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From “WIP”-ed to “Published” (I hope)

February 2, 2010

If I may be real for a moment…no, seriously. I really mean it.

I finally got frank and earnest (they weren’t cheap either; sorry, I tried) with myself and started getting my stuff published en masse.

The reason?

It’s called the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA), sponsored by’s CreateSpace publishing division.

[ Deadline Feb. 7, 2010 or first 5,000 entries (be quick). Right now, the site is accepting unpublished manuscripts (ones that have not had any contracts tendered for it) until Feb. 7 or  until 5,000 entries are received, whichever comes first. ]

Anyway, the ABNA contest spurred me to finally stop tweaking Land of the Blind and send it in as early as I could.

Before this, I had sent things piecemeal to various small groups like I dabbled with vanity publishers, but dismissed them when they wanted tons of money up front. I finally found and made myself content with putting my writing on the site, occasionally trying contests on the site.

By not paying attention to the publishing end of the writing thing, I missed valuable opportunities like the most recent edition of Abaculus from Leucrota Press.

I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which only gave me the satisfaction of writing a novel in a month (though not one even close to publishable). While I did that and felt satisfaction at writing more than 50,000 words, I almost missed ABNA.

Fortunately, I started paying attention and entered ABNA. Prepping for ABNA got me researching for possible publication sites. That led to looking at online sites and other venues, which led to a flurry of activity on my part. I’d been sluggish for the last several months and needed that swift kick in the…pants.

So, I am now concentrating on the next reason to finish something. It’s called “Page To Fame” from

Now for what I sent out during my flurry of activity.

I currently have part 3 of my novella Crawl appearing in the latest edition of Spectacular Speculations.

I just published They Call the Wind Muryah, Dark Tidings (Vol. I) and Dark Tidings (Vol. II) on Smashwords, an ebook service that puts items through a literal meat grinder and reworks them to be compatible with Kindle, Sony Reader and others.

I submitted a short story called “Onward” for Farspace Anthology 3 and another called “Atonement” for And I’m still not sure what I’m going to submit for Writers of the Future (which I can only do until I sell 5,000 books or get 5,000 or more hits on ebooks).

One thing that getting published on Smashwords and the other sites did was get me to go back into my old folders. I had stories in one of my files marked “finished” that I hadn’t done anything with. So, now I am editing stories like “Romantic” and “Only Human” to send out.

I’ve also gone back into the “Unfinished stories” and “Story ideas” files for more writing stuff. With Land of the Blind and all the aforementioned items published or submitted, I suddenly have time on my hands.

Finally (and none too soon), I am trying to figure out what to do with Hunters, my first completed full-length novel worth publishing. I had a contract for publication with the late (but not lamented) Mystic Moon Press (an ugly mess I won’t get into here). Now, the rights are back with me. I could try PublishAmerica and let them have first right of publication for seven years or I could go with a small, independent press.

Ah, decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, I’ll get my idle hands active (sorry Lucifer) and start doing the research, leg work and prep work for sequels to Hunters and Land of the Blind, along with some short stories from my “ideas” file (including ideas from the 90’s).

Sometimes I wish I could be like Bethany Page, this week’s guest blogger. She’s juggling six titles, plus a household, numerous contests and — gasp — teenagers. Meanwhile, I’m fretting over a novel I finished a year ago and wondering how I can juggle all of the things I want to do.

But, that is where I am at the moment with my writing.

Until I top the bestseller lists, enjoy the blogs and view my stuff — please (before I become rich and famous like…oh, wait, I’m not supposed to mention her in my blogs for awhile…let’s make it Wendy and Supriya).

It looks as if my attempt to be serious is failing, so I will sign off.

P.S.: If you haven’t read Bethany’s guest blog, by all means do so. After seeing her ordeals, trials and tribulations, your efforts won’t seem so bad. You’ll get a lot of inspiration.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2010 7:22 am

    Excellent post! I’m mucho impressed with all you’ve written and all you’ve been doing lately! Kudos to you! I’m going to check out Smashwords – you mentioned it several times and I’m curious to see how it works. Do not go with Publish America. I will crawl through the computer and beat you with the bloodly stumps of your arms (because I would have ripped them off already).

    Seriously? Don’t go there – you are much better than that. Send me the MS and I’ll edit it for you – if you think I can help make it better. But if you’re happy with it the way it is then don’t give up your dream. And avoid the snake oil salesmen. I got your back 😉

    • February 2, 2010 10:36 am

      I’ll be coming through the computer after you with C.J., going after your knees with a roofing axe. NO PUBLISH AMERICA! I’ve not heard one good story about them.

      • February 2, 2010 5:38 pm

        Egad! It seems I’ve touched a nerve. Beating people to death with the bloody stumps of their own arms? Sounds like “Zombieland.”

        Okay, okay. I’ll avoid PublishAmerica. Besides, I used a pen name when I inquired. It just came to me — I put the initials of C.J.’s novel together to form a “W” and then I added the name from an NBA box score of the Dallas Mavericks that said “J. Howard.” And, voila, I had an alias. Oh, wait. Uh-oh.

  2. February 2, 2010 6:53 pm

    Just curious but why are you only looking to either self publish or go to a small independent press? Why not target the large publishing houses?

    • February 2, 2010 7:08 pm

      The usual reasons — a lot of competition for a few spots. The larger publishing houses have been cutting back on taking manuscripts for new writers (and many won’t take any unless they come from an agent). You can find the listings and requirements in the latest Writer’s Market.

      And, even if the large publishers take your manuscript, they can take several months to read it, if they read it at all. Sheer numbers says that a handful of editors cannot read the thousands of manuscripts they get each year.

      Plus, with novel writing software like “WriteIt” and “Write It Now,” even the worst hack can piece together a manuscript and send it in. Think of it like being a human resources person who receives thousands of resumes for one of handful of open positions. Naturally, you’d concentrate on the most experienced people first and then work your way down. The guys with little or no experience would be out.

      Now that I say that, some of the larger publishers are beginning to pick up more manuscripts, to take advantage of the growing ebook market.

      And one last thing. Going with a small publisher or something like Smashwords can get your book out into the spotlight. If sales are decent, large publishers will often take a second look and, perhaps, take a chance.


  1. I’d Rather Gouge Out My Eyes « By W. J. Howard

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