Other Cool Blogs: Just Publishing Advice Nov 2, 2016

Cover by Erin Penn

If you were around in November, you may have noticed how my novel for NaNoWritMo went south. All October I thought and thought about Internal Lies based on a dream I had during the 2016 holiday season, carefully not writing a word down. I jumped on the computer on November first and typed up all the notes I had from the original dream – close to 1,000 words.

Then nothing on the second.

On the third my brain said “Let’s write a blog post.”

Now? Really? You haven’t wanted to work on the blog but in bits and pieces all year and you want to do one now. … Oh well, at least it is writing.

Yeah. The result? Nearly “won” NaNoWritMo by catching up on my blog – 35,568 words of blog postings. This was the most productive writing period I have ever done outside of writing Honestly. Actually more so, since Honestly is only 15K.

Anyway, I’ve long been thinking about maybe doing a collection of my flashes or putting the writing exercises together for something I can sell on Amazon. You can even see a cover above made for the Writing Exercises. The challenge is transforming the blog into a coherent how-to. Like taking a novel and changing it to a movie, the mediums of blogging and ebooks are different with different requirements.

How to Turn Your Blog Into a Book” by Julie Petersen (2016) and updated by Derek Haines (2017) on the Just Publishing Advice website gives some excellent advice I plan to use. If you are thinking about going this route with your blog, you might want to review it as well. While focused primarily on non-fiction, the biggest take-aways are reaching new readers, monetize your work without turning your website into advertising central, and hiring professionals for the professional bits.

Look for the four book series on Writing Exercises to come out this year: Write Good a taste, Write Good, Write Gooder, and Write Goodest.

Blog: New Year 2018

Image acquired from http://www.dogwoodcarving.co.uk/; Text added by Erin Penn

Each year I share my writing goals. I did awesome in 2016. 2017 ended with a splash, but my writing goal achievement was lackluster. On the other hand, the fire rooster of 2017 brought my editing activity onto the front burners, nearly boiling over in August and September. I hope the 2018 dog year balances the two halves of my word-smithing soul, with the continued fun of editing and the creative joy of writing.

Review of 2017 Goals:

  1. Completed the transfer of my stand-alone blog to the website.
  2. The blog on the website, while not constant, ended the year close to the three posts a week goal.
  3. Publication did not happen, not of novels or flirts, but thanks to NaNoWritMo a non-fiction book on writing exercises is in the works.
  4. Submit to three anthologies. Did not happen.
  5. Bonus goal: Panelist at convention. Did not happen. But I did go to DragonCon for the first time.
  6. Not a goal: Became a content editor, with six books in various stages of the publication process. Man, did this change around writing efforts.

The goals for 2018 under my power:

  1. Join the 500 club every day – specific to sale-able product. (The 500 club is writing 500 words. Do this every day for a year and I will have 150,000 words. Allowed to have one day a week off, but only one.)
  2. Keep the blog on the website strong. Three posts a week.
  3. Publish (either by others or by self) a non-fiction book and at least two fictional works of 10K or more words.
  4. Submit to three anthologies.

Bonus Actions (not under my power):

  1. Publish in an anthology.
  2. Publish under a publishing company in addition to self-publication.
  3. Shepherd at least three books to final publication through the editing process. Add at least three more books the pipeline.

What I am letting go

  1. Multiple conventions. Unless I am producing things for people to buy, I can’t justify attending conventions. I need a year to concentrate on writing.

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words October 1, 2010

Acquired from the internet hive mind


Two approaches are available to writing: debutante hobby and professional career. Both are legitimate options. Which path to take depends on your goals, the success you want. (See previous post on defining Success for yourself.)

I just ran across an interesting post A.J. Hartley made a while back, you know the award-winning, NY Times best-selling author of SteepleJack and Macbeth: A Novel. That A.J. Hartley. Back in 2010 he wrote: Mistakes I made Part III: Writing as Hobby. He talked about the twenty years he played at writing while teaching Shakespeare as a college professor. The post (and the related entries of the series) capture his change from writing as a hobby to a career.

