Friday, January 17, 2014

Rise of the Independent Editors?

I'm trying something a bit different with Dragon than how I did things with Nobody.
I wrote Nobody in separate chapters and sent each chapter out separately to be edited. My thinking was it would be easier on those who were doing the editing to do it in small chunks. Instead, it proved to be a bit of a logistical nightmare. I would get the pieces at different paces from different people, sometimes after I had already decided that a given chapter was set. Going back and forth between chapters, writing corrections or making alterations, introduced continuity errors. It also broke up the flow of the story.
Another issue that popped up from doing the chapters separately was assembling the final document. I figured all that needed to be done was simple cut-and-pastes of each chapter into the final document. This introduced a lot of potential for error that I didn’t expect. It took a number of attempts before I finally had the completed file for Nobody ready to be converted into an ebook.
My reasoning to do each chapter as a separate document wasn’t a bad  technical choice, either. Inside an EPUB file, each chapter is actually a separate HTML document. If you want to construct an ebook by hand, you would separate out each chapter to create a unique document. On that basis, I was on the right track.
It just proved to be a bear to manage.
With Dragon, I’m writing the manuscript as one, large document. Everything included. So when it goes out for editing, everyone will get the complete story instead of chunks of it. I figure this will also help avoid any continuity errors. It should also help with everyone being able to help correct the flow of the story.
One of the prime arguments against self-published books is the lack or poor quality of the editing. I will say that this is a valid argument. A few years ago, I did my own survey of self-published ebooks that were being offered for free. I downloaded a bunch of them and started reading. One stood out from all the others. It’s summary was superb and the story idea had a lot of promise. But the way it was written suggested the author’s compositional skills didn’t extend much beyond fourth grade. It was so terribly written and  hard to read, I couldn’t finish it.
Yet, there were gems in there, too. Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess by Wesley Allison. Written so badly (on purpose) it’s good. I got a such a good laugh reading it, I also downloaded Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Sorceress. Both stories are now included in his new book—just released on January 1, 2014, The Many Adventures of Eaglethorpe Buxton. I haven’t read it yet, but it is definitely on my “To Read” list. Probably the best wasted $3 you’ll throw away this year. Costs less than a greasy chesseburger at a fast food restaurant and probably about as healthy for your brain as the cheeseburger is for your body—but based on the quirky humor of the first two short stories I read before, it ought to be just as satisfying.
Back to today's subject…
I like to think my raw, unedited writing is better than most. But the evidence proves otherwise when copy comes back from proof readers and editors with all the errors circled, highlighted, and commented. It happens.
A writer needs an editor. A self-published writer really needs an editor.
You could edit your own writing. That’s a part of my process. But I really slow myself down when I do that. I stop focusing on creating the story. I probably could edit my own work, but it would take twice as long. When I’m done writing something, I set it aside for a while. A long while. When I return to it, I can usually catch most of my mistakes.
Having an extra set of eyes looking at my work makes things go much faster. Those other people will also catch things that I completely missed.
There is so much talk in the media about the rise of the independent writer. How the existence and wildly growing success of self-publishing writers is reshaping the publishing industry.
But there has been a quiet growth in the second part of the publishing industry: the appearance of the freelance editor.
A lot of self-publishing writers turn to friends and family to do their editing. To look over their writing and help uncover and smooth over any rough patches that appear in their manuscripts. Unfortunately, in most cases their efforts aren’t enough.
I’m lucky. I have family and friends who have a real talent for doing the editing work. One in particular has the skill to do this work professionally—and, happily, is taking steps to do so.
One of the things I noticed in reviews of my book on Amazon, is many of the readers have commented that it was well edited. This should come as a warning to wannabe self-publishers: your readers do notice and it is an issue!
Now that self-publishing authors are becoming mainstream and the talk of the media, I see a new trend on the horizon: the rise of the freelance editor.
I think 90% of the independent writers fail because even though their story ideas were good, their books and ebooks were poorly edited. Yes, spelling and grammar does make a difference. Writing the way you speak—I do—is not good. When you speak, people can hear the inflections in your voice, see your facial expressions, and they can hear the rhythm of your speech. But the written word cannot express all this. The way it is done, is through proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Get that wrong, and reading your work becomes tedious.
The growth of independent writers means there is now a wildly growing market for freelance editors.
There is even now, the Editorial Freelancers Association. A good place to turn to if you are looking for an editor. There are freelancers represented in each of the many genre’s of writing. It’s a good place to start looking for potential editors you can hire to go over your work. 
The story I mentioned above that had a good premise but was written terribly comes to mind. I wonder if this person could have found a mentor who could have helped the writer wrestle that idea into a real story.
I think back to the very first—and last—time I ever tried to submit a story for publication. 
I was just fourteen.
I had a story idea that suddenly popped into my head. So I typed like crazy to get it down onto paper, popped it into an envelope, and mailed it off to Omni Magazine. I titled it, Landship/Starship.
To the person who actually read that dreadful piece of drivel, you have my sincere apologies. Even after I sent it, I began to rethink what I had written and realized that the story was not beyond the concept stage.
It was absolutely terrible.
I knew it was going to be rejected. But I was surprised that I got a letter of rejection from Omni. Someone read it—again, I apologize—and judged it.
Even now, I look back on that story in my memory and I can see so many technical details that were wrong in the story. Yet, there is still a part of me that sees the potential in it.
The adult me can slip into my memory and talk to the adolescent me and explain that the story was nothing more than a framework describing the idea of the story. Not a readable story in itself.
That framework could be hammered into an outline, characters sympathetic could be created, and a more compelling background chiseled and that story could potentially fly. Maybe someday I’ll dredge it back up.
But it is recognizing those very things that is why writers need editors. The writer can get too caught up in the excitement of putting their imaginations on paper for others to read. So much so, that they may forget how to properly tell that story. Often, the writer can get distracted by an idea in the story and go off on a tangent, away from the main narrative. I’m certainly guilty of this.
It is the job of the editor to reel in mistakes like this and put the writer back on track.
So on the heels of the rise of the independent writer, I see the rise of the independent editor. When these two beings begin to join together, we are going to truly see a change in the publishing world. Perhaps the rise of something new. Something that is not a fad but a trend. And the industry will begin to respond.
It’s kind of exciting to think of what might come in the next few years.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Going to Print?

