Trying Out ScribeFire Next

As you know, my beloved and I are avid users and proponents (evangelists, some might say) for Windows Live Writer. If you’re on Windows and you have a blog, you need that software. It’s the single best blogging tool available to mankind, bar none.

But, like the sleazy, smarmy jackass I am, I can’t remain faithful. I have to check other things out. I may never actually use those things, but I like to know about them.

If you check out my Software Reviews page, you’ll find ScribeFire there. I wrote that post a long time ago, and ScribeFire’s been through a lot of changes since then. So when I saw my wife installing it for FireFox 5, I knew something was up.

Continue reading

Sprucing Up

As you can see, I’ve been doing some work around my blogs. I like the way things are looking now, and the flexibility of being able to make and upload my own header images again opens up a lot of possibilities, I think.

I so enjoy this look, I think I’ll stick with it for a long time. The only thing that could get on my nerves at this point is the tiny font issue, but that’s mostly me being bat-blind and doesn’t much impact how the blog looks overall. At least that’s what I think.

Anyway, I really like the way things are turning out here. Now all I need is my own domain. If I could just find a hosting company with a standard pricing policy rather than an introductory offer which jumps into the hundreds of dollars the following term, I’d be mostly happy. (With those practices, it’s a small wonder so many domains revert and die.)

Anyway, I’ll keep working on the banners. Hope you all like the new look. I do, which means it’s here to stay. Heh.

-JDT-

Proof Negative

Nothing like negative attitudes to make truths you’ve been preaching ring even truer, you know?

Yesterday I read a post on a literary agency blog, and you’ll NEVER guess what it was about.

Go on, guess.

It was about QUERY LETTERS! No lie, I kid you not!

You know what’s funnier? The poster made sure to point out how the blog has been around since 2006, and is repeating the topic. Comedy! Wow! And for free!

But that’s not the part I found funny. The part I thought was funny was the content. The poster wrote:

I was talking to an author recently who told me that she had been rejected by 120 agents on query alone. Not one had requested a partial. How does that happen? Here’s how. Your query isn’t strong enough.

Gosh, how eye-opening. Since 2006, no other literary agencies have blogged THAT bit of earth-shattering news. And you know what? The hits just keep on comin’. It goes on:

To be honest, even the crappiest (apparently word of the day) book should be getting requests because a good query, like a good car salesman, can sell anything. If you aren’t getting any requests on 20 queries (that means at least one request for every 20 queries you send), you need to rewrite your query. It’s not working.

You see here, writers and wannabe authors? Struggle all you’d like to make your manuscript great (you should), it’s not going to matter. In the end, all you need is a great query letter. This is proof positive of what I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen for a couple of years now. I don’t believe vanity publishing is an alternative – never did. I have and always will discourage vanity publishing. But epublishing is completely different, and is, in my not-remotely-humble opinion, the wave of the present wherein the future of great authors is decided by readers, not agents and editors at publishing houses.

Oh, but don’t you dare question the gatekeeper system. One commentator suggested epublishing is superior:

I think this is yet another sign of how antiquated the traditional publishing route is becoming. If a great storyteller can’t get noticed because they’re not a good letter writer, there’s a disconnect. It’s like picking an electrician based on his plumbing skills. This is another example of an advantage of e-publishing. When you put the power into the hands of the writers and readers, the cream will rise to the top on its own, and a great book will be more noticed than a great letter.

They met, of course, with sycophant backlash, but the funniest part of the whole article came from the “agent” herself:

I agree and from now on we’ll stop writing cover copy for books. Instead you can go through the bookstore read the title, author name, look at the pretty cover and then read the first 5-10 pages of the book before making a decision to buy. As a new author, one with no audience, let’s see how many books you sell.

And yes, I couldn’t avoid the snark on this one.

Couldn’t avoid it, huh? Good to know. And the next several authors whose manuscripts are unlucky enough to be under her hand for the next several hours will be REJECTED. Because… well, she’s in a bad mood now.

It all just goes as evidence of what I’ve been saying for a while now. The gatekeeping system doesn’t work like it did before. It’s established so no one thinks anything else will work or even exists, and when it’s suggested to them they get a little freaked out. It’s rejected out of hand. But the ebook isn’t going anywhere, and the future of publishing is going to be different because of it.

I, personally, cannot WAIT to see this ivory tower topple and collapse. It’s not supposed to be about how great a query letter you can write. It’s not. It’s about how great a BOOK you can write. But look at the blogger’s response to that suggestion. She “couldn’t avoid the snark” in addressing it. I like the use of that word – “couldn’t”. No, of course not. If she had, the point might not have been strong enough for the a$$-kissing boot-lickers in the comments section to see how outsiders will be treated.

