The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Favorite Story?

What you mean besides the ones I write? Just kidding!

That’s… a tough call to be honest. I’m very picky about the things I read and often restrict myself to Fantasy/Folklore and Sci-Fi. My collection includes things like the Elder Edda, Hrolf Kraki’s Saga, The Frithiof Saga, and a lot of Tolkien.

However if I had to choose a favorite out of everything I’ve ever read, I’d have to dive back pretty far. It was an Autumn night in 1999 when I was suffering through my High School fall reading list to find a book that I would enjoy. To my surprise, I stumbled upon a Dean Koontz Novel posted by one of my professors. Not really a fan, but happy to see something other than the classic fiction pieces and normal drab that most people wouldn’t pick up outside of a classroom, I bought the book.

Not a day goes by where I am not thankful that I did….

strangeThis is an old one 1995 and falls out of the normal genre I usually stick to. Thrillers and Horror stories while great, aren’t usually my cup of tea, but something about this one got me hooked.

It’s not one book, but a collection of stories from Koontz. Most of them were the average fair from Koontz. They were good stories, as you’d expect from such a great author, but one specifically grabbed me.

The actual story, Strange Highways, which the book was named for:

Synopsis (Wikipedia):

  • “Strange Highways” (novel): a failed author returns to his hometown after many years to attend his father’s funeral, only to find himself suddenly and inexplicably thrust back through time to relive a traumatic event from his past, and possibly to find redemption. In the introduction, Koontz lists the Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire as an inspiration for this story.

It’s a story of a man given a second chance and the opportunity to change his fate. The only problem is that he has to face down someone… or something that is pure evil.

I can’t give too much away because I really think that everyone should give it a read. It’s not a long story, so it won’t take a long time to get through. The characters are great, the twist as to who the bad guy is, is somewhat expected, but Koontz still keeps you on the edge of your seat while the author faces it down.

The female lead character, I’ll admit, is pretty much your typical damsel in distress, but she’s mysterious enough to be likable by herself. All and all it’s a great story, the main character starts off as somewhat drab and dismal, but you grow to appreciate his life and sympathize with him. By the end, if you aren’t warmed by what happened to him, you have a heart of stone. It really is a classic style adventure that leaves you satisfied at the end. For this short story alone, the book is worth the $2 price tag on amazon. I highly recommend picking it up. It really is amazing what can be packed into a short story.

If you follow my advice or have already read it, I’d be interested to hear opinions, whether you agree with me or not!

Catch you on the flip side!
– Jim

Least Favorite story ever…

An old review, but one I thought I’d repost as a trip down memory lane… ENJOY!!!

There is really no way around it. I kind of knew that this was unavoidable. There are a couple of stories that really irk me, but this one, in movie form takes the cake. This story, to me, was so bad that it actually inspired me to start a movie blog a few years ago… the blog didn’t do so well so I abandoned it. So I’ll basically take what I wrote there and try to add a little as I go. Bear with me, I can already feel my blood boiling.

The Vow (2012)

Now I know what everyone is thinking;
“Of course he’s going to bring up a girl’s movie. He’s a guy who’s into fantasy and action.”
No! I’m okay with romantic movies. I still enjoy 50 First Dates and Valentine’s Day was a cute movie in it’s own right. I actually bought my wife a copy of Just Like Heaven… and City of Angels is a guilty pleasure. I give stories a fair chance and don’t judge just because it’s from a specific genre. This one however, drove me crazy to the point where I was pretty much yelling by the end of it. Thank God I didn’t pay money to go see it or I might have had a coronary!

My wife turned it on one day because she wanted to see it. Being a good loving husband, I decided to give it a chance. Within minutes, I was regretting that decision.

So by now you’re probably asking yourself why does he find this movie offensive to the senses? It’s a cute love story, what’s your issue? Well… let’s take a look…

SPOILERS AHEAD!

So the movie starts off with this young couple enjoying a night out on the town. They are getting ready to drive home when their car get’s hit. The husband, played by present heart-throb Channing Tatum… (Soon to be Gambit in X-Men Apolcalypse… kay…), is unharmed while his wife, Rachel McAdams, suffers a traumatic brain injury and loses her memory.

She is brought into the hospital where it’s revealed that she’s lost a large chunk of her memory, but not all of it and actually mistakes her husband for a doctor. It’s not long before her family gets wind of what’s going on and comes to her aid. At this point, you find out that her and her family have a troubled history, which is why she moved into the city. The worst part about this set up is that the last thing she remembers is being engaged to another man.

