Hey guys, I won the #PW1K at the awesome Heather Howland‘s blog!
Yay, I’m super excited.
Thank you all who voted on me and helped me with this =) Really, it was awesome!
Recapping for those who don’t know,
Once upon a time, there was a picture. And writers were invited to write a story of up to 1000 words about the picture. The best four became finalists and put up to anonymous voting. My story was among those finalists for August. And I won!
Here is the picture and the story:
I didn’t have time to stop and think about the pebbles scratching under my feet, nor the exhaustion winning over, nor the object secured in my hand.
I couldn’t afford wasting time. I had to run. I had to get away.
My mistake was to glance back.
My heart skipped a few precious beats and I tripped over my own legs out of fear.
The terrifying Knights of The Order kept coming, running faster than I ever could. Soon they would catch up with me and it would be my end.
I blinked the panicked tears from my eyes and forced my legs to their limit. No, I couldn’t give up that easily. I had come this far, hadn’t I?
With the black lake as my companion, I ran through the stony white sand, wishing there was salvation beyond the horizon, beyond the edge of the lake and the mountains behind it.
The horizon came. I froze. A long hill stretched down for tiresome miles, the black water reaching along with it for many miles, beyond my sight.
A raspy sigh escaped my lips and I locked my wobbly knees before I fell onto the ground and into desperation.
There was nowhere to run to and the Knights were getting closer and closer. Nowhere except for a bare wooden pier that lingered long and high over the lake. With no options, I ran to the pier.
At the edge, I skidded to a stop and peeked at the water, many feet below. It was daunting and entrancing at the same time.
The wind picked up and I felt cold brushes scraping against my skin. A shudder took hold of my body. I closed my eyes and let the wind bring new air, fresh air, into my lungs. Hopefully, it would bring clarity into my mind too.
Under my feet, the wood boards shook. I glanced back only to find my pursuers moving into the pier.
My heart jumped to my throat.
What could I do now? Where could I go?
My gaze found the black water beneath me. The breeze came back, from the other side this time, gently pushing me forward. Was it the response I needed? Was it the solution to my escape? Jump and hope I made the long fall?
I squeezed the pendant in my palm until I could feel it thrumming against my skin.
I stepped closer to the edge, closed my eyes and inhaled deeply, filling my lungs with courage.
If I had to do this, if this was the only one to save me and save the pendant, I would do it. I would do it. I would … fear crawled up my arms and I peeked at the dark abysm ahead of me. Gods, would I do it?
The boards shook harder now. I could hear their voices as they got closer, shouts and loud orders to kill me as soon as they put their hands on me. Not too long now.
I slid to the edge until my toes were hanging free of the boards. I curled them and leaned forward. The tight knot on my stomach wouldn’t stop me. Nor would my shallow breathing, or my shaking hands.
Perhaps the water god would be merciful and allow me to enter his realm unharmed. Perhaps he would provide me with shelter until I could surface and head home. He would escort me away through a safe path underwater. Or the sky goddess could interfere and blow a powerful gust of wind during my fall, carrying me to the other side of the lake, from where I could run away on my own.
After all, the pendant was sacred to all—even the gods.
Yet, fear clutched my heart and gnawed at my stomach. Gods weren’t very fond of helping humans. Hell, they weren’t very fond of anything other than just sit back and laugh of our puny lives.
It didn’t matter now. This was my only chance. I could pray for the gods’ help, but I didn’t have time. My only wish was to survive the fall and swim away, with the pendant secured in my hand.
A shudder swept through my back as I spread my arms to the sides and waited for the wind to come back, waited for the wind to push me into the air.
“In the name of the King, surrender!” I heard one of the Knights yelling. He was too close. Too close.
The wind came, bringing relief to my tense muscles, and enough force to push me forward. I helped, titling my body toward the edge. The gust thrust me from the pier just when gloved-fingers rasped my wrists, trying to get hold of me. But now I was free, falling down.
Was this death? It had been so quick that I was fortunate to not feel any pain, not even for a second?
Coming from above, the Knights’ enraged shouts pierced my ears. I was not dead?
My eyes fluttered open and I gasped, my heart hammering against my tight chest. I found myself floating on the air, halfway through the pier and the black lake. More important, before me stood two gigantic figures, their robes flowing, their skin glowing, their eyes wide and knowing.
The water god and the sky goddess.
I swallowed down my fear and surprise. My mind bellowed “You’re doomed” and I knew my mind was about right. I was doomed.
Thank you for voting, reading and appreciating it =)
It’s called A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words or #pw1k for short.
Ms. Howland chooses a picture and asks writers to write a short story or an excerpt of a story (up to 1000 words), and send to her through the contest email.
She then reads all entries, chooses the finalists and post them on her blog, opening up for vote. The winner will receive a short critique—and I’ve heard Ms. Howland is a superb editor.
The picture above is the one used on the August contest.
And I’m a finalist for August.
And I would like to win that critique. #shamelessselfpromotion
You can read (and vote for) the other three entries on her blog.
I’ve started this week much better!
