Monthly Archives: May 2013

Writing Out a Great Scene

31 May 2013

From New York Times bestselling author Dave Farland:

A couple of minutes ago I had an idea for a great scene for the novel I’m currently working on. I’m going to go begin writing it within the hour.

Twenty years ago, I would have taken a different tact. I would have waited for the idea to “ferment,” to age like a fine wine. The idea being that when you have a new idea for a scene, very often it isn’t easily integrated into a novel, and so you would want to think about it, let everything settle, and then begin to compose.

For example, let’s say that you have an idea for a story. It’s about a loving mother who becomes depressed about her life. Her mother passed away when she was a child, and she has often felt so cast adrift that she has wondered if she should have died instead. Now, at age 33, she is a young single mother who has been diagnosed with heart failure, and she realizes that her two children, ages two and four, are most likely going to repeat the cycle. So she decides that she is going to take her children and throw them off a bridge, then jump off and drown with them.

Okay, so you think about that big climactic suicide scene and the things that could possibly happen, and each time that you think about this novel, that one big climax seems to loom in the foreground of your imagination. It’s like an old record that is skipping, replaying the same fragment of song over and over.

Meanwhile, there are dozens of other minor scenes begging for your attention.

. . . .

But as you try to populate your story with various scenes, you realize that each one will affect what happens in your climax.

. . . .

So, I used to wait. I’d try to populate the story with minor scenes, then wrap everything up in one round. But I’ve found that if I wait, I might spend an awful long time trying to develop those few key scenes. Each novel needs between 70 and 100 scenes, but I’d find myself going over half a dozen of the biggest ones, unable to progress. My creative energy got spent rehashing the same scene over and over, often with very minor twists.

So now I recommend that you write out those big scenes early. Once you do, your creative mind is free to focus on those minor scenes.

Link to the rest at David Farland

Self-Publishing Intelligence Report

31 May 2013

Galleycat is starting a monthly Self-Publishing Intelligence Report. Here’s the one for May, 2013.

The pages are still blank

31 May 2013

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.

Vladimir Nabakov

The B&N Ban

31 May 2013

From author William Kent Krueger:

I just learned that I can’t visit any Barnes and Noble store with the release of my upcoming novel Tamarack County, the thirteenth in the Cork O’Connor series.  There’s a spat going on between my publisher, Simon and Schuster, and the bookstore chain.  No Simon and Schuster author may visit any Barnes and Noble until further notice.  It has something to do with money, but nobody seems to know exactly what.

I’ve been setting up my tour for Tamarack County, which comes out on August 20.  I’d arranged two events at Barnes and Noble stores in the Twin Cities, two stores that have been strong supporters of my work from the beginning and that sell enormous quantities of my work.  Then I got the word from New York: No visits to B&N.

. . . .

Many S&S authors’ works are no longer being ordered or displayed.  I suspect this rift, which has been dragging on for months, has drastically affected my sales and the sales of other Simon and Schuster authors.  And I can’t help but think that the entity benefitting most from this kind of nonsense is Amazon.  Readers who can’t find authors at B&N and who have no local independent are going to pop onto the Internet and buy there, it seems to me.  Or they’re simply not going to buy at all.

Link to the rest at William Kent Krueger and thanks to Antoine  for the tip.

Self-publishing has become a cult

31 May 2013

From Salon:

Ten years ago self-publishing was viewed as a fad rooted in vanity; only those who couldn’t hack it under the traditional system went the do-it-yourself route. With the advent of digital publishing, the paradigm has changed, self-publishing is a legitimate choice, master of your own destiny, blah blah blah, you’ve heard this story before.

What’s funny is, the adherents would have you believe that once you self-publish, the scales will fall from your eyes and you’ll recognize self-publishing as the One True Path. Traditional publishing will reveal itself to be a lost circle of Dante Alighieri’s Hell, full of damaged souls who want to enrich themselves off your work while destroying every shred of your creativity.

I call shenanigans: Last year I self-published a novella, and all it did was encourage me to get an agent and seek a traditional deal for my full-length novel. If indeed there are scales on my eyes, they are still firmly in place.

. . . .

Since publication, I’ve sold around 200 copies, and given another 800 away for free through Amazon’s KDP program. I’ve made enough money to cover the cost of the cover and a nice bottle of whiskey.

. . . .

Yet, not for a second did I consider self-publishing my full-length novel. The goals here are different: I want this book in bookstores. I want the cachet that comes with getting a traditional publishing deal. I want to get invited to better parties.

