Madelaine Shaw-Wong

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Mixing Genres. Dinosaur porn, really?

Posted on August 18, 2016 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

I posed a question on Twitter recently: "Can someone define #speculativefiction? Come on I dare you."


The question was tongue in cheek and I received a couple of "likes" for it, but seriously people, what is speculative fiction? According to Wikipedia: "Speculative fiction is a broad category of narrative fiction that includes elements, settings and characters created out of imagination and speculation rather than based on reality and everyday life. It encompasses the genres of science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, horror, alternative history, and magic realism." In other words, it's a mixed genre.


For months, I have been trying to decide what genre my novel, Quietus would fit under. It's dystopian, based on real life and set in the near future. It has a touch of horror and is a political satire. You might also call it literary fiction, which according to Wikipedia: The term is principally used to distinguish serious fiction which is a work that claims to hold literary merit, in comparison from genre fiction and popular fiction." This is a vague description. Who is to say that a speculative fiction can't have literary merit? Think 1984DuneLord of the Rings, or Oryx and Crake


Perhaps genres were invented by publishers and booksellers so they will know how to shelve books and so buyers will know how to find their favourite types of stories. What will they do now? Mixed genre stories are becoming more popular. The shelves of bookstores and Amazon are now  filling with fantasy/romance, mystery/horror, and dinosaur/erotica. (Yes, it's a real thing.) The good news is that there are so many more choices now for readers. In the mood for cowboys in space or maybe a little dinosaur porn? We got you covered!


In an article on writing cross-genre, http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/crossgenre.html, the writer says, "Learn about the different genres. Read as much as you can of each, before you decide what you want to write. Your writing will read true if you write what you enjoy. If you don't like reading paranormal or suspense, don't attempt to write a story combining these two genres. Once you find your niche, your writing won't be forced. As Vivian Zabel states, "learn (your) craft and master writing good stories and books. The rest will follow."


http://www.themillions.com/2011/09/why-are-so-many-literary-writers-shifting-into-genre.html. The writer here says that many literary writers are shifting to genre. "What’s going on? Is it a mass sellout, a belated and half-hearted attempt by writers to chase the market? Are they being pushed into genre by their agents and publishers? Are the literary novelists simply ready for a change, perhaps because even the most exalted among them have a miniscule readership compared to genre superstars? Or are two disparate worlds finally merging?" 


In any case, I will write the best books I can, regardless of genre, and hope my readers enjoy.

The Hidden Truth about Self-publishing

Posted on August 11, 2016 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I have found this writer, Derek Murphy, www.creativeindie.com, helpful in exposing the truth about self-publishing. He tells it like it is. "The first book you write will probably be terrible because you're learning how to write." Most traditionally published authors don't earn out their advance, making less than 10% per book. Self-published authors have to learn everything from scratch. Most don't realize the amount of work involved. Some small presses make you pay for some of the services and then want to split the cost. It may be harder to be published by a traditional publisher if you are self-published, unless you can show sales figures of greater than 5000 copies. Makes sense. Who would take a chance on an author who doesn't know how to promote?

Read his article here: http://www.creativindie.com/the-horrible-hidden-truth-about-self-publishing-that-nobody-wants-you-to-know/ ;

His honesty is a breath of fresh air to me. It's easy to get bogged down and confused by the many false promises of predatory self-publishing companies.

None of this surprises me, the learning curve and the amount of work involved. I published Cradling the Past in the days before e-books. I realize the task is daunting, but I am not discouraged. I write the best books I can and intend to market them as best I can.

As for financial rewards, I'm not counting on it. I write because I want to write.

Predatory self-publishers

Posted on May 25, 2016 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (2)

I have spent the last two days researching possible publishers for my novel, Quietus. My head spins from the number of options open to me and it's more than a little scary.


I can send Quietus to traditional publishers who accept only about 1% of unsolicited manuscripts. Many don't take manuscripts at all unless you have an agent. (One needs an agent to be published and must be published before one can find an agent.) Sigh. If, by chance, I become "one of the chosen" I would have to submit to whatever changes their editors want and receive only a small portion of the royalties. After an average six month wait to hear back from them, the process from acceptance to print takes about two years.


I will need a marketing plan because even the trad publishers have felt the pinch of the economy and the onus would be on me to promote my book.

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/build-a-platform-start-blogging/7-ways-to-develop-an-affordable-marketing-plan ;


Traditional publishers are experts in the business and could easily accomplish what would take me ages to learn. Also, to have one's book accepted by a traditional publisher would put me among an elite class of authors. Despite the surge of self-published authors and success stories, there is still a prejudice against self-publishing, that you're "not good enough" to get a real publisher. 


Since I self-published Cradling the Past, the Biography of Margaret Shaw, in 2007 under my own label, Nosehill Publishing, (of whom I am the sole employee and contributing author,) the internet has exploded with companies eager to help me publish my book. Unfortunately, many of these companies are predatory and are most eager to take my money. 

http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/self-publishing-scams/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/-authors-warning-signs-th_b_5008425.html

I feel I need a degree in law to distinguish the good guys from the bad. A third option is that I could publish again under Nosehill Publishing, taking on 100% of the work, but also 100% of the control and profits.

I wish I didn't have to deal with the crap. All I want to do is write. 


What the Heck is an Author's Platform?

Posted on May 23, 2016 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (2)

Quietus, my dystopian fiction, is nearing completion.

My premise: A greedy, hardened doctor of eradication and elite member of a dictatorship confronts a woman who fights for the resistance.


This all-consuming project has taken up a huge chunk of my life over the last four years. The lives and deaths of my make-believe people, I’m ashamed to say, have sometimes take precedence over the real-life people in my life.


“Sorry kids, you’ll have to make your own supper tonight.”


“What’s there to eat?”


“Whatever, sandwiches, mac and cheese, cereal and milk. Don’t bug me. I’m in the zone!” My fingers fly over the key-board. “I’m on fire! This is going to be amazing!”


I’ve been so focused on writing the manuscript that I have been neglecting my author’s platform, which is more than just social media, I’m told. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and so on are only part of what’s required. I need to update my website and blog regularly. http://thewritelife.com/author-platform


Apparently, I will also need an e-newsletter, whatever that is, and personal contacts to help with blurbs, promotion and so on.


I need to research my target audience, my market, print some business cards, work on my Facebook fan page, and get something called Hootsuite, whatever that is.


I need to create my bio, review other author’s sites and blogs and make myself known by commenting.


One website says I must set up a social media schedule. Now that’s a good idea. Get in, do what I need to do and get out without being sucked into aimless hours of reading Facebook and Twitter posts. But seriously, how can I resist cute kitten videos? http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/actions-to-build-writer-platform/.


I must be strong, dedicated towards the final outcome, which is promotion of my upcoming novel.


My next question: Do I self-publish or look for a traditional publisher?