Some answers (?) to your questions

Thanks, everyone, for understanding why I had to delay today’s post. I’m going to be doing this one in fits and starts. We’re home from the surgeon’s office–with a good report for Mom there–and now we’re waiting for her first home health care PT appointment. Then the contractor is coming back to finish up some work at the house after raising the floor in the sunken den yesterday. So who knows how long I’ll have to write at a time for a bit.

Anyway, you posed some interesting questions and I’ll do my best to answer most, if not all, of them. If I don’t get to your question, I promise to try to get an answer posted next week.

Q1 comes from Jane Meyerhofer.

I would love one hint on using Scrivener, especially when you want to get a manuscript out of it. Or possibly when you are trying to title chapters. And if the answer is buy Vellum … well I’m listening. Scrivener kept me organized but when I actually wanted to edit the document as a whole I … couldn’t.

Scrivener, and now Atticus, are programs I want to love but find myself frustrated every time I try to use them. They do too much, imo. I’ve tried writing an entire project in Scrivener half a dozen or more times and always wound up returning to Word to finish the writing part of the project. My problem with Scrivener is I find myself falling down the rabbit hole of setting up character sheets, outlining the project, etc. etc. etc. I know there are a number of authors who swear by it, but I have yet to find the happy medium with it. Perhaps someone here can help you more than I can.

As for Vellum, it is great for converting your mss to ebook or print. That’s what it is meant to do. Nothing more and nothing less. In fact, iirc, Scrivener and Vellum now work together so you can export a Scrivener file to Vellum for conversion.

As for editing your document as a whole. you can export from Scrivener into either an RTF or DOCX file (I don’t remember which). If you haven’t tried that, you might want to see if it works for you.

Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Q2 comes from TXRed:

Is there a way to sort the wheat from the chaff on publication data from larger presses? Dorothy posted the rebuttal of the “only sell 12 or fewer books” last week, but is gauging probably realistic vs. out past left field something that only comes with experience? (Granted, with indie it should be less of a problem, but . . .)

. . . Back from taking part in Mom’s PT session.

I’ll be honest, TXRed, I’m going to leave that to Dorothy. My brain right now is mush and just looking at stats makes my eyes spin and I want to curl up in the corner and whimper. Sorry.

Q3 is from ZsuZsa.

As far as a topic, I know I’ve asked on this one before, but “Marketing for the rank beginner” (yes, 2.5 years after the first book came out, I’m still a rank beginner). As in, don’t bother to tell me to get things out to my newsletter subscribers, because I don’t have any of those and don’t know how to get ones who aren’t related to me.

This isn’t an answer, sorry, but more of a promise. Let me get through the next couple of weeks and I’ll do a post or two focusing on marketing. It needs to be something I put some thought into and, as I told TXRed, my brain is mush right now.

Q4 is from Harryvoyager:

On questions, how does one know when the serial numbers are sufficiently filed off?

jagliopress already gave a pretty good answer. I’d like to expand on it a bit. First of all, it depends on what you are filing the numbers off of. If it is something modern and well-known, you need to be very careful or shark lawyers will come knocking at your door. The best way to find out if you’ve managed to do it is to write it and then give it to some several people you know who are familiar with the source material. Don’t tell them you want them to see if you’ve filed the serial numbers off. Don’t tell them what your inspiration or source material was. Wait to see if they comment on it being like that original source. If they do, ask if it felt too close to the original and why. If they don’t, tell them what your inspiration is and see what their reaction happens to be.

Here’s the thing. There really are very few “original” ideas out there any more. It is really more a matter of how you make it your own. Simply changing a letter or two of a character or location name isn’t going to be enough. What spin makes the story yours and yours alone?

I’ll check in on the comments here and on the earlier post later. The contractor is back. If you have more questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.

Until later!

Featured image created using Midjourney AI.

5 comments

  1. Thanks. I’ve been wondering, too, at which point to end a series, except this one reached a nice tidy (?) point, allowing me to shift gears to a new secondary series.

    1. That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot the last year or so. I’ve finished one series and it very well may spawn a secondary series. Another series is in the middle story arc and when that ends it will lead into a secondary series. But ending the Honor & Duty series really killed me in one way but was freeing in another.

  2. Thank you. I’ll have to see if I even know anyone who knows the source characters.

    One thing I’m realizing is, the corollary to that is, if I did it as straight up fan-fic, would it even be recognizable? And I think here the answer is probably no.

    1. I’ve ripped off a number of ideas, and no one’s commented yet. Perhaps they weren’t looking, to be sure.

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