There has been a lot of demand to put Nobody into print. That has been my intent all along, but printing a book is a very expensive proposition. In order for me to actually be able to afford to go to print, I need to sell 15,000–20,000 copies of the ebook version of Nobody.
Anyone with a calculator can figure out what those numbers mean in terms of money. While it seems like a lot of income, one should remember to remove 30% off the top for distributor commission, then from the resulting number take 40% for income taxes. What is left over is what I have to live on until the next book comes out. I can take out the cost of printing from the business side of things, so it becomes an expense before income taxes are taken out, but it still means less money to live on for the rest of the year.
Hardcover books still outsell ebooks. It’s going to stay that way for a while.
Everyone talks about what consumers are buying, which makes sense when marketeers are trying to decide where to put resources. But I haven’t seen much discussion about the other side of the issue: supply.
Self-published authors are growing in numbers very quickly. As printing books is very expensive for an independent writer with limited resources, the vast majority of them are going to turn to publishing their books digitally as ebooks. While readers may prefer hardcover books over ebooks, they may find in a few years they have little choice but to buy the ebook version of the latest novel first, because that may be all that exists.
How much does it cost to print a book?
Nobody is over 104,000 words long. If printed in a U.S. Trade (6-in. x 9-in.) book format, with letter sizing set to 12 points, it takes up 350 pages.
According to the cost calculator on one of the popular self-publishing web sites, to print 1,500 copies of Nobody in a 6x9 hardcover book, it would cost almost $25,000. This is essentially for Print On Demand (POD) printing of a book. For those of you without a calculator handy, that means each book would cost me $16.67 per book. I would have to jack the price up to nearly $30—for an unautographed copy—per book for the list price. I don’t think I’d be selling too many copies at such a price.
Now, $17 per book for printing sounds like a lot—and it is—but you have to remember that essentially that is a wholesale price to the author, not a manufacturing price. The printer is taking on the printing and inventory costs.
There is an advantage to POD printing through a self-publishing  service instead, such as CreateSpace. I don’t have to deal with Point-of-Sale (POS), inventory or shipping. That all gets taken care of by Amazon, owner of CreateSpace. All  I have to worry about is… Well, nothing really. The books get sold, then I get a check at the end of the month. (Hah! If it was only that simple! Your biggest job as an independent writer—outside of writing—is to promote!)
The alternative is to take it all on yourself and go with a real printer. Not just the local printing service, but hire a book manufacturer
The advantage of using a real book manufacturer is your cost per book will be less—up to half—the cost of POD printing of your book. That’s a significant savings.
The disadvantage is you have to print in volume, such as a thousand copies per run. That means you have to have a place to stick tons of books. Literally. That many books could weigh as much as two tons.
Where do you store a couple tons of books? You don’t want to pile them up in your house. You could crack the floor joists—even a bathtub needs extra support in the structure of the house. Would you drop your car in the living room? It’s about the same weight. How about a storage locker? Good choice, but you run the risk of rodent damage. Books make excellent nesting material and absorb urine. I know a few authors who lost thousands because of rodents chewing and tunneling into the books they had stored in a locker. Your basement or your garage are probably the two best choices—as long as you don’t have rodent problems. (And consider that customers don’t want their books smelling like car exhaust.) Storage is a logistical pain in the ass.
Then you have to consider shipping. Orders for books coming in? You have to take the time to package and label the books, then get them to your shipper of choice. Boxes for the books, postage, and the gasoline your car burns driving them to the drop off all cost you money. And don’t forget time. Time you aren’t writing is time you aren’t earning money. That’s why businesses charge you “shipping and handling.” It’s not free money, it really covers a business cost!
