Long Term Writing Goals

Wow! It certainly has been a while. I keep disappearing from my own blog. I wish I had a good excuse, but I have nothing but an apology for not being more consistent in updating here.

My life has changed a bit since I last posted an entry. I quit the awful soul-sucking job that I kept for three years for some reason that is completely beyond me now. I was unemployed for most of the month of October, but got a new job just in time for NaNoWriMo to start. Now I make less money, but I’m much less stressed out by my job.

The new job is kinda-sorta related to writing by way of books. I’m doing data entry at a used book warehouse that has a contract with Amazon. I work the morning shift, which is completely the opposite of what I thought I would like since when left to my own devices I’m very much a night owl, but it’s not bothering me much at all. I get to look at all sorts of interesting books every day, and we can bring home two “trash” books per day. I’ve been doing my best to restrain myself because I know I could easily get out of control and fill the entire apartment with books, but I have brought home a few that caught my eye.

I find writing, and just being active in my hobbies in general much easier now. My mind is in a better place, and while I do still have days that just leave me exhausted it is no longer the norm and I can get things done after work.

This has caused me to think about setting some long term writing goals. I don’t want to pile too much on myself at once, but I think it is time to think about something more extensive than finish NaNoWriMo.

Since it is almost the end of the year I’m going to make my goals all for 2015.

I’ll just try to keep the list from getting too long winded.
-finish two novel drafts
-edit and revise a novel to final draft-form
-go through my incomplete projects lists and see which are worth keeping
-win at least one CampNaNoWriMo session
-learn about self-publishing and get a NaNoWriMo winner free proof copy of my novel

Are long term writing goals something you think about? Do you focus on one year at a time? Several years? Month-by-month? What sort of goals seem to work best for you?

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


Who’s Afraid of Very Cheap Books?

David Gaughran

CheapthrillsA common meme in publishing is that cheap books are destroying the world or literature, and that low prices are undermining the viability of publishing or writers’ ability to make a living.

I’ve long thought this position is nonsense – a narrative which plays on misplaced fears of change and a confusion of price and value, which is also based on flawed assumptions and analog, zero-sum thinking.

And, if anything, the opposite is true.

Why So Cheap?

Self-publishers are fond of 99c pricing for a number of reasons. It’s the lowest price you can set at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo without making your book free, and it has an obvious impulse buy appeal to readers. This price point is particularly popular for the first in a series or a limited-time sale in conjunction with an ad spot, but some have used it more aggressively.

I launched my latest…

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Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Uncategorized


This Is The Kind Of Competition Publishers Want

David Gaughran

Source: Flickr Source: Flickr

Since the huge shift to online purchasing and e-books, a common meme is that there is some kind of “discoverability” problem in publishing.

The funny thing is readers don’t seem to have any problem finding books they love. Any readers I talk to have a time problem – reading lists a mile long and never enough hours in the day to read all the great books they are discovering.

The real discoverability problem in publishing is that readers are discovering (and enjoying) books that don’t come from the large publishers. What these publishers have is a competition problem not a discoverability problem.

Amazon regularly gets slated for purported anti-competitive actions, but it has done more to create the digital marketplace than any other company. It has also done more to open up that marketplace to vendors of all shapes and sizes than any other company. Small publishers and…

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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Uncategorized


Amazon v Hachette: Don’t Believe The Spin

David Gaughran

amazonhachetteThe internet is seething over Amazon’s reported hardball tactics in negotiations with Hachette.

Newspapers and blogs are filled with heated opinion pieces, decrying Amazon’s domination of the book business.

Actual facts are thinner on the ground, however, and if history is any guide, we haven’t heard the full story. Here’s how it started.

In a historical quirk of the trade, publishers and booksellers negotiate co-op deals at the same time as the general agreement to carry titles. (For those who don’t know, co-op is the industry term for preferred in-store placement, such as face-out instead of spine-out, position on end-caps, front tables, window displays, and so on.)