Until the tower falls. Soon, my pretties, soon. And I hope THIS agent’s the first to go.

-JDT-

Thinking about Changing

Blahg thoughts

It might be time for me to change my blog theme again. I’ve not done that in a long time. I used to regularly change at least the header, but since I’ve been working I’ve had neither the time nor the desire to muck with that stuff. But I can make custom headers AND backgrounds for this one. Maybe I should look into it.

SSRLP

Anyway… over the weekend I got some proofs – the second round now, mind you – back from the SSRLP publisher again. Guess what? Yep, more mistakes. I found a few we missed the first time through and some brand-spanking NEW ones injected somehow. I have NO idea how though. NONE.

No word yet on the new book deal though. I sent the Editor-in-Chief my combined TOC a while back but he’s not gotten back to me. I better contact my agent to see what’s happening. I don’t have anything firm to say “go” so I haven’t, and I’m not done with this one yet.

I miss writing fiction though.

Fiction writing

Speaking of fiction…

Congratulations to Linda Cassidy Lewis of Out of My Mind on being accepted for publication! Wow! That’s awesome news. It CAN still happen, even with the gatekeeper system failing. Once in a while, someone gets it right. Congratulations Linda. Bravo!

I just want to be able to DO it again, never mind get PAID for it. I’m happy for Linda though. 🙂

Oh, and I’m thinking of picking out a few of my short stories and putting them on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords and whatever for 99 cents. I’m also considering putting my book prices down to 99 cents to see if I can attract some attention to my work. (Don’t ask why; I can’t write anything new right now.)

If you’ve got thoughts on that, let me know. Some of you already did over on Facebook. Feel free to sound off here too.

Diet and exercise

I’ve been sort of craving legumes for a little while, but we broke our diet this weekend which means I can’t have them for a few days (weeks?) yet. Oh well, it was TOTALLY worth it.

Job stuff

I’ve been intimidated for about 12 weeks by my job, and last week during a pilot of our new order control and management system I had a bomb drop in my brain as I realized my role in all this. I have no idea what to do, how to do it, or any of the essential things I should know to do what’s expected of me. Sound confusing? It does to me too. I’m praying like never before, which is a good thing, but I’m also worrying myself into an early grave, which isn’t.

Well… depending on who you ask, I guess.

That’s all, folks!

I guess I haven’t got a lot to say right now. I really wish I knew what the hell I was doing, but life is unfolding faster than I can figure it out.

Have a great week, everyone. You’re in our prayers.

-JDT-

Well, now!

You know what? I like the Internet. I like it a lot.

But, I’ve been pretty limited by my technology to experience the ‘net. And my technological situation was severely (!) limited by my financial situation. So, now recently employed, things are … well … different.

Since I’ve been employed (I just completed my fifth week), I’ve been able to do things I couldn’t do before. And one of those things is to begin addressing my technological situation.

It started almost immediately. I found out I could get phones for pretty much free (actually, the carrier owes ME a little money at this point) including discounts, credits, and promos. And I found out the company I work for gets a 20% discount on services. So my wife and I each got AWESOME new phones and an upgraded service plan which allows us to both add people we care about into our list of frequently called numbers (so we don’t get dinged on minutes when a call goes to or comes from them) and get MORE minutes so we still don’t need a land line and we don’t have to fuss and worry about using our phones. We simply won’t run out of time.

Next up is the computer situation. Much more money. I didn’t think it would be possible for a while. But you know what? It was.

We had ONE, just ONE, working computer in the house. It’s ancient, by computer terms. Six years and getting near seven. It was a mistake and insufficient at the time. Now? Well, it’s rather like a reliable old car. It’s not perfect, and it’s not luxurious, and it’s not pretty. But it’s working and it gets online when the old little PCMCIA card can find the signal.

But I bought a computer. It was inexpensive; about half what I paid for that old boat anchor in the other room, which is chugging away faithfully. But it’s the best computer I’ve ever owned and it’s …. well, it’s amazing.

I can’t say how long the gravy train will last, because I’m a little nervous about what I’m supposed to be doing. But I have a computer that can handle the tools I need to use to get myself up to speed, and I can even watch videos online. I can.

I’m still sharing with my precious and ever patient wife. In the daytime hours, she’ll be using it. But at night, it’s mostly going to be mine for a month. By then, she’ll have one of her own. I believe she’ll like it.

I know I am.

Next up? Hm. Let’s see where this goes before I decide that.

How’s things by you?

-JDT-