Why would you want to do the printing yourself instead of POD?
Remember, writing is a business! If you want to make a living as a writer, you have to treat that living as a business. And if you want income as a writer, you have to approach it like a business. And a business exists to make a profit.
When taking on the printing directly, your primary cost is the up front manufacturing cost. That means the entire margin between cost of manufacturing and your chosen list price is all yours. And that means a lot of profit going into your pocket. Not someone else’s. Shipping costs can be passed on to the consumer. (Our old friend, ‘Shipping & Handling.’)
The important thing to remember is you will not see an instant profit. You only make money when you sell a book. This is the advantage of POD printing. The books get printed when they are ordered.
When you print up a run of a thousand books, your money will sit in each book until it is sold. It could be a year or two before you sell all those books. Can you afford to spend $15,000–$18,000 on a print run and then wait over a year until your profits are realized?
I’ve had enough requests about going to print that I now have to seriously consider this as an option. For now, more people buy hardcover books than ebooks. Ebook sales are growing, but most people want print.
The first move will be to make Nobody available as a softcover on Amazon through CreateSpace and their POD service. Yes, I’ve made it clear in the past my opinion on POD, but improvements in quality have me rethinking my stance. One thing I thought about is that people have been buying POD books for years now. They know what they are buying and are satisfied with that. The quality improvements have reached a point where I think it is adequate for this.
The second move is a little harder to implement. That is doing an actual printing run of hardcover books. Real books. Pigment soaked into the fibers of the paper, high quality paper and covers. The kind of books you find on someone’s library shelf. The kind of books that you pull off the bookshelf in your den/library to show to your great-grandchildren and say, “I actually met the author and he signed this book for me!”
Books I bring with me to conventions and book signings. Books with the proverbial “This page intentially left blank” in them. That’s where my signature will go.
Those kinds of books.
I really need to hunt around and see how much demand I can get for hardcover books. I certainly need them for doing book signings. I need to line up at least 50 bookstores willing to carry a dozen copies each for at least six months before the buyback clause kicks in.
But I really need to find a way to raise money for the initial printing.
Sales proceeds from the POD books will go toward doing the offset printing of the hardcover books.
I’m preparing to try a Kickstarter campaign to raise the bulk of the funds I’ll need for the printing. There are also other fund raising sites that have sprung to life in the wake of Kickstarter, I may give those a look, too.
Kickstarter has been very successful in raising money for independent authors to cover the expense of bringing their books to print. I’m just hoping that I’m not too late to the party; that Kickstarter supporters aren’t going to look and think, “Oh, another book… <yawn>” Hence, the reason I should also consider other fund raising sites.
So what is my decision?
I know enough to know I don’t know enough. But I am moving forward with the project anyway.
The quotes are in and I’ve chosen a printer with whom I’d like to do business. Their response to my request for quote was enthusiastic and they have done work for many independent authors over the years. They understand the issues and problems I’m facing, they also understand where I need to be educated a bit on the process.
The only issue now is I must raise the money somehow to actually do the printing. Considering I only have $2.64 left in my savings account, that’s going to be a tall order.
But if the Kickstarter campaign works, then I’ll be going to print as soon as possible. If not, then it will be delayed while I pursue other possible options. The Kickstarter campaign will begin as soon as I have the final price quotes for printing in hand. (Only then can I accurately fix my costs and pricing.)
For earlier printing, I am starting up CreateSpace to sell POD books through Amazon. That might happen far sooner than I can say. More on that later when I’m ready to announce it. But that will help raise capital I need to go to print for real.
Here’s hoping it all comes together.
So, keep your fingers crossed, folks.

