Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
This weekend was half catch-up and half writing. The catch-up part was directly related to the non-writing weekend I had last week. It started off with my wife and I spending most of Saturday working on or researching details related to establishing my author’s “brand” and self-publishing.
On her own, my wife Kim continues to be a diligent web-mistress in designing and building my author’s site and the peripherals related to it. I’m blessed to have her in my life regardless of her talents with web-design. However, I’d be lying not to say that having her skills as a proofreader, typesetter and graphic designer at my side isn’t a godsend for a man seeking to publish his own books.
Together, we dove into the specifics of obtaining fully documented copyright protections and ISBNs for my work on Saturday. It turns out that getting official US copyright certificates is really easy: You can do so online for an affordable $35 per written manuscript.
Obtaining ISBNs, on the other hand, are pricey: Just one in the United States costs $125!
They do offer a package of 10 ISBN numbers for $250. Getting ten for the price of two is a no-brainer choice, but still…
My initial shock in discovering the costs of the ISBNs was greater than it should have been, however. That’s because I thought that every eBook I want to put out would need one. As I plan to be putting up many of my short stories —most for free or $.99 to build an archive of my work and some visibility rather than a rush for profits at this point— getting an ISBN for each would become a prohibitively expensive money sink.
But guess what? At least on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, eBooks don’t require ISBNs!
Only printed works require ISBNs at this point, and I’ve only got two hardcopy books planned and in the works currently. One is the print-on-demand version of Vivian’s Last Cigarette (via Amazon’s CreateSpace), and the second is the illustrated compilation of stories in my setting of Burus to be released sometime after Viv’s.
As I said earlier, the goal with the electronic-only short stories and novelettes isn’t about profits to start. I’ll be sinking money into the endeavor, and I expect long-term returns on that investment someday. But in the short term, my goal is to build an audience and a network of threads enabling people to discover my work on Amazon ahead of my first novel release.
Not having to deal with purchasing ISBNs for the electronic shorts is a welcome and significant reduction to my production costs. Now most of my budget for each short is going towards professionally done cover art to make the books really pop!
I’ve been working with friend and artist Kate Whitmore since 2015 on illustrating my aforementioned story compilation. Although that project is on the back-burner currently because of Viv’s, we’ve never stopped talking and planning. And Kate’s more than willing to offer her services for my shorter releases, in addition to continuing illustration work on the pieces of the compilation.
She’s putting the finishing touches on a wonderful cover for The Brynesmark. And her art for my novelette A Contract in Azure and Indigo is downright gorgeous even a few revisions away from done. Both of these stories have long been intended to be part of the story compilation and have standalone $.99 electronic releases. The eBook version of the compilation will offer all five of the independent stories, PLUS an exclusive short story and novella, for a deal of around $5.
I’ll be commissioning more artwork from Kate in the months to come. Lots more. Corresponding with her on these and other projects was another focus of my Saturday.
After all that, Sunday was a far simpler: I just wrote all day! ;-)
Before I cover my writing progress for this week however, I’m going to backtrack and relay some news I couldn’t squeeze into my previous WIP-it Wednesday: Although my last weekend was packed with non-writing stuff, on Friday I finished editing the entirety of my novelette Cretaceous Queen into a fifth draft after receiving some really helpful critique on it from my friend Brooke.
She was extremely positive and enthusiastic about the piece! Initially only going to read the first two chapters early Wednesday morning, Brooke enjoyed it so much that she continued reading and finished the entire novelette in one sitting, staying up well beyond her bedtime. That’s great feedback on if my cliffhangers and story hooks are effective in engaging the reader, in and of itself. ;-)
At the moment, I’m simply waiting to hear back from her on a few remaining points and then I’ll have that draft complete.
And now on to this weekend: Although I’d done a little editing on it Saturday night, Sunday was the day that I settled back into writing Shadow of the Black Tower. It went well, and I almost doubled its length to reach 3,200 words. Among other things, I tweaked the opening a bit and added a few paragraphs to improve characterization and foreshadowing. Then I wrote new material, which became a challenge as I tried to allude to Lovecraft’s descriptive style while keeping it brief enough for contemporary tastes.
So far I think I’ve gotten that to work, although I’m more proud of the slowly building tension and sense of foreboding I’ve been able to maintain thus far.
I’m still trying to have Shadow done by Halloween, although I’m discarding the 5,000 word limit as maintaining an entry length for a contest is no longer a concern. Neither Lovecraft nor Howard wrote much under 10,000 words, generally working in novelette length instead. So in honoring their styles and mixing in my own I wouldn’t be surprised if the word-count finishes higher than 5,000.
That said, I really don’t want it to get near 10,000 words if I can help it.
As a fun aside about this project, I’ll pass on that I’ve compiled a list of words favored by Lovecraft in his works. I’ve been enjoying myself as I slowly work them into the prose, generally only once, to give it a bit more of his verbal “feel”. ;-)
I can’t do the same with Howard, as it’s the style and roll of his narrative that define his work more than his vocabulary. Fortunately, I’ve learned a lot my narrative skills through his example, so putting in dips of his style are equally fun to do as using the word “squamous”. ;-)
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction! Take care!