Tag Archives: books

A different kind of a year.

So my number of external publications is slowing. Down to a few factors.

First: I’m focusing on novels, so I’ll be writing fewer short stories and novellas. I may write a short story or two between bursts of novels. Inclination will be a big determinant on that 🙂

Second: I have a trip coming up later in the year. Six weeks. Latin America. I can’t guarantee my access to the internet to manage submissions and the business as a whole. So I’m putting submissions on hold from now through until I return. No sense in frustrating editors if by chance they want my story and they can’t get hold of me.

Third: I’m pursuing professional sales only. You would think that that’s an obvious strategy, but for many years I’ve undervalued my writing. That’s not to say that I’m not proud of my publications, or ungrateful to those editors who’ve honored me with publication.

Naturally this assumes that editors will take my stories. I have had numerous professional publications, and I generally get positive personal rejections from most for stories that don’t make the cut. Making it cut is always a long shot. I recall reading that Clarkesworld receives around 1000 submissions a month, all angling for one of five places in the magazine.

So, all that said, if I’m not here announcing more frequently, it’s because I have less to announce.

Naturally, I will be writing just as much 🙂

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Year end review, with a late rally

Close to the end of the year, close to completing some goals, distant from others.
 
My word-count goal went well: from 300,000 for the year (completed in August), upped then to 450,000 for the year (completed in November) and upped again to 500,000, and right now sitting at 497,065. Catastrophes aside, it looks like a slam dunk on that one. Yay.
 
Publishing 300,000 words didn’t go so great. It went pretty good – right now it’s around 203,000. Mostly self-published under my Triple V Publishing banner through Smashwords, Kindle, and CreateSpace/Amazon. It was gratifying to have several acceptances by publishers in there – about 26,000 words of that total were published in online and print magaziens such as MicroHorror, The Colored Lens and Takahe.
 
What about the other 97,000 words? Well, I sure wrote them. Part of it was procrastination: sitting on a 60,000 word New Zealand Literary novel instead of sending it out to some publishers (and then self-publishing it if it came back as noes). I’ll remedy that in the new year, with my new goals. Part of it was a pig-headed determination to keep things on the market – that is, numerous stories, novelettes and novellas that get rejected and go out again, rather than self-pubbing. I’ll fix that too: with some of the pieces that have been to the seven or eight main markets: the next time they come back I’ll pull them out of circulation and publish them through Triple V.
 
I felt like I spent much of the year feeling out in the wilderness: I’ve had more than a hundred rejection slips since January. Mostly form rejections, but there have been a few personal notes which has been cheering. The acceptances have helped out too – early in the year my sci-fi novella The Wreck of the Emerald Sky appeared in The Colored Lens. I had a few flash-fiction acceptances through the year, which was nice, but most of the longer works seemed to keep cycling. Then, a late rally. An acceptance for Takahe (a New Zealand literary mag), a third-placing in a regional short story contest, and an acceptance for Aurealis – one of Australia’s leading science fiction magazines. Coming just a couple of weeks before the end of the year, that acceptance has buoyed me no end: I am on the right track, and persistence pays (real money in this case, too).

Next year, I’m aiming at 500,000 words from the git-go. And aiming at publishing 600,000 (whether self- or traditional) – and have a plan in place to make the possible.

See you next year, with more goal updates.

First try at publishing a double-header


As my self-publishing empire lags and stutters along, I’ll keep trying new things. What a learning curve. Following ideas from Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch with their publishing arm WMG Publishing I’ve published two stories – Pipe Dive and Skinny Joe together, as one package, but as two separate units one with each story as the lead title. The content of each is the same, just in reversed order. They are linked stories – both set on the same world, with the same group of researchers (though in these two stories there’s no character crossover, there are, and will be, in other stories).

As you can see, I’m also working with covers – one is self-designed, the other is a commercial/professional illustration. I’ve bumped up the font size and word layout while trying to retain the general Triple V Publishing look. I noticed on some covers (like Xuento), the author name almost vanishes. Spreading “Monaghan” across the width, then tucking “Sean” in above, nestled between the “M” and the “h” risers makes the name visible at even thumnail size. I’ve simplified the covers too – no tagline, not even the Tripe V logo (perhaps that’s a mistake, we’ll see).

I’ve worked on my blurbs too – trying to be active and succinct. I think next year I’ll look at taking Dean Wesley Smith’s course on writing pitches and blurbs. This is how they look at the moment:

Skinny Joe
A Daron story. Skinny Joe’s on a deadline. And he can’t wait to get home to see Paula. But when he triggers something in the depths of the structure, it looks like he’ll be lucky to get out alive. A short story by Sean Monaghan, author of The Tunnel and Rotations. Includes bonus story “Pipe Dive”.

Pipe Dive
A Daron story. Pieter thought divorcing Mel would have been the end of it. Now he’s trapped in an artificial cavern deep in the structure. With Mel. And there’s no way to get back. A short story by Sean Monaghan, author of The Tunnel and Rotations. Includes bonus story “Skinny Joe”.

Buy them here: Skinny Joe and Pipe Dive. Soon on Kindle, B&N and so on.

Skinny Joe was originally published in Infinite Windows, and this is the first publication of Pipe Dive. That’s a new experiment – most of the Sean Monaghan fiction I’ve self-published has been of previously published works.

Taking your own best advice

I read a great post on writing by Rachel Aaron recently – how she focuses her writing time to get concentrated results with a mix of tracking her productivity (word counts), knowing what she’s writing and writing enthusiastically – read the post if you’re a writer, it makes for interesting stuff. I’m partway through the first of Rachel’s Eli novels – The Spirit Thief – and enjoying it.

Rachel also has a post about her thoughts the Taleist survey of self-published authors. Her post was interesting, and for a moment I almost considered buying the survey to get a sense of my own efforts – after all this is a business and the survey only costs $5. Except then I read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Not a real survey” post on the Taleist document, and then the comments following that. Well – completely the opposite take. I’d had a sneaking suspicion that the survey might not be quite up to par, and her overview (and the comments) breaks it down neatly. Too many holes. Still, sometimes you’ve got to dig through a lot of dirt to find any gold.