Nobody is coming to print, hopefully soon.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Names and Titles

When I’m writing, I’ll usually create a place-holder of a name for a given character until I can come up with something better. Sometimes that approach helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Where it becomes a problem is when I finally have a solid name for a character and I have to change it. Sometimes cut-and-paste doesn’t work. And sometimes, my memory doesn’t quite keep up with the decision. During the early stages of editing Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1: Nobody, I finalized the name of one of the characters, changed it, and wrote on. It wasn’t until the edits came back that I discovered that while I had changed the name of the character, I changed to another name half way through the chapter, creating confusion among the editors. Fortunately, the character was distinct enough, everyone figured out pretty easily what happened. An email or two later, the problem was fixed. Creating names is difficult for me. I’m not the only writer with this issue. I’ve come across many comments by others just how much they struggle with naming characters. 
I didn't even have a working title for the book until I was halfway through the story. The Aggadeh Empire was referred to as “The Empire” through that time. If the empire had encompassed the entire world, then that would have sufficed. But the country was finite. There were other kingdoms in the world. There was another empire that could be considered its rival for power. It had borders. It had limited time. It needed a name.
I looked at various mythologies, but found they had been dipped into just too many times. I kept moving back farther and farther in human history. I finally settled on the mythos of Gilgamesh, one of the earlier mythologies in human culture. It provided something that was just outside the box of familiarity.
A lot of the place names I found within those stories were just too complex. They didn’t roll off the tongue easily. But one name stood out to me: Akkad. It was the name of an actual empire that existed in Mesopotamia.
There was another criteria I was trying to fill with the name. One affected by something far removed from ancient mythologies. A criteria created and driven by modern technology.
I love ebooks. On this small device with a screen the size of a paperback book (the trade name of this format is Pocket Book), I can carry my entire library. I can carry as many books as I can read.
When I was a child, a couple times a year we would travel to visit family or to go on vacation—sometimes both. They were long trips. As an adult, I did a lot of traveling for business. These, too, were long trips. To wile away the hours, I would read.
Books take up a lot of space in a suitcase and add a lot of weight. Two things that were prime issues when traveling. Ebooks take up no space and have no weight to them, other than the ebook reader which weighs less than a common paperback book.
When looking for something to read, it is incredibly easy to look at books lined up on a bookshelf on stacked up on a table and say, “Ah! This one.” You see all the titles at the same time. The colors of the book spines catch your eye and you can identify them by the pattern of their colors without even the need to read the words of the titles.
However, the interfaces for browsing through titles on an ebook reader are terrible.
One issue I came across that I found particularly vexing involved multiple books that were part of a series. You could never tell what the proper order was to read those titles by how they listed. If you list alphabetically, then the titles would be scattered throughout your entire library, between A to Z. Even if you listed the titles by author, the book titles would be sub-alphabetized under the author’s name, and would still be scattered through the series rather than be in order. One of the ebook readers I have does offer the option to list books in sequence within a series, but it doesn’t work if the titles are catalogued properly by the publisher.
Organizing books you want to read on an ebook reader is a terrible experience. Want to select a handful of books to read during a trip? Good luck keeping them straight.
So, looking at this issue, I wanted to give my books names that would work well when being alphabetized, whether by title or by author.
