Last week left a lot to be desired.
It began with a bang: busy-busy-busy that crashed to a dead halt. I kept busy, sending proposals for freelance gigs, toying with a manuscript that just isn't capturing my interest, marketing the Winter Book Fair, and disappointment.
I don't normally take this long to latch onto another book idea. Maybe it's a sign that I've squeezed this turnip dry and need to rest the old brain for a a while. Book fair registrations aren't coming in as quickly as I'd hoped; however, we have plenty of time. That's what I keep telling myself. Registration doesn't end until the spots are filled or December 31: whichever comes first. And none of this week's proposals has received a response. In fact, I'm coming across those dreaded, poorly written, "write me a book for poverty wages" requests more and more frequently. See below.
The fee for this works out to 0.18 cents per word, less than that if you take into account the 20% commission the platform takes off vendor earnings which works out to $44 for 30,000 words or 0.14 cents per word. Another way to look at it is this: the buyer wants a writer to produce a novella that will take 95 - 100 hours to draft, edit, and revise and deliver it within 14 days for the princely sum of $44 (after the platform takes its cut).
If a writer didn't feel utterly unappreciated and undervalued before, then requests like this will certain do the trick.
Finally, the new trainer who has the new horse (aka "the monster") isn't responding to my inquiries.
On September 1, I moved my horse to a stable for training. The trainer missed the start date. She had to fill in for her barn manager who was hospitalized. OK. I understand that. No worries. I can be patient. A week later I called her. The barn manager was still in the hospital. OK. I understand that. I can be patient. Two weeks passed. I called and left messages. No response. Three weeks passed. I called and left messages. No response. My patience ended. At the end of the fourth week, I moved my horse to another training stable on September 28.
The new trainer requested two weeks of owner absence in order to have time for her to get to know the horse and the horse to get to know her. OK. I understand that. At a week in, I went into drop off a tube of dewormer and a copy of the horse's registration papers. The trainer wasn't there. I visited with the horse for a while and left. Another week has passed. I called to discuss how the horse is coming along. The trainer's voicemail wasn't taking messages, so I sent an email message. No response. I called again, stating that I wanted to speak with her and that I intended to visit my horse.
Do you see a pattern here?
If I treated my clients like that, I'd have no clients.
Two highlights this week, because we all have to look for those silver linings, however thin they may be: My husband found someone genuinely interested in buying the AVL loom, a monstrous thing. I made contact with someone who's interested in the pony. Fingers are crossed.
Last week's writing prompt focused on writers' opinions on epilogues. This week's prompt concerns prologues. Surprise!
The purpose of a prologue is to deliver the necessary background information for the reader to understand the story. Few authors do them well. Books in David Eddings' related fantasy series, the Belgariad and the Malloreon, begin with prologues that read like religious texts--as he intended. I consider those done well, as they add not only background information for the reader's understanding, but add to the tone of a story that involves the intimate association of gods.
Most prologues simply dump a boring deluge of information upon the reader. Some authors use the prologue as the hook, a device to engage the reader's interest. I think an author who does that ought to make the prologue into the first chapter.
I have used prologues. I find them handy in rough drafts. They provide me with a handy reference when I get deeper into the story and need to refresh my memory about some detail that the first round of self-editing reveals I missed or got wrong. However, by the time I submit the manuscript to the editor, the prologue is gone. Chapter 1 begins the story. If my readers cannot understand the story without explanatory description at the outset, then I have failed my job as a storyteller.
However, as a general rule, my opinion regarding prologues echoes that for epilogues: don't do it.
#HenHousePublishing #HollyBargoBooks #SpringfieldOHBookFair
Tiger in the Snow: Sequel to The Barbary Lion
The bear drew a deep breath. He could feel the woman, smell her. And he knew what followed him. Alyosha Vikronovich hadn’t reached his third century by being stupid or careless. If the tiger wanted to make trouble, he’d have a hard fight against an Asian brown bear. But he needed to reach the female first if he wanted to claim her.
