All right. It’s time to start preparing for the new year. No, this doesn’t mean you should make a whole slew of resolutions. Why not? Because if you’re a writer, but particularly if you’re an indie writer, you no longer have a governor for your efforts. There is no publisher saying “only one book a year.” Heck, there isn’t even a publisher saying “only a book a month.” And so, you feel so free and will over-resolution yourself to death.
So, instead of new year’s resolutions, the friendly staff at your Book Plug Friday headquarters, high on the side of the mighty Rocky Mountains would like to offer you…
New Year’s Suggestions:
1- Don’t overbook yourself. Not only us, but all our friends who have gone indie, the moment we write in hard and fast “A novel a month” or whatever, our muse decamps to Southern climes to watch scantily dressed strangers and drink fruity alcoholic drinks, leaving us high and dry and blocked. Popcorn kittens are the perennial problem of the indie writer. Give them a valium.
2- Pencil those deadlines in as “would like to” but don’t kill yourself if you don’t. Just because you work for yourself, there’s no reason to abuse your employee. Make sure you pencil in a free month now and then, so if you blow one month, it can take that one. Otherwise you’ll suffer a tsunami of deadlines.
3- Pencil in time for all your other work, too. Remember you’re not only writer, but also publisher and at the very least art director, if not art designer.
4- Consider different computers for writing, publishing and whatever else you do on the net. (In my case, catering to my political news obsession.) If you can’t afford that many computers, have a laptop and change the location. Your brain is a creature of habit.
5- If you can, designate a day “publishing day.” It’s something Dean Wesley Smith told us to do three years ago, and we still haven’t done, because… time and things interfering. But if you can, it will keep production more steady than our habit of writing for months at a stretch then publishing for one month, then…
6- Make time to research the market, the marketing, the covers, the tags. Yes, I know, you researched it all years ago. It’s probably outdated. It changes very fast.
7- Make contact with other indie writers. The most valuable information has come to me via a friend saying “Hey, did you notice that—” And for things like KULL, not to mention mutual publicity, friends are invaluable.
8- Remember it’s all about the writing. It’s always about the writing. If your other stuff is stealing from the writing, find a way to minimize it. Trade editing and cover design with friends; let the house go without cleaning every other week. Whatever. Just keep writing.
And if you’re a reader of Book Plug Friday and JUST a reader, I have just one New Year’s suggestion for you:
Read more. We’re counting on you!
[Charlie here:] Yeah, it’s late again. Look, I’m really not a big fan of the holidays.
In the mean time, I want to announce a mild change in the submission guidelines — which you can, as always, get by emailing [email protected] — because there’s one point in them that is nearly uniformly being missed. That would be the desire for short blurbs.
Last week there were a half dozen submissions with excessively long blurbs, up to 400–500 words. Some of them were very nice words, but there were too damn many of them. So here’s the revision:
Blurbs should be 100 words or less. If a blurb is long enough to make me wonder, it will be word-counted (using the UNIX command wc(1)). Anything in excess of 125 words will be rejected automatically. Between 100 and 125 words, you’re in the lap of the Gods.
After seeing his entire unit die in a failed black op, Brahm Tanner retreats from the military and even his family. Now running a freelance hostage retrieval unit, life—and business—are good. At least until the President of the United States insists on hiring him.
A covert, underground facility has gone dark, apparently taken over by its own commander. Why the military of the most powerful nation on Earth is now standing down, however, and who the partners in this “shared” facility truly are, the President refuses to say.
Every instinct tells Brahm to walk. And every experience says that he and his current team are being set up as scapegoats.
Then the President names the commander of the base: General Benjamin Tanner.
A Screenplay for a Film That Never Was…
Stodgy Professor Roric Rossony and his free-spirited assistant Perarre Tabrano have been asked to find a way to stop the deterioration of the powerful magica. When the professor delves too deeply into lost and forbidden books, magical disaster strikes, and he and Perarre are forced to flee from the authorities on a dangerous journey to discover the origins of magic.
