Monday, August 1, 2011

The CUTTLEFISH is dead. Long live the (insert title here)

After a fairly monumental effort, CUTTLEFISH is turned to Agent, on due date, and he will in turn, turn it over the publisher...

And of course, in my profession, the next book has to be considered and started soon. I have another Pyramid Scheme, another Heirs and another Karres on contract, and another Cuttlefish sequel. Added to this I have the rights back to two of my books (THE FORLORN and A MANKIND WITCH) and I have to reach decisions on how to maximize earnings on those. I've also decided I need to move ahead with some non-contracted work - I've got two (and maybe a third) shorts which were always more or less intended to be chapters in a longer book. I thought I'd start kindle-trickling those out. Publishing is in flux right now and it's rather like when say the dairy industry is in trouble. The retailers and dairies and middlemen (who get 90%)and the mega-dairies (who somehow get more than the 10% left for all the other farmers) squabble and somehow it's always the little dairy farmer who gets shafted and put out of business. Publishing is pretty much the same with authors earning 6-15% at best (and the 15 ain't for little guys) so I am looking to ways to free myself of these people and sell directly my 'milk' from the farm gate as it were. At the moment though, cash flow is more of a worry.

I'm looking forward too, to trying get some of my life back, planting, fishing, making sausages and making bacon. But that we'll see tomorrow I hope.


  1. Y'a know, one of the thrills of my college life was when my roommate invited me to visit his folks in Eads, Colorado. During that visit, his mother said, "Would you like to try my fudge?" Of course, right? Well, she got out the fudge, and cut us ... little tiny blocks. Maybe a centimeter by a centimeter? I was kind of looking at it, going, "What?" But my roommate promptly grabbed his and popped it in his mouth, so I shrugged, picked it up, and put it in my mouth.

    I thought I bit a rock at first. But then, after a moment or two, it started to soften up. And I swear, I think I experienced chocolate nirvana. Oh, that was wonderful fudge. Even that little bite was actually plenty.

    Turned out that she got her cream from the farmer up the road. I learned about that cream -- first time I've spooned cream that literally would not fall out of the spoon. You had to stick the spoon into your coffee and stir it. That was also great -- so rich! But it's the fudge that really sticks in my memory.

    So, yeah, sell us some milk off the back of your truck, okay? And do you have any homemade fudge, by any chance?

  2. There are places here in the US where it's illegal to sell/consume raw milk. So, of course, small farmers (who are willing to take the risks big ones won't) and the consumers of said milk come up with creative ways to make the milk change hands without the big gov knowing about it. Here on my farm, we are talking about a cow next spring, who will give us 5 gallons of milk daily. Even four kids can't go through that much, so I am contemplating cheese making, yogurt, clotted cream and more.

    My point, albeit roundabout, is that by doing things yourself, writing the tales you want to tell, you can make yourself happy, and those of us who look forward to your stories can be happy too. You don't have to just make milk you can give us cheese, and yogurt, and (yes, please!) fudge. And if selling your wares through the garden gate is how that can happen, then I for one will be happy to queue up in the lane for some.

  3. The Raw Milk War has really taken off by the FDA and I am amused by the Liberals and Progressives who now scream about the reach of Bog Government.

    As for e-books. Over the last bit I have spoken to several self published authors (one who has done well enough that I gave him O'Mike's contact info)and the biggest obstacle they said they overcame was establishing a web and social media presence. Dave, you already _have_ that. Unleash the Monkey Hordes!!!

  4. Dave, you should take a look at Dean Wesley Smith's blog, where he advises writers on self-promotion and selling. He's posting a series he calls "Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing"

    Lisa S. in Seattle

  5. Seaboe, I think what I need is a blog on better time management - probably starts with 'don't waste your time reading blogs, work'. I have tried to keep up the Business Rusch's (Dean's wife's) blog. I've promised myself I'd get to Dean's. Hasn't happened yet.

  6. Quilly, the problem is CONTACTING the monkey Hordes. Social media just takes that extra bit of time which I've been battling for. Part of this is self inflicted injury. I want to spend a little time fishing/diving/gardening etc - not just writing. Part of it is that self-sufficiency and doing things traditionally takes time and energy. And part of it is just straight battle fatigue. I've been putting in 14-18 hour days on writing now for... 18 years now. I sleep around 5 hours a night. I make and eat supper in 3/4 of an hour. I try to something other than screen work for at least an hour every day. I'm low on stamina, low on sleep, and sometimes a little discouraged. I've put out ?15 books, all of which I've I've given all i could give to. Some came out pretty well, but they've never done much for us financially. As far a publishing has been concerned I've been 'and whatsisname, the dogsbody who we get 2 books a year from, do nothing for and they sell enough to make us a little money from, enough to give him minimum wage work again.' And it's been getting less, not as far as I can see through anything I have done. I don't expect much more than a living, I love what I do, but without the hunting and gathering and growing, we'd starve (as is we live very well off the land). This actually makes me less productive, so I put in more hours, because it must be done and you just don't quit. So: one more push. Eventually we have to earn more than just enough to stave off disaster ;-).

  7. Cedar, I fear that (in another form) with writing. If big retail and publishing and agents see us getting a reasonable income selling from the farm gate - and them not getting 90% for next to no input, they'll be doing their best to drown us in red tape and contracts and restricting access and heaven knows what else. Which is why I want to just do it, not tell them until it's far far too late.

  8. Mike the big issue is getting people to find the fudge, try the fudge and enough of them pay for it to make us self-sufficient. That is my goal.