selling / writing

Writing Wednesday: Thoughts on How I Do Things in “The Business”

The following is about “The Business”; what I do and why I do it. We are all different – what works for me may not work for you (or ANYBODY ELSE.) But we can all learn from each other – often in ways that you cannot predict. So, in the spirit of sharing…
When I used to wargame, I considered it FUN to play a multi-player game BY MYSELF; I would set up rules for how each “player” would play the game, and then follow the rules to the end.
I’ve done a lot of talking about how I’m really not a planning person. In 2004, I took a course and started USING a planner (this same course resulted in my decision to write), but I’m really more of a scheduler. I’m really good at setting up processes and rules and schedules – it gives comfort to know things are all laid out. Of course, I experience the inverse when I have to scrap a schedule. You would think a speculative fiction writer could handle the unexpected (hah!)
A lot of what I do in my writing is tied to somewhat arbitrary schedules, sort of developed backwards. Based on my first couple of serious years of writing, I knew I could produce enough short fiction to feed one publication (short story or collection) onto the eBook markets every 4 weeks, so I set that as one of my goals. At the start of each year, I know every target release date for that year.
Knowing WHAT I’m going to publish on that date is more difficult. Some of it hasn’t even been written yet, but what really rules this is my attempt to follow the initial meaning of Heinlein’s 4th and 5th rules:

4) You must put your work on the market
5) You must keep the work on the market until it is sold

Everything I write is submitted to traditional publishers first. Why submit to traditional publishers when I have ePublishing? Because if I ever do make a traditional sale, it will be a way to boost my eSales. Both types actually feed off themselves – it’s another form of marketing.
I have rules about what publishers I try to sell to:

  • They must be professional rates (because I don’t just want a token sale – I spend too much time working on my writing to accept a penny or a sample copy of a publication.)
  • They must accept electronic submissions (using snail mail is more work and money for me, and lengthens the turnaround time)
  • I give preference to markets that have a quick turnaround (I keep track of their history.)
  • I also give preference to publications that can qualify me for membership in the Science Fiction Writers of America (I don’t know if I would actually join if I could, but there’s a status I attach to publications that are qualified.)

Most markets won’t accept simultaneous submissions (that’s means they don’t want you to submit your story to them AND another publisher at the same time), so I have a spreadsheet I use to keep track of where each story has already been, where I currently have stories submitted, and estimates on when I’ll receive a reply. As my next target publication date approaches, I try to pick the story that has been sent to the most markets, but sometimes it’s still waiting for a reply (and I don’t like to withdraw a story – UNLESS the publisher is INCREDIBLY SLOW AND UNRESPONSIVE.)
At this writing I STILL don’t know what my next ePub will be (which is why I chose this topic for today.) All my stories are out and publishers – some a month or more beyond when my stats tell me to expect them back.
I’ve considered doing a collection instead, but I also have rules for that. I don’t put a story in a collection until the story has been ePubbed for 6 months.
And I have to have 6 stories. This is a pattern I established over the course of my “OUT OF MY MIND” collections, because we’re talking eBooks, and when people sample online there are sites where you don’t have a choice what the free preview percentage is – more than six stories, and chances are the sampler will read an entire story for free. Plus 6 usually puts the collection at a reasonable word count. And it’s easy to position the 6 story covers on my collection cover.
It used to be that I only needed to know what I was publishing a week before the release date. But that doesn’t allow for any sort of pre-release marketing (I’m still trying to learn that stuff), and now that I’ve started doing preorder campaigns, I need those to be at least 2 weeks in advance, and a typical prep (cover, content formatting and posting) takes about another week, so I’m behind on whatever’s supposed to be released on June 3rd.
And with all this, and the commitments I’ve made to post on this blog (I’m up to 4 days a week, and have to add a fifth before the end of the month), I still have to WRITE (when I say WRITE in all caps, I mean my fiction.) Thankfully, last week was productive – a total of over 3000 words again (two weeks in a row!) in a flash fiction that came out of nowhere in the middle of my writing “Killing Her Softly” (Detective Jimmy Delaney #5), which is over 8000 words.
After that I still have to come up with four more stories for this year AND get back to Swordsmaster (my first novel – I wrote the rough draft last year, and I’ve said I’ll finish it this year. We’ll see…)
I have a lot on my plate; it’s a good thing I enjoy this.
Just saying…

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MyBrotherCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “My Brother’s Keeper”:

What would you be willing to do to save a soul from oblivion? Abduction? Possession? Murder?
A space traveler lands on a primitive planet, and contends with the backwards philosophy of some brown-robed brethren as he tries to rescue his own brother’s spirit.

I think this one may have started with the title, and then grew into a combination of possession, mind control, medieval monks, the afterlife, and aliens (I know – nothing out of the ordinary there – just the usual stuff I go through every day.) My memory isn’t that good (at least it’s still my own), and having written over 60 short stories in the last few years, I confess that some of them have disappeared into the fog. Not this one – I remember it distinctly, especially the exorcism of Brother Isaiah, and I have a particular fondness for the part where… well, you’ll have to read it for yourself.
Use coupon code QB72Q to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until May 21st. Here’s the link:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/380717?ref=NoTimeToThink
“My Brother’s Keeper” is also available in my 4th collection – Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND.

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Upon further review, I don’t expect any stories to return from market in the next couple of weeks, so collection 7 will be next up, tentatively titled More And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (I think I will have to start a new title template after this one- I’m running out of space on the cover.) Time to hurry up and pull it all together. I refuse to post a preorder without having everything formatted and finalized, so it’s going to be a race. Hope to have it out there no later than this Sunday. That will be less than 2 weeks to preorder before the June 3rd release date, but it is what it is…

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William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Solid People”, can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books): https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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