Thursday, September 5, 2019

Getting Prepped for NaNoWriMo 2019

I had skipped on doing the Municipal Liaison thing last year because of staffing issues at the library where I work, but this year I had to take it on because the lady who had taken over duties has moved away from the Lakeland region.

I do plan on finding times and places to have Write-Ins to host, and maybe this year I'll find the motivation to finish a work instead of letting the writer's block demon get the better of me.

Keep an eye out for further details!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Regarding the 2019 Royal Palm Literary Awards Status

You might recall earlier that my story "The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow" was up for Semi-Finalist status under the Published Story category, which meant a likely shot at the Finalist status and with luck a Top Three win this October at the RPLA.

Welp... It didn't get to Finalist.

Ahh, well. It probably wasn't to everyone's tastes.

The other fiction submission "Road Trip to Vegas" never even cleared the Semi hurdle. Meanwhile, I never really heard back on the submission for the Blogging category. The judge reviewing the article I sent noted some of the links were broken and asked for fixes, but what I sent them probably did not help.

It's gonna be a quiet year for me after all. Unless I can get my muse to answer my calls...

Changes to My List of Works

I don't know if anyone else has paid attention, but I've been having some issues with the Print-On-Demand service I've used to get two works published.

One thing I tried recently was to email XLibris and request a change on pricing to the ebook release of Last of the Grapefruit Wars, which was supposed to be covered by the agreement I had with them back in 2003. Unfortunately, the only thing they DID do was remove the ebook offering altogether from Amazon and Barnes&Noble (and likely all other retail providers). I think they changed the parameters of the deal on me (or I didn't understand it to begin with), or else didn't care. Either way, they never emailed me back about what they did. I had to see it for myself. Not a good way to handle a client.

Back when PoDs first appeared, I gave XLibris a try to see how the service would work, which ended up being a lot of work at my end and not much else. They did provide decent copies of books, the bindery has held up relatively well for more than a decade. And they did have some decent marketing materials... which have now gotten too expensive for my budget.

And the only thing I do get from them are calls from a new "agent" every six months asking me to sign up for a new marketing plan... which is essentially the same marketing plan they offered me since 2003 of spam-emailing everybody.

I'm a little bit discouraged about this.

I read up the current rules for XLibris to see if I can cancel both of my book deals with them... and it looks like I can.

So my plan is to cancel both my books with XLibris - the political book has sold... well, maybe once - and re-edit the Grapefruit Wars anthology with a few new stories. Update the collection as it were, make it bigger - at 124 pages it was pretty thin - and repackage it to a self-publishing service - Ingramspark - that might provide a better deal with both print and ebook.

(This won't include my Talents superhero stories as I want to package them differently, preferably anchored by an honest-to-God book)

Thing is, I also want to change the anthology title. I've found out Last of the Grapefruit Wars confused too many people.

So I'm brainstorming now about what a good new title for the book could be.

It's a mash-up of different genres - there's one true sci-fi, a couple of fantasy, a lot of coming-of-age - mostly from my college years and the 1990s when I tried getting into the short story market. If there's any consistent element to the stories, it's been a lot of humor (I hope). Most of the newer stories to add are humor-oriented as well. So I'm thinking that would be the way to re-brand the set of stories.

Right now, the best title I can think of is Slices of Crazy: Collected Stories.

Titles like Welcome to Florida won't cut it, that's too common. So's Out of My Mind and variants thereof.

One story I might add is "Jar of the Atlantic" but as a book title might be as confusing as Grapefruit Wars. I'm intrigued with the idea of making the subtitle to any decided title be ...And Other Personal Disasters but that's too self-deprecating.

If any of my seven blog followers got any suggestions, let me know.

Monday, July 8, 2019

I Got NaNo-Nine Problems...

Quick update on my writing for this month of July:

(cricket chirping)

I was hoping that by going with a time limit - 40 hours - instead of word count, I would be gliding into the writing process of an hour here, a couple of hours during the weekend there, that sort of thing.

The first full week of NaNo writing and I haven't even found an hour to get anything done: not a paragraph, not one sentence or bit of dialogue.

I am finding myself sitting in front of a computer monitor suffering from depression, self-loathing, and anxiety... not all of it writing related.

I've headed out to places away from home, to avoid distractions. It's not working.

No excuses here.

I need to find my motivation. A muse. Something.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Camp NaNo July 2019, Underway

I got my opening chapter already!

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single slice of bread in possession of strawberry spread, must be in want of a butter knife."



Sigh. (crumples paper and starts again)

I'll get something done this month with Camp NaNoWriMo. 40 hours to go...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Something New With Camp Nano 2019

One of the things you could do with Camp NaNoWriMo for April/July was setting your own word goal, so that you won't stress out trying to get 50,000 words done in 30 days like you do in November.

But I noticed something new when I tried to select my Goals for the July camp: It now included options on selecting other means of measuring your efforts.

  • Words
  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Lines
  • Paragraphs
One thing I kept running into with my last handful of failed projects was finding the time to get writing done. The word count was one thing: trying to cram in 1600-plus words per day wasn't happening, and the more I fell back the harder it was to keep up.

I'm going to see if going by HOURS - say, 40 hours for the month of July - will get me to my goals better. If time is my limiter, use that as an advantage.

So I'm planning on 40 hours worth of writing this July: Getting science fiction stories finished up to complete an anthology of sci-fi shorts.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Updating Witty Librarian Stuff

It's been awhile since I've tried marketing meself as a Witty Librarian, working with a Cafe Press service that I haven't made sense of for the last decade or so.

I'm thinking of going to Vista Print, where I've made bookmarks and handouts for my book vendor appearances, to see about creating mousepads and signage. In the process, I discovered I needed to recreate decades-old logos done on low-resolution. So I'm redesigning the stuff I've had to this:

I used to write it as "Smart@ss" but people thought it was a bad email link. /sigh

Is the shadow drop too much?
Still doing this graphic design on my own. I worry I'm not getting the images clean enough to transfer to printing on mugs and t-shirts. We'll see.