And—because I never lose sight of the fact that writing is a business and to survive means you have to promote—I wanted my books to have names that would be easy to find on an ebook reader’s library interface.
I also wanted my books to be the first titles a reader sees when perusing through the ebook reader’s library list.
That meant, I needed to have my books start with the letter “A.”
So, the ancient name from depths of human history suddenly seemed to fit the bill: Akkad. It started with “A” and rolled off the tongue with ease. But I didn’t want to use a name so obviously ripped off from history. Not of a totally fictional world, at least. I didn’t want readers jumping to a conclusion that since I pulled the name from this period and place in the world, then these people must be from that period of time.
I needed to modify it by just a little.
I softened the name of Akkad by removing the hard consonants. This turned it into Aggad. But that was still too close. An old but fond memory of a spontaneous gag that left a teenage friend laughing his head off brought to mind the sound, “-Deh.” I tagged that onto the end of the word, and it became Aggadeh. The capital city would remain Aggad, with the explanation that -deh was from an ancient language that indicated ownership. Hence, the land in the empire was owned by Aggad and that made the name of the empire, Aggadeh.
Ta da! I had the name of the empire.
Using a digit in the name of the title, Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1 instead of Aggadeh Chronicles Book One was important to force the alphabetization of the titles. This way, 2 would come before 3, where the word Three comes alphabetically before Two.
Nobody was always the title of the first book, because it is the story of Nem. But alphabetically, it would put all the books of the series all over the place. So, I had to put the series at the head of the title. The title of the first book was settled to be Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1: Nobody.
All the following titles will follow this format.
So, on an ebook reader, the titles will always appear at the top of the list because they start with the letter A, and even when listed by author or series, they will always line up together in proper order. This makes it easier for the reader to make a choice and to organize their reading.
There was one other effect of my made up word-name that I never saw coming.
I spent a week working on this word. When I was finally happy that I had a name for the empire and the story, I announced it to my friends. Two of them—one a theologian and the other Jewish—independently  jumped on my title choice with great excitement. An excitement I didn’t understand.
Both of them, almost chose the same phrase: “What a great choice of words for your story!”
My reaction was, “WHAT?! How could you have heard of something that I just made up? Crap! Now I have to go make up another word?”
Again, on separate occasions just hours apart, their response was the same: “No! Keep it! It is an incredible choice for your story!”
Somehow, I had managed to completely and randomly make up what turned out to be an actual word in another language!
The real and existing word is Aggadah. Aggadah is a collection of  folklore, historic anecdotes, moral lessons and practical advice in Jewish culture. Examples of how one should conduct oneself in society. This factors heavily on Nem as he becomes enmeshed in the Aggadeh Empire.
On a deeper level, Aggadah comes from Aramaic and means “story” or “lore.” It also carries an older meaning of “flow,” as in the flow of ideas. This, too, plays very much on Nem’s stories in the Aggadeh Empire. Nem carries with him new ways of thinking. Ways of thinking that in the Empire are popular with some and not so popular with others.
Faced with this, I decided that it probably would be a better to keep the name Aggadeh. Lord knows, I don’t think I could have come up with a better name. (And now that it is out and published, it’s kind of too late to change it now.)
But it has had one very strange effect: I’ve noticed a wildly disproportionate number of visits to my web site from Israel. I guess people trying to looking up Aggadah on the internet are coming up with my title, Aggadeh Chronicles.
Now you all know the story behind how I came up with the title.

