Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rational writing goals for 2013.


It’s time to set some rational goals for 2013.

For 2013, I hope to write three novels, one a mystery in the Maintenon series, one science fiction, and one in another genre. The third book could be a thriller, a high fantasy or whatever—I don’t care, all I need is the gag. Otherwise, I don’t know what it’s about, which makes it difficult to write.

Assuming I live ten years, this would result in thirty books at the rate of three a year. If I live twenty years, and if I’m still capable of writing, then I would theoretically be able to write sixty more books, looking forward from this day. I could squeeze out a few short stories and maybe a few poems by then as well.

I would very much like to see some really professional marketing images, not just for new books but all the titles so far. This requires money, and one of my goals is that the money to invest in the business is generated by the business. Another goal is not to pay 30 % tax withholding to the IRS. I’ve applied for my passport, in order to properly identify myself to them and get an ITIN, which Smashwords requires, etc, etc.

I will continue to write short stories, and submit them to pro markets, and for 2013, I will be creating some new pen names. Nothing has been decided yet, but we would need pen names for mystery, science fiction, horror, fantasy, but the WW I memoir could remain as ‘Louis Shalako.’

Right? Gee, I don’t know either! But another question is whether I would open fresh accounts and publish all of them under separate accounts, or simply use Shalako Publishing as an umbrella organization.

With all the recent talk of sock puppets and fake reviews and stuff, it’s easy to see that some negative connotations might be associated with one guy writing under half a dozen names, and at the same time pretending to be ‘a small press,’ or ‘an emerging press.’

It’s all me, right? I could be anybody. You have no idea of who I am, right?

People will think I’m just in it for the money. They’ll say all sorts of nasty things about me. I get quite a bit of that now…

What has stopped me so far is that I really don’t have a procedure all mapped out in advance. At some point, someone will have to make a decision, and I ought to know, because I used to work in construction.

In order for all of this to happen, there are a few things to tidy up before the end of 2012. This includes making new marketing images for the five or six paperbacks I have out now, as well as making danged sure the new ones I create meet some kind of minimal artistic standards.

I have a couple of novels coming out, one October 1 and one November 1, so there is a bit of what I like to call ‘a time-suck’ there. I have those well in hand, but the images still need some work. Before the end of the year I’ll produce a couple or three more short stories.

November is Nano-Write month, in which millions of people all try to write a novel in about a month. Normally what I do is to write short stories exclusively for the month of November, as it suits my purposes well enough, and it represents some kind of participation. It’s also motivating to try and hit the word count, right? And why not? What have I got to lose?

Not much, in strictly objective terms. I mean, take a look at me: I’m just some guy.

Right? But the whole objective with the short stories is to have something new to submit around to professional magazines. It represents more than just a cash sale. It’s something to put in a bio or a blurb, and it helps to build a readership.

Before winter is over, I should have every full-length novel on the list published as a print on demand paperback. That’s another goal.

When I published my first couple of e-books it was exciting. My hand shook when I did it. It was fun, too, because of that sort of rebellious spirit that I exhibit occasionally. No one really knows what’s going to happen.


There was no great stir of controversy over my first couple of books, and while that was disappointing, now I know better what to expect.

But a major goal for 2013 is to bring back some of the fun, some of the excitement of self-publishing.

One way to do that would be to apply for a cultural grant and use it to publish a couple of other people’s books. The problem that I see with that, is the question, ‘What is my goal?’

What purpose would it serve? If my goal is to break new authors, with all the pen-names and fake entities out there, finding someone who is not an established pro is problematical, and if the goal is simply to learn how to publish someone else’s book, then I guess it wouldn’t matter whose book it is!

Some clear and logical thinking on my part would appear to be in order, however the deadline for application is November, so either I hurry up and do it, or postpone it for another year.

As for excitement, opening up the e-mails to discover a hundred submissions might be kind of exciting, or it might just be a pain in the wazoo. Also, with all the talk of sock puppets going around, someone will inevitably suspect that I own those books, and might be fraudulently giving myself an advance from monies intended to assist an emerging press…red faces all around, in that scenario. The problem is to identify just exactly who we are dealing with when entering into any contracts with putative or prospective authors.

As for submitting novels to major publishers, the whole thing is such a crashing bore that I might do it, and I might not. But once a book is submitted, there’s nothing for it but to wait to hear back, (it’s only polite,) and some folks aren’t that good about sending rejection slips. I see it as a sense of entitlement. On their part, not mine. (I’m entitled to my friggin’ rejection slips, I’ll grant you that much.)

Are you entitled to first crack at anything that I write?

That depends on your world-view and your philosophical outlook. I kind of doubt it, although I would be interested in your reasoning.

I’m just saying. If you would prefer not to discuss it, that’s fine too.

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