Friday, November 27, 2009


I failed at writing this month. I got Glennis (my shiny blue netbook still, lamentably, with out rhinestones) and I fired up my computer.... and I got nothing. Some of that was the fault of the flu. Swine or not it laid me up for a solid week. Some of this was my roommates moving out of the house, freeing up time to clean and rearrange things. Most of it was this:
That is the dinning room of our little white house, affectionately known as Cricket house. This time last week the dinning room was plain white. There were whiteish carpets covering the floors and half the furniture was in other rooms. I fixed that with help from the ever patient husband. We hosted our parents and sibs to the tune of 8 seated for Thanksgiving. His parents brought their dog Sophie and the cats fled in panic. It's all done now, the boys even banded together to bring in our massive newish entertainment center that languished forlorn in the garage since August.

The house is less spotted then usual and the fridge is full. Dec is much less chaotic then Nov in it's planning. Therefore I am declaring December to be DeDeWriMo: Denise's December Writing Month. I have no firm plans except make word counts of my previous 1000 words a day total. If I can manage that for the month I will be happy. Wren's Song is outlined perhaps past the ending, Spandex is stuck in the place you put the novels you are editing when you think of them as not very good, and Lily remains aloof. Gemini stepped up into the empty space and has started to poke into my subconscious and make snarky comments. I suspect another 99,000 words might shut her up. So DeDeWriMo it is.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Excuse me while I lecture.

With the announcement last week that Harlequin is launching their own "self publishing" (the quotes are important) line originally called Harlequin Horizons, now Dellarte Press (Writer Beware's announcement), I'd like to take a moment to discuss the difference between Self publishing, vanity publishing and traditional publishing.

Fast forward a moment. You have a complete novel. In the traditional model you submit your novel to publishers. (Agents are helpful and I highly encourage them but in the interest of focusing on publishing I'm glossing here). You get rejected a few times but eventually you find a publisher for your debut fantasy novel A Game of Scones. The publisher buys the rights to print and distribute your book in various formats (Hardcover, Mass market paperback, Trade paperback, E book). There is a contract involved, usually an advance against your royalties. Except in the most dire cases of contract breach you do not have to pay this advance back. Eventually the book rights revert back to you and you have the option to resell them to the original publisher. Your book is edited, copy edited, a professional lays out the text and designs the cover. The number of copies printed varies but is is usually several thousand. You receive a few free copies and copies are usually sent out to various reviewers. Your publisher usually contracts with a distributer and A Game of Scones is stocked in bookstores nationwide. Books sell, usually several hundred or thousands depending on many many factors. You pay nothing for the editing, cover, printing or distribution and you receive a percentage of the cover price. This process means you have to write what someones else would consider a good book. It's harder and it's safer.

Self Publishing is when you the author produces their books themselves. You buy the ISBN, register your copyright, edit or hire an editor. The design your own cover or you pay someone to do it for them. You pay to have it printed and pay for distribution if you want it to be in physical stores. You retain all of the rights to the book and other media. When the book is sold you receive the entire profit.

Vanity Publishing is when you pay someone else to publish a book for you. You pay a fee for editing, you pay a fee to have a cover designed, you pay for it to be printed. The ISBN registration is in the name of the company you paid to print it. After paying the company to print your book each time they sell a copy they take a percentage. There are a lot of books being published this way. Someone ran the numbers for iUniverse's book sales from 2004. Out of the 18,000 books they published that year only 83 sold more then 500 copies. (Courtesy of How Publishing works).

Here is the issue, vanity publish tries to sell you that it is an alternative to traditional publishing and that by paying to have your manuscript publish you can eventually have a traditional publisher look at it and purchase it. In all fairness there are a few manuscripts that have passed this way, but look at those numbers from iUniverse again. 83 books out of 18,000 sold over 500 copies. For most traditional presses 500 copies is a poor selling. By my miserable math skills that is a .46% chance of selling over the 500 copies. I'm going to pick on DellArte since theirs is the most recent numbers. Their cheapest package for publishing is $599. I'm rounding that up to $600 for the sake of having zeroes on the end, call it a simplicity tax. They pay their authors a 50% royalty after the publishing fees, it's about $1 per book. You have about a .46% chance of breaking even at their cheapest fee. The math doesn't add up. If all you want is to see your name in print, this can work for you. But for anyone trying to play the odds and break into publishing, you are better off using your money on workshops, stamps or red pens, honing the craft and trying again, then playing the vanity odds.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I have the flu...

So today's scheduled blog post is not going to happen. Instead you get feverish ramblings.

Ten things you might not have know about D. M. Beucler:
  1. I wrote my first book in first grade. I got an F. I rewrote it and got an A. Revisions for the win, even in elementary school.
  2. I have two black cats named Blair and Maximilien Catten. They are often found sitting on my computer, manuscript pages, or anything else that steals my attention. Despite over a year of living with both me and my husband they remain firmly my cats and do not deign to let the dear husband pet them.
  3. Speaking of the dear husband, we met at a LARP (Live Action Roleplaying) group. I don't remember him. Five or so years later we met again when we dressed up to see Serenity in the theater. I dressed as River Tam, he was Jayne Cobb. A year later we were dating, 3 years later we were married. He's a saint.
  4. My net book is dark blue. It will soon have silver decals and rhinestone accents. Her name is either Glennis or Wrenna, it's still working out.
  5. I occasionally write while wearing a tiara. It makes everything better.
  6. I sew costumes and wedding dresses. Mine was royal blue. I do not take commissions, it's only for friends and close kin.
  7. Cricket house was named because of the large black crickets that invade every year around August. Cricket house sounded nicer then the flies which also come in. New windows are being looked at.
  8. One of the reasons we bought the house was because of the full sized floored attic. At somepoint we are going to turn it into a master bedroom and writing room. Also the doors which lock with the old fashioned skelaton keys.
  9. I am a geek of the highest measure. I play Dungeons and Dragons in multiple editions, quote most of Joss Whedon's works, can costume a party of ten for a Renaissance festival from what's in my closet, and I've spent over a decade running around the woods hitting people with plumbing supplies.
  10. I'm allergic to cold medicine. This means bribery with shiny links, funny youtube videos, and other things to amuse will be appreciated.
Now off to more Buffy, cough drops and hot tea.