To my visitors who find yourselves in this situation looking for Aggadah, I’d like to say, “Shalom aleikhem! Stay and read a while.”

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Limbering Up the Brain

Q: What’s the best thing you can do if you want to write a book? (Outside of actually writing)
A: Read!

I say this a lot to people who ask me how they can get started writing. How can you write something if you haven’t seen a good example of writing? I could spend several minutes explaining to someone how to launch a spheroid projectile using a monofilament matrix supported by a circular lattice held at a 90° angle to a planar surface, transferring 1,000 Newtons of energy to the spheroid, thereby launching it on a parabolic trajectory into an opponents territory of defense.
Or, in just a few seconds, I could pick up a tennis racket and hit the tennis ball with it. (Monkey see, monkey do.)
If you want to write—or even just improve your writing—pick up a good book and read it!
I always write better after reading a good book. Even if it is a book I’ve read many times in the past, I still enjoy reading it and it still has an effect. And this effect seems to last for a few days. Even my editors have picked up on changes in my writing style depending on whether or not I was reading a good book before I sat down to write a particular section.
In light of this, part of my regular routine is to read.
Now there is research to support my personal observation.
In particular, it has to be a book that draws the reader into it. The kind of book you can’t put down once you start reading it. What folks colloquially refer to as a “page-turner.” I guess the selection of the right book could be fairly subjective. What one reader might consider a good book might not be the same choice of another reader. So if you know a book you really like to read, that should be your choice.
Read a book, and your brain will be all limbered up and ready to crank on whatever task you are aiming for.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year in Review!

Happy New Year!
Like everyone else recovering from the previous night’s overindulgences and with nothing better to do, I’ll provide my predictions for the new year. But first, like any proper businessman, I should give my report for the previous year.

2013: The Year in Review
A lot of bad things happened in 2013, many publicly and in the news. Some things privately and personally to me. For that reason, I am happy to put 2013 in the ground and behind me. The revelation of a heart condition confirmed what I had suspected for years and explained why I can’t go mountain climbing anymore.
I bet the farm writing Nobody. When I started the process, I knew I was going to completely go through my life savings until sales on the book would pick up enough to return my investment. My business plan was to have at least one year’s worth of savings left over at the moment I released Nobody. That would give me a year to continue paying the bills and assessing the success of Nobody, as well as giving me time to find any kind of work should the book fail.
Sadly, events in 2011 and 2012 put me so far behind, that Nobody was released one and a half years after my deadline. I managed to adjust my budget and scrape together just enough money to stretch things out a little longer, but at the end of 2013, I find myself completely penniless.
Sales on Nobody were steady, but fell short of where I hoped they would be at the end of the year, by 70%. Not good. What did sell was enough to help extend my budget just past the end of the year, which was good. (If anyone knows someone who can donate $50,000 to help support a struggling writer for a year, I’d really appreciate a call about now…)
The GOOD things that happened in 2013 were very good.
I was finally able to step down from my responsibilities as chair of a non-profit organization which I had led for two years—one of the key reasons I was so far behind on getting Nobody released. In the following four months, I was able to get more done than in the previous two years combined.
My nephew and his wife brought a son into the world began a new generation in our family. A very calm little guy who likes to watch everything and everyone around him. Except when the fuel tank is on empty and he needs some inflight refueling. My sister is absolutely infatuated with her new grandson and can’t wait to spoil him rotten. I, as a Grand Uncle, stand ready to ply him with strange and mysterious gifts from far off places as he grows that will challenge his mind and be a lot of fun to play with. Also, to show him where the dinosaurs roamed and one can still walk in their footsteps.
I finally released Aggadeh Chronicles Book 1: Nobody. Years of work came to fruition. The dream of a lifetime brought to life: I can at last call myself an author.
Sales of Nobody started off at a good clip, but petered out sooner than I expected. Still, the numbers were better than most books by other self-published authors whose books went on to be successes.
The reviews coming in were excellent! Many readers contacted me and said they couldn’t put it down once they started reading it; all wanting to know when the second book would be out. One of the best came from a  friend who decided to buy and read my book out of obligation as a friend. He held out as long as possible, dreading facing me if he didn’t like it, only to discover he really enjoyed it! As he wasn’t alone in that sentiment, I do tell my friends not to worry if they didn’t like it. Not every story is going to be to everyone’s taste. The positive remarks coming in do a huge amount in buoying me through the rough times and spur me on.
I do see a bright future for Aggadeh Chronicles. I’m just hoping I can get that future to arrive earlier than later so I can keep on doing this. (Hey! Someone give Oprah a call and tell her to read Nobody!)
As I was able to finally shrug off the distractions and interruptions through the year, I found that my writing accelerated and I was able to get more done than ever before. I was able to get more done in the months from spring to summer and get Nobody out the door. I am not a multitasker by any means. I focus best on doing one thing and one thing only. Give me more than one responsibility, and both are going to suffer proportionately. With no more distractions and interruptions, my writing has reached a average of about 1,500 words per day. I am still ramping up that number bit by bit. And this brings us to…

