Completely Random Thoughts

I have nothing significant to say today, just a bunch of random thoughts.

First thought was that the advantage to self-publishing a book is that you start spending so much time thinking about the book that you kind of forget about all those short story submissions you were obsessing about previously.

(At least if you’re me.  I think I’ve only checked the Grinder once a day for the last week or so instead of ten times a day like I used to.  A big improvement.)

Second, it’s nice to have little to no expectation of success.  I logged onto KDP today expecting my sales numbers to be the same very small number they’ve been for a while and, lo and behold, there was a new sale!

Made my day.

(Of course, it’s quite likely from the one other friend I told about the book who hasn’t bought it yet.  But I’ll pretend for a day that it’s from a stranger.)

Which leads to the third thought.

I’ve only told five people I know in real life about the book.  Four of them have or will buy the book.  None of them need it.  They’re all just doing it to be nice to me.

Which I really appreciate.  And I know that if I posted to Facebook or told some other friends about it that they’d also likely buy it.

(I have good friends.  Not many, but the ones I have are good people.)

But I don’t want to sell my books to my friends.  I want to sell them to people who can enjoy and/or use them.  And, at least for the non-fiction book, that’s not my friends.

I’m always like this.  I hesitate to use my connections or network for much of anything even though I know many of them would be more than willing to help out.

I am very, very bad at asking for favors.

Ironically, I think it’s because I found that I was very good at manipulating people when I was in my teens and it scared me how easy it was to get what I wanted from people.

I hated thinking that someone had gone out of their way for me based upon a false implication even if they never realized I’d manipulated them.

What can I say?  I have issues.

And those issues do not help me when it comes to being a published writer.

(I think they do help a lot with the actual writing.  But in terms of getting out there and getting people to buy what I write?  Not so much.)

The fourth thought is a bizarre fascination with my lack of urgency.

I should be waking up each morning and writing like insanity.  Because writing more and getting it out there is the only way I’ll ever be able to turn this into something that I can do to pay the bills.

But I wake up in the morning and…don’t feel a driving need to write.

Which is stupid.  Because at some point that’s going to catch up to me.


I did force myself to write a new story yesterday.

I have a fourteen-page document with ideas in it, so I picked one and spent an hour writing the first draft.  (It’s a flash piece, so easy to write a first draft in an hour or so.)

But did I then go back to working on the longer short story that’s already 6,000 words long?


That has been interesting, by the way.

I decided I really like one of the subplots from my first novel and wanted to turn it into a short story.  So I’ve taken the scenes for that character and have been trying to turn them into a stand-alone short story.

(Although, based on what I’ve written so far, it’ll be in the Novelette/Novella range.)

I thought I could just take existing scenes from the novel, weave in a few new scenes, and remove bits that weren’t related to the storyline and ta-da, I’d have a new novel.

But I found myself rewriting even existing scenes to make them stronger.  When they were removed from the structure of the novel they didn’t stand on their own as well as I wanted them to.

I also ended up rewriting a few of the scenes from a different point of view than the one used in the novel.

Hopefully that means that if the novel ever is published that the short story will be a nice companion to the novel rather than just a regurgitation of part of the novel.

We’ll see.

I was hoping for a 5,000-word short story, but the inciting incident and immediate reaction took that many words.  So…yeah.  We’re probably looking at 20K or so.

The interesting thing about potentially pursuing this self-publishing idea for my short stories is that I can’t just write whatever I want anymore.

Right now I’m thinking about publishing along two tracks.

One would be the short stories I write that are in the 5-6K range.  The other would be a compilation of shorter stories that I would publish in 5K word groups as Volume 1, Volume 2, etc.

What that means is that I need to write stories that are in the 5-6K range for the first track and stories that are shorter for the second track.

And the stories in the second track need to fit together for each volume.  So, for example, I have three stories that revolve around kids/children.  But together they’re not enough for a volume.

So now I need to write another short story (2,500 words or so) that will fit the theme for that issue.

It’s a shift in perspective.

A good one, I think.

It’s a valuable skill to decide you need to write a certain type of story at a certain length and be able to do that.

Up to this point I’ve just been learning to write a story.  Now I need to treat it like you would a job.  (You know, the “Hey, Jones, I need a report on XYZ on my desk by Friday.  Use the ABC report as a template” approach.)

All very interesting.  (To me.  Because I’m self-absorbed like that.)

Anyway.  Those were my random thoughts today.  Nothing coherent enough to stand-alone in a post so you got the mish-mash.

To make up for my blather, a few random links I’ve picked up in the past few days:

Brenda Hiatt did a survey on what the various romance and YA publishers pay: Show Me The Money!

Can I just say that some people are doing very well with their writing?  I’ll take a $500K earn out or a $40,000 advance, thank you.

And John Scalzi on Speech, Conversation, Debate, Engagement, Communication

All I can say is, agreed.  As a non-confrontational sort, I find that I sometimes just choose not to engage.  It’s much easier than the alternative.  Doesn’t mean I agree, though…




About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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