Sunday, June 14, 2009

Selecting a Plot

Selecting a plot is easier than you think. Here are some tips to help you through that process:

What is your Throughline? Don't know what a Throughline is? Simply stated, it is the main direction of the story.

Ask yourself these questions:
1. What genre will you use? You can have mixed genres.
2. Does your main character succeed or fail or just give up?
3. Is your plot Conflict Driven?
4. If so, what type of conflict? (personal/internal, social, etc)
5. Will the story line climax and resolve or will it roller-coaster up and down several times?
6. What situations will you place your characters in? There are many.
7. Now that you know in concept what you will write about, how much research must you do?

Each of these items are explained in greater detail in Victoria Lynn Schmidts's book "Story Structure Architect." I highly recommend it for those just venturing out.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

So You Want To Write?

So, you’ve wanted to write your memoirs or the greatest novel of the 21st century but you don’t know where to start. Here are some quick tips to help you get started:
  1. How does this story begin?
  2. Where does this take place?
  3. How do you want the story to end?
  4. Who are the main characters of this story?

Once you’ve answered those questions, start building the characters:

  1. How old are they?
  2. What do they look like?
  3. What is their job?
  4. How much do they make?
  5. Who are they involved with?
  6. How do they interact with those people?
  7. What quirks do they have?
  8. What are their likes and dislikes?
  9. Who is the key antagonizer?
  10. Research your characters’ occupations 

What does your setting look like?

  1. If the location is remote to you, start researching the area
  2. Look online for pictures or in magazines
  3. Jot down descriptive words about the location
  4. If there is a home or a specific building, what does the layout look like?
  5. Build your own fictional location and jot down descriptive words

Check back often for more tips and ides…..

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Copyrights and You Part II

Some Quick Facts on Copyrights:

· Copyrighting is the process of protecting works of authorship
· A Copywriter is a person who edits works of authorship
· Works created after 1978 are protected for life plus 70 years
· When a copyright expires, it can become “Public Domain” meaning property of the general public.
· “Fair-Use” entails the use of your works for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Please research more about this subject as it is not clearly defined.
· There is no such thing as an “International Copyright,” therefore, in our digital age, you should research the country for which you have questions to determine their rules.
· Copyright rights can be assigned to another person as well as bequeathed in your Will.



Saturday, January 31, 2009

Copyrights and You Part I

As you move through the phases of developing your work, the question about copyrighting your material will (or should) naturally come to mind. Many people think that you are protected if you simply mail a copy of your manuscript to yourself in a package that is trackable and keep the tracking information. That process is incorrect and will definitely not provide the type of protection you would need if you should enter into a suit against someone using your work without permission.

You are expending a great amount of energy writing your manuscript, you should at least spend some time finding out the proper way to protect your work.  

Understandably, one of the benefits of posting your work to Net | Novelist will be that it is free and you receive free critiquing from the community, however, it would be beneficial to spend a sum of money on copywriting.  

Going directly to the US Copyright Office provides a means for you to do it online. It is inexpensive, self- explanatory, and easy to navigate. As of this writing, the cost is $35 to register a work of authorship.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Print on Demand (POD) and Pricing

The whole point of commercializing a book project is to generate income. When you decide to pursue POD or any other form of self-publication, you need to go beyond merely being an author. You then become a business manager, too.

As your own business manager, one of the biggest decisions you'll make is how to price your offering.

Pricing a POD or any other form of self-publication is an especially difficult task. As a business manager, you need to know the market for your offering. You need to examine comparables. Who or what competes with you? How many other alternatives are there to the product you offer? And finally, how does your current offering fit into your entire portfolio?

One problem that makes market research so difficult in the POD community is the amount of garbage produced by people who are just hoping to get rich quick or who have no ability to read and understand the market. Because the POD sector lets everyone and anyone publish at any price they wish, you may find it difficult to discern a serious piece with a reasonable price from a shoddy product offered by a goof-ball with unrealistic market expectations. You don't want to give your work away, but you don't want to completely price yourself out of your market either.

