A Special Release Day Quick-Tip Tuesday

Welcome to a special release-day edition of Quick-Tip Tuesday. Today is the official publication day for Shadow’s Blade, book III of The Case Files of Justis Fearsson (following Spell Blind and His Father’s Eyes). I have a giveaway going on my Facebook page; my publisher, Baen Books, is giving away five copies on Goodreads; I’ve been posting teasers from the book and last week I recorded an interview for the Baen podcast. Pretty standard release time stuff.

I love this book and this series, and would very much like to write more in the Fearsson universe, so if you have not yet started reading the Fearsson books, please consider picking them up and giving them a read. And if you have been reading them (thank you!) and have been waiting with bated breath for this newest volume to drop, now’s a great time to order your copy. We’ll wait. [Cue […]

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When Life Gets In The Way – And It Will

We are writers. No matter what we write, we are writing about life, about living, about the things that matter to us, about the pain and joy and music and poetry of living. We are writing about the insecurity and excitement of romance, a mystery that needs to be solved, a life decision that needs to be made, a loss that has been suffered, a battle or war that needs to be fought.

We write, and as we write, we incorporate and use every good and wonderful and easy thing that has happened to us, as well as every difficult and painful and dreadful thing that has happened to us in the past. All that we are, all that we have survived, is part of our characters and our plotlines and the landscapes of our writing. The feel of water from a cold shower can be interpreted and twisted into […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Revisiting the Past, and Finding Out We Sucked

I owe an apology to all of you.

Seriously.

To every person I have critiqued at a Live Action Slush, to every student whose manuscript I’ve marked up, to every aspiring writer I’ve advised with arrogant confidence, I am truly sorry.

For what, you ask.

For failing to realize just how fortunate I am, and have been, to have the career I’ve had.

What has brought this on?

Well, I am editing Children of Amarid, my very first novel. I have the rights back to the book — to the entire series, actually — and I’m planning to come out with what I call the Author’s Edit (kind of like the Director’s Cut of a movie). So I’m reading through the book, editing as I go, rediscovering the tale that kicked off my career.

And it’s awful. I mean TERRIBLE. I am mortified to realize this book has been in […]

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A Small Press Talk

In General:

On paper, the money from a small press looks just as good as the money as from a bigger press. Better even. Percentages on ebooks from big houses usually runs 25% of net. In small houses, it’s usually 50% of net. Paper copies at big houses will start your payment 8% on mass market and start at 10% of hardback cover price. Small presses (almost) universally use POD (print on demand) for books and the percentage usually starts at 10%, so no loss or gain on percentage there.

Most larger presses are beginning to ease away from printing mass market books. The MMs never made any money for the companies. Trade paperbacks have meant higher profit margins meaning more money in their pockets. Ebooks ensure fewer returns. POD trade paperbacks can be issued per order, so no losses on returns there either. Therefore, all these changes in formats […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: Realistic Expectations (and a Little Math)

In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about writing on a daily basis. I basically said that while no one should tell you that you have to do this in order to be successful, writing every day, despite life’s intrusions, is what professionals do. It is also the best way to build skills. For reasons I’ll get into soon, I hate the phrase “practice makes perfect.” But practice certainly does make proficient.

Still, while I recommend writing each day, that’s only half the story. No matter how often we write, or for how long, we need to set realistic expectations for ourselves. Because if we write every day, but we expect too much out of those writing sessions, we can do more damage than good.

I’ve said this before and I will continue to say it until people stop listening (you are listening, right?): writing is […]

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Friday Fundamentals: Why Do You Write?

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My last few posts have been fairly technical things, so I would like to steer away from that for my posts in March and move toward some things that I think are very fundamental but more philosophical questions that writers often ponder (and that editors sometimes wonder about the writers).

Today’s question is why do you write?

There are a several facets to this particular question, so I am going to ask some more specific questions to hopefully get to the heart of why you write.

Do you write to make money? I assume that all writers would like to be paid for their work, but is that the driving reason for punching the keys? Is fortune your number one priority? As we can see from some of the other folks’ posts, the publishing industry is going through some major changes at the moment, so most people aren’t making much […]

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Quick-Tip Tuesday: On Writing Every Day

One hears conflicting advice these days on the question of whether aspiring writers should try to write every day. Some will say that it’s important to write, but it’s also important to take time away from the work when we need the rest, when we’re exhausted physically or emotionally, when all that other stuff that falls under the heading of “life” gets so overwhelming that we can’t write at all. That was, in essence, the point of Tamsin’s wonderful post a couple of weeks ago.

And Tamsin, who I adore, is absolutely right.

Mostly.

I am one of those obnoxious old fart writers (I have a birthday coming up very, very soon, and yes, I’m feeling a bit like an old fart) who shakes his cane at the young’uns and says in a voice much like that of Bart Simpson’s grandfather that writers ought to write each and every day. […]

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