Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Bradbury-Heinlein Method

So, to recap: Ray Bradbury said you should write a story per week, for one year, because nobody can write 52 stinkers in a row. On the other hand, Bob Heinlein said you should finish what you start writing, and send it off to a publisher, and keep posting it until you sell it, no matter how many times it bounces back.

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An expensive hobby for rich chumps

Joe Lansdale, a writer I enjoy very much and one of the men that are working harder and with most success to keep high the banner of popular fiction (popular in the sense that people like it, not in the sense that it is cheap), posted the following on the first of September…

wvCpHwOA_400x400Write from the heart.
Avoid self-publishing until there is no other choice, is my suggestion. And if you think I’m telling you that you have to do as I suggest, I’m not. But like it or not, mainstream publishers generally sells more books. I’ve done a bit of it all, mainstream, small press, and even a bit of self-publishing of established books. I would love to see the rise of more small publishers that pay and do quality work, like SUBTERRANEAN for one example. But the thing is, anyone can self-publish, and there’s no vetting.
If you must, do it, but it’s always nice to have someone else validate its worth. Start with paying markets. I truly believe a large number of people who self-publish have never tried the traditional route and don’t want to deal with possible rejection. Rejection makes you stronger, or it did me. I became more determined. The mainstream publishers don’t necessarily know more than others, but they pay, and they pay because they believe the work is valid. Can it be valid and self-published? You bet. But I’ve gotten a lot more exposure to my work, which is certainly not typically mainstream, with mainstream publishers than with anyone else.

Today, an Italian translation of this text has been doing the rounds of Italian writing groups and Italian writers’ walls on Facebook.
See, you suckers? Joe Lansdale sez you shan’t self-publish! Continue reading


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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…

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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.