. . . .

Here’s the thing: My dream career as a writer involves a mix of self-publishing and traditional publishing. One supporting the other. I want to be a hybrid author, a model used successfully by authors like Chuck Wendig (a man often shouted at by self-publishing proponents for taking a middle position).

My novella is available now, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for a deal on my novel. Then maybe I write another novella, or I collect some of my short stories, and I self-publish that. Afterward, I write another novel and hand it off to my agent. The cycle repeats. I have a mix of books, some of which earn me the perks of being a traditionally-published author, while others offer me a greater return of profits and more creative freedom.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t fit the narrative of self-publishing’s champions. But here’s the truth: Some of them are just as bad as the evil traditional publishing executives who want to ride your work to fame and fortune. Because those self-pubbing pros are doing the same thing—staking out “expert” positions and writing glowing blog posts about self-publishing, and the link to their Amazon storefront is at the bottom of the post.

Link to the rest at Salon and thanks to L for the tip.

Kobo: Self-Publishing Responsible for Low Average Ebook Price

31 May 2013

From Digital Book World:

The global average ebook price has dropped 8% year-over-year in the first quarter, according to Kobo ebook sales data presented by chief content officer Michael Tamblyn at the IDPF conference in New York.

Worldwide, ebook prices have been fluctuating between $7.00 and $9.00 dollars, with an average selling price lingering at $7.50, according to Kobo’s data.

. . . .

Self-publishing is having a substantive effect on the average price of an ebook, not only because those titles tend to be low priced but also because of the large and growing volume of self-published ebooks on the market, said Tamblyn.

Since the launch of Kobo’s self-publishing service Writing Life, those authors comprise 10% of the company’s unit sales. Adding in self-published authors using other services that Kobo distributes, Tamblyn said that number jumps to 20% of unit sales.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Is self publishing immoral?

31 May 2013

From Futurebook:

Is self publishing immoral?

You could be forgiven for thinking that it was given some of the recent coverage it has had. James Patterson’s recent adverts in the New York Times Book Review and others highlighting the wonderful books that wouldn’t have come into the world if publishers didn’t exist would certainly seem to suggest that it might be.

It is also implicit in the argument I hear all the time from publishers when discussing the subject. “Look”, they say, “at all the talent we nurture. Think of the poor impoverished literary author struggling in her garret. What will become of her if we are not there to publish her books?”

Publishing, they point out, has always worked on an eighty twenty rule, where the profitable twenty percent of books pay for the unprofitable eighty. As no one is all that good at predicting which is going to be which, publishing is – and always will be – a spread bet.

Self published authors – the successful ones – remove themselves from this eco system and so, the argument runs, also remove their subsidy from all those deserving writers who struggle to find a readership – the literary, the unfashionable and the new.

. . . .

Publishers are squeezing the e-book orange for all that it is worth and the profits are flowing. Is there any evidence whatsoever that they are investing any of that extra revenue in new, interesting voices? Not much, no.

And you know why? Because publishers are nervous. As they should be. Self publishing is eating away at their business. By some reckonings self published e-books account for thirty percent of the market. That is a figure that should worry publishers.

Link to the rest at Futurebook and thanks to Sean for the tip

Creative Control, Ease of Publishing and Money Pushing Authors to Self-Publish

30 May 2013

From Digital Book World:

Hybrid authors who self-published their last book did so because of the amount of creative control they retained, the ease of the publishing process and the amount of money they can make, according to a new report from Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest about the habits and preferences of hybrid authors. This early data from the report was presented by Phil Sexton, Writer’s Digest community leader, at the IDPF Digital Book 2013 conference in New York.

When hybrid authors who chose to self-publish their last book were asked why they chose to do so, nearly two-thirds said one of their reasons was that self-publishing helped them exert more creative control on the final product. Some 40% said one of their reasons was because the ease of the self-publishing process, and nearly 40% said it was because they could make more money self-publishing.

Hybrid authors who published their last book with a traditional publisher said they did so for completely different reasons: amount of help received along the way (half); total reach of distribution (nearly half); and the prestige of working with a large publisher and seeing their books on major bookstore shelves (about a third).

. . . .

For authors who would prefer to self-publish their next book, the top three reasons why are:

1. Amount of creative control retained (three-quarters)2. Amount of money that can be made (nearly 60%)
3. Ease with which the publishing process is completed (about a third)

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

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