Lee Herbst’s Blog – Volume 1, Issue 1

Volume 1, Issue 1

Welcome to my blog. This is the first of what I hope will be a very long running and helpful series of articles discussing my journey through the sometimes dark and mysterious world of writing and publishing Christian fiction. Along the way I will discuss the status of my writing, include tips on writing, marketing and publishing fiction, and share inspirational stories from my personal life. I plan on publishing this blog around the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month.

Please help promote my blog by telling your friends about me. Let them know they can sign up to receive my blog in their email by signing up at http://author.leeherbst.com.

In This Issue

1. Status: The Void War:Invasion
2. Writing Tip: Use of Effect and Affect
3. Marketing: Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover?
4. Publishing: What Is Independent Publishing?
5. Inspiration: A Blessing In Everything

 

1. Status: The Void War:Invasion

I am currently working on finishing up the first revision of Chapter 3. I have to say that editing the rough draft is taking a lot more time than I expected. I originally believed that I could edit one chapter per week, but that jumped to two weeks with Chapter 1 and now has been extended to three weeks.

Three weeks seems to feel about right; not too rushed, but I still have to write every day. Unfortunately, that means that the book will not be available for sale until sometime in 2015; probably around Summer time. Someday, I would like to get to the point where I can write one book per year, but this one is going to take close to two. I guess that is not bad considering that I work full time and have a family with four children. I’ll take it.

One additional insight I would like to share with you is that as I am editing this book I am finding that it is growing in size. When I finished the first draft, the book was about 80,000 words. After editing three chapters it has grown to 92,000 words. I am going to try to keep the word count under 100,000*, but the book will be whatever length is right for the story. I am not going to short change my readers just to keep it under some arbitrary number.

*The general convention is that a novel is between 80,000 and 100,000 words. Less than 80,000 and you have a short story or novella. When you exceed 100,000, you still have a novel, however, they claim that the story becomes unwieldy and many readers are turned off by such large books.

2. Writing Tip: Use of Effect and Affect

Effect and affect are two words that can be found near the top of most editors’ list of the most misused words. The thing to remember is that effect is generally a noun and affect is generally a verb. For example, “The special effects in that movie were awesome.” (effect=noun) And, “The ragweed pollen affected his performance.” (affect=verb)

There are exceptions to this rule, but they are rare. Effect can be used as a verb when referring to bringing about change. Such as, “The executive wanted to effect change within his organization.” Affect can be used as a noun only when referring to mood that has an influence on others. Such as, “The small girl had a sad affect.”

Of course, if you stick to the general rule and avoid the rare uses, you will affect your readers with the desired effect without confusing them by using the wrong word.

3. Marketing: Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover?

The phrase was first penned more than 150 years ago by George Elliot in his book, “The Mill on the Floss.” While there is deeper meaning in the phrase than just book covers, this is about marketing and not psychology, although they are closely related.

The phrase is good advice, but do we listen to it? Marketing research has shown that the answer is a resounding no. The number one reason why people purchase a specific book is that the cover looked interesting. So, in other words, most people do judge a book by its cover. So, the most important part of the book, in marketing terms, is the cover.

In second place is the back cover copy; the short summary on the back of the book. And trailing in third place is the first few pages of the novel.

4. Publishing: What Is Independent Publishing?

Independent or Indie publishing is also known as self publishing and is available through several large companies. Indie publishing is different from publishing through a vanity press as it usually costs the author little or no money. Indie publishing has become the proving grounds for new authors and, for some writers, the only way to publish.

Traditional publishers have shied away from accepting unsolicited manuscripts; it has become too risky, so acceptance has become extremely rare. Why? Traditional publishers spend very little, if anything, on marketing for new authors. They rely on the author to do all of the marketing, most of which fails miserably. Instead of taking risks on new authors that may or may not know how to market their book, they watch the independent publishing industry for authors that are selling books. These authors have proven themselves; they can write a good story and market their books, which is exactly what the traditional publishers want. Once found, the traditional publishers will offer them a contract for their next book.

These days this is the normal path author’s take through their careers. However, there are some successful authors that stay with indie publishing and refuse to contract with any of the traditional publishers. Basically, they make more money as an indie author than they can under a traditional publisher. Royalties for indie authors average around 70%, where traditional publishing is usually lower than 30%.

5. Inspiration: A Blessing In Everything

Do you believe there is a blessing in everything? It can be hard to see a blessing in tragedy. How many times has something gone wrong in your life and you wondered why God allowed it to happen to you? I am sure everyone has experience this at least once in their lives; probably more often than we would like to admit.

The truth is that God has given us free will; to walk with Him or turn our backs on Him, to do good or evil. Bad things happen because of a choice someone made, not because God willed it. However, God helps us by turning tragedy into blessing. We might recognize the blessing right away, or maybe not for many years later, or maybe we are never able to recognize it, but it is still there.

Many years ago, my wife was pregnant with our first child. More than anything else I wanted to be a father and I was on cloud nine. However, that joy was short lived as we miscarried at ten weeks. It was a devastating blow and I couldn’t understand why God had taken away that which he had blessed us.

Many people tried to console us; telling us that God needed a new angel in heaven among other things. None of which was helpful. My wife and I spent many days and nights in each other’s arms, trying to comfort each other, tears flowing down our cheeks. I couldn’t see any blessing in it.

Years later, I can look back and see the blessings we received. You see, we suffered together, a shared experience that made both of us stronger. It also brought us closer together, strengthening our relationship. Also, during that time we turned toward God for answers and because of that our relationship with God also grew.

So, even though it was a loss that will forever weigh heavy on my heart, I am thankful for the blessings God bestowed on us because of it. Plus, he blessed us with four more children since that time; all four of which bless us each and every day. God is awesome!

Posted in Void War:Invasion, Volume 1

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