This results in the ex showing up again… most likely contacted by her parents, and the girl throwing herself at her ex behind her husband’s back. All the while, she is treating her husband horribly while he tries to help her recover.

I’m going to stop there for a moment. This is a major problem for me. Let me explain, despite her losing her memory and being indifferent to the guy she learns she’s married to, her husband does everything (and I mean everything) to help her heal and make her comfortable. He also shows some class and doesn’t tell her why she left her family, which is revealed later that her father, played by Sam Neil, had an affair with one of her friends, and her mother is living in a delusional world where her family is more important than the individual feelings of herself, or her children. The mother basically seems to be in a hypnotic state of denial!

So, back on track, Rachel’s character treats her husband like crap, and eventually leaves him to go back and be with her family. Yes, it’s Tatum who finalizes the divorce, but it’s her pushing away and her family’s constant pressure that prompts him to make that decision. So now, pretty much the last few years of his now-ex wife’s life is being undone. Tragic, I’ll admit. I’d probably have gone insane at this point if I were in Tatum’s shoes.

So eventually she discovers that she’s been manipulated by her family and their misdeeds are brought out into the light… Her father’s actions and her own desire for freedom are why she left home in the first place and moved to the city. So now that we have that realization, does she go back to her husband apologetically with tears in her eyes and beg his forgiveness? Nope. That’s what a person with a heart does. That’s what someone with feelings and emotions does… does she even tell her family off? Nope…

So what does she do then?

SHE ALLOWS THE DIVORCE TO GO THROUGH AND LET’S HER FAMILY CONTINUE TO MANIPULATE HER!! She gives up her art and goes back to school because… that’s what daddy told her to do, and pretty much goes back to the way things were, completely forgetting that her father had sex with one of her friends… wonderful. Channing man, I’m starting to think you were better off without this… woman. She’s officially hit the rewind button on life and years of progress have been LOST!

So eventually events, probably similar to ones that happened before she lost her memory, happen again and she realizes, once again, that school isn’t for her, and she moves back to the city, once again, to continue working on her art. She tells her father that she’s not leaving because of him, it’s just something she has to do… and God bless your heart if you believe a word of that.

So she moves back to the city, ‘coincidentally enough’ not too far from where her now-ex-husband lives, but doesn’t go to see him. Which, for once, is the right thing to do! Seriously, you wring a human being through the blender, stomp on his heart, and spit on the remaining pieces, at least have the decency to let the guy live his life! So maybe she has a redeeming quality…

Until…

Six months go by and she continues to work on her ‘art.’ One night outside a shop the couple used to frequent, Channing runs into his ex-wife who tells him she’s moved back to the city. She tells him everything that’s happened… and like a total sucker, he takes her back! Are you freaken serious!? Her family doesn’t like you, she all but cheated on you, she treated you like crap and left you high and dry and your taking her back? Seriously any person, any REAL person, would have scoffed and walked away.

Okay, if it’s not painfully obvious to why by now why I really hate this story, then let me lay it out for you:
1. Ladies and Gents, you can’t abuse your loved one, cheat on them, treat them like crap and expect that they’ll just take you back when all is said and done. I don’t care what the excuse is. If the person has any self respect at all, they’ll laugh at you for even trying.

2. Decisions people, you make them, you have to live with them! There is a saying “You can’t go Home again.” It’s truth.

3. If someone manipulates you, it’s probably not the best move in the world to put your trust in those people!

There is no character development here at all. What we see is a character revert to a previous time and then regrow to where they were when the movie started. That’s not development. Not a single person apologizes for the wrong they’ve done. I get not holding something over someone’s head for the rest of their lives. Forgive and move on, but when you’ve NEVER apologized for it in the first place, and then make no effort to come clean with the skeletons when someone has put their trust in you… that’s reprehensible! The father doesn’t apologize for being an adulterer, the friend doesn’t apologize for being a slut, the mother doesn’t apologize for being dillusional and allowing her father to manipulate her, knowing full well what’s going on. The ex doesn’t apologize for being a douche, and the wife doesn’t apologize for being a cheating abusive witch, to the one somewhat respectable human being in this movie who actually deserved one!

