STANDING IN THE STORM, The Many Worlds of William Alan Webb

We Sleep At Night Because America's Armed Forces, Police and Fire Fighters Never Do

Announcement: Be my advisor

 

I need help.

To be more precise, I need your help.

If you’ve ever wanted to be part of the publishing process, now’s your chance. See, I need folks whose advice I can trust to give me feedback, honest feedback that tells me what is good and bad in my work. The only requirements are that you love to read, you promise to be honest, and to leave a review when a work is published.

In return I’ll keep you up to date on the inner happenings of my writing business, (things such as how many books I sold last month, which many might find of interest. Or which writers/agents/editors I had a chance to chat with recently, and their input on the business).

You also might get a freebie from time to time. For example, your name in an upcoming book. Or a signed copy of a recent work.

To help me, please do two things: first, subscribe to the site and second, leave me a comment with your name and email address.

Thanks in advance!

 

Bill

 

Announcement: Announcing MID SOUTH BOOK BEAT

 

There’s a vacuum in today’s book world.

Once upon a time, newspapers and other media devoted a lot of time, space and money to coverage of books. The New York Times book supplement was eagerly awaited by subscribers, while smaller newspapers across the country did their best to imitate that flagship page. The Memphis Commercial Appeal was no different. Local authors received excellent reviews of their books, book signings were listed in detail and reviews of best sellers were extensive. The book page had its own editor, reporters and reviewers.

But times have changed.

This is not to single out the Memphis paper. It’s a national trend, the CA just happens to be the paper in Memphis, where I grew up and live.

Now, it’s rare for a local author to get a mention in their local paper. Often the Sunday ‘book page’ will have two reviews from a national source, of books most people are unlikely to read. In his own hometown Mark Greaney, who took over the immensely popular Jack Ryan series when Tom Clancy died, doesn’t get a mention, and Greaney sells a lot of books.

This is not to bash the newspaper. What’s going on is the financial reality facing most media entities today. But where one sees despair, another sees opportunity.

So beginning in 2017, I’m dedicating this blog to covering Mid South Book News. If you’re an author, a bookstore owner or manager, a publisher, or simply a fan, send news to me at come2reven@aol.com and I’ll get it out for you. I want to devote this to helping all writers and readers keep the flame of reading alive.

The Booksellers at Laurelwood – Update on event

 

I’m copying this in full from Emmett Miskell, who is leading the charge to try and save The Booksellers. Please share!

Feb 3, 2017 — GoFundMe link: https://www.gofundme.com/booksellerspetition

Good morning everyone, in case you haven’t heard yet, we are having a love campaign for Booksellers on WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15. It’s called “Show Your Love for Booksellers” and I’m planning on making this a massive 24-hour campaign in support of Booksellers. Look at yesterday’s update if you want to see exactly what we’ve laid out for this event. For the next several days, I will be elaborating on the numerous aspects of the event to give you a better idea of how the love campaign will play out and today I’d like to share with you the most time sensitive one: fundraising.

So far, we’ve raised $100 out of our $1200 goal. What will the money we raise be used for? Well here are the things we are raising money via donations for:
-Upgrading and expanding the current Booksellers Petition website: https://emsfilm.wixsite.com/booksellerspetition) and moving it to a new domain.
-Fund a social media ad campaign to encourage people to participate in the February 15th “Show Your Love for Booksellers” event online.
-Pay for all the paper/ink and other such supplies necessary to spread the word about the February 15th event.

Fundraising is an extremely important aspect of making this a successful campaign. Maybe you can’t donate more than a few dollars and that’s perfectly fine…every dollar counts. Every dollar we raise is just that many more people we can reach and encourage to participate on February 15th. If you don’t want to donate online, you can send your donations to Emmett Miskell, 5217 Park Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38119. Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/booksellerspetition

I’d additionally like to strongly encourage you to share this GoFundMe with your friends and on social media and help us get to $1200! I’m currently working on setting up our new website, working with our local leaders to garner support for the February 15th event, and working to save Booksellers.

Don’t forget you can contact me at savebooksellers@gmail.com.

