Sunday, October 28, 2007

writing is easy

Writing is easy. Ask anyone who visits a bookstore. In fact, it’s so easy that many people think they can do it better. How hard can it be? You sit down at a computer and just type away. No boss telling you what to do. If you want a drink or a break, you take one. You don’t even have to worry if things are spelled correctly because you have spell check. Then you send it to an agent who makes sure the book gets printed and into the stores. In the meantime you’re living easy on the advance check. Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the money to roll in. Yep, writing is easy.

Now, let’s talk to a writer. The writing of the book is the easy and fun part. Then you have to either edit it yourself or pay someone to do it because spell check doesn’t catch it all and grammar is even harder to catch. Then you have to send off dozens of query letters to agents to find one that may look at your manuscript. Advance? Hah! Only the big name writers get that. All too often a writer either gives up, or goes POD, or Print On Demand. This is the latest in self-publishing. This ends the easy part of a writer’s life. Now it’s time to start promoting. Yes, the author does the promoting. If you are very lucky you may find an agent or publishing house that will do this legwork, but it’s doubtful.

You buy or make business cards. You develop a website and/or blog. You put a signature line on email. You make brochures and pass them out along with your business card to everyone you see. You may even have to call the bookstores yourself.

This is not a 9 to 5 job. You spend as much time as you can doing the promotion. Only office people get to be fortunate to have forty-hour weeks. When you’re not promoting, you are off doing the article writing or whatever writing jobs you can find, just to earn a living. As for the royalty checks, well, maybe you will be one of the lucky ones that earns a three figure check twice a year.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Christmas is coming

Get your unique beaded jewelry at: For all those readers in the famiy, check out for some of the best books on the market.

Joyce A. Anthony 'Storm'
Janet Elaine Smith 17 titles to choose from, all are great
Barbara Williamson-Wood 'Inner Trappings', 'Through my eyes'
Joyce Scarborough 'Different Roads', 'True Blue Forever'
Peggy Ullman Bell 'Fixin' Things'
Linda LaRoque 'When the Ocotillo Blooms'
Anita Bloom Ornoff 'Beyond Dancing'
Sylvia K. Hamilton 'The Kahills of Willow Walk'

Hurry while supplies last. These will go fast.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My long, strange road to becoming a published novelist (Part VI)—By Mark Terence Chapman

My long, strange road to becoming a published novelist (Part VI)—Ron Berry
By Mark Terence Chapman

(This entry is a continuation of one on author Karina Fabian’s blog. Click here to return to Part V.)

Finishing the story was only the beginning. I edited and polished and fleshed out that manuscript through ten drafts, each one presumably better than the last, for the next four years, lengthening the story to as much as 109,000 words before eventually stripping out a few large chunks that I felt slowed the pace of the story too much. The final result, tentatively titled Tesserene, was 102,000 words long.

Between drafts, I decided to work on a second novel, a sort of prequel to the first. (“Sort of” in the sense that it was set in the same fictional universe, nine years earlier, but with different characters.) So, in 2004, I wrote Lichen or Not (working title), about a na├»ve youth, fresh out of college, going to Mars for his first job as a geologist. Because of my experience in writing Tesserene and the drafts that followed, the first draft of Lichen started out in much better shape (about equivalent in quality to the 4th or 5th draft of Tesserene).

For the rest of 2004 and into 2005, I continued to edit and polish both Tesserene and Lichen. Then I had an idea for a third book in the series that would tie together the characters and events of the first two, to make them a true trilogy, rather than stand-alone books. So I began work on Reunion (set five years after Tesserene). After nearly 50,000 words, it dawned on me that it probably didn’t make sense to write a third book in a series until I sold at least one of the first two. I stopped writing and continued editing/polishing the first two books. I also wrote a second children’s picture book, called Marvin the Marvelous Mole Man, about a boy who is self-conscious about the mole on the end of his nose.

(During this time, an editor who’d stumbled across my old OS/2 book contacted me about ghost-writing some chapters of a book he was compiling about IBM server technology. I agreed and ended up writing Chapters 2, 4, and 7 of Exploring IBM Server & Storage Technology, 6th Edition, from Maximum Press.)

In 2006, I started work on my next book. This book is a great example of how inspiration can strike at the oddest times, and in the strangest ways. To find out how one word inspired a novel, click here to read the next segment of the story, on author KS Augustin’s blog.