Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Writing a little/Writing a lot

Yesterday I overheard an interesting discussion, and that’s what I’d like to tell you about, but first, a heads-up.

Writing_a_Novel_Cover_FinalI mentioned in the past the StoryBundle as one of the tools that I am using to keep reading in these times of money shortage and other disasters.
They have an offer up called The Write Stuff Bundle 2017 which is highly recommended – you get books about writing by the likes of Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lawrence Block and Dean Wesley Smith, among others. You also get an 80% discount on Writer’s Café, an excellent writing software. You don’t pay much, and a share of your money goes to a charity.
Nice and smooth1.

Now I mention this because the bundle includes Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing a Novel in Seven Days, that is quite fun to read, and proposes a very interesting challenge.

Which brings me to the discussion I overheard yesterday, the gist of which was

It is better to write just a few stories rather than write a lot, what really matters is that the little you write you sell to a big publisher and then you land a big prize

And this is a theory I do not subscribe to. Continue reading


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14 Common Misconceptions About Self-Publishing

I was in a lot of discussion, these last few days about self-publishing.
Now, I am actually what’s called a hybrid author – meaning that like the Gill man in Creature from the Black Lagoon, I live in two worlds: some of my stuff (such as The Ministry of Thunder, or all of my gaming-related writing) is traditionally published, while other stories (like the Aculeo & Amunet adventures) I publish myself.

Creature_From_The_Black_Lagoon_Life_Banner_4_23_13

Being a hybrid offers a number of perks…

I actually like this situation, and find it conductive to the right mix of creative freedom and professionalism.

So, we were talking about this topics, here in the Old C Block of the blogsphere, shaking our heads and sighing for the amount of prejudice and silliness that still gets attached to self-publishing. And I thought… why not make a list?
Lists are good, right? Continue reading


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Plans and re-designs

Plans are made to be changed – and so my finely defined writing and publishing plan for 2015 is undergoing some radical redesign.

On the other hand, somewhat unexpectedly, I’m outlining a new novel – the pitch, based on an original request I was sent, is currently being evaluated by my publisher, and while I wait for a (hopefully) positive response, I’m thinking ahead and mapping my story.

how-freelance-writers-can-overcome-writers-block11

My current modus operandi for fiction is more or less like this…

Continue reading


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Chinese poetry and Michael Bay

A few hours back I was chatting with my friend Lucy about one of the trickiest part of publishing.
Synopses, Amazon calls them.
But I prefer blurbs.
You know, the digital equivalent of the book’s back cover copy.
The text that’s splattered under your book details on the Amazon page, and probably you attach to your ebook as part of the metadata.

It’s not the first thing the readers sees about the book – title, cover, author name and price come first – and yet it’s important as hell.
Because if it’s true that often the cover sells the book, the blurb has the all-important purpose of tipping the scales, helping the undecided to go on and shell out their hard-earned money.

There might be a job, in there – blurb-writer.
A sure-fire, 100%-hits writer of blurbs could sell them for five bucks per copy and make a living out of it. Continue reading


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Summer homeworks

Stainless-Steel-Manual-Meat-Mincer-22-So I was not busy enough, right?
And I decided to find me something to do in my spare time (what spare time?!!) this summer.

Fact is, if I want to reach the largest audience possible with my books, I need to widen my distribution.
Granted, Amazon holds 80% of the market – but what about the remaining 20%?

Also, what about those readers that keep asking for epub and pdf versions of my ebooks and don’t feel confortable enough with the idea of justpla in converting the .mobi files*?

So, I’d like to try and put a book or two of mine on Smashwords.
And to do so, I have to learn to format my files for the Smashword Meatgrinder – that is, to prepare files that can be uploaded to that platform, and then be converted.

The process, from what I saw, is a lot different from the standard procedure I use to create my Kindle books.
Not necessarily harder, but different.
And that’s the main snag.

Thank goodness I have a nice selection of handbooks here with me.
Now I only have to sit down and read them, and then start experimenting.

On the other hand, I could just adopt a double standard, and upload epubs directly to Smashwords and mobis directly to Amazon…

Decisions, decisions… I’ll keep you posted.

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* Using Calibre, for instance.


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Author-Publisher, please

This is an impromptu post.
Chuck Wendig just posted another fine piece about… authors that publish their own stuff.
About the name you slap on such individuals.
Something I’m interested in, as I’m one of those that get slapped.

Let’s see.
The most common labels are:

. self-published author
. independent author
. self-produced author

copierLet’s admit it – they do suck.
At best, they aremisleading.
In my language, the label is usually (autore) Autopubblicato – and it reads as a mark of infamy.
It means, more or less, “you sucker, a real publisher would not touch your rubbish with a ten foot pole”.
And in my case might as well be correct – I’ve this thing which seems to ruffle the feathers of most publishers.

Incidentally – I do prefer author to writer, because it describes more precisely who I am.
A writer could be writing under dictation.
He could be a graffiti artist.
I’m an author.

Or, here’s another definition which is quite fun, content crafter.
Which is fine when I’m authoring stuff that’s not orthodox book- stuff – online articles, blog posts, slide text, infographics, etcetera.
Beats any day of the week the horrid web-writer so many people seem to enjoy (so much so there’s people out there actually selling “professional web-writer” certifications, these days!)

When it comes to publishing my stuff, anyway, the standard labels suck, but there are two other definitions I like much better.

The first is artisanal publisher, coined by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welsh in his excellent APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book.
I’ve been using that a lot – it removes the stigma of the guy working in his basement with an old HP printer and adds a touch of highly marketable mistique.

The second, which was recently proposed by Chuck Wendig, is author-publisher.
Which, and I have to agree with the man, sounds just like a multi-class character in a role playing game – like wizard-rogue, which I have played once in a while in my long gaming career.
And is mighty fine.
Sounds great.
It’s classy.

So here we go – from this moment on, I am Davide Mana, author-publisher.
I’m into artisanal publishing, actually.