God… the entire time I was watching this movie, I kept thinking back to an episode I saw  (Of Law and Order I think), where a young woman walks in on her family who has been brutally murdered. After an intense investigation, it turns out that her family manipulated her out of her life and marriage after she suffered amnesia in almost identical fashion to this movie. The difference: The daughter got her memory back a few years later, saw that her husband had married another woman, realized what her family had done to her AND MURDERED THEM! This would have been a better and probably more realistic outcome, and one I was waiting for the entire time! But it never freaken happens!

This fantasy of a movie gives off the impression that there is no consequences for your actions and you can treat people like shit and they will still come running back to you. The entire time it’s trying to paint Rachel’s character as blameless… this is something a neo-feminist would write!

Yes I understand that she had amnesia, she was confused and alone, etc. But see that’s the thing, she knew she was still married when she threw herself at her ex, she knew her husband was struggling to care for her. Did she care? Hell no!

The worst part? This movie was based on a true story. I looked it up, I did the research, yes the woman in that stories put her through hell, but at least there it was explained that it was from her head injury and not because she was stressed out by what was going on around them. As it turns out, they didn’t like this re-telling of their story because it left out a major key element in what kept them together; faith.

That’s right, all reference to religion was completely abandoned. Want another shocking fact? All of the family turmoil that went on in the book and the movie dealing with her father’s unscrupulous behavior and interference in her life and marriage… was pure fiction! That’s right, none of it really happened! They had the support of their families and were able to hold together through everything.

The lead woman in fictitious story is a total witch for no explained reason and there is nothing redeemable about her character. It would appear she showed her true colors of what caliber of person she was when she lost her memory.

Seriously, I’ve seen some bad romance stories in my time but this… this is mind numbingly bad, it’s reprehensible and it’s intolerable. It’s not what would really happen unless the guy was a pathetic fool, and it really pissed me off! It’s not charming, it’s not romantic, I hope it burns in hell as no doubt her fictitious adulterous father will.

I’m going to stop now before I actually give myself a coronary. Feel free to disagree… but to me, this story will be hard to top!

Favorite Story?

What you mean besides the ones I write? Just kidding!

That’s… a tough call to be honest. I’m very picky about the things I read and often restrict myself to Fantasy/Folklore and Sci-Fi. My collection includes things like the Elder Edda, Hrolf Kraki’s Saga, The Frithiof Saga, and a lot of Tolkien.

However if I had to choose a favorite out of everything I’ve ever read, I’d have to dive back pretty far. It was an Autumn night in 1999 when I was suffering through my High School fall reading list to find a book that I would enjoy. To my surprise, I stumbled upon a Dean Koontz Novel posted by one of my professors. Not really a fan, but happy to see something other than the classic fiction pieces and normal drab that most people wouldn’t pick up outside of a classroom, I bought the book.

Not a day goes by where I am not thankful that I did….

strangeThis is an old one 1995 and falls out of the normal genre I usually stick to. Thrillers and Horror stories while great, aren’t usually my cup of tea, but something about this one got me hooked.

It’s not one book, but a collection of stories from Koontz. Most of them were the average fair from Koontz. They were good stories, as you’d expect from such a great author, but one specifically grabbed me.

The actual story, Strange Highways, which the book was named for:

Synopsis (Wikipedia):

  • “Strange Highways” (novel): a failed author returns to his hometown after many years to attend his father’s funeral, only to find himself suddenly and inexplicably thrust back through time to relive a traumatic event from his past, and possibly to find redemption. In the introduction, Koontz lists the Centralia, Pennsylvania mine fire as an inspiration for this story.

It’s a story of a man given a second chance and the opportunity to change his fate. The only problem is that he has to face down someone… or something that is pure evil.

I can’t give too much away because I really think that everyone should give it a read. It’s not a long story, so it won’t take a long time to get through. The characters are great, the twist as to who the bad guy is, is somewhat expected, but Koontz still keeps you on the edge of your seat while the author faces it down.

The female lead character, I’ll admit, is pretty much your typical damsel in distress, but she’s mysterious enough to be likable by herself. All and all it’s a great story, the main character starts off as somewhat drab and dismal, but you grow to appreciate his life and sympathize with him. By the end, if you aren’t warmed by what happened to him, you have a heart of stone. It really is a classic style adventure that leaves you satisfied at the end. For this short story alone, the book is worth the $2 price tag on amazon. I highly recommend picking it up. It really is amazing what can be packed into a short story.

If you follow my advice or have already read it, I’d be interested to hear opinions, whether you agree with me or not!

