INK SLINGER HAS MOVED

This blog has moved to Cheryl Murphy Writes: Chronicles of an Ink Slinger. It became too hard to mirror to this site. Lots of glitches and such. I don't do much to maintain this site anymore so if you're wondering why things might look a bit wonky, that would be it.

If you've navigated here and discovered this dead blog, using the "Subscribe via email" feature in the sidebar will subscribe you to the new site feed, so that's a plus. ;)

An RSS feed of the new site is embedded below.

I hope you'll join me at my new home!

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Monday, January 31, 2011

New feature!


If you'll kindly look to your right, you'll see I've added a new widget.  You can now subscribe to the blog via email.  Woot woot!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nathan Bransford's first paragraph contest


Wow.  I mean, wow.  1,515 entries.  My sympathies to agents that see this daily in their inboxes.

I don't really know what possessed me to enter the first paragraph competition since I'm not even sure that's where I'm going to start anymore but luckily, with the odds above, I'm not too worried about getting picked.

Speaking of Nathan Bransford, have you all sent in your first 250 for page critique friday?

I sent mine when he moved it to the forums and I have to say, I've edited several times.  I'm afflicted by that terrible disease - you know, the one that makes you tweak what you write a gazillion times?  Yeah, that one.  I've tweaked and tweaked until I had a page I felt was pretty darned good and tweaked and tweaked my way right out of that good page.  I haven't edited it since then and every friday I pray that my first page is not picked because I've made it my mission to not tweak anymore until I've finished my WIP.  (I'll admit that I probably should at least tweak the first 250 until I'm happy again since there's always a chance it'll be picked and I don't want to be humiliated by something I'm not happy with - I'd rather be picked apart by something I actually think is good.)

I sent it to The Knight Agency's First Impressions draw, too, wherein I'm also hoping not to get picked, especially since I can't even edit that one.  WTF was I thinking?  I sent in crap and I know it.  I think, at the time, I was riding on that high of, "I think I've got it now!"  Given a day or two, I realized the bitter truth.  At this point, I'm just praying that my critical eye on my own writing is just severe lack of confidence and that it's better than I think it is - but I really do laugh out loud at that thought.

I know that everyone has their doubts on how well they can pull off writing.  I wonder, though, how bad is it for everyone else?  I always expect to hear how much I suck - even if it's in the nicest words possible.  Is it as bad for you as it is for me?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Active vs. Passive Voice


The next in my attempt to add all those pesky things you get in your crits that you don't understand:  active vs. passive voice.

Here is a series of explanations and samples from good ol' Purdue University.  Just keep clicking "next resource" to see the next set of examples.

Grammar Girl also has some stuff to say about it and tips.

And this is from Daily Writing Tips.

Dark Angel also has some helpful things to say.

And there you have it.  Helpful examples, tips and tricks.  It's always nice to have it explained.

It should be noted that I did look for agent or published authors but as it was late, several different variations of searches and clicking through the first few pages of each of them yielded no results so I gave up so I could go to bed.  If I ever find any, I will be sure to add them.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Filter words


I read a blog post on filter words a few days ago and I've gotten so much out of it that I thought I would pass it along.

I've written for a long time.  I've always enjoyed writing and telling stories and I'm not that bad at it.  But writing a book is different from just telling a story.  There are mechanics involved.  Since I've only recently started taking writing seriously (starting a hundred chapter ones does not count as serious), I've had a lot to learn.

Fiction itself is easy.  You just make stuff up, that's why it's called fiction.  Doing it well, on the other hand, is hard.  You have to make it believable and draw the reader into the story and characters.  How you do that is just as important as the story concept.  It takes time and practice and lots of learning.

Giving and receiving critiques help you learn.  You hear a lot of comments, though that make sense on the surface but without concrete examples, it's not as easy to grasp as one would think.  There are comments on distance, on active vs. passive, showing vs. telling -- the list just goes on.  And it's like pulling teeth to get someone to actually explain it to you.  Of course, it's not their job to teach you how to write but still, it would be nice to have an explanation every once in a while.

So I think I'd like to troll the web and find all sites that are great at giving examples of all those comments you might receive but don't have a clue what it means or how to fix it.

This particular post on Write It Sideways, I thought, was a great post on filter words and gave examples that are clearly understood.  It helped me tremendously.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First One Publishing Contest, the boo-birds have spoken


Maybe you haven't been online in the last few days.  Maybe you haven't checked your tweets or your facebook.  Maybe you haven't been on AW in a while.  Or maybe you just live in a cave and only get out every third Sunday of the month.

