Thursday, October 19, 2006

E-book Challenge Update



Writers are strange creatures when we're under the WIP. Sometimes the pressure makes us doers, achievers and innovators. Other times it turns us into wafflers, procrastinators and fraidy-cats. Add in a rapidly-evaporating deadline, and writers turn into word slingers juggling story dynamite that's oozing rewrite nitro. One wrong move on the page and BOOM, it all falls to pieces.

Folks, we've got less than two weeks left. It's Tough Love time.

I wanted to use this post to assure the self-doubters out there that you don't have to finish anything. The easiest thing in the world to do with a WIP is to shove it in a drawer and make the usual excuses: "I didn't have time to polish/finish/do it right, but I'll get back to it/try again/give it an overhaul another time." No one will bitch at you for missing this challenge, not even me. The world is very understanding about the artist's struggle. Nothing bad will ever be said about a half-finished manuscript in a drawer that no one will ever see. Win/win/win.

Actually I think it's a very smart way to write. You can do whatever you want and you don't have to follow through or finish it. You'll never have to go out on a limb, or be subjected to ridicule, or risk rejection. Your suffering and struggle will snag you lots of sympathy. You'll never get published, and me and the other published writers out here will never have to compete on the shelf with you, but you'll be safe. Maybe after you're dead someone will discover all those partials and do something with them. Litter boxes and bird cages always need liners, right?

If I happen to think you're better than that, that you have more spine than that, then I could just be wrong. Sometimes I am. Not often, but sometimes.

I know a lot of you have already finished and have your links ready for me, so now for the all-important link e-mail instructions (which will be repeated again next week and in the days just before October 31st):

E-mail me at PBWChallenge@aol.com with the following:

The title and byline for your e-book

Example: Midnight Blues by Lynn Viehl

The URL for your e-book download file, or the URL for where your e-book can be read online.

Example: http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com

Optional (this will be included with your link listing on PBW):

A short (25 words or less) premise, teaser or description of your e-book.

Example: Lonely vampire cop fights to save human nun from immortal sadist who wants them both.

What genre, if any, your e-book is written in.

Examples: Dark Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Crime Fiction, etc.

Note: Do not send me the file for your e-book or any attachments.

13 comments:

  1. Looks like my previous post was sucked up into the tornado of cyberspace, crushed, then scattered to the four winds.

    So, I'll repeat:

    I love the newspaper piece, although I wanted to read the third, blocked column, too.

    My Challenge piece is almost ready to go, but I have one question: how do I post the .pdf file to my blog?

    Anyone?

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  2. Also one question:

    If we're posting more than one piece (say, for example, two very different short stories, or a short and a novella), do you want the URL for both, and quickie teasers for both, or would you rather we limit ourselves to a specific one for the challenge?

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  3. Jaye wrote: Looks like my previous post was sucked up into the tornado of cyberspace, crushed, then scattered to the four winds.

    Blogger was acting very squirrelly last night, Jaye. It took me an hour just to get the post published.

    I love the newspaper piece, although I wanted to read the third, blocked column, too.

    I'd love to read it, too, but I think it's just some letters (I made it with the Newspaper Clipping generator.)

    My Challenge piece is almost ready to go, but I have one question: how do I post the .pdf file to my blog?

    I know you already know how to code a link, so I assume you mean FTP. Blogger has a help page on FTP problems here. If you don't have your own external web host, Simon Haynes generously offered to host .pdf files for anyone participating in the challenge -- see his comments in the original challenge post here.

    If you've never done FTP before this, check out Knowledge Now's tutorial. If you need a free web host service to upload to, check out the ones listed here.

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  4. Raine wrote: If we're posting more than one piece (say, for example, two very different short stories, or a short and a novella), do you want the URL for both, and quickie teasers for both, or would you rather we limit ourselves to a specific one for the challenge?

    I'm going to limit everyone to one link for the challenge because of the crit drawing (if anyone missed that part, I will be drawing 20 links at random from everyone who participates to read and give you a personal critique of your work.)

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  5. OK, one clairification.

    The "one-link" rule I understand. I was thinking of publishing a collection of short stories like you did with "Do or Die." Is this acceptable? Or am I limited to one work (short story, novella, or novel)?

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  6. So everyone already has a cover? Eeek! I have the story, but no cover..yet. :)

    ha...the visual verificiation was a white box with the red X in it. LOL!

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  7. I love it when your alter egos come out with their rhetoric flying!

    Mine's going to be ready in plenty of time (something I was too sure about until Monday morning). A helpful friend pointed out some inconvenient POV shifts last night, so I'll take care of that in editing this weekend followed by a polishing session. I've done my first test .pdf run. I may play with the cover font. Bibliography and bio are ok. It's really just a short, short story, but I enjoyed the exercise of assembling the complete package.

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  8. Bill wrote: I was thinking of publishing a collection of short stories like you did with "Do or Die." Is this acceptable? Or am I limited to one work (short story, novella, or novel)?

    Absolutely it's acceptable -- anything published in a single volume is. In other words, your e-book for the challenge can contain a single or multiple stories; as long as what you publish is put together into a single e-book.

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  9. Patrice wrote: So everyone already has a cover? Eeek! I have the story, but no cover..yet. :)

    I do want to stress that cover art is not a requirement. It's a nice perk, and I wrote up a post about making your own cover art here, but if you'd prefer to keep it simple and publish the story, that's fine.

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  10. Jean wrote: It's really just a short, short story, but I enjoyed the exercise of assembling the complete package.

    Hey, we like short, short stories. :)

    In addition to showcasing the writing, putting together an e-book is a great exercise in considering, designing and executing a book's production. It's not as complicated (or as expensive and time-consuming) as what the major publishers do, but it lets you walk a couple of miles in their moccasins.

    At the moment I'm contemplating my cover art, which still needs some tweaking, and deciding whether or not I should keep the cattle prod in the very first scene....

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  11. and deciding whether or not I should keep the cattle prod in the very first scene....

    LOLOLOLOL! :)

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  12. deciding whether or not I should keep the cattle prod in the very first scene....

    Oh, yesssss!! Now that's what I call a HOOK. Or would you describe it as having ZING? Yes, definitely, ZING!

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  13. I'm hoping that naughty and tawdry romps aren't excluded? In the challenge, I mean. I sent my information tonight. You are over 18, right? :P

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