Archives for posts with tag: novella
East Van Saturday – four short stories and a novella, has just been sent out to three more Canadian publishers.
The process began in November of last year when I decided that self-publishing another work (currently I’ve self-published eight novels and two plays) wasn’t going to achieve what I wanted.
What do I want?
Critical, serious consideration for my writing and you’re not likely going to receive that as an self-published author.
Why? Because it’s now dead easy to self-publish and guess what, everybody’s doing it. In 2015 alone, 625,327 ISBN numbers were issued for individual indie books.
In the past six months I’ve submitted to five publishers. If you think sending out submissions is easy, well, I guess it depends on what you’re comparing it to.
– publishers are obsessively specific about how your manuscript should be presented: what font style, what type size, margin widths, headers, etc.
– part of the submission package is to explain why you think your work is a good fit for them,
– you must provide details on how you’re prepared to market your book,
– in most cases they will not accept simultaneous or multiple submissions,
– they don’t let you know they received your submission,
– you are under no circumstances allowed to contact them in any way,
– they don’t let you know if they reject your work, they’ll just shred it, using “a secure process”.
Okay, so it’s not that difficult, it’s just extremely annoying to have to deal with their arrogance – and that’s without ever having the opportunity to speak with any of them.
To make it even more galling, in 2014-15 these guys (and gals) received $30 million dollars in Canadian government subsidies – that’s my tax money.
And what exactly do they do for this money now that all the services: editing, cover design, production, marketing and distribution can be done by the author or purchased from experts relatively inexpensively?
One thing.
They’re the gatekeepers to literary acceptance. If you’re an indie author you’re a joke, if your traditionally published you’re accepted by the literati.
Not that I’ll make any more money. Emerging authors are lucky to receive a fifteen percent royalty on traditionally published books.
So here we go again.
East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella, is to some degree autobiographical and impart to the reader why you can take the boy out of East Van, but you’ll never take East Van out of the boy.
Though the stories are all set in East Vancouver (with the exception of Hitchhike, which is a cross Canada misadventure during the “summer of love”), the themes have universal appeal and the music, the fashions and the culture are distinctly familiar to “boomers”.
Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs
Amazon Author Page


The Rocker and the Bird Girl (RBG) is a novella I wrote on Inkitt, more as an experiment than a serious piece of writing. I wanted to see if I wrote something YA oriented if it would generate for me any of the response this site boasts about. I’d have been happy with comments and criticism, but wouldn’t have turned down a publishing deal.

Here’s the blurb for the story.

If someone called Mattie a bird brain she’d take it as a compliment. She loves birds, has spent her entire twenty years surrounded by them and believes they are more intelligent, loving and loyal than, well, most anything else in this world.

Mattie’s grandfather spent all his retirement, time and funds, establishing a sanctuary for homeless, imported, exotic birds.

Now granddad was gone and so was the money to support the sanctuary. In her desperate search for funding to keep the refuge open Mattie had read that lead guitarist and lyricist Bodine, of the notorious rock band, Seditious, owned a Macaw as a pet.

The guy was obviously fabulously wealthy. Maybe he’d like to spend some of that money saving these beautiful, precious creatures instead of on drugs and expensive toys?

He wasn’t answering her emails so she guessed she’d have to try to get his attention at the Seditious concert that was coming to town. She’d never been to a rock concert and wasn’t looking forward to it, but desperate times called for desperate measures.


Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll have taken their toll on Bodine, lead guitarist and songwriter for Seditious, the chart topping, outrageous rock band. He’s just playing the part until something better comes along. The problem is what’s better than being a rich and famous rock idol? Certainly not helping some over zealous young woman save exotic birds, even if his best friend is a Blue and Gold Macaw.

I’d knock off a chapter about once every three days and upload it to the site then promote it on Twitter and Facebook. I kind of got caught up with the characters and the plot and before I knew it they were having their way with me.

Once completed, it’s a novella, only 20,000 words, I left it up for awhile but had become too attached to it to let it languish among all the dreck. Besides after four months it had received no comments or criticisms and accumulated only about two hundred and fifty reads and eleven downloads. I’m not sure what that means in terms of success on Inkitt, but it was obvious to me nothing was happening.

And so, more or less to keep my hand in, and as an offering to my ART members (Advance Reading Team) I’ve self-published it and even have some ideas about developing it into a series. It was fun, easy to write and I got to addressed some issues.

You can become an ART member and receive a free copy of The Rocker and the Bird Girl by clicking this link

I’m seriously considering turning RBG into a series. Apparently, novellas are very popular (easily read on your cell phone during a commute), and the characters and story ideas are still resonating with me.

All the while I’m still waiting for a traditional publisher to pickup East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella. So far not a peep, one way or another.