Catch you on the flip side!
– Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Private Life. Professional Appearance. #Writing #Author #Advice

 

Hi Jim,

Since starting writing both my books and my blog, I’ve been getting a lot of friend requests to my primary social media accounts. Part of me doesn’t want these people to have access to my personal information and the things I talk about with my friends… I’ve heard of being doxxed for their opinions, stalked, etc. However I really don’t want to insult any of my fans. I’ve already made my account private, however a lot of them still want to connect on social media platforms. You seem to have quite a following on social media, how do you handle it?

Thanks,
Juan


Hi Juan,

Keeping your private life and public image separate is something that personalities have had to contend with for many years. You’re not alone in your concerns. Honestly, I would sincerely discourage adding your fans/followers to your personal accounts. You don’t know these people and while most of them are probably benign and just being friendly, one person with ill-intent is too many.

My advice is to completely lock down your private social media accounts. Make them unsearchable and unviewable to the general public. There are ways around it, but first people have to figure out that you have private accounts and know where to find them. The next thing I would do is create social media sites for yourself using separate emails and contact info. Make these ones public where people can join for news about what you’re doing and anything else that you want to share with them. Next, I would not link your private accounts with your public ones in any way. Keep them separate.  Make sure to link all of your public accounts together and provide links to each of them for people to go to, as I have both on the sidebar and below.

As for the people who have already tried to add you, simply reject the request, you’re not obligated to add anyone and any follower should understand if you simply want to keep your page private.

In summation, do as you should be doing with your work-life and your home life, keep them separate. I can speak from experience that mixing the two does not end well. Anyway, I hope this helps. If you run into any troubles, please feel free to reach out to me again.

Readers, how do you handle scenarios like this? Is it necessary to create two different accounts and can you effectively mix your two images together? Let me know in the comments.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Ins and Outs of Publishing, A Directory of Advice. #Writing #Author #Advice

Okay, so it looks like I’m still getting a lot of publishing questions. These are recurrent questions I get on a regular basis, and while I want to try to respond to everyone who reaches out to me, I don’t want my blog becoming redundant. So I think I’m going to repost this on a weekly basis from now on to help people navigate the publishing world. I don’t really see another way around it.

So if you have questions regarding publishing, PLEASE check below to see if any of this helps you before reaching out. I’m always happy to help, but I may have already answered your question.

Publishing is a tough road to navigate. Please check out the links below. These are previous posts I’ve made about the ins and outs of publishing. They should be of assistance in your journey:

Am I Ready To Publish? This is a must read BEFORE even considering starting the process. I can’t tell you how many authors burned bridges by not being ready.

Editing… There is a Cost That Must be Paid… or is There? You can skip this one if you’ve already had your writing edited (by someone other than you!). However, I’d still recommend reading.

Getting Published… the basics… In this post, we explore traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Here you’ll get the pros on cons of each and the steps you need to go through in order to be successful in either.

Finally…

Copyrighting my Writing. Am I Protected? This isn’t required reading… however, if you’re concerned about plagiarism, or in the future may need to file a copyright claim, I recommend giving it a read.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The only sage advice I can offer you other than the documents above is simple…

  1. Do not give up. A million “No’s” suddenly become irrelevant if you get that one “yes”.
  2. People will tell you that everyone and their mother wants to publish a book. You’re up against insurmountable odds and a flooded market. This is false. You’re not up against everyone and their mother. Permit me the luxury and I’ll prove this mathematically: First of all, take the entire group of people who want to get published. Now take that number and reduce it by roughly 60%. You just eliminated all the people who want to get something published, but don’t have the time, ability, drive, or inspiration to write. Next, eliminate another 20%. You’ve now taken down all the people who can put pen to paper but can’t afford the time/money to put the work into advertising and getting published. Eliminate another 10% who can’t take criticism and thus aren’t going to be able to get their writing properly edited. Now eliminate another 5% either don’t have the patience for or get discouraged by receiving a series of “No’s” from publishers.
    Now take that last 5% and eliminate all of them, except you. Why? Because they’re irrelevant. You have your writing and they have there’s. Whether or not you get published and how successful you are isn’t about other people’s writing. Yes, in the end, it’s you against one person, you. Whether or not I’ll ever get to buy your book off the shelf depends on you; how much time, effort, and funds you’re willing to put into your writing. So make it good!

Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, do you have any publishing advice for our friend here? Let her know in the comments!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Writing Modern People in Fiction #Writing #Author #Advice

Hello, Jim–

I was wondering if you had any insight to offer on a dilemma I’m facing in a current novella draft:
The story is a blend of Alternate History and general scifi, set in a world where a much more aggressive Space Race and Cold War has led to the establishment of a joint USA-USSR colony on the Moon by the late 1990s, ostensibly as a neutral site for lunar and space experiments, as well as helium-three mining. Most of my characters are fictional, but many of the secondary ones are public figures, including real astronauts or other personnel involved in flight engineering and other aspects of space travel; some are deceased, while at least one is himself a published author. I am concerned about using such figures due to possible legal issues (which I am still unclear on, despite diligent searching and questions elsewhere), but I don’t want to go back and redesign the characters, which might involve scrapping the whole draft (something I’ve already done once before with this one). Do you have any suggestions on how to sort this out?
Sincerely,
Mark Ciccone

Hi Mark,

This is a tough one. On the surface, you can argue that they are real people being exposed to fictional situations, but that still won’t cover you. In the past, I’ve had people ask me about historical figures or past political ones. However, those people have always been deceased and you can’t libel a dead person. Now even then, you’re not free from legal challenge or public scrutiny, especially if that person has an estate and living relatives.
This is a complicated problem, especially if you’re going to to through the self-publishing realm. Again it would be easier if a publisher were involved because then a lot of the legalese is sorted out by them. However if you do self-pubish and even if you don’t, you could be getting yourself into trouble. This is ten-fold with self publishing as you PERSONALLY are responsible for any legal woes.
I have two suggestions for you and neither one is really going to be easy…
1. First, contact an attorney, let them guide you through the legalities here (I am not an expert, so I will tip my hat to their knowledge). I would also reach out to the people in question. Try to speak to them personally, let them know what you’re doing, and what you’re planning on using them for. Finally, get written authorization from these people. Again, this won’t be fool-proof protection, but in the case of a cease and desist or lawsuit, it will help your defense.
2. Change the characters. I’m afraid this is my recommendation.  Keep your characters as they are, but change the names and make them slightly less recognizable. I know it’s not what you want to do, but believe me, it is the easiest way to save yourself a headache down the line.
Like it or not, if you go with option one, no matter how much you insulate yourself, no matter how much you follow the letter of the law, there is virtually nothing preventing the people you write about from contacting their attorneys and issuing a cease and desist letter demanding that you cease production, destroy whatever copies you have, and send them whatever money you have made off of your book. You can fight this, but legal battles are not cheap and for authors who don’t make much money off of their books, it’s hardly worth the effort or risk. This is arguably the more lenient possibility.
The other could be a lawsuit for libel, which will be far more costly.
Now what are the chances that any of the people you write about ever reading your book or deciding to take legal action against you? Arguably, that’s very slim. The cost of legal action is often not worth whatever damages they get paid out, but you never know. Some might file the suit based on principle alone.
So in the end… I’m sorry, but I’m afraid my advice is to simply alter your characters enough that they aren’t exactly the people you’re trying to write about. It won’t be easy, but you’ll be better off in the long run when it comes to having to worry about losing your hard work or earned money.
However, as with always, that’s just my opinion. I’ve got a lot of other knowledgeable people amongst my followers, so let’s open it up to them as well.
Readers- what do you think Mark should do? Should he chance it, or should he simply go through the process of altering those characters?
Just a quick reminder, I am not a lawyer, not am I any sort of legal expert. I give out advice on writing based on my own experiences. When it comes to any legality, my advice is as it always has been; CONTACT A LAWYER!!!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Being Preachy Doesn’t Sell. #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim!

I’m hoping you can help me here as a lot of your posts have been about political ideologies making bad stories.

I want to write a fictional story with a moral and a political message, but upon rereading what I’ve already written, I’m worried about it being too preachy.  Do you have any advice for me?

