Life with school and writing and poor time management and jobs and….
Indulge me for a bit. Please.
I know I haven’t written here in a while. I don’t have a good reason except that, for some reason, when I’m at college I can’t remember to or think of things to write about related to writing.
That doesn’t mean I’m not writing. in fact, this year has been a very productive year so far.
- I’ve written two short stories (that I consider complete),
- i severely edited one to make it more concise.
- I have three others in various stages of completion. (Well, sort of. Perhaps I’ll explain the problems I had with one of them later this week.)
- I’ve also been working hard on my mermaid novel, which I haven’t written from August until December, and I’m really excited about that. This past week I really focused on that and have edited four or five chapters. (Okay, they’re little chapters, but that is real progress.)
I think what ends up happening with almost all the novels is that I get stuck at a point, don’t really know how to move on, and I think (falsely) that by waiting I’ll figure it all out.
On top of all this, I have actually been reading as well. (Well, and listening. Librovox is wonderful for that.) So far I’ve listened to
- some Sherlock Holmes (I got addicted to the TV show Sherlock, which is awesome I might add, so I wanted to read the books. Unfortuantly, I think the show is better than the books. (Please don’t kill me Holmes fans.))
- Dicken’s Oliver Twist
- And am currently listen to A Princess of Mars, which may also been known as John Carter in movie form (I have not seen the movie at all though.). My dad told me he wouldn’t recommend it because it was a guy book. I’m quite annoyed by that, but I’m enjoying it a lot too.
That isn’t including the variety of other books I’ve read, mostly modern YA books, including Across the Universe, A Million Suns, Article 5, Deliurium and Ship Breaker within the past month. (If you want some awesome world building, read Ship Breaker.)
And yet with all these seeming time on my hands, I can’t manage to write a blog post. Bad Abigail. Bad bad bad.
But, see, I’ve also been scheming. Mwhaha. (< = little evil laugh) And this scheming hasn’t included just characters. It’s actually included my life.
First thing first. I began looking into making ebooks. It didn’t seem that hard and no, I didn’t do all the research that I should, but I did it anyway. Why? Two reasons. One is that I really do want to share my stories. I write so people can read them. That’s always been my goal. So why not? Also, my goal originally was to just charge, say, $.99 per story to see if I can make a little bit of money on the side. I don’t know if I will actually do that though. I’ve only gotten 70 downloads in a little less than two weeks. (Then again, I’m not in Ibookstore or on B&N, so that may help once that happens.) It probably also doesn’t help someone bashed it ( :( ) because of bad grammar and gave it two stars. (So if you want to be really, really nice to me, reviewing it nicely would be sweet.)
This is part of the reason why I said to indulge me, because I’m taking this as a moment to promote my story that you should download and tell your friends about. My page is here, but as of right now, I’ve only uploaded one story. (I planned on uploading another one on Wednesday, but I think I’ll wait until this story goes into all the bookstores before I release the next one.
The other thing that I want to do is to actually teach English. Now, I’m know; I’m in college going for an elementary education degree, but hear me out.
First of all, I learn things best by doing them. This would give me amazing teaching experience. But beyond that, I was homeschooled. My sister is also still being homeschooled and she’s in highschool. When it comes to her English, my mom gets stuck. She doesn’t know what to do or how to do it well. An example is that they struggled for a while to come up with words describing a sunrise and, in passing, mention it to me. I come up with more words than the two of them came up together. I also know what sounds good and what doesn’t and why it doesn’t.
If I taught this English program, I would develop it from the ground up. (Which I already have started working on.) I would then submit assignments, grade papers and provide parents with grades. It helps everyone involved because there are more people than just my mom who wants their child to have a good education but struggle with English. Oh, and best of all is that it’s a creative writing based. I would have jumped at the chance to do something like this in highschool, so why not?
The problem I’m having is how to start it. I have the idea. I have lesson for the whole year outlined, with plans for about two months developed. But I don’t have any clue how to put this out there to say I want to actually teach people. So if you know anyone, have them e-mail me. (Yes, I finally got an e-mail address too.)
Now this one, although I am promoting my own business, will actually benefit you as well because one thing I think I’ll be doing is posting some of my lessons from that on here, especially during the summer as I film the videos.
