Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Blog


As some of you may already be aware, I have opened my own website. On account of this, I am shifting my blog over to here. Don't worry -- this one isn't going to disappear. However, I will cease updating it, as the new blog is much easier to use and looks a lot nicer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Women writing Science Fiction - Questions from the Readers


Someone on twitter asked how women were doing compared to men in terms of writing Science Fiction.

This is not an easy question. This is also one I do not have a definitive answer for. However, I'll take a stab at my opinions and thoughts on the matter.

First, there have almost always been women writing Science Fiction. However, the brave women who were the early pioneers of a feminine touch in a male-dominated genre often hid their genders behind male pen names.

While women have been accepted in much higher frequency than ever before, there is still a very strong male lead in the genre.

That said, my book case has a decent amount of science fiction. Almost all of the authors are females. I enjoy their writing.

I cannot give you exact demos on male versus female, but the few publishers I DID manage to corner have said the same thing, "Females are increasing in number."

How high is the percentage? No clue.

The best way to find out, perhaps, would be to take a tally of authors -- especially best sellers -- and figure out how many are men and how many are women.

Since this branches a lot of different publishing houses, both large and small, this would be a massive undertaking.

If you have solid information on the split between males and females in science fiction, please note your resources. This is something I am definitely interested.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Releasing edited older works - Questions from the Readers

Yesterday -- sometime before I finished my book -- I polled individuals on twitter on what they wanted to see written about for this blog. There was a very quick response.

Today, I am going to cover the very interesting subject of releasing a new version of an old novel. By this, I mean this: a writer dislikes a book they once wrote and published. They go back and rewrite or do massive edits to it and release it again.

The subject came up as one mouse (Hi Squeecha!) noticed that an author had done exactly this and had left both copies for sale.

From a personal point-of-view, I would love to release a new version of an older, crappier work. But, as a reader, I am going to be quite upset if I am expected to buy a second copy of the same book because the author was too lazy to do the job right the first time.

Once you publish, unless you are correcting minor things like a missed spelling-error during typesetting... please don't do this. This is entirely of personal opinion, but if I buy a book, and the author slaps me in the face by releasing a new version of it because they didn't do a thorough job of writing it the first time, well... this will upset me as a reader.

I could never do that to my audience as a writer.

Sure, I will improve my writing skills as I write, but I find this sort of behavior as the ultimate insult. If I buy a book, I buy it because I want to read it. If you release a new copy of the book -- where the story has been rewritten or massively changed -- I will feel like I have been ripped off.

The only way I think I could accept this is if I were offered a free copy of the new version to read. This is something I could accept, as it would show that the author wanted to give me the best story.

If I'm expected to pay for them correcting their mistakes or changing the story, I would be very, very upset. To the point I wouldn't purchase books from this author again.

I can't put a logical explanation to this. It is entirely my opinion, and there are no studies or logic to it.

Yes, I know, I usually post factual sorts of things, but I finished my book last night before bed. I'm allowed. (But just for today.)

There isn't much more that I can say on the subject than that.

More Questions from The Reader to come! If you have a question you want to ask, @rebeccablain on twitter with it and it might show up here!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More on Self-Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing

The past few days have been dedicated to the growing conflict between my spouse and me regarding the differences of opinion relating to self-publishing.

Here is the basic argument: My husband believes that self-publishing is the route I should take.

His primary reason for this is the delay between a publisher accepting a piece of writing versus the time it actually makes it into print. He views the delay as a loss of money, as self-publishing would allow for a longer print run.

Now, I cannot disagree with this. The harsh reality is a 14+ month wait from acquisition to print. It is a difficult pill to swallow. Now, granted, I can be working on my next novel in that period of time, but with ever shrinking advances, 5k (and that is being too charitable!!) isn't a whole lot to live on for 14 months. I can make more than 5k in 14 months on cheap contract work. (Which my husband enjoys pointing out.)

I do not want to delude myself into thinking I could get a big advance. I'm somewhat realistic.

However, my argument comes up in I would have to foot the bill on the things the publisher would typically pick up. These include:

- Cover Art
- Formatting for print
- Formatting for ebooks
- Editing
- Basic Marketing
- Distribution

Now, there are a few perks to going this route. These include:

- Picking my own cover art, hiring the artist of choice, etc
- Picking my editor.
- Handling my marketing or picking someone I trust to do my marketing for me.
- Fast publication time.
- Selecting my own pricing.

There are disadvantages. These include:

- A lot more edit work I have to do on my own.
- Investment for all of the above things a publisher would normally handle.
- No brand backing my work.
- No agent for advice. Some self-pubbers have agents, but I strongly doubt I would get approached by an agent, and I expect I would be busy enough where I would not have time to go shopping for one.
- The negative impact of having gone the self-publishing route.