Upcoming at Booksellers
-Liquidation Sale: 40% of all products & Buy 2 Get 1 free on all children’s books
-No other upcoming events right now (other than the February 15th event of course), but visiting the Bookseller’s staff is always an enjoyable experience 🙂

Don’t forget to save the date: February 15th and remember #MemphisGetsLit,
Emmett Miskell

Self, Indie or Big 5 – Book publishing by the numbers

 

It’s the big question for writers, right? Once you’ve finished writing your book in your own blood, what then? In today’s publishing world there are more answers than ever, but which is right for you?

Traditional Big 5 publishers give an advance against royalties to first time novelists averaging $10,000 (the range can be $4k to $15k, but those are simply estimates). Think of this as an interest free loan from the publisher to the author. Every time a book sells, a royalty is earned. If the writer has an agent, part of any money they earn goes to the agent, usually 15%. So $10,000 is actually a net $8500 to the writer.

With me so far?

Best guesses for how many writers fail to pay back their advance range from 70% to 85%, but that includes advances below $10k. If we use $10k as the baseline, the best calculation I’ve seen indicates only 6% of Big 5 authors earn more than $10k in a given year.

Some authors earn millions, it’s true, but 94% are believed to earn less than $10k per year.

Indie and self-published authors get no advance. Every expense comes out of their pocket. All marketing is done by them, all editing, covers, illustrations, layout, etc., is either done and paid for by the author, or the indie press that signs them. Regardless, if the author is serious about selling a lot of books, they will probably spend more time marketing their work than writing new ones.

So why choose the latter route? Because 11% of indie and self-published authors make in excess of $10k per year, nearly double the rate of Big 5 authors.

Writing is a business. View your publishing options like the business person you must be.

Save The Booksellers Valentine’s Day event

 

A major event is being planned for The Booksellers at Laurelwood for February 14th, involving as many local authors as possible. Times and details aren’t available yet, but keep reading this blog for details.

FREE Writing Workshop Starts This Week

 

A FREE Writing Workshop gets started this Wednesday, February 1, at the Benjamin Hooks Library, 3030 Poplar. The workshop will be held once a week from 6-7:30 PM. The topic for the first class will be Generating Genre, taught by Skype Roberson.

Here’s the description from the library’s website:

Got a writing assignment or want to become a better writer? Don’t panic. “Compose Yourself” is a free writing workshop series hosted every Wednesday beginning February 1 – April 5, 2017 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Ave., L-56). Hosted in partnership with the University of Memphis Center for Writing and Communication, these classes cover a range of topics from Grammar 101 and Using Style in Writing to Being Aware of Audience and even How to Write an Apology. Each session will be taught by University of Memphis staff and contributors. No registration is required.

http://www.memphislibrary.org/free-writing-workshop-series-at-central-library/

Defining Success

 

I recently posted a short poll on twitter asking writers how many books they needed to sell to consider it a success. I was surprised by the answer.

44% said 1-500 books sold would constitute success.

11% said 501-1,500

11% said 1501-3500

34% said 3501+

Almost half of the respondents said selling any book at all makes it worthwhile, which I find admirable. There is immense satisfaction is writing and publishing a book.

What surprised me is that one third said 3501+, indicating they see writing as their business. The followup question I would like to ask them is how many have achieved this level of success and whether there is a monetary level attached to their belief.

What do you think? How many book sales would it take for you to consider yourself successful?

2017 Signings, Readings and Lectures

 
  • March 4 – Memphis, TN 11 am – Noon Memphis Civil War & Military Show, Agricenter International Showplace Arena. Bill is giving a 50 minute seminar on German tactics and weapons of World War II
  • March 24-26, Memphis, TN – Bill will be a panelist at MidSouthCon 35. http://midsouthcon.org/
  • April 29 Memphis, TN – 11 am – 3 pm Bookstock 2017. Bill will be one of 40 authors signing books at the Central Library, 3030 Poplar, Mphs, TN.
  • May 6, Collierville, TN – 1-3 PM, Launch party for Standing In The Storm at Barnes & Noble, Collierville, TN,  Carriage Crossing. 4610 Merchants Park Circle Suite 521
  • May 13, Tupelo, MS, 1-3 PM, Reading & Signing at Barnes & Noble.
  • May 20, 1-3 PM, Reading & Signing at Barnes & Noble, The Mall at Turtle Creek, 3000 E Highland Dr #410, Jonesboro, AR 72401 (870) 336-2543
  • June 22, Fort Knox, KY 12 noon Bill will be making a personal appearance at the Fort Knox Barr Memorial Library. Come meet the author of the best-selling series, The Last Brigade.
  • October 6-8, Louisville, KY Bill will be a panelist at Imaginarium.