Here's one contest you should avoid like the plague.  You might even want to wear protective clothing when reading the rules.  Yes, it's that bad.  Aside from the steep $149.00 entrance fee, it's a rights grab.  Once you submit, you no longer own your MS.

There's been plenty said on the matter.  You can read some of it here, here, here, here and here.  And if you still want more on it, here, here, and here.  As you can see, it's everywhere so I won't be adding anything new to the pile.  But if you're wondering why so many writers are calling themselves boo-birds today, it's because of this lovely sentence from Karen Hunter in a response to criticism of the contest on AW (which is the second "here," btw):

If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job. If you're goal is to help change publishing, get in the game and let's play.

I'm a boo-bird.

Whatever the case may be, if you've somehow missed this, here it is:


First One Publishing Writing Contest


  1. All entries must be original works, in English. Plagiarism, which includes the use of third-party poetry, song lyrics, characters or another person's universe, without written permission will result in disqualification. Excessive violence or sex, determined by the judges, will result in disqualification. Entries may not have been previously published in professional media.
  2. To be eligible, entries must be works of prose. We regret that we cannot consider poetry, or works intended for children for this contest.
  3. The contest is open to nonprofessional writers who are legal residents of the United States over the age of 18 as of February 1, 2011. Employees (or relatives of employees living in the same household) of First One Publishing, The Walnut Group, Blackwave Media Group, or any of its affiliates are not eligible. This contest is void in Puerto Rico, Quebec, and wherever prohibited or restricted by law.
  4. FORMAT: Entries must not be more than 65,000 words long and must not have been previously published. Entries must be sent as Microsoft Word documents. The font must be Times New Roman, 12-point size. Do not justify right-side margin. Along with the cover letter, the author’s name, address, email address and phone number must appear on the first page.
  5. All submissions must be in English. Entries are void if they are in whole or in part incomplete, or damaged, or if they do not conform to any of the requirements specified herein. Sponsor reserves the right, in its absolute and sole discretion, to reject any entries for any reason, including but not limited to based on sexual content, vulgarity, and/or promotion of violence.
  6. Each entry may be submitted only once. Please retain a copy of your submission. You may submit more than one manuscript, but each submission must be emailed separately and paid for separately. Entries must be received by April 11, 2011.
  7. FEES: There will be a $149.00 entrance fee for each submission. The fee must be paid online before the manuscript will be accepted.

8. PRIZES:
One Grand-Prize Winner will receive:

 First One Publishing contract for terrestrial and digital publication of winning book.
 Five thousand ($5,000) cash
 A complete marketing and publicity tour tied to the winning book.
 First One Publishing Library (20 books valued at $240.00)
 Grand-Prize Winner must sign the publishing contract, which contains additional terms and conditions in order to be published.

Twenty Second-Prize Winners will receive:

 A First One Publishing contract for digital publication
 A complete marketing and publicity plan to promote the digital book as well as feature placement (bio, blog, etc.) on the First One Publishing website.
 A First One Publishing Collection (10 books valued at $120)
 Second-Prize Winners must sign the publishing contract, which contains additional terms and conditions in order to be published.

No contestant can win more than one prize

BOOK THEME
We are not restricting books to any specific topic or genre, however they should embody what all First One Publishing authors encompass—they should smart, thoughtful, and edifying.

9. JUDGING
Submissions will be judged on the equally weighted criteria of (a) basis of writing ability and (b) the originality of the book. Professional judges will include editors, John Paine (The Book Doctor), Tracy Sherrod (former S&S editor), and overseen by best-selling author/publisher Karen Hunter. There will also be a slate of celebrity/author judges for the finals.

10. NOTIFICATION
Winners will be notified by email or phone on June 11, 2011. The Grand-Prize Winner must sign the publishing contract in order to be awarded the prize. All federal, local, and state taxes are the responsibility of the winner. A list of the winners will be available on June 11, 2011 on www.firstonepublishing.com.

11. PUBLICITY
Each WINNER grants to the Sponsor the right to use his or her name, likeness, and entry for any advertising, promotion, and publicity purposes without further compensation to or permission from such winner, except where prohibited by law.

