Adventures in Administration


Writing is glamorous. Right? Especially if you write fiction. You get to create characters – whole people, whole groups of people, whose identities and actions come to life simply because you decided they should. You can create an amazing swashbuckling undead pirate zombie who has risen from the dead to save the only thing he ever loved: his reputation. Or, you can fathom a distressed orphan found and raised by a group of lonely housewives, unbeknownst to their husbands and families, who grows up to be a serial killer, because, really, who needs that many mothers?

Writing is Glamorous.

It’s great to have that kind of control.

Self-publishing is somewhat less glamorous. You retain control over most aspects of your book’s creation, from having input on the cover design to the channels you’ll use to market and sell it, to setting the price and even running sales. But now that you’ve written the book, you need to think about it, and analyze it, and make it interesting to people who are willing to pay you money for it. Which, really, is still kind of awesome.

But, now, excel spreadsheets are involved.

Writing is Glamorous. (1)

I love excel, don’t get me wrong. I mean, I’ll gladly put information into little cells and play with it for hours, but it just doesn’t have that same sense of awe and wonder that comes with the actual writing of a story.

And, that’s where I’m at this week. Making spreadsheets and analyzing data.



The Bad Guy.

Today, my daughter and I went to Denny’s for breakfast. Well, she had breakfast. I had coffee. While we were there I took the opportunity to talk to her. You know, without my phone in my hand – not even to google stuff we were talking about.  I know, right?

Anyway, we started talking about book two in my series.

“But, book one isn’t done yet!” you say. You’re right, but…it’s time to start thinking about where the story goes next.

Let me back up a second. Last night, I started reading a book to my daughter, and this particular book has a series of character profiles at the beginning. It makes for easy reference if you forget who is who later on. As I read through those pages, I paused and said, “You know, this is what authors do when they’re creating a new character.” I was excited about it. She just blinked at me until I went back to reading.

Back to Denny’s. I decided I wanted her opinion on one of my characters: the Bad Guy. I brought up the character profiles from the night before, and I could see she made the connection (not just vacant blinking, but blinking with feeling). We chatted briefly and she went back to her pancakes. Suddenly, she stopped chewing and with a very matter-of-fact demeanor and a chunk of pancake in her hand, she said:

“Good guys drink tea, bad guys drink coffee. That’s the difference.”

Then, she stuffed a giant piece of pancake in her mouth.

My mind was blown. I couldn’t help the slow smile and all the turning wheels behind it. I gushed out-loud over her idea, and she sat up a little straighter and looked at me a little sassier. Keep your eyes on this one folks, she’s going places.

I liked what she said so much, I made a graphic of it (look for it all over social media soon):

Good guys drink tea, bad guys drink coffee. That's the difference.
– S.S.

We spent the rest of the morning discussing all the traits of Mr. Bad Guy: how he looks, what type of vehicle he drives, what are his reasons for being the bad guy, what are his hobbies, what’s his name and why that matters, etc.

It was great. I wrote everything down in red crayon on a white napkin. I’m keeping that napkin. Maybe someday, I’ll have it framed and give it to my daughter.

Market Research

Hello friends.

As mentioned on my home page, this site is in support of my endeavor to write – and publish – fiction.

My goal is to publish my first novel this year.

Wow. I just wrote that. Let me write that again, but bigger, and in title format.

My Goal is to Publish My First Novel this Year.

Holy crap.

Well, I’ve written it, so that means I’ve got to do it.

I’ve recently taken a class on self-publishing. It was chock full of ideas and these last few days I have been trying to put together a project management plan. But, I’m left-handed and I don’t think linearly, so I currently have 14 tabs open, and they all deal with different aspects of the process of self-publishing. Except the Crested Butte tab, that’s about snowboarding.

One of the most important, and free, things I need to do is market research. I need to research book covers, competitors, my target audience, etc. I’ve even done searches on my name. I think I’ve settled on KM Smith. But, maybe there’s another nom de plume that’s more appropriate. Maybe I should choose an entirely different name altogether. Like Francie Higgenbottom or Delia Ruze. Probably not.

Okay, back to work.

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