Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Won't be participating in Indiecon

I was supposed to do a presentation tomorrow at Indie Recon 2015 regarding Hybrid Authorship. Turns out one of Robin's tests is occurring at the exact same time as that live session, so I've cancelled.  At some point after everything is said and done, I'll try doing a "recorded" version of the presentation and make it available.  Sorry for the short-notice cancellation.

In any case there is a huge line-up of excellent presenters including: Portter Anderson, Belle Andre, Barbara Freethy, Joanna Penn, CJ Lyons, Mark Corker, David Farland, Jane Friedman, Victoria Strauss, Ben Galley, and many, many more.  The on-line conference starts today, and the full list of events can be found here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Missing Person

Hectic doesn’t quite describe things lately. We have a saying around our house that March is bad luck, as it has been the time of the worst events (I don’t have to tell you, do I, Julius?). This year March is spilling into April. 

Contract negotiations, a car accident (not me), and a tight deadline to finish the First Empire series and a short story for an anthology, have kept me too busy to even properly finish last month's AMA in a timely manner. Now, most recently, my wife spent a night in the hospital suffering severe chest pains with tests revealing ‘cause for concern’.

As a result if emails are not replied to, threads are left hanging, or I am otherwise missing from public discourse, it's because a wrench was jammed in a vital group of gears. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

How many reviews?

I'm really busy editing the last book of the First Empire, so no time today for a "Authors Helping Authors" or "Author's Tools" post. (The take quite a bit of time to research, write, and review.  I really want to get this book edited in time for Robin's birthday so I didn't do my usual "Wednesday Night out" and while I had ballgame tickets for yesterday, I left early so I could get some writing in.

But, I did run across a poll on Goodreads that I thought was interesting so I thought I would pose it here and hopefully get some more people to weigh in.  The question?

How many reviews do you usually look at before buying a book?
  • None
  • 1 - 3
  • 4 - 6
  • More than 6

More than 63,500 people have already answered the poll.  You can answer for yourself here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Short Story for Unbound Delivered

Yesterday I sent Shawn Speakman my final version of "The Game" a short story to be included in his Unbound anthology. I really like the way it turned out. I'm a bit embarrassed because it was a day late, (Shawn wanted the stories by then end of March). But as some here already know I've been working on finishing up the last book of the First Empire, and it's just really hard to shift gears that close to the end of a five book epic.

The good news is I wrote this a few Christmas's ago and set it aside for Shawn as I thought it would be an excellent fit for either Unbound or his upcoming Unfettered II anthology. Robin, as always did my editing - and man she really out did herself with this one.

As is always the case, we have heated debates over editing. There was one "concept" in particular that she found was just too hard to understand (or maybe I wasn't doing a good enough job explaining it).  But the real genius came from reworking the end.  She wasn't happy with my rather rambling 1,124 word ending and we decided the book could stand well without  it.  I had to agree with her and the new ending was much better.  But still not perfect.  A little more brainstorming and the light went on. Now in just 191 I got the ending that I thought was the perfect punctuation to this short. I can't wait until it's released and other can start enjoying it as well.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The First Empire Series is Done!

I was shooting for April or May and got it in under the wire in March.  Well, that's not entirely true, I still have to take another pass before my alpha reader (Robin) can put eyes on it, but her birthday is April 8th and I'm shooting for that.  But I've "wrapped" the series and now know how it all ends. I'm really happy with how it's come out, and I hope others will be as well.

Writing an entire series before publishing any books is a lot of work, but I really think it paid off.  I have a few changes to make to the first book one that came up in the last few pages!  Now we just have to get the first book released - but it's Del Rey that has the remaining lifting for that book. Still, can't help but be excited about being done.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tools for Authors: Chicago Manual of Style - online

I have a confession to make.  I'm a complete idiot. Well, maybe that's not news to readers of this site, but I'll explain what I'm referring to in today's post. When I first hired a freelance editor to help me with my self-published books, the first question potential candidates asked me was, "What style guide do you want me to use?"

My response, "Style guide? I'll do the book formatting. Why does an editor care about the style guide?" 

You see, I came from marketing, and in that world, a style guide lays out rules for using logos or spacing and size of fonts. Design style guides cover things like how much white space should appear  between the brand mark and other elements on the page, permitted colors, and how to scale the logo elements.  I didn't understand what a style guide was in relation to editing.

If you are also clueless, let me shed a little light. A style guide is a set of rules governing things such as spelling, italics, punctuation, hyphenation and many other things. Generally, they are the "rule book" writers conform to ensure consistency. Likewise, copy editors enforce the code. They lay out rules that may be "flexible" from organization to organization. Style guides exist so readers will have a consistent experience even if many people produce the work. Some of the most well-known style guides include:

  • AP Style Guide - for journalism
  • Chicago Manual of Style - for general publishing and readership
  • APA Style Guide and ASA Style Guide - for social sciences
  • AMA Style Guide for medicine
Ever hear people debating the use of the Oxford comma? You know, that's the comma which is sometimes added or omitted before the conjunction in a list of items. For years, the AP Style Guide said omit them while the Chicago Manual of Style said to include them.

For novels, most editors will use the Chicago Manual of Style, sometimes abbreviated as CMoS.

It's a massive volume. The 15th edition comes in at 984 pages, and the 16th edition topped the thousand-page mark by coming in at 1,024 pages.  It's also not all that cheap. List price for the print edition is $65.00 (although Amazon has it discounted to $40 and change).  

But it's not the price that bothers me about CMoS. The issue is it can take a long time for me to find what I'm after, especially if I don't know exactly what I'm looking for.  For instance, when writing my first published novel, I was debating which was correct:  "your majesty" or "Your Majesty." It could take me a lot of time to find the answer in the printed version. It's in section 8.32, which explains how to capitalize honorifics, by the way.  And hence today's post.  There is an online version!

If you go to this link, you'll find both the 15th edition and the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style in all its searchable glory.  And yes, they offer a free trial month so you can see for yourself if it is something worth spending money on.  If you do want to have it long term, then the cost is just $35 a year ($30 per year if you sign up for two years).  Yes, that's just slightly cheaper than the book, but the time you'll save is well worth it.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Today I'm doing an AMA (Ask me Anything) on reddit's Fantasy Forum

I love AMA's, and I'm doing another one today!  If you aren't familiar with the concept, it stands for "Ask Me Anything" and while they occur all over reddit, the mods at /r/Fantasy do an amazing job organizing them.

This isn't the first time I've done one, not even the second, but a lot has changed since the last time. There's a lot to talk about:

  • The success of the Riyria Revelations books.
  • Why I did the prequel series, The Riyria Chronicles?
  • Why I'm writing science fiction, and what's different about Hollow World?
  • Why I signed my new series with Random House?
  • What is the new series about, and when will it come out?
  • How has publishing changed, and is continuing to change, and what does that mean for writers?

I do hope people will stop by and ask a question or just say hello.  Anyone who does post will be entered to win one of the limited edition early, early advanced copies of Rhune. Only a handful of people will have this opportunity (basically the beta readers and a few winners). Everyone else will have to wait until the summer of 2016. So that is reason enough to stop by.  Here's the link.