12. INTERNET
If for any reason this CONTEST is not capable of running as planned due to an infection by a computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the Sponsor, which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Contest, the Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the CONTEST. The sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft, or destruction, or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. The Sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or telephone lines, computer on-line system servers, or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email or entry to be received by the Sponsor due to technical problems, human error or traffic, congestion on the internet or at any website, or any combination there-of, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participating in this Contest or downloading any materials in this Contest.

CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AD CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE. THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. In the event of a dispute as to the identity or eligibility of a winner based on an email address, the winning entry will be declared made by the “Authorized Account Holder” of the email address submitted at time of entry. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person 18 years of age and older who is assigned to an email address by an internet access provider, online service provider or other organization (ie. Business, education institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. Use of automated devices is not valid for entry.

13. LEGAL Information
All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation. Entries that contain copyrighted material must include a release from the copyright holder. Prizes are nontransferable. No substitutions or cash redemptions, except by Sponsor in the event of prize unavailability. Sponsor reserves the right to its sole discretion to not publish the winning entry for any reason whatsoever.
In the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded. Winners will be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release, within 15 days of winning notification, or an alternate winner will be selected, in the event any winner is considered a minor in his/her state of residence, such winner’s parent/legal guardian will be required to sign and return all necessary paperwork.
By entering, entrants release judges and Sponsor(s), and its parent company, subsidiaries, production, and promotion agencies from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, costs, or expenses, including without limitation properly damages, personal injury, and/or death arising out of participation in this contest, the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize, claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy, merchandise delivery, or the violation of any intellectual property rights, including but not limited to copyright infringement and/or trademark infringement.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don't hate me for saying this...


 I know, I'm blogging a bit about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing a bit much but it's been an obsession of mine for the last few days.  I honestly find the whole debate fascinating.  Which way will it go?  Will publishers drop like flies?  Is self-publishing viable? And so on and so forth.

In all of this, there is one thing that has stood out to me.  Multi-level marketing.  Now, I don't know about you, but I've been suckered into going to these meetings or parties or whatever they are calling themselves nowadays, more than once.  It usually stems from having a friend that's doing it and I don't want to be rude by saying no.  Yes, I torture myself.

They all have one thing in common:  Enthusiasm.  But it's not just a nice amount of enthusiasm, it's a truck-load and they run you over with it.  They try to get you to get so hyped up about it that you'll join up with dreams of being super rich and going on these company vacations on yachts in the Bahamas where only the top sellers can attend.  Or a pink car.  They also like to pull out copies of other people's insanely huge checks and tell you, "this could be your name!"

When I read about all these success stories in self-pubbing, that's kind of how I feel.  Not because I don't believe in their success or that I'm not happy for them.  I do and I am.  But go to enough of these MLM meetings and you quickly become a skeptic on anything that remotely stinks of it.  I'm being bombarded with all these stories of the now wealthy authors that it's kind of gotten to that point.  The excitement has gotten so hyped and huge and I see people getting carried away on that wave of dollar signs that I can't help but feel that way.

I understand that self-pubbing isn't MLM and I'm not actually comparing to MLM.  It's the feeling and tone I'm comparing it to.  This whole campaign for self-pubbing sure is starting to sound like the same sales pitch.  The enthusiasm has gotten to such heights that I simply can't bring myself to not imagine the MLM marketing pitches or the Shady Preacher/Healer on the Pulpit scenarios.  With shouts of "I'm a believer!" coming out of the woodwork, how can I not?

Let me also say that it has not affected my decision-making process and I most definitely don't blame anyone for their excitement.  I would be excited, too and I would probably be shouting it from the rooftops with them.  So don't think I'm judging anyone.  I still don't know what I plan to do when I'm done with my wip.

I believe that many people are doing very well with self-pubbing.  I also believe that many aren't.  There are plenty of factors that determine why a self-pubber can or will do well.  The most important thing, and I think this holds true for self or trad published, is the writing.  Right now, I'm just hoping I'm good enough to do well whichever way I choose.

I hope all self-pubbers do well. Who knows, I might be one of them someday. I also want to be able to support myself comfortably as a writer -- what writer doesn't?  But are writers riding that wave into a cliffside?  Is it just too early to know what kind of long term success anyone will have?  I'm sure if you asked the successful ones they'd tell you, "Well, at least I made money while it lasted which is more than what someone that didn't do it got."  Which would be true, of course.  Maybe these aren't even viable questions.