Monday = 2726 words
Tuesday = 1000 words
Wednesday + Thursday = WriteOnCon + reading (couldn’t put it down!) + Real Life
Friday = 5,500 words
Total week = 9226 words
And ended it with a really great number … but I’m embarrassed of Tue, Wed and Thu. Jesus, why didn’t I write more? Even if it was to write aaaaaa, bbbbb LOL Kidding =)
Anyway, hope next week is better.
Today I’m featured as the volunteer for the Red Pencil Thursday series at Mia Marlowe’s blog.
Click here to access the goodness and share your opinion =)
As some of you many know, from reading a previous post, I still don’t know which route to follow. Trad publishing? Agents? Small presses? Self-publishing? I honestly don’t know. Right now, I’m considering all options available to me. Though, I confess the slow processing of the trad publishing pushes me away.
Well, I’ve got one finished MS and it’s sitting on my desk while I try to figure out what to do (in the meantime, I’m writing another MS).
Why I didn’t self-published it, you may ask. Because readers of self-published authors want speed, among other things.
On his post titled If I were an unpublished author, would I self-publish?, author Bob Mayer advises writers to wait and only self-publish after having finished 3 manuscripts. Why? To build up readership and then to invest in marketing, so not to waste money.
And that’s what I’m doing. While I consider self-publishing or not, I’m writing another book, so, when and if I self-publish, I’ll have more than one book to upload. And if I choose another route, still it won’t be a bad thing to have more than one MS ready.
Speed is one of aspects that changed the most with the e-revolution. On his blog, author Dean Wesley Smith talks about the importance of speed in today’s market.
Traditional published authors tend to have the books of a series released one per year.
Some small presses can push book series to be released every 6 to 9 months, depending …
Readers of self-published authors/books now expect books of a series to be delivered even faster.
For example, Sarra Cannon released the first book in the Peachville High Demons, Beautiful Demons, in October/2010. The second one, Inner Demons, was released in December, 2010. From book 1 to book 2, only two months passed! Then, Cannon released book 3, Bitter Demons, in February/2011 (only 3 months after the second one) and book 4, Shadow Demons, in July/2011. Now, we are anxiously waiting for book 5! But we know it won’t take too long for Cannon to release it.
One observation that may influence why self-published authors are able to release books (of the same series) faster than traditional published authors: self-pubbed authors tend to write one series at a time while many traditional pubbed authors have 3 or 4 series up at the same time. (Of course, that’s not taking into consideration that the publisher may be interested in releasing one book per year of the same series because of marketing and expectation …) That’s the case of Richelle Mead, for example. Mead has 3 series out at the moment (2 actually as VA already ended and Bloodlines will be out only next week, then the Succubus one will end too. But well, since she wrote 3 at the same time for many years, let’s consider it’s 3). Mead writes a book after the other, each one from a different series.
Would that work in self-publishing?
Yesterday, on a thread at Kindleboards, many folks said they don’t like to buy the first on a series until a couple more are released too—why? Two reasons: to make sure the series continues and, if they like it, to read it as a fan, one after the other.
So, is it better to focus on a single series, finished it first, then start writing others?
What do you think?
- Self-published authors should write only one series at a time?
- Self-published authors should aim to release one book every two months? One book every four months? Or every six?
- How long in between self-published books is too long?
I’m ashamed of this past week.
Many things happened and I didn’t have much time for writing … somethings happen that we can’t control … I went house hunting (which takes a lot of time), then I had three gifts to buy, I had to take my daughter to the doctor (routine), etc …
But looking at the numbers below, I cringe in shame. I should have not slept and written some more!
Monday = 1245 words
Tuesday = 2005 words
Wednesday = 2283 words
Thursday = 357 words
Friday = 1172 words
Total (week) = 7062 words
And I started fresh on a new MS. Yeah, I hate to admit it, but I put GH#1 aside and started KF#1 … and I know what happened.
I’m a plotter. A pure plotter. I may not know all the details, but I do an outline of scene by scene or chapter by chapter from beginning to end.
However, I didn’t plan ahead for GH #1. I just went out with my idea and my protagonist and wrote what came to my mind. I had a general idea of where I wanted to go, of what I wanted to happen, but then some characters had strong voices and demanded more attention … I had some great scenes I loved, but that slowed the pace of the MS … what I mean is, things were happening too slowly. When I plot ahead, I make sure all scenes have tension and conflict and move the story forward. With GH #1, with no planning, there were scenes without much purpose … they were sweet and all, but, like I said, they were slowing the action. So, I decided to go back and outline the plot for the story.
That’s when the idea for the KF#1 came back into my head (I first thought of it about a year ago). This one had a slow beginning too, so I had new ideas to make a better beginning, outlined the whole plot, and started writing. I just wished I had more time to write it this week.
But, oh well, it’s a beginning.
I thought about naming this post “Traditional vs Self-Publishing”, but then I reconsidered seeing I’m going to talk about small presses too, and, to some, that’s not exactly going the traditional route since you don’t need an agent to submit to a small press.
Also, it took me a long time to write this post since my thoughts about this subject are many (and not necessarily in order) and they bring up more aspects and more subjects to the table.
