Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking for Tools...found the inspiration

Since I'm new to this whole writing deal, I'm behind the curve when it comes to tools. I've used a variety of computerized tools to track changes and manage project notes for software development, but none of those tools are really what I need to manage all my writing "stuff". So I'm on the search, and wondering if perhaps I should develop one of my own.

Here's my dilemma: today's weather's been wild, keeping me home for the day, with a painful head and running brain. I had lots of inspiration today as a result, and this brought about an entirely new story line for one of my characters which I jotted down on one of my mini computers for future reference. The problem with this is that I have lots of these little "virtual" post it notes on a variety of devices, including my BlackBerry (which I can't live without now). I also have some hand written notes in a variety of little notebooks, none of which I hope to be able to decipher 100%. I used to practice writing like a doctor - on purpose - and now my handwriting is almost illegible. At least I succeeded at something.

I found an nice online tool (free of course!) which I use to keep track of the who/when/why I send a letter to an agent or publisher. And while that's nice and readily available from "anywhere", when inspiration strikes I can't ensure that I'll have either 1) an internet connection and 2) a device capable of making such a connection readily available.

The old Microsoft briefcase came to mind, but that's not supported on all versions of Windows, and the open source iFolder project is a possibility with some custom programming, but nothing "out of the box" quite suits my needs. So I have to wonder "What do other writers do?".

I'd go to my old standby method of harassing MaryJanice Davidson and her assistant Tracy, but they're busy with a book tour and new announcements, so I hate to pester them right now. I might go the route of bugging Monica Ferris again (she's always a doll and answers me), but I'd really love to know from the folks in the trenches who also have a day job as to how they keep track of their various notes and story ideas.

Anyone have any suggestions? And of course all of this is hitting as NaNoWriMo rapidly approaches. Monday! NaNoWriMo starts next Monday already! And I've yet to focus on which character's going to win for this round.

Monday, October 18, 2010

An Odd Duck

Okay, so I'll heartily admit I'm an "Odd Duck" in more ways than one. Even the vast differences of my 3 main characters makes that obvious. But I'm feeling it more than ever now at the job I currently have (the thing that actually pays the bills) and am still - very impatiently - waiting to hear the news of who stays and who goes in our latest round of layoffs. I'm a pro at layoffs and fully expect to be one of the folks sent off to join the unemployment lines, but the fact that I'm the only one who appears to be concerned about it certainly singles me out even more.

And then there's the upcoming NaNoWriMo decisions that need to be made. Do I tackle Jess' book editing for this, or do I work on Collie, or even better do I work on Merie's story - which is most certainly the most controversial of the three series, even though it's the most fun to write. I'm beginning to feel at bit like MJD's latest book's primary character as I'm rather scattered to the winds at the moment.

PubIt! Barnes & Noble's electronic publishing is looking very attractive. I'm having a bit of trouble focusing on getting through all the legalese though and I spent absolutely no time on it this past weekend, so I'm hoping to get through it sometime this week so I can give you all a synopsis of what it's all about, who keeps the publishing rights vs. who keeps the copyrights and any other pertinent stuff. I am a bit boggled about the cover art though as I can't draw worth a damn even though I can picture it in my head. I'll have to shelf that for the time being though as I deal with the dueling personalities that are demanding I put "their" book first and use that for NaNoWriMo.

I wonder, has anyone else ever tackled more than one book in a single NaNoWriMo? This multiple characters thing is just so chaotic! It must be Alzheimer's or dementia kicking in early...it just has to be!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Researching self publishing via B&N's PubIt!

I've been playing around with the idea of selling my book electronically for some time now. And I just found out about the Barnes & Noble's PubIt! service. Basically, you write and edit your book, get some cover art made up (wonder if I can convince the aunt to do something for free?) and upload the entire shebang to the PubIt! service at Barnes & Noble.

They have their own pricing scheme for which the majority of books will fall in the "we get 65%, you get 35%" category. The other category is they get 40% of the take. Not sure how they worked all that out or if that's kind of "standard", but it is an option to not having an agent. They'll even accept short stores, which may be where I start at...if I do this at all.

There are restrictions (of course) on what is acceptable material, and sad to say MaryJanice Davidson's Betsy series wouldn't make the cut as they would consider it "pornographic" in nature (due to the number of times Betsy gets graphically laid). I think Jess will fit into their requirements okay, but I still have to wade through all of the legalese and FAQs on the site before submitting anything.

And I'm not sure how the copyrights will work either and that's the stuff I'm the most concerned about. I want to make sure I'm not signing over control to B&N. Jess has her own strong opinions about who can/can't modify her language; she does have quite the repertoire of swear words, many which I don't use and end up with a headache as a result.

I'll be better about updating as I find out more about this potential option to get my book(s) published. I'm very intrigued by this new service and B&N says it will put the manuscripts into a common eReader format, but I'm not 100% convinced of that just yet.

In case you haven't heard about this service yet, here's the link to the B&N PubIt! service: Note: the link feature on blogger seems to be borked up on my blog atm


I'm also looking into what it would take to publish electronically via Amazon, and all the legalese that goes along with their service as well.

And I've been debating about chasing after MaryJanice's agent...if he can keep up with her, I wonder if he could handle another one that goes off on tangents at random times. Hmmm...... oh well, back to the day job.