Creative writing, progress report

The current novel is at 22,000 words. I think it’s going to end up at 50,000 words, which is wicked short for a print novel, but feels like a good length for an e-novel. It’s going to be the first of a continuing series.

I have a backlog of existing work to revise and post: Three shorts stories and two novel drafts. I really need to be working on those. But I hate to let a day go by without doing a little original creative writing, and that seems to be all that I have the energy or time to do some days. I need to be more patient about this, just chip away at things a little a day. That’s how creative writing works. It’s much slower than blogging or journalism, which is what I’ve done professionally my whole career.

“The Biggest Man in Lilliput” is selling all right all things considered. Two reviews on Amazon, one five-star and one four-star. Fifteen sales to date on Amazon. One sale on Barnes & Noble. It’s a decent start. It’s $5.65 in royalties. Journey of a thousand miles, single step, and all that.

Many ebooks don’t sell any copies at all, so I’m already ahead of the game there. My sales are good for a first ebook from someone unknown at creative writing who doesn’t have a popular blog or other social media platform to promote it. I mean, my number of Twitter followers, Google+ and Facebook friends is good, but it’s not spectacular. My personal blog doesn’t get many readers. And it just wouldn’t be right for me to use The CMO Site to promote my creative writing — not right, and disastrous professionally. The CMO Site and my creative writing are two different things; one is my career and the other is my hobby and a side-business.

I need to get the ebook posted to Smashwords so it’ll be available on iBooks, Sony, and other stores, as well as available for download. Then I can start the real marketing; writing some background posts for my blog, Google+, and Facebook, and also sending review copies to other people’s blogs.

Flagrant self-promotion:

Buy “The Biggest Man in Lilliput” here for $0.99:

“The Biggest Man in Lilliput” on Kindle

“The Biggest Man in Lilliput” on Nook

“The Biggest Man in Lilliput” is now on the Nook Store

Just a quick note to let you know that my ebook short story, “The Biggest Man in Lilliput,” is now available on the Nook Store, priced at $0.99. Buy it here.

And its also available on the Kindle Store. Buy it here.

More formats to come. I’ll probably go with SmashWords for everything else. I have downloaded what feels like a prodigious amount of documentation for getting started with that.

“The Biggest Man in Lilliput,” my first ebook, is on sale now! Is this exciting or what?!

The Biggest Man in Lilliput” is on sale now at Amazon.com, priced at $0.99.

This is a huge deal for me. I’ve dreamed about being a published science fiction writer since I was a kid. And now I am. Well, sort of. This is not the way I imagined it when I was a teen-ager; I thought I’d first get a couple of short stories published in science fiction magazines, then get books published through traditional publishing. This is a different path.

And, truly, I won’t really feel like I’ve achieved the dream until I’ve sold at least 100 copies. That’s my initial goal — 100 copies.

So what are you waiting for? Buy it now! MY CHILDHOOD DREAMS HANG IN THE BALANCE!!!!! NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING THOUGH!!!!!

“The Biggest Man in Lilliput” is a battle of wits to save the 21st Century nation of tiny people from a mob of human religious fanatics. Mayor Yoby of the Lilliputian City of New Mildendo has to save the day by outthinking his enemies. It’s got thrills, humor, and a little satire.

It’s a short story, 5,600 words, and should take about 35 minutes to read.

Julie did the cover, and also was my most valued first reader and copy editor. Didn’t she do a terrific job? That’s right, this ebook is a family project. SO IF YOU DON’T BUY IT THAT MEANS YOU’RE AGAINST FAMILY VALUES.

The photo on the cover is gorgeous, you can take a closer look here. It’s by Scanrail. It’s a photo of Stockholm, Sweden, standing in for the fictional city of New Mildendo, Lilliput, in my story.

I’ve submitted the piece to Barnes & Noble for availability on the Nook; I expect approval by Thursday. I’ll let you know here when its available.

Update: And now that’s done. Buy “The Biggest Man” in Lilliput on Nook for $0.99.

Here’s an excerpt to get you started.


It rained the morning the mob of Gullivers descended on Lilliput, the kind of fast, driving rain that was typical for summer storms in that country. Rain was a deadly threat to Lilliputians caught outdoors. A few unlucky Lilliputians were pummeled to death by raindrops, or drowned, every year.

But Lilliputians had centuries of experience protecting themselves from rainstorms. They dealt with the threat. They either stayed home to wait out the rain, or commuted through a network of tunnels under the city.

The morning the Gulliver mob descended on the City, Mayor Yoby stayed home in the Executive Mansion to wait out the rain, coordinating weather control by phone. When the weather cleared, he headed in to City Hall.

