Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Get Paid Twice

Most of my short stories so far have been published electronically. A few have been both print and ebook, but most are just ebook.

So far my ebook stories are much more likely to net me royalties, but then, that also might be because I stopped submitting to ebook anthologies unless they offered royalties. There are still quite a few anthologies out there that offer one-time payments that I'm not currently pursuing.

One thing that's very nice about epubbing first is that for most of my epublished stories, the only rights I've sold so far are the electronic ones. Of course, this varies from publisher to publisher—some take only the electronic, some take electronic and audio, and some also option the print anthology rights.

The nice thing is, for all those stories where I retain either the exclusive or non-exclusive print anthology rights, I can still sell those rights, even though the story has already been published once electronically.

In essence, I can get paid twice.

There are a number of "Best of" books put out every year which specifically want stories published in the previous year or so. Other anthologies accept new or previously published works. Many of these are in the one-time-payment model, but since they're print and should be getting me in front of new readers (and, most importantly, I've already been paid once!) I don't mind. Many of these are with editors or publishers I would very much like to work with. You never know when someone will have an invitation-only anthology down the line, and you want them to think of you when they do.

Always be very up-front about what rights you have already sold elsewhere. You don't want to mess that up. If you aren't sure, ask your editor.

Friday, March 26, 2010

100 Words About: A Week Off

So other than the blog, I've done almost no writing at all this week. It's been really refreshing. I'd had the revision of 1794 hanging over me for three months, and getting out from under that has been wonderful. No nagging feeling in the back of my head that I really should be working on it, no more wondering how I'm going to fit in the changes they wanted.

It's also been nice because I've been able to let some of my other ideas simmer a bit without the "lid" of 1794, and some good notions have come to the surface. I'm excited about getting started on the next project now. It just goes to show that even writers need vacations once in awhile.

Image: federico stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Review, Love for Zombies, and a New Sale

Lots of exciting things going on! First, the anthology Bedknobs and Beanstalks was voted Book of the Week over at Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews! We got four and a half cherries out of five.

Next up, author Lois Gresh has a zombie love-fest over at her blog for the anthology Hungry For Your Love, which features short blurbs from the authors about how they came up with their stories. And OMG we have endorsements from S.G. Browne and Christopher Golden!

And last but not least, I'm pleased to announce that my short story "Encore" will be appearing in the upcoming anthology Taste Test: Rainy Days and Mondays from Torquere Press.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Beyond Backups

Last week Anne Mini of the awesome blog Author! Author! had a great post on backing up your work. I love a lot of this post. It's more complete and entertaining than my posts on the subject--I even got caught by her comments about your backup sitting next to your computer. But there is one thing I think needs to be added to the great information in Anne's post, and it's regarding her comment that "I literally never leave my house without either my laptop or a full back-up of it on my portable hard drive."

Carrying your backup around with you, whether it be an external hard drive or a laptop or a CD, can be very comforting, but it does come with a certain amount of risk. It's always possible that you could lose your backup or that it could be stolen.

Now, odds are whoever has your backup is not going to be all that interested in your writing. (If you're like me, you also store all your financial backups and your passwords file on your backup thumbdrive, which your average computer-savvy thief will fine much more interesting.) But you never know when the thief (or bored teen who finds your lost backup) might decide to post it on the internet just for grins.

The answer? Encrypt your backups.

I use TrueCrypt on my netbook and thumbdrives, but there are other good encryption tools out there, so do your homework. It's a whole other level of piece of mind.

Friday, March 19, 2010

100 Words About: Draft Done!

Wootness! I've finally finished the revision of 1794. Ugh, what a slog. It's hard for me to add in relationship – who wants to read about that anyway? ;)

Now I have to read through it again, and then send it off to beta readers before resubmitting it. Overall my pre-read feeling is I'm happy with the stuff I've worked in. I think it won't slow things down too much. But then, I like a faster pace than most romances.

The wonderful thing about being "single" again is flirting with other projects. I can have a few flings with stories I've been meaning to work on before settling down with that special something. Come on, m'darlings, I want to be wooed!

Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Taste Test: Welcome to the Jungle Releases!

Taste Test: Welcome to the Jungle releases today from the good folks at Torquere Press! It includes my story "Set in Stone," as well as "The Pale Ape" by Sean Michaels and "Bringing the Back Alive" by the ever-fabulous Kiernan Kelly. Hot steamy men in hot steamy locations! Adventure! Danger! Excitement! Gargoyles!

Ok, that last one is just in my story.

In "Set in Stone," Jon's dreams are taking over his life, each night an exhilarating fight for survival in primordial landscapes filled with strange, dangerous creatures. And that was before he met Tamal, a gargoyle who wants nothing more than to keep Jon safe, because these dreams aren't dreams at all, and could well kill him. But Jon is determined to find a way to stay--with Tamal's help, or without it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Roll With Your Muse

The muse does not strike me often. (Considering my rough wooing of her, you'd think she'd backhand me…) Most of the time, writing involves a lot of determination, consideration, and, well, musing over what I want to write next.

But every once in awhile my muse decides to get frisky.

Such was this last weekend. After months of procrastinating over how I wanted to add more background story and relationship-building to 1794, BAM, it all clicked together.

(Maybe she really does backhand me…)

I got halfway through the scene on Saturday before I finally had to wake my husband up at 2pm so we could get around for the social event later that evening. For the rest of the day, the scene spun in the back of my mind, making my fingers itch.

Sunday we had a lunch date, and then headed over to our weekly boardgame group. I knew better. I brought my netbook. As I sat down at the table with my buds, the muse grabbed me by the ear.

(I love it when she gets all toppy.)