At publishers’ insistence, the same practice has continued in the online and e-book world, namely that negotiations regarding virtual co-op (e.g. high visibility spots on retailer sites) take place at the same time as discussions over general terms and publisher-retailer discounts.

There is a lot…

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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


My job is not good for my writing

I’ve known for years now that I’m not the sort of person who can work a 9 to 5 job without losing my mind.

My job is second shift. That is one point in its favor. I can stay up late and sleep in, and still get to work on time. That leaves me awake and available to write during my prime writing hours.

On the other hand, my job is not very stable. Granted, I get a fairly steady number of hours, but I have no set schedule. One week I might have every other day off, and other times I might work nine or ten days in a row divided over two pay weeks so no overtime for me. On top of never knowing what days I might have off on any given week I also have no way of knowing what hours I might work. Some days I start in the late morning or lunchtime. Some days I start closer to dinner. I’ve been scheduled for shifts as short as four hours and as long as eleven.

It is almost impossible to have a steady routine for writing with a job like this. For me it is far from the ideal, although I’m sure it would work great for someone else.

I need a job with set days off, and set hours. Mostly I need a job that keeps my bills paid and food in the fridge. It’s a bonus if I love the job, but not really a necessity. I want to have a job that is just a job so I can come home and write.

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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized



Thinking About Dreams

As I hid in bed this morning pretending I was still asleep so I wouldn’t feel as though I should get up I started to think about dreams. I can’t remember any of my dreams from last night.

I do have some dreams I do remember. Some of them only stick with me for a few hours to a couple days at most, but others have been with me, living in the back of my mind for years.

In college I had a recurring dream where I was informed at the end of the semester that I was enrolled in a class I never attended. I was forced to take the final exam for the class in a last ditch effort not to fail and ruin my GPA. I never knew any of the answers on the final. To this day I never figured out what class it was supposed to be. I always hated that dream.

At the very beginning of my college career I kept having a dream that I was inside my dorm and there were no doors to the outside. On top of that my room was on the 20th floor. I would walk and walk, but I would never get anywhere. That dream always left me confused when I woke up. Then again, I was pretty consistently confused throughout my first month of college.

In high school I had what seemed like a very, very long dreams about being forced to drive people everywhere. I was only about fourteen and too young to even be thinking about getting my permit, but in the dream I was expected to drive just about everyone I knew all over the place for the stupidest reasons. This dream is at least partly to blame for why I still don’t want to drive.

My earliest memory of a dream was a nightmare. I even know the cause. I was three and my dad had let me watch Unsolved Mysteries with him. That night I had a dream that Big Foot came after my whole family. We hid in my play house, but my dog escaped out the window and attacked Big Foot. I won’t go into all the gory detail because it still creeps me out to this day, but the dream ended with all of us dead. I really, really don’t like Big Foot.

It probably says a lot about me that all of the dreams I most easily remember are negative and full of anxiety. The positive dreams never seem to stick with me.

What sort of dreams do you remember? Do you think they have had a significant impact on the way you think about things? Have you ever incorporated your dreams into your writing?

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Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Uncategorized


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The Great E-book Pricing Question

I’m adding this to my list of things I’m throwing at friends and family that think I can upload a word document to Amazon slap a 99 cent price tag on it and quit my job.

David Gaughran

soulsale There’s more guff written about pricing than almost anything else, resulting in an extremely confusing situation for new self-publishers. I often see them pricing too low or too high, and the decision is rarely made the right way, i.e. ascertaining their goals and pricing accordingly.

Price/value confusion

Before we get to the nuts-and-bolts, it’s time to slay a zombie meme. Much of the noise on this issue springs from conflating two concepts, namely price and value.

Authors often say something like, “My book is worth more than a coffee.” Or publishers might say, “A movie costs $10 and provides two hours of entertainment. Novels provide several times that and should cost more than $9.99.”

Price and value are two different things. From Wikipedia:

Economic value is not the same as market price. If a consumer is willing to buy a good, it implies that the customer places a higher value…

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Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Uncategorized