Well, now on to the original post:
I still have my doubts of which way to follow about the publishing part of my books …
There are so many different ideas and discussions around the web about going trad or indie and, while reading them, I find myself divided.
Sometimes, I wake up and think “okay, I can do this. I’ll self-publish.”
Then, I stumble across a nice book from a big publisher and think how I would love the prestige of having my name under their wings.
Later, I read articles that feature Maya Banks and Moira Rogers (aka Donna and Bree) and some other authors that are published through small presses, without agents, and like it. They like the handling, the covers, the support, the sales.
Through it all, I think and think and think … and can’t decide!
In an ideal world, my ideal world, I would self-publish some works, have a series with a small press, and a series with a big-six. And from there I would decide which route is best for me, for my style, for my speed … or I could keep publishing the three ways forever. But that’s only a dream …
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT TRAD PUBLISHING:
- Having an agent that can help me with my career, help me plan ahead, think and see big.
- The prestige.
- Having my books on almost any bookstore out there.
WHAT I DON’T LIKE ABOUT TRAD PUBLISHING:
- The price of e-books.
- If I don’t like my cover, there isn’t much I can do about it.
- If an editor wants to cut a scene I love, there isn’t much I can do about it.
- I don’t know what is the future of trad pub in these agitated waters. Will the trad publisher survive?
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT INDIE:
- Control over cover.
- Control over price.
- Higher royalties.
WHAT I DON”T LIKE ABOUT INDIE:
- Marketing. (I know it’s necessary to have an author platform today in trad pub too, but, if the publisher is putting money down on you, chances are they are going to invest a little in marketing too. Little = better than nothing).
- Editing. I hired an editor, who first critiqued then line edited then copy edited my MS, but is it enough?
- Writing crap. Deep down I know I don’t write crap, but what if my instincts are wrong? The editor said my MS was really good, but that’s one person. Alright, my beta readers also liked it, but they are my friends, they will never say my work is crap. How do I know for sure I wont make a full of myself publishing my MS?
- Again, marketing. Really, it scares the hell away from me. I’m not sure how to self-promote my work.
- Can I say marketing once more?
SMALL PRESSES: I actually don’t see a lot of talk about working with small presses. I know I would get cover art, editing, formatting, a little marketing (very little in some cases) … something else? Tempting …
Author Dean Wesley Smith suggests going indie for now, and later, when the turmoil swirling around the writing industry calms down (in a few years), try going the traditional route, if one so desires it yet.
In a blog post, write L.M. May suggests going both ways at the same time to optimize outlet and income, which is an awesome strategy, if you can land a deal with a trad publisher (we all know that’s not that easy).
Agent Kristin Nelson emphasizes, in her blog, that being successful in indie or trad publishing is like winning the lottery. And I agree with her. We see it everyday, indie authors who do great and others who don’t sell a thing. And the same applies to traditional published authors. There is no way of predicting what will happen, which novel will be a next NYT Bestseller.
These three articles have valid points I agree with, which adds to my agony of not being able to decide what to do.
This evening, talking with my DH about publishing, I mentioned I want to write for the sake of writing, not for money. Of course, as an engineer, he shook his head and said, “This is your job, you can’t think only about doing what pleases you. Now imagine if everyone thought like that about their jobs. Would anyone get anything done?” I hate to agree with him, but he is right. Yes, I would love to think about writing only what I love and think about my readers, not the money that will come in with every sale. However, my husband is a modern man and he wants his woman to help with the family income (thank God for that, btw, but that discussion is not for this post).
When I decided to try the writing route for real (before I wrote as a hobby), we’ve talked a lot about it. I quit my day job and began writing. Most important, we came with a deadline. If by the end of 2012, I still don’t have a deal or selling reasonably well as an indie (or enough to contribute in the household. Reasonably well may vary from family to family, as for state to state), I’ll quit writing full time and find a day job. I cringe every time I think of that. Thanks Heaven that deadline is still far away. Nevertheless, with each day that goes by, the due date gets closer, and I can’t let it gnaw my insides, otherwise I won’t be able to concentrate and do what I love: to write.
And, with each day that goes by, I’m still not sure about what to do.
How come I have a MS ready, fully critiqued and edited, and still don’t know what to do? I doubt it happens often. I guess I’m waiting for Jesus Christ to come knock on my door and tell me he got my dream deal for me! LOL
And you, what do you think I should do?
The numbers for this week:
Total week: 10,008 words
Total WIP (G.H. #1): 41,323 words
On Wednesday morning, I got the copyedits of the E.L. #1. I fought the urge to go over it all at once, since it would keep me from writing for 1 or 2 days.
Thursday and Friday I worked on the copyedits and the synopsis of the E.L. #1.
Though I reached my goal of 10k words this week, I’m not satisfied. I could have done better if I had glued my butt to my chair and forced myself to focus.
The worse part is, with 41,323 words and more than halfway done, I’m thinking about changing one small detail around chapter 5 and that would mean a lot of reworking and rearranging and rewriting … though, I guess that, to emit the feel I want, I have to do this. Damn, I hate it when this happens!
And, the song I heard the most this week was:
You gotta agree with me these three are very, very sexy, right?