So, that’s pretty much my life, beyond the normal stuff of I need a summer job, I’m taking three college classes, I’m helping out at home and trying not to get too frustrated with my sister’s laziness. But, I am at home, so I should be able to write more at least over the summer and hopefully get a good stockpile of posts as well for the school year. (See, I might get ideas about what to write but I feel bad popping on here, writing something really quick, and then popping off for another couple weeks. It doesn’t seem that fair to ya’ll for some reason. And yes, I just used ya’ll.)
And if anyone remembers or wonders about the book I sent off to a publisher, no, I have not heard back on that at all, either positively or negatively.
(BTW, I really don’t like this new formatting on WordPress. It rather took me by surprise. :P)
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?
So there you have it.
I didn’t change a lot. The biggest thing I would like to point out is that I have uploaded all of my stories as PDFs so you can download them at your connivence, read, and leave comments.
I’m also trying very, very hard to get ahead in my homework, so I’m not panicking the day before to get it all done. Unfortunately, at this moment I am currently writing this post instead of taking some quizzes but writing posts is more fun. :)
I also took on a challenge. I didn’t realize it was going to be a challenge when I said I could do it though. See, i volunteered to write for the school newspaper. NO big deal. Except I volunteered to write as a creative writer. I figured I’d just take Time of the Dragon Slayers, cut it up into the sections I already have, and turn that in.
I get an e-mail. Abigail, try to keep it to 500 to 750 words. Take out the first section and run a word count. 2000 words. O.o.
I end up deciding to chop the first section into two sections. Not sure how that will work in the long run. Then, I proceeded to cut out another 300 words.
There is the chance, the very slight chance, that this might end up actually being a better version. I’m cutting out a lot of description though so I don’t know. if it is better, I’ll obviously post it.
Here’s another challenge with that. I need to have some kind of tension every 500 to 750 words. Moreover, I need to make it interesting to both guys and girls. For some dumb reason, the guy part of my brain isn’t working. The guy part that says explosions are cool and love stories are stupid. I want to write a love story. (Yes, I still did swear them off.) I also want to write a sad story (since I can’t spell the real word I want) . No one is going to like me if I write a sad story for the newspaper. No one where the guy’s wife turns out to be a spy and then kills their baby.
So, I can’t write something either. Not too sure what to do about that when I start short stories at the end of October. And the short story I wrote this summer isn’t coming along well because the real story doesn’t start until six pages in. The horror.
Anyway, the real topic, that I actually updated my blog, has been long lost. As such, I will leave you with one final question, since it is question Sunday: What was the hardest writing project you tackled?
For myself, it’s a toss up between these poems, though I seem to be doing not that bad on them, since they confuse me like nothing else. Or it is when I actually wrote articles for the newspaper at DWU. That made my brain somewhat explode. Anyway, what about you?
Good evening, folks.
I realize that it has probably seemed like forever since I have written here last. I’ve missed it. No. I have not forgotten all of my fine readers. However, I needed to take a break because life became busy (okay, and I got a little discouraged/depressed in June), and then I had nothing to speak about because I’ve been a bad writer and haven’t written anything all summer.
I know. The horror.
Actually, I just finished writing the first draft a short story, which I started two weeks ago, so that was still summer, right?
Unfortunately, I can’t promise that I’m back for six days a week like before. See, I moved since I last wrote. Okay. I moved an hour away from my old home, but it involved a school transfer. I am now living in the dorms. And to be honest, dorm life can be busy. I went to two meetings tonight, both lasting an hour, and then dinner lasted an hour too.
I’m also taking six classes this semester, and of those, it looks like I must read the textbook for three of them. Plus papers. Plus my own writing. So, I’m still trying to work out priorities. But, I’ll try to make this more important.
On the plus side, one of the classes I’m taking is creative writing, which means that we’ll probably get some things that I’ve never discussed or would have discussed (such as poetry). I’m also taking Native American Studies, which will probably give some fascinating ideas to incorporate into a world. I wrote in the paper that
I hope to learn more about the culture of the Oyate so I can use that information in the future.
Now, in the future he’ll think when I’m teaching, but by in the future, I mean in my writing. Sneaky, eh?
Another thing that’s coming soon is I’m actually going to sit down and reformat this blog. While that means a lot of work for me, it also means that I’m going to try and make my stories in an easier readable formate, with the idea that you can then put it on an ebook reader. Now, I’ll just offer them as either an RTF or a PDF (votes anyone?) but that’s another change here. I’m realizing how important it is to develop a pre-publishing fan base, which sounds really bad, I know, but with how things are going, it’s more than likely that books from new authors will not be published soon. As such, anything I can do to make it easier for you, I will.