Was he wrong not to treat it as a career sooner? Was the time he spend with it as a hobby wasted: writing, playing, learning the craft of writing? Would he be the author he is today without the twenty years of practice?

While the world slumbers this winter (or for those in the Southern Hemisphere, during the heat of the summer), think on how you should define your writing success. Should it be a hobby or a career? What should it be right now, and what might you want in twenty years? Would it be okay for it to be a hobby in your 30’s and a career for your 60’s? Should you treat it as a 10-hour a week professional part-time job for the immediate future to test your BIC capability?

See the full post here while you consider: http://www.magicalwords.net/aj-hartley/mistakes-i-made-part-iii-writing-as-hobby/

Other Cool Blogs: Magical Words April 11, 2011

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Starry-eyed teens in love with writing, new writers with a nearly finished manuscript at home, and people flashing and shorting their way to their first anthology all have something in common. They need to define when they succeed.

Writing is a tough business. Most success is measured in money. By that measure, few writers ever succeed.

David B. Coe, who by most writers’ measurements is successful, touched on this topic in More on Success and Rejection during a 2011 Magical Words posting.

When I talk to people interested in writing, I tell them to define their success now. Record it.

Otherwise when moving up in the publishing world they will continue to compare success to the level (or levels) above where they are, never seeing the success of the journey they made. The object of recording a first level of success is celebrating when reaching it, then setting another one – like graduation from high school then moving on to a first job or college.

Success in the writing world for a beginner isn’t about huge stacks of cash or being a best seller on the New York Times list. That is like telling a T-baller to shoot for the Hall of Fame, ignoring the millions of other T-ballers and the hundreds of other success levels between. If you only care about the fame and fortune, find a different aspiration. 

What goals would be a good first success? It depends on the person. For some, the writing goal is to complete a story, others is acceptance by a publishing company – any company, others it is having a real book with their name on the spine, others it is selling one book to someone else, and still others having a book signing is when they feel the success. Once a goal is clearly defined, choosing a path between self-published and traditional becomes clearer, or whether publication is needed at all.

Remember other people’s goals and success is not yours. For someone, they may want to make a living to be successful, but that might not be you. Getting a single book completely written, sold, edited, and published is pretty awesome.

Don’t be afraid to aim low. Taking a step on a staircase isn’t self-defeating – trying to jump up to the third story in one leap is.

Figure out what your goal is.

I’ve posted some of mine over the years. Starting a blog. Completing a self-published book. Setting up a website. Being a guest at a convention. Getting published by someone else. Participating in an anthology. Each goal isn’t big, but I have reached them. Future goals include getting more books published, getting into more anthologies, and editing a best-seller. 

WRITING EXERCISE: Create one simple goal to reach for this year. Does it depend on stuff entirely under your control or do others have an impact on it? Example: submitting to five anthologies is under your control, being accepted by one isn’t. Although, one (being accepted by an anthology) isn’t going to happen without the submission. Define your simple goal with activities entirely under your control; you can add a bonus for results requiring responses of others to your activities.

Blog: New Year 2017

Gone Writing

Image stolen randomly from the web

A new year, 2017 … Time to set up a new set of goals.

2016 (Last year’s) goals:
1. Restart the blog — Met!
2. Start a newsletter — Done!
3. Start a website — Oh, yeah!
4. Get a new self-published novel (or two) out. – well, maybe not

Bonus actions

5. Self-publish two flirts – not
6. Attend a convention as a panelist – COMPLETED!
7. Submitted to two anthologies (ended up being four and got accepted once)

Wow, that is going to be a hard set of resolutions to follow. You know I would be plenty happy just to pull that off again.

2017 Goals

Completely under my power

  1. Continue the blog with three posts a week (unless get feedback to cut back)
  2. Continue the website (… I am going to dump the newsletter, too much extra work)
  3. Publish (either by company or by self) a novel and two flirt
  4. Submit to three anthologies.

Depends on other people for some results

  1. Be a panelists at a convention again.

What do you think? Is this a good set of goals? Should I change anything?