2014 Predictions:

  • Scientists will discover that gravity is an emergent phenomenon and how to circumvent it. Jet packs and flying cars for everyone! Asteroid mining will be the next boom industry and space colonies will begin construction around Jupiter next year.
  • A comet will pass between the Earth and the Moon, creating a meteor storm of such grandeur and beauty that songs, poems, images and stories will persist for centuries. As the Earth passes through the dust stream each year, the annual meteor shower will become a religious holiday for many to celebrate the beauty of the cosmos as the skies stream with light. During the  initial pass of the comet, a cybernetic machine named Gen’Ometry Dulgud will fall to Earth, claiming that it initially seeded the Earth with DNA 4.5 billion years ago in an experiment to prove that [cybernetic] life sprang from the organic ooze that inevitably formed on most planets. Its experiment being proven a success as primitive life (space probes) began to migrate from the Earth, it decided to come and introduce itself to its children.
  • Aggadeh Chronicles Book 2: Dragon will be released to the delight of readers and fans at the end of the 2014 summer.
  • Sasquatches will be proven to exist, thereby putting out of business all those TV shows and quasi-scientific groups that claim to be trying to prove that bigfoot exists but don’t really want to because they make their money on the hype instead of actual research.
  • Conservatives will elect a sasquatch to Congress in 2014. (Some insist that has already happened. Considering the poor education and appalling intellectual level of many Congressional members, there is some credence to this theory.)
  • That sasquatch will resign from Congress in 2015 dashing Conservative hopes for a Presidential bid in 2016, complaining about the poor education and appalling intellectual level found on the Senate floor, and the bad smells.
Only one of these predictions will come true. Care to guess which?
On a more serious note about predictions, I’m willing to bet that 2014 will show the rise of the independent editor.
Independent writers seem all the rage right now, but even the best story can be rendered unreadable by poor editing. I am always saying, you don’t write a book, you refine a book. The person who is key to this process is the editor. I am seeing more and more evidence over the past couple of years of editors going out on their own and set up shop.
Writers need editors.
I think independent editors will have more of an impact on the business of publishing than independent writers, mainly because professional-grade editing is one of the key services that a publisher can offer to a writer as a perk to turn away from self-publishing.
I should say to any and all writers who are turning to freelance editors for editing support, you should list the contact information of those editors you work with. The more we can support and promote excellent editors, the more talented people will become available when they see this is a viable route for going into business for themselves.
A friend of mine is considering going this route herself for supplemental/primary income. I’ve relied very heavily on her expertise to hammer my own writing into acceptable form for readers. I’ll be creating a page on my website to support those professionals whose services I use, and her name will be there when she’s ready to hang out her shingle.
I believe that the publishing industry is at the early stages of a long and slow shakedown period that will redefine how book publishing is done. Already, the old stigma of being self-published is disappearing. More and more, self-published authors are becoming both a force to be reckoned with. Self-published authors are becoming a resource for publishers looking for new talent.
It only makes sense that with the rise of independent writers that a service industry to support that trend should also start to develop. How well these new industries do depends on how well the independent authors do for themselves.
So my prediction is that during 2014, we’ll start to see development a service industry to support self-publishing writers. Though, it’ll be years before we can determine if it will just be a fad or an actual industry trend.

In the meantime, buy my book!