War Journal 77: Brevity, the Soul of Twit

So I’m on this road to self publishing this book, and there’s a couple of things I needed to do in conjunction.  Book Publishing Side Quest One: increase web presence.  I’m pretty sure studies show that on average 0% of Americans buy books they never knew existed.  The numbers from the UK are even worse.  Yeah, you may have heard of me, but what about your neighbor or that dude that bagged your groceries the other day? Have you even told your family about this sporadic thing you enjoy called my published fiction?!  Point is, I need to delve into more social media outlets.

With much fear and trepidation, this week I joined Twitter.  If anyone out there’s like me, meaning hasn’t joined Twitter and hates Facebook, I’ll tell you firsthand you may like it better.  I do.  Twitter’s not overly concerned with pages and status levels of everyone you ever knew… it’s more of conversation based thing… like you’re at a large party with some friends, maybe their friends, and some work associates that you’re various levels of cool with… and one of them says something you’re interested in.  Join the convo.  When something else piques your interest, head over there and see what they’re talking about.

Honestly, when I first logged in I figured I’d be in the quiet, lonely void for a good hot minute.  I mean, its a microworld of hashtags and @ symbols!  But it didn’t take long for me to find some folks I knew and get talking.  Now I’m fairly comfortable.  At this rate I’ll be throwing up hashtags like middle fingers to the law by the end of the week.

So that’s about all the soft selling I’m gonna do.  Find me out there @WriterBeamon.  Let’s chat for a bit about Book Publishing Side Quest One or whatever’s on your mind.

You’d be surprised how much you can cram in that space

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War Journal 76: The Book Deal

The joy of pages!

When I first started the war journals, I didn’t have a single pro sale to my name.  You guys have watched me work my craft, work that slush, going from none to one to dozens of sales.  The best part of the road to fortune and glory is the trench victories and I recently earned another.

I got a book deal.

Okay, small yet loyal fanbase, before you get to celebrating with your boy, here’s the thing.  I didn’t take it.

They were really nice people, I mean that, and while the royalty breakdown wasn’t overly generous, I thought it fair.  The reason I didn’t take the deal boiled down to they wanted last and final say over editorial changes.  Me?  I’m used to contracts where editor and author agree upon changes.  Sure, those contracts were for short stories but that kind of freedom allowed me to provide you guys with my own special blend of story sauce.  I didn’t want the blend getting diluted and while the folks offering the deal promised not to tweak too much, I didn’t even wanna take the risk of the blend getting diluted.

So I’m back out in the breeze, guys.  Back in these trenches.

I actually don’t mind that at all.  I got my special blend with me.  I got y’all, you folks that come around when I post because something’s stirring, whether it’s a new story published or new misadventure in this biz.  Apparently both these things… the special blend and you fine folks who’ve always appreciated it… are really important to me.

Which is why I’m gonna self-publish the novel.

Self-publishing is definitely more adventure (and work!) than I originally signed up for or wanted.  But I guess I already got what I wanted from the book deal… people from the gatekeeper side of the spectrum approached me and said, “Your novel, we dig it, we wanna make money on it.”  Cool.  I just don’t like gates, unless I’m deployed and on the base side of one.  Then I’m a gate fan.

I suppose it wouldn’t be a war in the trenches if I didn’t try to take the hill every now and then.  Stay tuned as this shakes out, as I attempt to take over the novel game without a publishing house to outfit me.

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War Journal 75: The Shift in Gears, The Seriously Funny

It was a good while back, around the time I started this blog, that I decided it made better sense to build a name in this industry writing short stories before I started writing books.  That way I could hit the publishers and be like “Hey, James Beamon here… you know me, the guy with the fan base a legion strong… the dude who hasn’t quit because the world’s decried he’s too legit.  Attached is my debut novel.  Since your submission guidelines said nothing about simultaneous subs, I’ve also sent it to three other fairly large publishing houses.  I look forward to hearing back from you.  Sincerely Yours (for a price), James”