Life was never easy in the Methuselah Cluster, but when her alcoholic father found her a ‘job’ so he could look for ‘work’ off-planet, 11-year-old Loralynn Kennakris began to learn how ugly it could get. Within months, she was sold to a brutal slaver, who took the last thing she owned: her name.
Most slaves last a year or two. Kris survived eight before she was rescued.
Unfortunately, eight years in hell prepared Kris for everything but freedom, and her new life isn’t what she imagined: the authorities think she’s a terrorist plant, a beautiful celebrity is complicating matters in more ways than one . . . and someone is trying to kill her.
So now she’s mad. Game On.
In Kaunis-spa′s magical spring, Livli achieves spectacular cures. A born pioneer, she hopes to match new ways for healing with new ways of living. But the Kaunis-sisters fear rapid change. While Livli pushes forward the new, one influential foe pushes back. Home will keep its ancient customs, even if Livli loses everything. Must surrender spell defeat? Or could letting go harness real power?
North-lands spellcasters who reach too boldly for power transform into trolls – grotesque villains wielding a potent magic and destined for madness. A KNOT OF TROLLS features seven of these evildoers, each pursuing a unique design for troubling their neighbors. Across the ages of the world, ordinary youths must rise to the challenges laid down by trolls. Destiny and hope lie in the balance.
Rail Black, a former Delta Force operator, is rich and lives in Beverly Hills. But unlike many wealthy people in the world’s entertainment capital, Rail is not in show business. In fact, he avoids it at all costs. Until now.
From ninety years in the past, a time when gangsters and tycoons roamed Hollywood and scratched each other’s wallets–Rail is thrust into a labyrinth of murder, duplicity, money, sex and power.RB
In a galaxy tied together by the magic of the elite Jump Magi, Damien Montgomery is a newly graduated member of their number.
With no family or connections to find a ship, he is forced to service on an interstellar freighter known to be hunted by pirates.
When he takes drastic action to save the Blue Jay from their pursuers, he sets in motion a sequence of events beyond his control – and attracts enemies on both sides of the law!
(The first episode is now free, and can be found here.)
On special from Sarah!
On limited time sale from 4.99!!!
Young Will Shakespeare is a humble school master who arrives home to find his wife and infant daughter, Susannah are missing, kidnapped by the fairies of Arden Woods, the children of Titania and Oberon. His attempts at rescue are interrupted and complicated by a feud over throne of fairyland, between Sylvanus, king regnant, and his younger brother Quicksilver who is both more and less than he seems. Amid treachery, murder, duel and seduction, Shakespeare discovers the enchantment of fairyland, which will always remain with him, for good and ill. (This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2001)
On limited time sale from 4.99!!!
Touched by the magic of fairyland, unable to forget Lady Silver, Shakespeare goes to London to seek his fortune. But there, the elf will follow, on the trail of a creature so deadly that, unless Shakespeare and the king of Elves stop it, it might very well consume London and all of England. (This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2002)
Praise for All Night Awake:
“Ingenious… fans of the first book won’t be disappointed.” – Publishers Weekly
“Hoyt sustains her intriguing premise with a soaring, lyrical style. A most enchanting novel” – Booklist
On limited time sale from 4.99!!!
William Shakespeare, successful playwright, receives word that his only son has died. Reality is far more complex. The young Hamnet is a hostage in fairyland, where a war rages, and where a young princess waits a Prince Charming who might never come.
Can an all too human playwright stop the magical war that threatens both worlds?
(This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2003)
On limited time sale from 5.99!!!
Kathryn Howard belongs to a wealthy and powerful family, the same family that Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s great love originated from. From a young age, her ambitious relatives maneuver to make her queen. Brought up in a careless manner, ignorant of the ways of the court, Kathryn falls victim to her kind heart, all the while wishing she could be the wife of Thomas Culpepper.
ON SALE FROM 6.99 for a limited time!!!
In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.