Archive | March 2012

What does a ruler do?

(I wrote this on May 12 and, thought I thought I published it, I guess I never did.)

We all know about the president, or the king of a country. However, as I begin to think about my characters, some of who are some kind of ruler, I wondered what do they actually do? What takes up all the time in a day?

This, obviously, sends me to google. Here is all I’ve found.

Starting off, I found this great website about the Queen of England’s schedule.

This isn’t terribliy helpful, although it gives a background of the presidental job history. The only good line of a schedule is found here:

This past Wednesday was a typical day. The record shows that Bush had breakfast at 7:15 a.m. with the king of Jordan. He had his usual 8 a.m. intelligence briefing. He held meetings with senior staff and the secretary of defense. At 10:40, he motorcaded to the Capitol, where, at 11:05, he participated in a ceremony honoring heart surgeon Michael DeBakey. Back at the White House, his schedule included a photo op with organ donors, Perino said. At 2:10 p.m., he had a meeting with some business leaders, and at 2:30, he met with Republicans from Congress. At 3:35, he briefly addressed the media about National Small Business Week.

Invariably, Bush has an exercise period in the mix, and almost invariably, he stays at home in the evening….

Then lights out at 9 p.m., or not much later.

Bush very rarely goes out on the town. He seldom appears before audiences that aren’t carefully screened in advance. By his own account, he is immersed in the war he began.

Here is the actual President’s schedule, just in case you’re ever curious.

This is an interesting article on the events of 9/11 and Bush actions during it.  I actually only read through his stay at the elementary school. It is obviously written by someone who is annoyed at Bush, since his whole article seems to be written in order to cause people to demand why Bush didn’t respond. However, I’m thinking of it more from a writing perspective. A plane is highjacked one random day, what are they thinking? Oh, wait, a second plane is now as well. And how does a 40 minute delayed flight effect things? When the plane was highjacked at 8:13, would anyone have imagined it would be crashed into the towers thirty minutes later? Now, take that apply it to your writing.

This is just a cursory overview of what the president does.  Not helpful to me, but maybe to you.

Here I have an interesting job description for a prime minister.

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My summer plans may be to self-publish ebooks.

(Edit: I don’t know what happens when you follow posts, but I did accidently publish this last night and didn’t want to publish it until Friday.)

I made the joke earlier this week about how I should run an etsy account this summer to get money, because OBVIOUSLY, I’m not getting the job I want. (One that has me working with kids. :) ) Yesterday, I looked into it and dropped the idea completely. Etsy seems dangerous and very much of a scam. I prefer places that take a cut of what I sell, instead of have me pay in hopes of selling.

But I began thinking: I have so many other skills. I’m not great at crafts. I’m not bad. Just not great. However, I am pretty good at two things.

1) Writing stories. (At least, I think so, and you guys haven’t said anything contrary. :) )

2) Sketching people (and drawing people in general.)

That made me wonder: Why don’t I see about publishing ebooks over the summer instead? So I did whatever I do whenever I get an idea; I researched it. (And now you get the benefits of my research.)

(That isn’t to say I won’t also pursue sketching people. You can actually find me and submit a picture via Picture for Pencil on facebook.)

It starts with this article about how this person, who analyzed the ebooks published on Amazon, discovered that the majority if ebooks sold were actually bought from independent sellers.

When I began my research, I found this one cnet review on the numerous ways to self publish ebooks out there. That made me look at smashwords. I have done some slight looking into self-publishing and ebooks before, and if I recall correctly, smashwords was where I liked the best. Mainly because they reach out to the majority of separate publishers, so I can get on the ibookstore, Barnes&Nobel and other places all from one place.

(Here is a random link on what some authors thought of smashwords, but note that it is from the smashwords blog.)

I really began looking into though, because I have nothing better do with my afternoon besides play mario kart battle (online). There are some huge, mega success stories out there, such as here with Amanda.  But does that mean anything? I don’t know. I know there is still a one in a million chance.

Here’s my thought, and then I’ll go into everything else. I have already submitted two works of mine to traditional publishers. One, Shad, I won’t hear about until probably May or June. Another, Just Trust Me, I won’t hear about until probably August or so. (My mouse is acting funky and it’s really hard to type a post with that going on. :P I know. Totally off topic.) That’s all fine and good, but I don’t think much of anything is really going to happen with either of them.

What if I offically published my short stories as ebooks though? I am currently loving short stories (I’m reading Sherlock Holmes right now.) because I can read them in an hour or two, and then move on. Or, if I don’t have time, I can not do anything. Between my two stories I just finished and Time of the Dragon Slayers (the newspaper version), I have two stories I can put up almost immediatly. Then, I also have two to three stories that just need a bit of editing, and they can go up as well. I’d only sell them for $0.99.

Would this work? Would anyone buy anything? I don’t know.  I look at my stats and I see that there has been only a handful of views in the stories I provided here. However, I would think that when someone is going to read a story, they won’t go browsing wordpress; they go directly to the place that sells their ebooks.