There are shared advantages and disadvantages of each, of course. The most notable point being::

- There is NO guarantee that I would succeed either by traditional OR self-publishing methods.

There are a lot of things missing from this list. I realize this. This is a uncomplicated form for those who are just dipping their feet into the process of determining which route is best.

On a personal front, I want to support the traditional publishing venue. However, I have to be realistic as well. I can afford to invest ~$1,500 to get my cover art, start marketing, and pay an editor to pick over my book.

I do not think I can afford to wait 14+ months with no chance of income at all. It is all-or-nothing in my personal situation. I have the choice of contract work -- which is paying less and less with each passing day as individuals seek volume and sacrifice quality. Or, I can buckle down and start producing books and selling them for the kindle or print.

At least this way, the stories I love to write might make it out to the populations that like to read. It is unlikely I will land in the coveted top 100. But, if I do not take life by the horns and ride the bull, I will never have a chance at all to shine.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The E-book World

This post has been a long time coming. Let us just say I've been sick and busy and leave it at that.

I bought a kindle on Monday. It will arrive on Thursday. I saw one my friend had, and she was nice enough to allow me to handle it. (She even forgave me for losing her page as I was playing with her kindle rather than leaving her book on the page she left on...)

I was taken with it immediately. It is a tiny bundle of gadget geek glory. Complete with leather cover and a book light. I got mine in red leather, as I have an extreme fondness for red leather.

My first impression was, "This doesn't look much different than a real book!" This is what spurred my desire for one. That, plus my husband gave me the final ultimatum: Get rid of books or do not buy new ones. Apparently 600-800 titles crammed into two bookshelves is excessive.

I do not want to stop buying books OR get rid of my preciouses, and he refuses to get another book case, so the kindle was a good compromise. I already bought 34 classical novels I haven't read that I have wanted to read. And I already have already added a few books onto my wishlist. There are a few books I can't get as an ebook, but I'm sure I'll be able to talk him into just one or two titles.

I am definitely curious how authors view their works as ebooks. If you have been published and have both print and ebook copies, and don't mind sharing the stats between how many buy ebooks versus print, I would be curious to find out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Throwing off the Mantle...

Today's post will be a little out of the normal. Mainly because this national novel writing month, I returned to my roots as a writer and did something I haven't indulged in for a long time: I pantsered this book.

I am usually a fan of my plotting and my careful details. However, this time I said screw it, threw away my plot (which I had spent an entire month working on) and decided that I would dive in with nothing but my poet-possessed laptop and my brain.

Really, it was a great idea.

This novel does not use a unique concept. It uses a plot mechanism used before, but done in a way unique to me. This is also outside of my usual method of operation. While I won't quite say it has a cliche plot, I focused more on telling a good story than trying to tell a unique story. There is a little irony in that I think I managed to come away with one of my better stories just by focusing on having fun.

This got me thinking a little. When I stepped back and viewed my book on the level of telling a good story, there are often similar plot mechanisms I like in a story. 'Snicker's' bars versus fillet mignon, but.... I think this month I went for a book that would be a fun read.

And somehow, I think I have succeeded.

By throwing off the usual controlled style of writing, I think I touched back on why I love to write. I think this let me relax and do what I love the most. This reflects in the quality of my writing, as well. This book will need edits, but I am not so certain that it will need a rewrite. I know scenes that I want to tune, but so far there are none I want to scrape.

It is a pleasant, uplifting feeling. While I am usually able to write a good quantity of words when I apply myself, I do not usually feel so eager to get up in the morning and get to work on a book.

Thank you, November. Thanks for letting me get back in touch with my roots and remember what it is like to write a book off the seat of my pants!

This is the book that I will send to a publisher and agents. It will need work, it will need polish, but this is the one that I will take all of the way.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November killed the Blog Writer

I'm sorry that I have been quiet. There are many reasons for this, and some of them I can delve into on a writing related blog. Shocking, isn't it?

It is November! It is just about halfway through November! Both of these things are excellent. I'm excited. I love National Novel Writing Month, and I have really enjoyed participating as a Municipal Liaison this year. I have met a lot of fun and interesting people. I get out of my condo at least once a week and I get to write as I do it. This is very pleasing.

Instead of my usual post, I am going to copy-paste my guest blog posts from another blog. Some of you have already read them, but I figured there was no better way to catch my mood of the past week than to revitalize the posts I have already done. They are almost all on writing subjects, and they may be useful to you.

Post #1 -- November 8, 2010
Post #2 - November 9, 2010
Post #3 - November 10, 2010
Post #4 - November 11, 2010
Post #5 - November 12, 2010
Post #6 - November 13, 2010
Post #7 - November 14, 2010

I cover quite a few writing related subjects in these posts. 7 posts in 7 days tired me, so I'm going to just leave you with these to keep you occupied.