The Man Who Used Adverbs

 
ad·verb
ˈadˌvərb/

noun

Grammar
noun: adverb; plural noun: adverbs
  1. a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., gently, quite, then, there ).
Origin
late Middle English: from Latin adverbium, from ad- ‘to’ (expressing addition) + verbum ‘word, verb.’
An adverb is a part of speech. The most common way of spotting one is when ly gets tacked onto the end of word. Examples could be: bitterly, egregiously, abusively or a host of others.
If you’re not a writer (maybe even if you are) you may wonder what’s wrong with using adverbs. You’ve probably seen them in every book you’ve ever read. (Stephen King famously hates them, but still uses them.)
See what I did there? Famously is an adverb.
So what’s wrong with adverbs? I could write a whole series of blog entries about why they act as red flags for writing teachers, editors and readers, but the most common complaint is that adverbs are only necessary on rare occasions. Only when conveying information not available in a better form should a writer consider using an adverb.
Hmmm…if you say so.
Now, I was taught this way, and I must admit adverbs show up on the page in bright red when I read them. I can’t help it. But one shy Texan who lived with his mother did not know this rule. He used adverbs without thinking about them, lots and lots of adverbs. Sometimes he used two adverbs back to back. And adjectives…my goodness did the man use adjectives.
In fact, every short-cut that might lead a writing coach, editor, professor or agent to shake their head and ‘tsk-tsk’ at the egregious missteps, this author committed them all. Sometimes gleefully, or so it seems now. One could say he violated every rule of good writing would-be authors are taught today. And let’s not go down the road of how politically incorrect he was…
So who was this wretched example of everything wrong with literature? And since he was so bad, how do we even know about him today? After all, he died 80 years ago.
We know him because he created an entire sub-genre of fantasy, one that has inspired countless authors, including some of my personal favorites such as Kark Edward Wagner, Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber.
This awful writer’s name was Robert E. Howard.
Yes, that Robert E. Howard, father of Solomon Kane, Kull, Bran mak Morn, Conan and dozens of others.
If somebody could prove a correlation between using adverbs and writing like REH, I’d willingly load my prose with beautifully and alluringly lurid adverbs that frighteningly and honestly painted my word pictures.

The Little Indie That Could

 

I’m sure some people are tired of reading about how well my book is doing on Amazon. I get it. Enough, already!

Today’s blog is for other writers who are out there bashing their heads against the literary wall, be they published or not. 9 months ago I was a nobody, this website didn’t exist, I didn’t have a publisher and nobody knew me on twitter.

I don’t have an agent. That’s right, no agent. If you read my blog you know that dozens of them turned me down. Heck, one snotty freelance editor even made fun of my entry in a twitter contest. But I knew more than they did, I knew me.

Then I found the greatest publisher I could have asked for, who loved my book as much as I did. Dingbat Publishing was a God-send for me, and yours it out there, too.

As I write this Standing The Final Watch has achieved its highest ranking yet, roughly top 0.4% on Amazon. It may well go down from here, or I guess it could go up some more, but either way the message I have to convey remains clear: you can do it!

(Since starting this blog half an hour ago, it has risen another 500 spots…this is surreal.)

catranksep3-1

But the whole point is this: if I can do it, so can you. It’s hard, yes, and you have to learn a lot and go through a bunch of disappointments, but you can still do it. You may even have someone mock you in public during a twitter event, but ignore them. No matter how many rejections you get, you’ve got to be the little indie that could.

I’m not a NYTimes bestselling author (yet). I’m a guy who rose through the ranks of twitter, and am watching others do it, too. Whoever you are, whatever you write, if I can be successful, so can you.

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