Whether we publish through traditional means or independently, we’ll most likely want to think about creating a platform to support a writing career connects us to the larger prospects of authorship, such as the publication and marketing of our work.
Like anything else in our writing careers, each of the following could take us all day, all week, or even the rest of our lives, but setting a timer for 5 minutes and getting something done on each will add up quickly to progress and an understanding of the channels available to us.
social media & connecting with other writers, editors, and publishers
banking and bookkeeping
learning something new about writing, social media, design, etc
Every writer’s schedules, interests, and mileage will differ, as always, but touching base with writing communities, financial sustainability, and professional development can keep us active in the greater world outside. Sure, writers sometimes feel like metaphorical cave-dwelling hermits, but even real cave-dwelling hermits communicate with nature, eat, and try to be the best hermits they can be.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel.
This week from @yourwritingmuse: You’ve devised a great writing space. No wonder you get so much done. From your fan, your Writing Muse
Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind. – Woolcott Gibbs
Notes from the acquisitions editor
Every acquisitions editor has a few red flags in a top desk drawer. This list may save you time with rejections.
Ten cent transitionals like suddenly, then, next, and realized.
Actions that come after they occur (eg Stella walked on, having shut the door behind her.)
Bouncing blonde curls (You wouldn’t believe how often I read stories where blonde curls bounce around. Also, raven hair.)
Without a doubt, paragraphs jam-packed with sentences beginning with modifying phrases.
Dialogue tags like “chuckled”, “said flirtatiously”, “shouted”, “gasped”, “For which better dialogue can be substituted,” Mel advised testily.
Exclamation points. (Excepted, the masters Ray Bradbury and Tom Wolfe.)
Frequent adverbs, (excepted, the master Bill Bryson.)
ALL CAPS DAMMIT.
However, there are no hard and fast rules. Many editors think all use of the passive stinks like old fish, but two of my favourite writers, Wodehouse and Churchill, use the passive form a lot, and for excellent reasons, so the passive is not much of a red flag for me. One reason authors love writing is that we enjoy our creative freedom. Do what you like, really, for there will be editors who are fine with ! and Iy. I read somewhere that McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies was rejected many times for its slow start, and it became an adored bestseller. (Note: the previous sentence was in passive form because the manuscript was more important than the editors who rejected it).
How comforting it is to know that none of us will ever catch everything. That’s why we employ brilliant, talented copy editors to work over our manuscripts. Pay them. Pay them more than they ask.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel
This week from @yourwritingmuse: I admire the way your first paragraph gives us time, place, tone, and hints at the central conflict. Your Writing Muse
Our Something Novel campaign has just been picked as staff favourite over at Kickstarter, and we like to think it’s because of our ‘Strong Female Characters’, aka the heroes of Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries and Allaigna’s Song: Overture.
On the surface, Stella and Allaigna couldn’t seem more different: one is in her eighties, trapped in a home waiting to die; and the other is a child just starting out on a life of adventure.
However, it is their similarities that make them characters we love. Despite their lack of personal power, they are stubborn, strong-willed, and fierce crusaders against injustice of all kinds. We are rooting for them from page one.
If you want to invite both these uppity women into your home, choose the Double Dare on Kickstarter. For $35 + shipping we will send you each novel as it’s released: Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries at the end of March, and Allaigna’s Song: Overture in late May. And if digital is your style, you can get both novels for the amazing deal of $10.
But wait, there’s more! The second Allaigna novel will start in the pages ofPulp Literature Issue 13 and continue to be serialized throughout the year. Plus, issues 14 and 16 will both contain brand new Stella novellas! To avoid missing out you can get a print subscription plus the novels with the Reader’s Delight at $80, or your can add a digital subscription to any reward for only $10.
With the whole great world of publishing at your fingertips, we hope you’ll choose to subscribe to Pulp Literature. We work hard to get you the best storytelling around, and to keep our philosophy rooted in integrity, keeping true to our goals and our promises to you, our readers, authors, and artists.
Our editorial goal is to put together a gorgeous magazine bursting with intriguing tales for you, our faithful readers.
Our business goal is to become the first literary magazine to sustain itself on subscriptions from satisfied customers.
Our employment goal is to pay higher and higher per-word and per-page rates to our authors and artists as our subscription list grows.
With three days left in our Something Novel campaign, we wish you warm spots to read and put your feet up, the most comfortable of seating, and a happy reading experience this winter, and through the year. Thanks for your readership and support.
A great new read in fantasy, Allaigna’s Song: Overture never fails to intrigue and satisfy my love of adventure and superbly drawn characters.
From the very first page, JM Landels draws us into Allaigna’s brilliantly observed world, a land rich in conflict and magic. Jen is a gifted storyteller and gives her readers those greatest of rewards, surprise turns and great character growth and transformation. Subtle and powerful, her writing always pleases.
In her first paragraphs, Jen shows her craft and genius in world-building, centering the reader firmly in a resonant family picture, rooting us into a land teetering on the verge of war. Danger gathers all around the flawed and appealing young Allaigna. Royal and empowered with magical abilities she has yet to discover, she feels the same fears that any young child might fear, of loss of a mother’s attention, and an uncertain place in her father’s kingdom.
Jen had me at Allaigna’s first song, when the little girl comes close to killing the new prince, her brother. It’s a book you won’t be able to put down.