I think it's all this talk about money that is affecting my delicate senses.  Writers want to earn a nice living because it frees us up to write more and it's great to know there is hope for that, but have we lost some semblance of propriety in the process?  Hard to say since money is an important aspect of life.  We all gotta pay the bills.  And it's not like I'm not interested in knowing the details of how well they are doing.

I guess it's just one of those things where you want to know but feel like it's an incredible intrusion in someone's private matters.  We've always been taught that it's impolite to ask.  Now we are faced with a lot of people just offering it up and we're taking it all in and then rifling through their underwear drawer.  When inappropriate suddenly becomes appropriate, I have a hard time switching gears.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where's the downside?


The talk of self-publishing has been rampant.  JA Konrath posts near daily of his success and the success of others.  He has no problem telling you how much money he makes and really, it's a lot for an author.  Many mid-list authors published traditionally still have day jobs, so you can see how appealing his numbers look to an aspiring author.

There's a lot of talk about what you gain in self-publishing:  money, creative control, and quicker release.  A lot less heartache from rejections, editors that like your work and then disappear when it's time to turn it in, imprints closing, etc.  Books don't stop getting published because the house decided they didn't want to print it anymore.   The list is dauntingly large and certainly makes one think twice before they decide to go the traditional route or not.

But what do you lose by self-publishing?  There are the known things:  time to write because you have to spend so much time marketing your book and making your presence known, in store placement, traditional review methods, etc.  Don't forget the mighty TV commercials that a very limited number of authors get.  But what about the things people  don't want to talk about?

How many self-pubbed books have been optioned by film studios?  Eragon doesn't count because he got the agent and publishing deal before the option (I'm guessing the option came because of the agency).  Authors like to say they don't care (it's all about the book), but really, they do.  They dream big just like anyone else.  They hope for a blockbuster movie so they can become the next Stephanie Meyer, Stephen King, or JK Rowling, rolling in the dough of licensing merch and such.  Even if they don't get the blockbuster they hoped for, they at least get a two hour commercial for their book on someone else's dime.  Karen McQuestion's A Scattered Life has been optioned, but anyone else that was a complete unknown?  Konrath seems to believe this too, shall come.

How many have gotten a jacket blurb by an established traditional author?  These actually sell a lot of books.  Lot's of people read something based on another author's recommendation.  Which also leads to the question of other self-published author blurbs, do they have a network where you can approach other successful self-published authors in your genre to ask for a read and a possible blurb? I'm sure they do.  I don't know anything about it but it seems like the top selling self-publishers are supporting each other.

One reason many authors choose not to self-pub is legitimacy.  Some authors just can't stand the thought of not being viewed as legitimate.  Vain, but true.  We are human, after all.

But.

There's now a rather large but.  In November, the NYT revealed that they will now have an ebook bestseller list.  The details are sparse but it's supposed to start rolling out early this year.  The odds of legitimacy just went up a great deal.  Before, a self-pubber had no chance of ever saying they were a NYT bestseller.  It's no longer out of reach.  I think that if anything is going to turn the agency-model on its head, this is it.

Another interesting thing that I dont' see talked about:  the self-publishers that have agents.  These agents generally do things like film rights, foreign rights, audiobooks, etc. for the self-publisher.  Clearly, there are agents paying attention to these sales records.  But now with Podiobooks, you can do your own audiobook and keep 75% of the profits, so is their role shrinking?  Are they snagging these self-pubbers to gain a much-needed foothold in a market they've shunned?  Will the nature of queries change from MS representation to representation of works in other markets like film?  I would have thought that impossible just a year ago.  It doesn't seem so impossible now.

The publishing world is changing, no doubt.  It's going to be interesting to see where it all lands. I can't deny that with the NYT bestseller list coming, it's looking mighty attractive.  The idea that I might actually be able to make a living at writing?  Whodathunkit?  Very few traditionally pubbed authors accomplish this feat.  There are bestselling authors that can't even accomplish this without a movie deal.

I've always planned to try the traditional publishing route but the whole climate might be much different by the time I'm ready to publish. And seeing some of those sales numbers of unknown authors is like bait on a hook.

Thoughts? Comments?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Amazon and the erotica debacle


I'm coming in late on this topic, I know.  But bear with me.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a personal account from an author that had her books pulled.  Although I'm a bit late to the game, Amazon has stood their ground as evidenced by the fact that her books still aren't back up.

