I have great beta readers

This is the first feedback from one of my beta readers on the first 3/4 of Where the Light Enters

I think I will have to have it framed and hung right where I can see it when I look up from the screen.


If you put the space shuttle scene this early in the book, I’m not sure what Jack is going to do for the rest of the second act. Killing zombies is only going to hold the audience’s interest for ten or so pages at a go. I’ll have more observations as I get further in, but I will add that this is the best time travel scene I’ve ever read. A lot of authors have tried to describe the idea of a fourth dimensional space, but you nailed it here.

The truth about self publishing

Nicole Dieker has a post on Jane Friedman’s weblog that is essential reading for anybody who is thinking about self-publishing.  Here’s the reason you should read it if you fall into that category:

So I spent several months researching the self-publishing process and planning my own marketing and publication strategy. It turns out that there’s a lot of information on how to self-publish a book, and a lot of advice regarding marketing, social media, and so on—but there aren’t as many case studies showing how well these publication strategies work.

Which is why I’m giving you my own case study. Everything I’ve done so far, along with the costs and the results.

I’ll start with the most important statistic first: as of this writing, I’ve sold 167 ebooks and 118 paperbacks, and my royalties and earnings total $803.90.

Dieker has earned a total of $803.90 for her The Biographies of Ordinary People. She breaks down what she has paid for production, shipping, and marketing from multiple angles.  What she doesn’t include in her analysis: her time. The time it took to write the novel, and the many, many hours that went into organizing publication and marketing.  My guess is that if you could add all the time up she’d have earned something far below the minimum wage.

It was courageous of Dieker to self-publish, and in my opinion, even more courageous to write in such detail about the process. Certainly I’m thankful that she went to the trouble to actually analyzing how well the various (often highly priced) marketing strategies work.   

 

card games, then and now

II have done some research on nineteenth century children’s games before, but this time I was looking for card games in particular when I came across a mention of Happy Families, which is played something like Authors.  From Board Game Geek:

This game was designed in England and was originally published for the Great Exhibition by John Jaques & Sons. The outside of the box described the name as Happy Families while the inside of the box describes the name as Merry Families. Each quartet consists of four family members — a father, a mother, a son, and a daughter. The fathers are Mr. Daub the Painter, Mr. Dough the Baker, Mr. Pill the Doctor, Mr. Sand the Grocer, Mr. Saw the Carpenter, Mr. Snip the Barber, Mr. Stain the Dyer, Mr. Smut the Sweep, Mr. Thread the Tailor, and Mr. Tub the Brewer.

What I like about this is the art work:

Compare this game to more current editions of Old Maid:

So maybe I’m being overly picky here, but why are the modern illustrations for children’s card games garish and shoddily done? There are so many wonderful illustrators out there, is it just a matter of the manufacturer going with the cheapest options?

Irritating.

I went to look up Authors just to see if that game has had better treatment, and the answer is, as far as I can tell, no. There are multiple editions of the card game Authors. When I was a kid the deck was all dead white men, but there are now games called American Authors, Women Authors, Children’s Authors. Unfortunately it seems none of them are especially carefully or artistically done, as you can see by this example.

But there are great illustrators who do author portraits. Ryan Sheffield sells his work on Etsy, including his version of Emily Dickinson,  below.

Somebody like Ryan Sheffield should put together a modern version of Authors using original artwork. It would be a good idea to have some info about the author along with the titles of their work, of course.  

Would you be interested in a game of Authors like this?  I’m really curious.

Note: I don’t know Mr. Sheffield and he doesn’t know me. I just found his work on Etsy and my imagination took off.

Editorial Me

So after futzing around with this for years, I’m officially launching myself as a consultant. Primarily for those who write fiction, but not exclusively.   You can get the skinny on the sub-sub-webpage (click on the header below). 

This is a practical (and necessary) move. You may have read here or elsewhere that over a five year period, incomes for full time writers dropped about 28 percent.  As the cost of living has not dropped 28 percent, the difference has to be made up somewhere. This is something I have done, and can do, and I take great satisfaction in helping storytellers get started. So it’s a practical, necessary and logical move. 

If you know of anyone who might be interested in working with me, please point them in the direction of WRITE