I mean, it makes sense right?  The thing is writers don’t actually listen to business sense so much as the story that’s beating in their writerly hearts.  And so while I was working to get into the biz one short at a time, the big story… the novel story that’s currently spanning trilogy lengths was beating in the heart.  So I’d take time out of the story game to write the novel, going back and forth and back again.  I finished the first novel without making too much of a splash in short stories.  Same went for the second novel.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve acquired a healthy number of people who dig what I write along the way, love you folks and your awesome sense of taste and style.  I’ve gotten to SFWA recognized pro status, a mountain of an endeavor, at least I think so.  But the novel writing was definitely messing with the volume of stories and hence my takeover of the game via shorts.

Flashback to August of 2015.  I had gotten zero short story sales for the year, I mean zero with the hollow circle, one less than the loneliest number.  We were getting into the “-ember” part of the year, you know, the ass end.  And the last sale I had was back in August of 2014.  So the business sense kicked in, along with a healthy dose of fear that this would be the year of the goose egg.  I basically mothballed third novel and got a LOT more shorts written out.  And many of them sold, Daily Science Fiction, F&SF, Apex, Sci Phi Journal, and more.  At the end of 2015 and going into 2016 I got 11 short stories accepted, published or both depending on the speed of the venue.  I made the Nebula Awards Recommended Reading List… twice.

It’s April 2017 and the smoke’s cleared after my writing/submitting blitz on the marketplace.  More to the point, I feel really good about where my stories landed, the viewership I attracted, and my visibility.  And while I don’t think I’m in any position to send that ultra-brazen letter to the publishers I posted above, I do think that I couldn’t ask for a better year in terms of how I hustled.

Since I’m not about going through 2017 with more of the same, I figured it was time to do the full switch of gears.  It’s novel finishing time.  I still have some stories out there, waging war with the world’s slushpiles, but I’m not looking to write write write more stories this year.  I plan to finish the third novel, put some honey glaze on the whole trilogy, and send it out to you guys for your consumption.  Granted, I may pen one short or two if the distracting pull is strong enough, but I’m fairly focused, like a laser pointer with only one bad battery.

The last part of this post involves my serious pursuit of the nonserious.  April is Unidentified Funny Objects month.  This year we’re on the sixth volume and I’ve been an Associate Editor ever since the first one.  If you’re a writer then we need your funny.  I’d love to read what you’ve done… as long as it’s funny.  So if you wrote something that makes you laugh and/or makes others laugh and everyone laughing is laughing for the right reasons, send it to us.  Guidelines are here.

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Intelligence Report: Becoming Hero

How would you fine folks out there like a story where a comic book hero, whose life is constantly besieged with enemies, lost loves, and insurmountable odds on a near-weekly basis, finally gets tired of it and decides to kill the person who’s always stacking the deck against him, namely his writer?  If you raised an eyebrow or leaned a little closer, welcome to Jen Finelli’s Becoming Hero.

becoming-hero

If there’s any one I can call my protégé in this business, it’s Jen.  She’s been listening to my good but weird (or is it weird but good?) writerly advice for a few years now, soaking in the big points and tailoring the finer points to match her own witty and irreverent voice.  You can see a great example of that in Brain Worms and White Whales, which is free to listen to and read over at Escape Pod.

Jen wants to bring to life this very meta story of a comic book hero getting revenge for all the torturous machinations we writers cook up, and when I say to life I mean full on color life.  She wants to hire graphic artists and a voice actor to provide some high quality audio and kickass visual aesthetics on the ebooks, audiobooks and physical print copies.  That costs a bit of coin and there’s a reason why the words “starving” and “artist” go together like chocolate and peanut butter.  That’s where you guys come in.

I invite you to go over to Jen’s Indiegogo page for Becoming Hero.  It’s very hard to not get excited by the premise and all the cool rewards she’s got in store for backers.  Plus there are contests and games, no matter your backing pledge amount, coupled with a real and altruistic sense of community and plain giving back.  At the time of this post, she’s about $1200 short of reaching that dream goal of fully funded.  So head on over there and check out the project!

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