Self-motivation is one of the great time management tools available to writers, and one of the most pleasant to employ. If you’re geared up, it’s far easier to sit your butt in that chair and type.
One powerful way to self-motivate is to take a minute to contemplate our greater goals. Picture the ideal life you want. Spend a little time with the writer you intend to be — the writers you really are. How will you spend your days?
The bigger the goal, the more challenging and meaningful it is. As writers we can envision reaching it, without worrying about how we’ll take every step along the way. Maybe we’ll have to slog every step, but writers love writing, so that’s completely okay. Or maybe, from time to time, fortune will shine on us, through an opportunity for swift advancement that a writer’s hard work has readied each of us to accept.
If a career goal is our true desire, and if we can picture ourselves winning it, then the small steps we take towards it have more meaning. And they may be more fun, especially if thinking about that red carpet to a writing nomination at the Oscars is on your mind, or a signing, or a great big royalty cheque. Our goal may well be to write while smiling broadly. These are the working moments when a writer feels as if time stands still, and (I smile as I type) it’s truly amazing how much we can get done when it feels like time stands still.
With a great attitude and steady incremental preparation, we are a long way towards creating the author’s life we want and deserve.
I hope it’s another brilliant writing day for you.
For more inspiration from Mel, check out The Writer’s Boon Companion available till December 1st only on Something Novel.
All right, this is the uber mega reward. For the true art lover who wants to be a patron of the arts by supporting Something Novel on Kickstarter at the $1000 level, you score a beautiful piece of original art by Mel Anastasiou.
Only 1 available!
Two for Joy, by Mel Anastasiou.
“To complete a composition of this size, with a fair amount of complexity, and smile while I work on it late into the night … the secret is to love every tiny line.”
– Mel Anastasiou
This signed16″ x 24″ pen and ink composition is drawn on high-quality acid-free paper and is suitable for framing. Plus the lucky backer who pledges for this reward will get all the perks of the Collector’s Delight and a thank-you card from Mel. That includes
All 12 print back issues of Pulp Literature plus a 1-year print subcription.
Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by Mel Anastasiou
Allaigna’s Song: Overture by JM Landels
The Writer’s Boon Companion by Mel Anastasiou
A complete collection of printable notecards from Mel
The option to swap the Art Lover’s Delight for the Collector’s Delight and have a portrait drawn by Mel.
This is huge support for Pulp Literature Press. $1000.00 covers a quarter of printing and distribution costs for our first two novels, and lets us get the ball rolling for this brand new publishing house.
What does the funding go towards?
The funds we raise through this Kickstarter campaign will pay for creative costs, production, marketing, and distribution to deliver Stella Ryman & The Fairmount Manor Mysteries and Allaigna’s Song: Overture into your hands.
Creative Costs: These include hiring a graphic designer, copy-editor, and proofreader for each book, plus the cost of new cover paintings for Allaigna and Stella by Melissa Mary Duncan and Kris Sayer. Mel and Jen have contributed their texts at no cost to the project and will only get paid through royalties.
Printing & Distribution: Books for the Canadian market will be printed locally at First Choice Books in Victoria BC, while international markets will be served by local print-on-demand services to reduce both shipping times and our carbon footprint.
Reward Fulfillment: This includes costs of rewards outside printing and distribution of the novels.
Marketing: We have allotted $1000 per book for marketing both during the campaign and afterwards to make sure these novels reach the eyes of readers like you around the world.
Kickstarter Fees: 3-5% of the funds go to credit card processing fees, and 5% of the money raised stays with Kickstarter to support the platform and make crowdfunding like this possible.
Did you discover Paradise with last year’s Kickstarter? If not, here’s your second chance! We still have a few copies of Colouring Paradise: a Renaissance-Inspired Colouring Book available on Something Novel. At $10 plus shipping, this book of beautiful full-sized, frameable colouring pages is the perfect gift for the colouring afficionado in your life. Relaxing and inspiring, colouring may be just what you need to de-stress and re-invigorate your creative brain. The reward includes:
A gorgeous print version, plus the pdf to print as many additional pages as you like.
Add $9 to include The Writer’s Boon Companion and any digital issue of Pulp Literature (save a dollar)!
Add $9 to include a print edition of Pulp Literature (save another dollar)!
Here’s what people are saying
“classic timeless and elegant”
“inspired and inspiring”
“possibly the beautiful pictures you’ve ever coloured”
Every time we run a Kickstarter Mel generously offers to do beautiful portraits for a few lucky backers, and this year is no different. This year there are only five Art Lover’s Delight rewards available on the Something Novel page.
Author portraits by Mel
Art Lover’s Delight – Only 5 available!
An 8.5 x 11″ pen and ink portrait of yourself or a loved one in Mel’s breathtaking renaissance style
A fun set of limited edtion JJ Lee paper dolls by Kris Sayer created for our first Kickstarter campaign back in 2013!
One of the few remaining print copies of Colouring Paradise.
A one-year print subscription to Pulp Literature.
Both novels: Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries and Allaigna’s Song: Overture.
The Writer’s Boon Companion illustrated 30-day writing journal
All this plus free shipping at the $500 level!
A 2015 Backer portrait
All of Mel’s customers have been delighted with their Renaissance-themed portraits.
As Mel says, “Like the Renaissance painters who are my first inspirations, I try to give good value, and at the $500 level I include intricate backgrounds and favourite themes in an intriguing composition.”