Saturday, January 14, 2012

Is this my last semester?

Starting this week, I may be entering my last semester of college. Well, my last semester as an undergrad (I still have an urge to apply to a few Master programs).

I didn't actually think it was going to happen. I did not get the monetary hold lifted from my account until yesterday. I don't want to think about the price that my wife is going to extract for loaning me the money to accomplish that goal.

Of course, some changes have been made in the program, something that I discovered while talking to the advisors earlier this week. I thought that I was working towards a double major; it turns out that I was wrong about that. In reality, I am working towards getting two Bachelor degrees instead (one in History and one in Literature). The reason for the change---I am just four credits away from hitting the credit threshold for acquiring two Bachelor degrees. I am not sure if two Bachelor degrees will look better on my resume than just one. I am also not sure if this makes me a historian and a literary critic---time will tell.

Now to actually make this my last semester, I do have to pass everything. I also need to kick my Honors Thesis proposal for Literature though the system, and get off the waitlist for one class (there is an online version, but I hate online classes). So for the generally curious, my semester consists of:

Senior Seminar in History (no clue what the subject is, but considering that Chris Agee is teaching it, I am betting on cities and urban development); World at War (1914-1945); Chinese Philosophy and Culture (Ancient Chinese---I got interested in the subject when I took the Ancient China history class a few semesters back; it is a religious studies class, but I have already taken three of them---all listed as Literature classes); and of course, my Honor Thesis in Literature (I presume that my proposal will go though---I plan on doing a reading of The Hobbit as a trickster tale).

Of course, I am presuming that my proposal will get though, and that I can get off the waitlist for the other class. I am also presuming that the advisors added up my numbers correctly, and was correct in thinking that I only needed one core course and one elective besides my speciality requirements.

It promises to be another interesting semester.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dear Windows Update

I would like to say a few words to the people in the Windows Update department...with a stick. Tonight's update took a half hour. Then when I restarted the computer, eight programs encountered problems and had to restart...including my anti-virus program. I ended having to restart after the restart...when it was all cut and done, this is an hour of my life I am not getting back. And to think I actually thought that I was going to get some writing done tonight. Windows suck.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How much can an occult writer make?

One of my favorite quotes by Pat Zalewski, a Golden Dawn writer, is that he has never even made grocery money from writing books. Nevertheless, there are people who think that he is lying about this fact. As a writer, one who also does occult writing, I tend to believe that he is writing because he wants to share information and not because he is making a good living at it.

For those who do not believe this, consider the fact that Llewellyn Publications, who is perhaps the biggest dog on the occult publishing block, thinks that a mere five thousand copies sold is a successful occult book. And some occult books are lucky to sell a couple of hundred copies. Obviously occult writing is a niche market, and those of us who try our hand at writing Golden Dawn stuff are operating in a niche of a niche.

So how much does a successful writer makes writing an occult book?

[I have been informed that my figures are wrong---see end of post.]

Assuming a ten percent share (royalities) and a twenty dollar price tag and five thousand copies selling, the successful occult writer would make a mere ten thousand dollars for their time and effort. Presuming that they are a quick researcher and writer, they will have spent nine months researching and writing their book---and that is not counting for all the changes that the publisher is going to insist on; it is also not counting how much time and energy and cost that the author is going to have to sunk into personally advertising their book. Realistically, an occult writer can make more money per year flipping burgers in some dungy restaurant. That is right, I am saying that a successful occult writer is only going to make thirteen or fourteen thousand a year. No wonder so many of them sell magical dragon blood and love magic kits to make ends meet.

The moral of this story is that occult writers are not making money hand over foot; and if you want to make money as a writer, you are better off writing something else.

(The inspiration for this post was a blog post on Llewellyn was about the true cost of piracy of occult books. In other words, occult writers cannot afford their occult books being pirated.)

[And now the update---less than ten minutes and I have already been told that my figures are wrong. Thanks to my writing friends on Facebook for pointing out my mistake.]

Ok, I have been informed that it is actually the wholesale price and not the retail price that the percent is coming from. Therefore, it is not ten thousand for a sucessful book; rather it is five thousand. Furthermore, not all publishers give ten percent royality...which drops the figure to below five thousand for a successful occult book. That makes flipping burgers for a living look even better, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Labeling my nonfiction word counts

In the interests of "truth in advertising" I have been trying to find descriptive terms based on word count for my non-fiction work. I figured that fiction has a loose set of terms based on word count, so one should exist for non-fiction. Well, so far I have not find a set of terms. In the lack of anything more definite, I have decided to use the following terms for the shorter pieces of non-fiction.

Short article: less than 500 words
Article: 500 to 2500 words
Long article: 2500 to 5000 words

As for the longer pieces, I still have no clue what to use. For instance, I cannot figure out at what word count a non-fiction piece properly becomes a book.

I do know some fuzzy facts, such as a standard 192-page paperbook contains from 40,000 to 50,000 words, and that book size in the print market was often determined by the nearest hundredth page marker, and print publishers were concerned with spine size (which is why you could not write a hundred page book in the print market).

I have thought about doing an estimated page count, but given the fact that word count per page on printed books vary (standard range is 200 to 350 words per page), I am not sure that will work for my ebooks either.

Monday, January 2, 2012

How many words are there in a newspaper column

A piece of triva that I encountered while doing research on labels for various word counts:

A column inch in a typical newspaper is about 35 words, which makes the typical newpaper story of twnety inches equal to 700 words.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Labelling my fictional word counts

There following are the labels/terms for the various ranges of word counts that I am going to be using for my fiction ebooks in the descriptions that I write up for my ebooks.

Micro-flash: up to 100 words
Flash fiction: 100 to 500 words
Short-short: 500 to 2,500 words
Short story: 2,500 to 7,500 words
Novelette: 7,500 to 17,500 words
Novella: 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novel: 40,000 to 110,000words
Epic: over 110,000 words

During my research, I also came across the term "drabble" which is for a fiction piece of exactly 100 words; I doubt that I would ever use it.