I don't want to get into the arbitrary decision process they have adopted as to why certain erotica books are removed and others aren't or why they accepted them in the first place.  The mechanics of this particular business choice is, fortunately for them, theirs to make.  Not so fortunate for authors, since now they really have no idea what they can publish with them or distribute through them.  Even traditionally published books are being sent to the trash bin.  Customers are again complaining about their books being pulled from their archives without any notice or refund.  But there's plenty being said on this already.

The one thing I've found interesting in reading all the uproar about this is that no one has mentioned that this practice of removing purchased items from archives isn't just ebooks and it isn't something they've only done once or twice before.  Amazon has been doing this regularly since it started selling digital content.

I ordered the movie "Coraline" (because who doesn't love Neil Gaiman?) when it first became available for purchase - tells you how long ago this happened.  I purchased it, not rented it.  When I went back several months later to watch it again, it was removed.  I have no idea when they removed it and I had to call and ask for a refund.  I was told it was removed because they lost the license.  Well, great.  Why didn't you offer me a refund when you took it back?  I don't recall any vocal outcry like there was for 1984.

Which leaves me to believe books are pulled from Kindles all the time.  Movies are pulled all the time.  Music probably isn't affected nearly as much because the music is usually transferred to iTunes or something similar so they have no direct access.  I'm praying they don't come out with some crazy MP3 player that will only play music from them because you know it will lead to some new proprietary format that won't let you play it anywhere else.  And if that wouldn't be crazy enough, people will buy it.

All their digital content is open to removal from your archives at any time.  Last time I checked, even the periodical subscriptions that you may have purchased are going to be tied to the serial number of your Kindle, not you - so hope you never have to get your Kindle fixed if you have periodicals because you won't get yours back.  I don't know if the periodical thing is still the case but at the time I was finally jumping on the ereader bandwagon, it was.

And there have been complaints to Amazon about this very practice forever and yet it hasn't changed. People still shop there and people will still continue to shop there.  It's unfortunate but true.  They will continue to take back what they bought and hope you never notice so they can keep their money.

I would like to see an accounting of how much money they've chosen not to return to people who have no clue they are missing purchased items.  I bet it's fairly substantial.

I no longer purchase anything digital from them.  If I ever purchase an ebook from them again, I will download it to my hard drive.  I can't do that with movies (because you're forced to watch online through any player that will connect to Amazon) unless I get software that allows me to record my computer screen, so I won't be buying movies at all.

The moral of this blog is that when dealing with Amazon and any digital content, buyer beware.  This isn't an anomoly.  It didn't only happen with 1984 or erotica.  Amazon does this all the time with everything digital.  They simply have a very poor business model when it comes to digital content and it's not stopping anyone from shopping there.

I tend to think that the backlash just isn't going to mean much to them or their bottom line.  It hasn't before and it probably won't ever.

And that's why I went with a Nook.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The query and why I suck at it.


My wip is far from being ready to query.  But in my blog-catching-up-time, I read a lot of query related posts (see this amazing rule-breaking query here).  Part of my procrastination regime is to do things that are associated with my wip without actually writing it so I've written several queries over the months.  None of them were any good and I can see why so many writers talk about how they hate writing query letters.  It has that reputation for a reason.

They are hard.  You have to condense your voice, your plot, your MC, why it's different and why anyone should care into 250 lonely words or less.  Who wants to do that to their baby?

Needless to say, mine suck.  I do like to think they are progressively getting better, though.  Maybe by the next fifty or so I'll have a winner.  I sent the latest version that I thought might be, at least, okay into a crit group.  I've only gotten one crit so far and it confirmed that I still suck at it.  I only sent it a couple hours ago so there is still plenty of time for the other critters in the group to tell me how much it sucks.  The best part about being told you suck (no, the words are not actually said, no one is ever mean-spirited) is that you learn from it which is far more valuable than being told something crappy is good.

Most will tell you there is an art to query letters that is far different from novel writing and I would venture to say they are right.  Before sending out those queries, I would highly recommend you get feedback.  Lots and lots of feedback and don't send out that query until everyone loves it.  You only get one shot per agent and you don't want to send that query to your dream agent before it's right.

Anyway, the reason why I think I suck at it is that I don't think I have the confidence to "sell" my book.  I was asked what was unique abou it.  The honest answer is, I don't know.  I've never sat down and thought about what makes it unique, I just write the story that's in my head and hope it's good enough.  I wonder if it's something I just don't want to look at for fear it's not unique enough.  I never set out to write thinking in those terms.  I never set out to turn the literary world on its head. I simply set out to write.