These changes will probably include a list of books I’ve read, since I’ve been reading a bit more, and maybe a three line review. However, we’ll see how that goes.
So, that’s my official coming back post and I’ll see you around.
Ebooks for free increasing sales?
A lot of us right now know about the controversy and questions of the future of publishing. If i was smart, I would be doing my research paper on the status of ebooks at the moment, and in the future, but I’m not smart. However, while looking for other things, I found an article that linked to a study. The study found that the short term sales of print books went up after a free online ebook was released.
Interestingly, when a book was released for free and for an indefinite time, it actually increased the sales by an average of 5%. However, when Tor released an ebook for only a week, it decreased the sales of that book drastically.
Anyway, here is the summary of the study and here is the whole article, in case you are interested in reading on that.
Christmas break makes me think of books. And speaking of books…
How often do you read a book as a writer?
I have to admit that I almost never read books. I don’t have time during the school year, and it takes so much time from writing if I do read. :P I really need to get batter at it though.
Where to find classics.
So, I say that I think that everyone should read classics. But where does one find them?
In general, you may want to have an ebook reader. But you have three options about where to find these books. (At least three. There are probably more.)
1) You can go to amazon and buy them. Either Amazon or Barnes and Noble have classics for sale, and generally at cheap prices. I think that B&N is cheaper, but I’m not sure. And, while researching this, I also discovered that Barnes & Noble have ebooks of classics, some of which are free.
2) As I mentioned earlier this week, Gutenberg is a great place to go for free, public domain books. (And trust me; almost all the books you want to read is in public domain.)
3) B + R Samizdat Express. This gives out a free ebook of the week, for both children and adults. Now, the children books aren’t your typical book of, “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!” These are equal with current adult reading. I am copying the directions here about how to subscribe to that.
Just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know that you want to be added to the list and each week, usually on Tuesday, I’ll send you a complete book as an email attachment. You can see a list of all the books we’ve sent out since March 2004 at http://samizdat.stores.yahoo.net/freeb.html
Likewise for our free kids’ book of the week (a separate list — you can be on one or the other or both) http://samizdat.stores.yahoo.net/kid.html
How many people do you know who love books but have never read a book on their computer? I’d be happy to add them to these distribution lists as well. Please spread the word.
So those are three places where you can go. Do you know anywhere else, preferably to get free ebooks?
Why One Should Read Classics.
Although I tend to write more science fiction than anything else, and I find that science fiction classes are not always the easiest to find, I have a special place on my inner bookshelf for classics. I actually read enough classics in highschool, and as such, I will never say not to read a classic merely because it is old.
Because of that, I have come up with five reasons why you should read classic books as writer.
1) They are all well written.
That may seem silly, I know, but think about it this way. You go to WalMart or Barnes & Nobel, and you pick up a book that is said to be a New York Times bestseller. That book may be popular, but it was written–what?–two years ago? Who says where it will be in the next five.
Compare that to we’ll say a Jane Austin book. That book has been around for almost two hundred years. By the mere fact that it is still read two hundred years after it was written, we can be pretty certain that it is good.
3) They didn’t waste words.
Two hundred years ago, they didn’t have computers. They didn’t even have typewriters. All books were handwritten, copy by copy. Personally, if I had to write each copy of my story out, I probably would have given up writing a long time ago. I most certainly would be very careful not to use any more words than I need to. So they demonstrate good writing, while not saying too much.
2) They have some of the best examples of good writing.
All writers look to find the best examples of dialogue, narration, character development, ect. At least, all writers should be. Why not read how to develop these from books that are older, and from a time when people spent more with each other? This goes back to the last one, but still stands on its own, because sometimes the best way to see how a character develops the best is to read it from a really, really good book.
I have done that with The Three Brides, and it actually worked for character development.
Now, besides that, many of them were written in a time period when it took a lot less to shock people. As such, you can see how to take something small and make it serious.
4) They’re not all bad.
This sounds really bad, coming from someone who has been singing about the praises of classics. However, when I first thought about reading classics, I thought, “Boring.” Really! With the exception of Hemmingway, I have found very few classics that are truly boring. And what is better to say?
“I don’t like Hemmingway.”
“He’s just so old!”
“I don’t like Hemmingway.”