When it came to self-publishing the e-book edition of RBG I went with Smashwords and Kindle Direct (Amazon) and this time added Draft2Digital (D2D), more so I could pass along the experience to you and the participants of my workshops and creative writing circles since D2D has limited distribution which is more than duplicated by the coverage Smashwords offers.

If you think making it even easier to self-publish is a good thing (I’m not sure it is) than you’ll love Draft2Digital (D2D). I found uploading my manuscript along with the pertinent details extremely user friendly. They’ll even provide front and back matter for your e-book from the information you provide.

However, after uploading RBG I received an error message via email from D2D. My book was blocked from being distributed because I inadvertently hit the public domain button when uploading my file. I followed the instructions, went back and made the correction – nothing changed. My book was still blocked.

I sent an email message explaining my dilemma on June 1. Two days later after receiving no response I tried to de-list my book. It wouldn’t go away. I then decided to reload my book making sure to not hit the public domain button and bingo it went through and got distributed.

Now two listings for The Rocker and the Bird Girl appear on my D2D dashboard – one blocked and one published.

Compare this to Amazon’s Create Space and Kindle Direct who always resolve my issues within twenty-four hours.

Three things I didn’t bother with in this launch were Kindle Select, Kindle Scout, and Smashwords Pre-order. These highly touted services have generated nothing whatsoever  in response for me.

My email list continues generate response and I’m getting quite creative with MailChimp about using  free copies to increase the membership, like using Instafreebie’s one month free introductory offer. Make sure you click the option to have Instafreebie members “opt in” by giving up their email address for a free book.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.


Websites links to sites referenced in this blog.

Link to become an ART member




Mail Chimp


Kindle Direct

Create Space

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

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The byzantine behavior of author services sites continues to intrigue and repulse.

Intrigue because of creative ways they come up with to be disingenuous; repluse because they take advantage, both emotionally and financially, of the newly naive and eternally hopeful.

These services can provide manuscript assessment, developmental editing (?) formatting, design, distribution book launch, marketing, PR, social media management – in other words they can do everything for a price except guarantee the success they insinuate or imply.

What’s disconcerting is many of these services are unnecessary and those that are necessary can be accomplished by the author at no charge except in time and patience.

I suppose when you’re chasing a dream, time and patience are not something you’re considering and that’s too bad, because that’s what these services are counting on.

I recently investigated one such service to see what they could offer by way of book distribution.

Not surprising it was less than what I have achieved through my own initiatives and with the considerable assistance of Amazon, Smashwords and Google.

For their distribution service they were asking a ninety-nine dollar membership fee and fifteen percent of royalties from sales generated from Amazon and any other sites. This for something any author can plug into free.

I can understand why these services might intrigue a new, self-published author. Why not to let someone else do the publishing and distribution while they focus on writing best sellers. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the new author will sell enough books to recover his costs, which to me has always been like adding insult to injury.

Giveaways generate little meaningful response

While we’re on the topic – that being insult to injury, let’s revisit Goodreads site that claims 40,000 of their members enter giveaway contests everyday.

For the month of April I ran a giveaway for one paperback edition of my novels Abandoned Dreams, The Big Picture and Forest. Here’s the results

Abandoned Dreams: 422 requests, 160 added it “to read”

The Big Picture: 381 requests, 129 added it “to read”

Forest: 437 requests, 171 added it “to read”

At the time of writing this, 923 people “want to read” at least one of the six books I have on Goodreads and yet I’m still stuck at twenty-four reviews since March 2016. These people are awfully slow readers. I’m still hopeful that at least the people who won the books will review them.

I gave away forty-six e-books of Forest on LibraryThing month as well but at least it didn’t cost me anything.

New multiple query site draws a blank

Despite claiming to be “the easiest, smartest and most rewarding way for writers, agents and publishers to connect” has yet to make a connection for my books after being on their site a month now.

Inkitt’s offer so simple it’s suspicious

Inkitt in my in-box asking if I was “Interested in having your novel in the spotlight.”

The email went on to say, “We’re featuring six of your novels in upcoming editions of Inkitt’s newsletter to help promote your work and recommend some great summer reads!”

All I have to do is “Send a 200-character catchy teaser and the link to your story”.

The loglines have been sent and I’ll let you know what happens since I’ve only uploaded one of my novels to their site.

The Local Rag up next

My new novel, The Local Rag, a story about what it’s like to be the publisher and editor of a community newspaper in these changing times, of which I know a fair bit, was completed April 9 and is now resting. I plan to resurrect it mid-July for rewrites, beta readers and formatting. The plot also includes infidelity, murder and drug smuggling for good measure.

WIP East Van Saturday Night – anthology of short storys plus a novella

I’m currently doing a rewrite of Hitchhike, a 30,000 word novella and part of a book that includes an additional five short stories. The stories all have the same main character and are a chronological accounting of major life events from the age of five to nineteen. The title of this compilation is East Van Saturday Night, taken from one of the stories.

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs




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