Thanks!
Leah


Hi Leah,
Good question. Well to be honest, you’re already half way home. That you re-read your work and recognized this problem means that you’ve already got the tools to fix it.
First of all, this is just advice. Don’t think that you’re under obligation to heed any of the pointers I give you. This is YOUR story and if you like it the way it is, then you don’t owe anyone an explanation… you just have to worry about how it sells. That said, since you yourself are saying that it sounds too preachy, my guess is that you’re not entirely satisfied with it.
This is something that has been plaguing writers a lot recently, not only in books, but in movies, comics, as well as other mediums. Too often, they fall into the same trap, chasing the proverbial tail in the pursuit of the holy grail of diversity. They either hire politically motivated people who… aren’t always the best writers, or they pressure the good writers they have to the point where the focus is on political agenda over telling a good story. The entertainment aspect, which is what the industry they’re in is supposed to be about, takes a back seat. Audiences notice this, which is why so many of the movies that have gotten critical acclaim have suffered so badly at the box office.
This is especially damaging when you factor in political fatigue and a greater desire among audiences for escapism. When their favorite books, movies, sporting events, and even commercials are becoming sacrificial lambs on the alter of political narrative, they tend to clench their wallets even tighter, hoping for something that will allow them to get away from it all… even if the narrative is something they agree with.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a political agenda in your work, but if you’re in an industry where the expectation is that you’re supposed to entertain, than the message has to come secondary.
In my opinion, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about putting a political message in an entertainment piece. Let’s look at both, shall we?
The Wrong Way:
Presenting a character with a problem either similar to or identical to the one you want to present. Naming exact people in political office, etc. Presenting one side of the argument, put into context who’s right and who is wrong. The writer is basically spoon-feeding how a reader is supposed to think and paints everyone who doesn’t view things that way as evil.
The Right Way:
Create a hypothetical situation that is very similar to the one you want to address, or use fictional characters that are similar in nature. Show the good and the bad, but give the reasons for both. A good example of this would be the old comics that Stan Lee wrote. The original X-Men were supposed to be a narrative on the Holocaust and racism. However, he didn’t paint the people who wanted mutants to have to register and be persecuted necessarily as evil. He presented their argument as well; mutants could be dangerous, we see it. There is a reason to fear many of them.
So the moral here is to not try to control how your reader thinks. Present both arguments, as well as their context. Let the reader decide for themselves who is the moral right.
A good analogy would be a college classroom. The more engaging classes are when a professor presents a topic for debate and allows the students to weigh out both sides to come to a final moral decision.
The less engaging classes are when the professor puts everything into context, and essentially shuts down any chance of debate by saying that one side is right, while the other is not. The people on the ‘wrong’ side are understandably either going to shut down or get extremely defensive, and nothing is gained. Nothing positive is likely to be gained from that class and the students won’t remember it fondly.
So Leah, what to do with your story… I think that the best thing might be to scrap your first draft and start over. It might be easier than trying to go back and change everything wrong with the first draft if it’s that bad. When you start re-writing or editing remember, tell you story first, and make the political narrative secondary. You have to be able to tell a coherent, enjoyable story before you start worrying about a political message. Otherwise you’re going to disenfranchise your readers. Flesh out all the characters, including the ones you don’t agree with. Put yourself in their shoes and think about why they may have arrived at their conclusions of what is ‘right’.
Let your narrative flow through the story and trust your readers to have the intelligence to get the message you’re trying to convey. If you write a good story, there should be no need to come out and specifically tell them which side is right and which is wrong.
Anyway, I hope this helps! Feel free to email me if you need more help.
Readers, what do you think? Do you have any additional advice for Leah? Let her know in the comments!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Expert Consulting on Fantasy? #Writing #Author #Advice

Hi Jim,
I have a question maybe you can help with. I’m trying to write a fantasy novel dealing with biological warfare, but I don’t have a lot of scientific or medical knowledge. I don’t want it to sound like I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I want to try to explain the mechanics of how certain things work in the book.
Example: I want to explain how a biological disease could, in theory, transform a person’s cells.  I’m not sure what to do here short of getting a degree in biology.
Thanks,
Mason

Hi Mason,
Thanks for reaching out. I believe what you’re trying to practice is a little something called ‘psuedo science’. It’s not always super important that it actually makes perfect sense, as most readers won’t care.
That being said, if you’re hoping to cater to an audience that is more knowledgeable on the subject,  I would say that you may want to reach out to an outside source. When I wrote Drakin, I wanted to explain how a Raiya’s biological makeup was physically possible… or at least make it sound like it could be possible under the right set of circumstances. How could someone exist with discolored hair, horns, scales, and reptilian eyes in our world:
Drakin-Cover-Poster-Final (1)
Fortunately, my network includes people in the healthcare industry, including a couple of microbiologists. I was able to give them a couple of hypotheticals surrounding my ideas and see if it at least sounded feasible. They gave me their feedback and I worked around it.
So the best advice I can give you here is to try and locate someone with an expertise in the field. If you can’t find the answers you need through your own personal research, then reaching out to an expert in the field would be the next move.
Readers, what do you think? Do you know of any other options Mason has? Let him know in the comments!


Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim