to observe and to record those observations.
It would seem like the most natural thing in the world, people observing people, but we get so carried away with other things, so busy getting on with life, so distracted by other thoughts, that we shut our observation skills down and just get on with life….so stop the daily madness and set aside observation time.
Just a thought!
From Marie: Are there really new niches that writers can write about? I know you’ve mentioned in articles before that for some writers, finding a unique niche is the key to getting magazine articles published, but I’ve strained my brain and can’t think of any new approaches.”
Oddly, Marie, my friend Lawrence recently mentioned this same thing.
Are there new niches? I guess in a very general sense no, there are not. Millions of writers over the decades have pretty much managed to write about every possible topic, don’t you think? But…..
There will always be new angles to take, new viewpoints and new ways of looking at the old topics, and I think that is crucial in getting published by magazines on a regular basis…..and…..
I also think it is crucial that you be a good writer. You can have the most creative ideas known to man, but if you can’t write in an interesting way, your “brilliant creativity” will die with you. I think a lot of writers forget about this first step…learn how to write well. Perfect your craft and never stop working at perfecting your craft.
New Site to Check Out
No question here, just a note from your loyal question and answer man. Bev told me to check out this site and I did, was impressed and now I’m sharing it with you. It might be worth a visit….that’s all I’m going to tell you other than there is a chance of making money on it….go check it out by following this link. Oh, it’s called HITRECORD.org…..that’s all! It was created by a famous actor….I’ll let you go there to find out who that actor is.
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A Short One This Week
But that’s okay! My goal is not to please the HP editorial staff. I’m just here to answer the questions and keep the discussion advancing, and we’ve accomplished that this week.
So thanks to all of you. I’ll be back next week with Installment Ninety!
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”