27 February 2015

Guest post: How author Maree Miller defines success as a writer

Where I am in my Writing Career
Early stages of my next novel. I studied an anthropology major, and so I’m drawn to historical fiction exploring different cultural perspectives. This sort of stuff is research intensive, but it’s what gives me tingles down the spine - which means I'll probably stick with it for a while.

What being a Successful Writer Means to Me
Well obviously once I am so rich from the bajillions of books I plan to sell I can employ a slew of ghost writers. Then I will spend my days perched on gold throne.

I won't have to do a thing, apart from give the occasional direction.




22 February 2015

Readjusting expectations, writing project plan

This week I did less writing than I intended because:
  • I'm a little wiped out still from pushing so hard to finish the beta draft of WIP1 earlier this month;
  • I've had more administrative tasks than usual as a result of bringing on some new editing work and a new coaching client (yay!);
  • I got caught up in world building and character development for the short story I worked on this week, it turned into a idea for a novel, and I got overwhelmed/slightly depressed because I'm not sure where to go from here. I still want to write this short story, but now I feel like I have to plot an entire novel in order to get to the short story, and I don't have time or energy for that right now.
I was already a little behind schedule on the collection of short speculative fiction stories, but this week make me realize that I needed a) to adjust my expectations about how long it will take to finish these stories, and b) a new writing project plan to reflect that.

20 February 2015

Guest post: How author Nancy Christie defines success as a writer

“Success.” Now there’s something that most, if not all, writers think of, yearn for and at times doubt their ability to achieve. And when Sione asked me how I define success as a writer—a question I always ask writers when I interview them!—I came up with more questions than answers.

For one thing, defining success implies that there is a yardstick out there against which you can measure your own achievement. But whose yardstick is it: the reading public, reviewers, your own?

And what are the tick marks on that yardstick: number of sales, amount of income or royalties, size of fan base or following, number of pages written or writing projects completed, regardless of published status?

So what does make me feel successful as a writer—specifically as a fiction writer? What measuring stick do I use?

18 February 2015

What to look for in an editor

You've written the thing - the chapbook of poems, the collection of short stories or essays, the novel(la), the nonfiction book that's going to change the world (or at least hopefully make you a few bucks) - and now what you need is another pair of eyes to help you refine it to publish-perfect form.

You look in the LinkedIn forums or on Twitter, you ask friends and writer acquaintances for recommendations, and you come away with a few names. But how do you choose the right editor for you and your project?

Here are the top five qualities I look for in an editor of my own work.

1. Interested partner. The most important trait I look for in an editor of my own work is that they're interested in what I'm writing. If they're interested, they're going to be engaged in the project and more likely to be (nearly) as invested in the outcome as I am. I want that! I want to feel like the person I'm working with wants my project to succeed and it isn't "just a job" to them.

15 February 2015

To print or not to print?

One of my goals this year is to see at least one of my books in print, so I've been doing research on print-on-demand options for self-publishing.

Pretty early in my research I narrowed it down to three options based on price and packages: Xlibris, Outskirts and CreateSpace. Both Xlibris and Outskirts offer packages with features I was looking for - ISBN assignment, interior design, cover design with price-embedded barcode, and worldwide distribution - for $699. The Xlibris package also includes a set of promotional materials (bookmarks, posters, etc.), but I was leaning in the Outskirts direction because I have a client who used them and her book is beautiful, whereas I've never held an Xlibris book in my hand so I don't know what it's like.

CreateSpace, on the other hand, is free and they'll assign an ISBN, but I'd still have to hire someone to help me with the cover and interior design aspects. I was also leaning away from this option because the royalty calculator revealed that anything lower than a $9.99 list price would result in my actually losing money on sales through expanded distribution.