I'm told it's unique but it's not like anyone ever explains to me what's unique about it (and I never ask).  I can't put its uniqueness into words unless I examine it, though.  That's the catch twenty-two because if I set to examine it that closely, I'm terrified I'll discover it's not that great of a story.  I already had to rewrite what I had because the voice was all wrong.  What if there's more to it that's wrong?

All I can say is that I'm very glad I'm not even at the query stage yet.

I'm my own worst enemy in this matter.  I'm aware.  Feel free to send your condolences.  Flowers and chocolate are also accepted.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New look!


What do you think?  Should I keep looking for new clothes to dress this baby?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Are you good enough to even self-publish?



I know some very happily self-published authors. No agent, editor or publisher telling them what they can or can't do, what needs to be cut, what needs to be changed or how many pages they can or can't have for acknowledgments. All the money from sales is theirs to have and the success or failure of a book rests squarely upon their shoulders (and, more importantly, defining what they would call a success or failure).

With the rise in self-pubbed works, the future of publishing is changing and where it will land is anyone's guess.

But what I really want to know is:  what possesses an author to self-publish?

Oh, I know there are plenty of valid reasons to do so. There are those that have queried and queried with nary a bite and there those that never got past partials and fulls and I know of some that were published, dropped and decided to self-publish said dropped book. There are those that are just happy to write and hope others might enjoy reading unknown authors enough to buy it and like it, too.  But what about the (I hate to say it because we all start somewhere) bad writer? I suppose if you knew you were a bad writer you wouldn't self-publish but it's amazing how many still manage to do it, presumably because they simply don't know they are bad.

And please don't confuse the issue, I'm not saying that all self-pubbed books are badly written. Not by a long shot. I'm only saying that with the rise in self-publishing, anyone is able to do it. Like the guy/gal who decided that their New Year's resolution should be to start, finish and publish a book in one year.  Sure, some succeed beautifully, but the majority don't. That same guy/gal poured lots of love, time and energy into getting it done. Love, time and energy, I might add, that may have been better served learning how to write. Yanno, like basic grammar and punctuation, never mind the craft as an art form. 

I've perused the self-published titles and while some of them look like they are well written, a large portion could have used the benefit of research on how to write, a critique or two or twenty, and an editor. Do they simply not know? How can they not know?  

There are many fine authors that go undiscovered and rejected yearly. I suppose knowing if you are one of those fine authors isn't easy, what with all the rejections. But wouldn't you know if you weren't at least passable if you were going to self-publish?

I certainly don't think that anyone should be denied the right to self-publish, but I definitely reserve the right to not read it and I can't help feeling bad for the author every time I see one of these books floating around.  Readers are just as harsh critics as agents and editors. If they think ridicule in an agency is bad, ridicule from the entire known web-verse isn't likely to be any better.  Is it bravery to put yourself out there like that or is it just (as Miss Snark used to say) nitwittery?

Monday, January 3, 2011

I'm real, I'm real!




But I'm not a boy.  Just making sure everyone knew I wasn't a figment of their imagination with people thinking to themselves, "Remember that one blog on writing?  You know, the one that only had two or three posts ever.  Ink-something-or-other."

I don't have anything I'm going to claim as a resolution, I'm just not that crazy anymore.  I have lots of things I could easily put out there into the ether as a resolution but I steadfastly refuse.

I do, on the other hand, have a few things I would like to say I will try to do better.  Like blogging, for ince.

Sure, blogging could be considered a fairly self-important endeavor and it could be said that you'd have to have some amount of narcissism to partake but I would disagree. Who cares what I have to say, after all?  Well, let's not go from self-important to self-deprecating.  I don't particularly want to blog because I think someone wants to hear what I have to say but because I simply like it.  It's kind of a like a diary I get to look back over and see how utterly ridiculous I was back when.  Or those moments when I was brilliant.  But mostly just seeing the moments in time and what I was doing or thinking.  So it's really more for me.  Maybe that does fall into the "self-important" category, after all.

So I'm choosing to do try to do better.  Did you like how non-committal that was?

On another note, I've been catching up on all the blogs I've lost track of over the last few months.  That was a lot of reading and a lot of time that should have been put to my MS.  I wouldn't call it totally wasted, though because I learned more useful things to put toward my writing.

Happy New Year, everyone.  I hope it brings lots of motivation to write, write, write for all of us.