One thing that most POD vendors let you do is offer hard-cover, softback, and eBook formats for your work. Rather than offer your product in all forms from the beginning, you should consider a sequence of offerings, just as most publishers do with conventional works. Consider where your offering might compare to other works in the market and price your hard-cover accordingly. Give your work 6 to 12 months to sell. At the end of your hard-cover cycle, compare your actual results with your forecasts. Then consider how you might approach a softback pricing scheme, with a similar period of 6 to 12 months to sell. Finally, put your work out as an eBook, with whatever price adjustment you decide is necessary based upon your softback sales.

Pricing is not a one-time task for a manager working a self-published work. It's an ongoing process and demands careful attention to the broader market for works similar to the one you intend to offer. And it demands flexibility on your part should your initial read of the market be wrong.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Managing Your Property - Part II

Rejection from the traditional agency/publisher community needn't spell the end of your book project, from either a commercial or a production perspective. In the past, your only alternative to the agency/publisher scene was to self-publish, often via the "vanity" press community. Unfortunately, the vanity press route has a terrible reputation, in large part because they would print anything regardless of quality, so long as the author was able and willing to write a check. In the vast majority of cases, a self-publisher using a vanity press for their book project got nothing for their trouble besides a garage or an attic full of unsold books and a big hole in their checking acccount.

The emergence, and growth, of the print-on-demand (POD) community has changed the face of self-publishing. A self-publisher using POD can get their work out to the public with no upfront cash investment. The reputation problems with the quality of work coming out of POD shops will always remain. If anything, the lower barriers to entry that POD provide a self-publisher ensures that even more garbage that should never see the light of day will make it into book form.

Obviously, the general attitude towards POD in the mainstream agency/publisher community is one of scorn and ridicule. And it is not an avenue you should pursue unless and until you have thoroughly exhausted every entry on your list of reputable agenst who might consider representing your kind of literary work. But don't leave your book for dead if you can't bring it to the public with a mainstream publisher.

For an unknown writer with a limited portfolio of output, POD provides you an opportunity to get your work into people's hands. If you're a "one and done" kind of author with no intentions of pursuing another book project, signing on with a POD publisher may seem like the end of your dream to get published. However, you should retain all rights to your work. (Avoid any POD publisher where the rights to your work can be compromised in any way.) Show an agent a POD work with tens of thousands of units sold and you might find they'll have a change of heart about representing your work. In the case of a non-fiction work in an industry or field where new events could justify an update to your work, consider bringing a second edition back to the agency community with POD sales data on your first edition.

If you do intend to pursue other writing projects, let your POD work serve as an introduction. An author with a past work on a platform, even a POD platform, is better than an author with no platform at all.

So don't completely write off the possibility of using POD. Accept that it's a far inferior means of getting a book published and generating income, but don't dismiss it completely as a means of furthering your writing career.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Managing Your Property - Part I

One theme that we will visit frequently is the issue of managing your intellectual property. Anyone who writes a book with the intent to publish usually has financial renumeration as a motivating factor, even if that particular factor is secondary to fulfilling an artistic desire, advancing one's non-literary career, or achieving some form of personal satisfaction from the process of creating a literary work and seeing it through the business process of getting it to market.

In an ideal world, you'd present your work, or a proposal regarding the work you'd like to create, to an agent. The agent would gush over your work, immediately sign you to a contract, and hook you up with a publisher. Your book would get lots of marketing exposure. You'd schedule scores of book signings, sell a gazillion copies, get massive royalty checks, and then go shopping for a water-front condo in a community with awesome restaurants and a reliable mechanic to service your Jaguar.

Now get over it. Fantasy Land is a fun place to visit, but it won't stock your liquor cabinent.

Chances are you will not find a reputable agent that will want to represent you, and you certainly do not want a disreputable agent. Even if you do find a decent agent willing to take on you and your work, there is a very good chance they will not find a publisher interested in taking your work public. And even if you get to the point where your work gets published, chances are you will not make a substantial, "Rock Star"-like amount of money from it. I'm not trying to rain on your parade; you need to accept how the world is.

You should still try to find a reputable agent to represent you and your work... not just try, but try very hard. Because while the odds of your achieving a high degree of financial success are very much against you, your best bet for achieving that financial success is still with the traditional agency/publisher process.

However, rejection by the traditional agency/publisher community does not mean that your work has no financial value at all. Our goal at Net Novelist is to help you unlock the value of your property that the agency/publisher community has overlooked or decided to ignore.