“I’ve read two or three of his books and they just didn’t sit with me. Not to mention he’s not that clean.”
5) They are long.
This is an added bonus. See, what would you rather read? A two hundred page book where you get friends and then lose them, or a five hundred page book where you can gain your friends and keep them longer before you lose them? Personally, the longer the book the better.
So where do you find these books? There are numberous itouch apps that have them, so you can carry them around. I don’t know if ibook does (I just downloaded that.) but look around and you can find some.
Also, Project Gutenburg contains a lot of out-of-print books for free. I’d suggest starting with either the top 100 downloaded books or by starting with one of my favorite authors, Charlotte Mary Yonge.
Anyone have any other recommendations on what to read?
I started reading news articles and I came across one about how positive the recent amazone/apple/ipad/kindle/ebook/Macmillan is for book readers and authors as well. This article started me thinking about how ebooks are effecting things for writers.
Right now, we have many devices for reading ebooks that we didn’t used to have. Many people own an ipod touch or an iphone. I don’t know how blackberries or androids compare, but if they are similar enough, you might be able to read an ebook on there. Almost everyone own computers and fast interent. Then you have all of the currently released ebook readers, from Kindle to sony. Now, we have an ipad, and who knows what will come out the near future.
Also, there are hundred now of self publishing places that let you publish the book without costing you much, if any, money. Yes, you get pennies for your book depending on what you set your price to, but it is possible.
The question comes then why not post books as ebooks? Obviously, as writers who are hopefully activity trying to find a market to sell their books, we don’t want to make them fall flat. However, I think I can see a few good reasons. Now, I don’t know the publishing business that well so I might be totally off my mark, but it makes sense to me.
First of all, if the purpose for writing is so others can read and (hopefully) enjoy your work, then it makes sense that by putting it on the internet would make it possible to reach a larger group of people than just your close circle of friends. (That is partly why I started this blog.)
Secondly, although this is highly unlikely, if you create a large reader base, it could be possible that publishers would see actual money in publishing you. You aren’t just a random no name. You’re [blank] who wrote [famous ebook].
Baen did this actually. They said that it made sense to offer a few choice books to readers online, so they could see what they might be getting into before they committed to buying a book. If you are really certain about what you wrote, then why not share it?
My greatest fear with putting something like that online is I don’t see the logical holes within my story. Not really. I would hope that if I were published, the editor would tell me, “Abigail, this part really stinks and makes no sense.” I just don’t know. By publishing them to the internet so that way everyone could download them whenever they want, I might actually be publishing something very bad.
Then again, don’t we all not really know when we send something to the publisher whether it is good or bad? It’s all a gamble.
So I’m thinking about putting Shad up for download once I finish editing it. I originally planned on posting it here, decided that it would not work because how poorly Giant’s Wife came out and went over, and changed my mind. (If I did post it, I would make a separate place, such as shad.alwaysawriter.wordpress.com, if I can do that.) So I don’t know. I’ll have to look into this when spring break comes.
Anyone have any other opinions about ebooks?
I’ve been reading a lot about the problem with ebooks. To summarize, publishers like hardback books because they can make them for almost the same price as paperback books (slightly more) but can sell them for much more. People buy them because they don’t want to wait for the paperback to come out in a few months. People with money. People who can buy kindles, ipads and iphones who now want to buy ebooks.
Suddenly, publishers don’t have any secret good mine, because everyone wants to have ebooks for very little money. After all, why should an ebook, which doesn’t have paper and ink and presses, cost much of anything? Ebooks should be maybe $2, if that, and publishers aren’t the ones producing ebook readers, where all the ebooks go. (The answer is that the writers and the editors need to paid too.)
So, my solution is that publishers sell hardback books, yes, and with these hardback books they give a free ebook that they can download in almost all formats. (I’m questioning kindle, just because I know for the long time it was difficult to get a kindle book.) This way, the person who has the money to spend on both the hardback book or the ipad gets both for the price of one, publishers are still happy because they are selling thier hardback books (And really, how hard is it to make an ebook available?) and it gives whatever company who does this a bonus over the other companies.
Obviously, there are a few details that still needs to be worked out, such as how do you know that I don’t buy the hardback book and let my friend download my ebook. But I’m not the one being paid to figure these things out anyway.
Now, if there are any publishers out there reading this and think it is a really good idea, the proper thing to do would be to look at my manuscript. :)