He rode the public omnibus to work, a long metal tube strapped to the back of a domesticated lizard. He liked to ride the bus. The political bloggers of Lilliput said Yoby’s favoring public transportation was an affectation, an ongoing PR stunt. They were right. But that was only part of it. Yoby just plain liked meeting the people of the city, letting anybody who had something to say come right up to him and say it; riding public transit gave him an opportunity to do that.

That morning, Yoby got an earful from one of his constituents, a dowager complaining about an infestation of ants in her candy store. The knee-high insects were harmless, but they terrified the children, and left their damn smelly pheromone trails all over the premises. Yoby was in the midst of reassuring the woman that the Sanitation Department would get on the problem when the bus driver paged him in a barely intelligible voice on the vehicle’s scratchy public address system.

Yoby excused himself. The bus was packed with Lilliputians, but they shouldered out of his way when they saw him coming. They recognized the mayor.

Yoby was hard to miss, a man with skin the color and texture of a well-worn, favorite boot, a bald, egg-shaped head, and a barrel-shaped body, wearing a sharp business suit. At more than six and a half inches tall, he was a veritable giant among Lilliputians, towering more than a half-inch over most of his fellow citizens.

When Yoby got to the front of the bus, he found two uniformed cops waiting for him, accompanied by the mayor’s chief of staff, Piopo, a handsome, middle-aged Lilliputian woman.

“You’re needed in City Hall,” Piopo said. “Code Rampaging Giraffe. We have a mount waiting for you here to get through the crowds. We must get moving immediately.”

Yoby indulged his only two vices. He lit a cigar and swore.

***

Gullivers were both lifeline and threat to the Lilliputians. Since the destruction of the home islands by a volcano shortly after the historic visit from Lemuel Gulliver, Lilliputians had settled in a diaspora all over the globe. Eventually, they formed a new nation, on the east end of Long Island, just a few dozen miles from the Gulliver city of New York.

Lilliputians traded with Gullivers for food, medical supplies, rare materials, and perhaps most important, knowledge.

Artwork and scientific discovery had the same value no matter what the size of the producer. Lilliputian livestock and vegetables were prized for their delicate flavors. Lilliputians worked in the movie and TV industry, especially as actors — they could do a normal movie on a tabletop, and put on an entire, sprawling epic in a single room. The entirety of James Cameron’s classic Titanic was filmed with Lillputian actors in the bedroom of a suburban house. And, with their tiny hands, Lilliputians excelled at delicate work.

Lilliputians and Gullivers were partners in commerce and culture. And yet, the so-called threat posed by Lilliputians was a constant thread running through the more bigoted wings of Gulliver politics. The Gullivers claimed Lilliputians hated America, were stealing human jobs, corrupting morals, distributing pornography, collaborating with terrorists, selling drugs, pirating music on the Internet, and every other imaginable sin.

Get the ebook. Read the rest.

Creative writing: What I’m working on

I started work on another novel this weekend. This means I’m currently working on:

  • Two novels and two short stories in various stages of revision.
  • One novel, newly under way.
  • One more story waiting to be revised.
  • Another story which I’m seriously considering trunking, while maybe cannibalizing the characters and situations for some future work.

Yes, I know this sounds like I have become the guy who’s always starting things and never finishing. But I was eager to get started n the new novel. And I have a plan: I want to always be working on something new, while also revising, publishing, or promoting something else. So really I’m only working on two things currently — the new novel and one story I’m actively revising — while the other work is waiting.

I’m really enthusiastic about self-publishing and e-publishing right now. I’ve talked to some professional novelists and book editors and they support it as well. That’s important, because as little as five years ago, these same people viewed self-publishing as a massive con job (with certain narrow exceptions).

What’s changed? E-book readers, of course, like the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook and their iPad apps. Also, Amazon CreateSpace for self-publishing print books, along with the collapse of Borders making traditional publishing less attractive by removing a huge percentage of the nation’s retail shelf space at the stroke of a lawyer’s pen. I’ve been reading blogs by Mike Stackpole, Dean Wesley Smith, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, as well as James Macdonald, all of whom have had successful careers at traditional publishing, all of whom are now exploring self-publishing. And I’m thinking: I can do this. Publishing on the Internet has been my sole source of income for eight years now. I know how this works.

I got to talk with Mike Stackpole a bit at World Fantasy Con a bit more than a week ago (actually, more like I was allowed to be a fly on the wall while he talked with another pro), and came away with the insight that the sweet spot for e-books is likely to be series of 50,000-word short novels with recurring characters and situations. And that’s the new novel. It’ll stand on its own as a short adventure novel, and also serve as the beginning of an open-ended series.