Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Goals


The New Year is approaching fast, only a few hours left, and I need to get clear on my goals. I read a blog post by Jeff Ambrose today and was stunned by his numbers. He plans to write 600,000 words next year!

I write 500 words an hour on average, and I work from 8am. to 1pm. Monday to Friday. Still, I couldn't make those numbers. First, he didn't schedule time for revision – my novels need revision, plenty of it. That would half my writing time easily. Next, he didn't take into account all the time Indies need to promote their published novels (blog posts, twitter interaction, trying to connect with readers) which also takes away from my writing time. My tax papers alone will eat up at least one week of writing.
So I sat down and calculated the number of words I could write in an average year taking into consideration the need to let people know my books exist, the time my kids need from me, administrative duties, walks with the dog, and everything else that comes up for me to handle. The result still surprised me. In an average year, I should be able to write 250,000 words!

After digesting this number, I decided to put this to the test. I've got 4 novels finished in German with roughly 295,000 words. They don't need more revision, only translation. So my goal is to translate as many of the novels my agent thought good enough for publication but couldn't place here in Germany. I already finished half of "Amadi, the Phoenix, the Sphinx, and the Djin" (ca. 35K). When that's done, I'll tackle the other novels. Also, I want to finish my African themed YA Work in Progress and the revision of "Chasing the Grimm Reaper" before March.

If I manage to finish translating them all by the end of the year despite my other commitments, I will email Jeff Ambrose and eat crow. I wouldn't mind at all because that would give me six novels to publish before 2012 is out. I'm skeptical to say the least, but I'll try my best to do it.

What are your goals?

Friday, December 16, 2011

What I learned compiling an anthology

Wow, putting the "Campaigner Challenges 2011" together as eBook and POD book was more work than I had anticipated. So far, I've sold 14 eBook copies on Smashwords, 37 eBook copies on Amazon, and 35 POD copies through Createspace/Amazon. With that, we raised roughly 180,-USD so far (there is a bug in Smashword's spreadsheet so I can't see the exact royalties yet. I hope they'll solve that soon).
I learned several things through this.
  • I'm not good at line editing; I missed too many mistakes. That means for me, I'll have to hire an editor for my own books.

  • People, no matter how willing, don't follow guidelines. I don't think there is anything I can do about this though.

  • PoD books sell just as well as eBooks. Therefore, I will publish "Urchin King" as a PoD book soon.

  • Putting together an eBook in a day is easy if you know what to do. I recommend following Guido Henkel's eBook formatting guidelines. Once you've created a clean HTML file, you can easily turn it back into a Smashwords compatible word-document (see below if you're interested in the details)

  • People are generous. I've had 81 participants donate 176 stories in total. An amazing number. Thank you!

  • I love doing this. If I find the time to participate next year, I might do it again – but then with another person who's good at line-editing.

Regardless the obstacles, I am proud of the result. Of course, I wouldn't mind more sales. After all, Harry Moseley's cancer research charity is a worthy course, but every dollar counts. I'm grateful for the support I got from my fellow writers and other people, which is a gain for me too. Next step is to put CC2011 up on rabmad, and return to my regular revision.

I'll do that after Christmas. Enjoy the season,

P.S.: Cross posted on both of my blogs
P.S.S.: Instructions on how to turn the HTML-file into a document with MS-word:
  • Open the HTML-file with a normal text editor (e.g. notepad if you're using Windows).

  • Add the following in the first line of the HTML-file

    < html xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns="" >

  • delete this expression < html >, save the file, and close it.

  • Open the file in word.

  • Use the menu item "File" -> "Save As…"

  • Select "doc" as file-type and save the file.

  • If you now select "View" "Page Layout" (or something like that), you will see what the file will look like as a "normal" Wordfile

I hope this helped.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

short notice


this is just a short notice to let you know that "Campaigner Challenges 2011", the charity anthology for Harry Moseley's charity, is now available in print too.

I'll be back with my NaNo experiences and other tidbits next week. At the moment, I've got a cold, a Mount Everest of laundry to fold, and a house that urgently needs scrubbing -- the usual post-NaNo chaos.

Have a great day,