As Dmitry followed the bear, his whiskers quivered, detecting a change in the atmosphere. Although no tiger’s nose was as sensitive as any bear’s, he had other senses to make up for the lack. The great cat’s crystal blue gaze sharpened and focused on his new quarry. He could feel her, he could hear her, he could taste her in the air. This was why he had felt compelled to hike the Appalachian Trail. Leonidus had told him that he had felt the step of his mate’s foot when she landed on Italian soil. Dmitry took that declaration with the proverbial grain of salt; the Barbary lion was known to exaggerate. But it was true nonetheless. He, Dmitry Alkaev, one of the oldest shifters living, could sense the presence of his mate.
With uncanny perception, he knew that the bear could, too. He also knew that the bear would claim her if he did not. Fate did not waste those few females who could be mated to shifter males.
Tessa heard huffing behind her and halted in her tracks. She slowly turned around. As cold, hungry, and tired as she was, slowly was the only speed of which she was capable. A squeak of fear escaped her mouth, which would have hung open were she able to stop chattering and shivering.
Tired and wired yesterday evening, I headed back to the computer to finish revising my latest manuscript: Bear of the Midnight Sun, which I have only recently discovered is the same title of another paranormal romance by another author. Good thing titles aren't subject to copyright law.
I must have done a somewhat better job drafting this manuscript, but most of the editor's corrections and changes concerned botched punctuation and typos. She had some good suggestions for clarity, too, which I acted upon. Most of those concerned the heroine's cat, Gonzo, who's key to helping the heroine recapture her humanity. (Yes, he's named after the Muppet.) As usual, revision expanded the word count a little bit.
(If you want to know why and how the heroine loses her humanity, then you'll just have to read the book.)
It's always a pleasure to work with an editor who likes my work. Her words regarding the newest book made me giddy: "This latest book didn’t require much in the form of commentary; the flow and story arc played out nicely.... Cheers! I raise my glass to yet another magnificent and satisfying manuscript!"
One of her comments within the manuscript complimented me on the heroes I write. Again, another warm and fuzzy moment. For those who want to know, no, my heroes are not based on anyone in real life. In fact, one of the heroine's observations early in the book is that those dreamy, alpha males who populate romance novels are a pain in the neck in real life.
Back to the topic.
I finished revising and sent the manuscript back to the editor for a final proofreading before I format and upload. Because those last tweaks from the proofreading will take time, I've cut down my time for formatting to the last minute. This is a task that takes a bit of skill--and I know just enough to be dangerous. At least I've got the cover blurb and cover design finished.
So, I've got a week of nail-biting before the editor returns my manuscript one more time. In the meantime, I ought to be thinking about the next book. After all, I have over two dozen unfinished manuscripts that I could work on, aborted stories that might go somewhere if another idea doesn't sidetrack me first.
I could tackle that new story idea, which is--cheesy as it sounds--an alien romance. There's a sequel to Pure Iron that tells love-'em-and-leave-'em Jack's story. The Lothario of Glencarol, Robbie, has a story to tell in the sequel to The Dragon Wore a Kilt. I'm several thousand words into a contemporary romance between an event manager and video game magnate. There's a May-and-December romance about a young veterinarian and a middle-aged rancher with a interesting horse named Bonnie.
I don't seem to be doing too many one-off stories anymore. I'm not sure whether that's good, bad, or indifferent. In the meantime, I've got a new book to complete. Look for Bear of the Midnight Sun on October 31. And feel free to pre-order the e-book. I won't mind. Really.
For those who remember, yes, I do freelance as an editor. I'm a pretty darned good one, too, which means I know that my own work requires the fresh, objective eyes of someone else--an editor. Let that be a lesson to any of you who also write: invest in competent editing service. It will improve the quality of your writing.
If you won't invest in your own writing, then why would you expect the public to pay for it?
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
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