"Sorry, I can't concentrate," I muttered, and let her drag me off to another room.

I finished up the scene just as it was time to go home.

Was it rude to ignore everyone? Probably. But when your muse gives you come-hither eyes, really, just roll with it. You'll get it out of your system, you'll get some great work done, and you'll save your friends from having to deal with your cranky distracted self.

Image: Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, March 12, 2010

Taste Test: Welcome to the Jungle

My short story "Set in Stone" will be appearing in Torquere Press's March Taste Test anthology, Welcome to the Jungle. This is my second Taste Test appearance, and I'm very excited about it! Lorna and the folks at Torquere are always great to work with.

I'm also very excited because this story explores a new setting in the Mercyverse (and no, I'm not really calling it that, but hey, it beats "my story universe"), a setting which I fully expect to return to in later stories. I spend way too much time world-building...but it's so much fun!

I don't have a set release date yet, updates when available!

100 Words About: The Wolfman

Just got back from seeing The Wolfman. The husband and I both loved it, but I can see why it doesn't seem to be doing so well. It's not what people expect from their paranormal anymore. It's classic Victorian horror, complete with Jekyll-and-Hyde-esque conflict between self-restraint and primal nature.

Not that horror can't have aspects of romance or comedy or what-have-you, but I miss the days when monsters were monsters. (Which is one of the reasons my vampires are all killers. Period.) But other than this remake of the classic movie, I can't think of another recent werewolf story that went the traditional "cursed, only turning at the full moon, losing control of yourself" route.

Do you all know of any? Leave a comment with your favorite werewolf stories!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Stay Flexible

The publishing industry is an ever-changing world, especially these days. While it's important to keep up with what's happening in the industry, it's even more important to remember to be flexible.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Nothing is real until the contract is countersigned. And even then things can change. Always read your contracts carefully.
  • It's up to you to decide how long to wait once you're promised a contract. My longest wait so far is just over 8 months from when the story was accepted to when I finally got the contract.
  • Your editor may want to make changes you don't agree with. Work with her.
  • Publishing dates get pushed back. It happens. It's not the end of the world.
  • Always treat submission dates and deadlines as if they were set in stone. Your editors will appreciate it and may be more flexible with you later on if the need arises. Then again, they may not, so you'll be one step ahead if you're already taking those dates seriously.
  • Sometimes you bust your butt to make a submission deadline, only to have the publisher extend the deadline because they didn't get enough good stories or they themselves were running behind. Consider it good practice in working with deadlines and move on. Yes, you will likely have to wait longer to find out if you've been accepted. Have patience. Better yet, don't think about it and just work on your next project.
  • Some people want indent-double-space, some want block format with spaces between paragraphs. Some want .doc, some want .rtf, some want it only in the body of the email and you will be drawn and quartered if you send an attachment. Format it the way they want it, even if it means reformatting it several times because you have to submit it to different people. Never give them a reason to say "no."

And while you're working hard to stay flexible, don't forget to celebrate the little victories – like a full year of blog posts. Wow! I totally missed my own blog anniversary. Thanks for reading!

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, March 5, 2010

100 Words About: Dreams

I am so tired of dreaming about my old high school. (Except it's not exactly my old high school, it's usually some mishmash of the high school, the middle school, and the university. Elementary school, for some reason, rarely shows up anymore.) Most of the time it's the ordinary "I'm late for class, forgot my schedule, can't find the room, didn't do my homework, not prepared for the exam" kind of school dream. Not last night, no. Last night I was lost in a high school that had grown and expanded, cancer-like, into a warren of hallways going off in odd directions, and I just needed to get to the library for something and then I could get the hell out of there. But there was this guy who kept following me and threatening me and trying to stick me with a syringe. I ended up in an art room where the walls were covered in skeins of yarn. None of my schools ever taught knitting.

Sometimes I really hate dreaming. I'd be happy if I never had to set foot in that stupid place again, but my brain keeps insisting on it.

What are your 100 words about dreams?

Image: federico stevanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Website: Decide What It's For

Before you decide how you want to build your website, you need to decide what you want your website to do.

There is a lot of advice out there on what every good author website "needs." You'll notice a lot of it doesn't agree. I think a big reason for that is the fact that different people want their websites to do different things.

Do you want to use your website as a marketing tool? As a way to connect with your readers? As a go-to place for all things you? Not that a website can't do all of those things, but if you primarily want your website to be a blog and forum where you can interact with your fans, you will probably want to set it up differently and use a different web-building application than if you just want a place to point people to when they want to find your work.

Even if you're planning on starting small, choose a platform that will accommodate your future plans.

In my case, I wanted a fairly simple website. I wanted to have a place where people could go to find links to my work, as well as to reviews and interviews and other stuff about me. It's also a place I can collect the little freebies I've done so far, as well as talk about my stories individually, sharing alternate drafts or anecdotes about what inspired a particular piece. The blog is for interaction; the website is for information.

Therefore I decided to not worry about forums or flash or anything really fancy, but I did want something I could maintain and update myself whenever I felt like it and organize basically any way I wanted, as opposed to being stuck with some "author template."

Is my website all it could be? No. Does it do what I wanted it to do? Yes. (Thank the gods for static pages.) I'll get around to figuring out pictures one of these days, but in the meantime, if you want a complete and exhaustive list of everything I've ever published, or links to reviews of my work, www.mercyloomis.com is the best place to look.

(I also have to admit that I picked my website-building tool, Joomla!, by calling my brother-in-law and asking what he uses. Why? Because I suck at programming and I wanted someone I could call when I needed help. I also bought a book on it. I recommend this strategy highly.)