On the negative side, people don’t buy short stories as much as they buy novels. Apparently, not everyone agrees with me. On the other hand, though, I THOUGHT short stories was how someone got into publishing novels, but the more I read today, the more I saw that it seems many places don’t even buy novels anymore. (Or maybe they just don’t buy collections of short stories. Not sure about that one.)

So, what is involved? Well, a lot of things.

I would need to design a cover. I’m trying to decide if I would want to do that myself or hire a friend of mine to do it. (Well, friend’s sister.)  I think it would be fun to design one but I’m not sure if I can do a good job at it. And even though everyone SAYS not to judge a book by its cover, you know everyone does.

I would need to format the books so as to actually be able to upload them. That means I need to use Word. (EVIL!!!!) Then again, no big deal. I can work with that.

Finally, I’d need to do some promotion. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t even know how much is too much. According to that post by Amanda, it is a good idea to get the book reviewed on book bloggers sites. However, I’m not a very assertive person when it comes to self promotion. (I might not even post it on facebook, which, as I think about it, is really stupid. But I’m shy like that.)

One final thing that I must do is have it edited on some level. This one is really hard for me because I THINK I have become a pretty decent editor myself. But no one sees all of their mistakes. So I don’t know how much I will or won’t do that.

Why would I pursue this over traditional publishing? The biggest reason is that I like to maintain my rights to everything. It’s mine and I want to keep it that way. From what I was reading, traditional publishers don’t let you do that. They also don’t let you maintain your rights to an ebook. (Some of what I read today talked about how much they might make you change, which scares me. I’ve worked hard on tightening my stories as much as possible.)

There’s also the fact that I can get more books out quickly. I’m waiting from February until at least May or June to get an answer back on Shad, which, since it’s my first novel, will probably be no. So it’ll take a couple years until I get any kind of acceptance. On the other hand, I can start getting my writing, and not just my name, out there by next month. Besides that, people do get contracts if they are popular ebook sellers.

Also, though this isn’t as much (okay, it’s some. I need $1000 for school next year. $3000 if I decide to drive.), I can make more money through an ebook venue per book. Don’t know if that’ll make much of a difference or not. Compared to a traditional publisher, I won’t be getting any kind of advance.

(See the Pros and Cons of self-publishing and More reasons to self publish for more information.)

Traditional publishing helps you more in the editing process. They also may get books in the store. An article promoting traditional publishing said that if most people who got rejected immediately by a traditional publisher went the self publishing route, they would never actually improve. (Which I disagree with actually. More writing improves practice.)

However, they don’t help you much with the promotion of your book. I, as the writer, still must do that.

Am I going to do this? I don’t know. I’m seriously considering it. If I did, I would get both a smashwords account and an amazon account. However, as a word of warning, Amazon’s lending system (AKD) mandates that you do not have your book for sale anywhere else. You can disable this, and I would do that. This way, I get both the Amazon market (which I’m pretty sure I don’t get with smashwords. Still trying to figure that out.) and all the other markets.

Any thoughts on ebook publishing?

College takes way too much time. (And when is a story actually done?)

That’s pretty much my only excuse for not posting. I get distracted doing homework, classes and other things like that.

Anyway, the real reason why I’m posting (besides that I’m on spring break and have time to post) is because I “finished” two stories this week.

I know. Impressive.

What do I mean by finished though? Well, I wrote them, determined they had a strong enough plot (in one, I had to add more tension), edited them repeatedly and honestly don’t really know where to go from here.

The last time I actually finished something, I either came to the deadline or got bored with it. (That’s how I decided Shad was actually done. Bored. I think I read that advise somewhere.) But right now, I don’t have any deadlines. I’m actually really excited about the stories. (And I don’t have anyone to read them [RIGHT NOW!], because my sister, who used to read everything of mine, is so behind and lazy about it that I’ve pretty much given up on her reading anything. Even though she THINKS she’s doing me so much help. (Which she used to. Not anymore.))

So how do I know it’s finished?

I don’t know. The plot seems good to me. The writing seems good to me.  Overall, I think it’s done.

But I’m just waiting for someone to read it and tell me that “Erm, Abigail, this makes no sense.” or “Abigail, this is really stupid. I don’t get Reve at all.” (I know. I character I haven’t mentioned before. He’s new, he’s not demanding a novel, but I still have written two stories about him and intend to write a third maybe someday.)

And (though I have used Critters in almost a year), if I used Critters, it’d take me a month to get feedback. Who knows what I’ll be doing in the middle of April?

Basically, I’m impatient. I want to be done with it but I want to work on it while I like the story. And I know. Everyone says to let a finished story sit and see how it looks in a month. But–I get so distracted that may mean I never actually finish it.

So I suppose I should just say it’s done and post it here.

Anyone else have any thoughts on when a story is actually done?