It’s not often I get annoyed …

For me, writing is a delight, and allows me to create characters and worlds out of thin air.

And then I read the following article:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/mar/21/for-me-traditional-publishing-means-poverty-but-self-publish-no-way

And it made me angry. Because, yet again, here is a traditionally-published author pouring scorn and derision on the world of self-publishing, and making the same old clichéd statements that trad authors, publishers, and the whole traditional publishing industry spew forth.

Go read it, and come back here. Because, in the great tradition of Joe Konrath http://jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk/, we’re going to do some fisking http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fisking

* I exploded the myth of the wealthy writer.

Only a fool would try and portray writers, as a profession, as being rich. However, it’s not a myth. Some authors are incredibly wealthy; most are not. Think of everyone in the UK who plays football – there are people at many stages of the game, and many who only play because they enjoy it, not because they expect to accumulate great wealth doing it. I would venture to suggest that 99% of football players know they’re never going to become rich, but they continue to play anyway. 99% of authors know they’re not going to become a Stephen King or a James Patterson, but they will continue to write anyway.

* You might as well tell Luke Skywalker to go to the dark side.

I think you have to be careful about how you choose words. Associating self- or indie-publishing (and they are not the same) with the “dark side” supports a certain narrative, which those of us who do self-publish find quite offensive. Self-publishing is not a “dark side”. It is a viable and useful alternative to the traditional system which has been in existence for decades.

* Self-publishers spend 10% of their time writing, and 90% of their time marketing.

What nonsense. The whole point of self-publishing is that you choose what to spend your time doing. It’s a choice, pure and simple. There are no rules, no contracts drawn up by a team of solicitors, to which you can be held for the lifetime of that contract. I self-publish, and I spend far more time writing than I do marketing. And I spend far more time than either of those messing about on social media, but that’s my choice. No one is telling me to do anything.

* Self-publishing can make you behave like a fool.

And traditional publishing can make you behave like an egotistical, arrogant idiot. I mean, really? This cliché of the pushy author/marketer is indicative of some, but by no means, all, self-publishers. In fact, most professional self-publishers I know do not employ these tactics, because they are self-defeating.

* Gatekeepers are saving you from your own ego.

Did the twelve publishers who rejected Harry Potter save J.K. Rowling from her own ego? Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell? Thirty-eight rejections. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight received fourteen consecutive agency rejections. Need I go on? There is a perception that publishers and agents know what is going to be successful. The truth is, they don’t. The gatekeepers of traditional publishing, as I’ve shown, can reject very successful books for any one of a number of reasons. Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. Katy Price? Dan Brown? E.L.James? None of those is lauded for the quality of their writing. They are lauded for writing compelling books that millions of people want to buy.

Self-publishing gatekeepers do exist, and they are the only ones that matter – the book buyers.

* Good writers become good because they undertake an apprenticeship. Serving your apprenticeship is important.

I think I almost actually agree with this. But let’s not be prescriptive, eh? Some writers have to work at being good. Some writers are just good straight out of the box. Just because one’s own experience has involved a lot of writing and a lot of disappointments, it is not to say that others will, necessarily, be the same. There are plenty of blockbuster debut novelists.

* You can forget Hay festival and the Booker

Some of us might not be interested in them, actually. I’m not a fan of awards, and awards events are a chance for the traditional publishing industry to preen and pose. ‘Quality’ of writing is extremely subjective, and I’ve read Booker-nominated and short listed books that had me shaking my head. I was a member of a book club that featured, one month, a very well-known prize-winning author, and their Booker-nominated latest novel. Only one of the twelve members of the club managed to finish it, and then only because they felt they needed to. No one enjoyed it.

* You risk looking like an amateur

And writing articles attacking a different method of publishing makes you look self-obsessed and out of touch and, actually, a little worried. And arrogant. If you care for your writing, and if you get quality feedback, your writing will stand toe to toe with anything the traditional publishing industry can offer.

* 70% of nothing is nothing

She quotes another writer, who tried self-publishing, but it didn’t work for her. Oh dear. Just because your self-published books didn’t do well, no one else’s can?

* With Amazon’s Kindle and CreateSpace as the major outlets, it continues to put money in the coffers of the company largely responsible for destroying author incomes in the first place.

Ah, here we go. The traditional publishing swipe at Amazon, and probably the reason for this article in the first place. Traditional publishing, with agents taking 15% before passing money onto authors, low royalties, bi-annual accounting, delays on payments, restrictions on author’s writing. None of which is good for authors. Traditional publishers have ruled the roost for decades. Before self-publishing came of age, there was no other route to getting your work in front of readers than to be subjected to the humiliation of the submission – wait – reject merry-go-round (unless you count vanity publishing, of course). Now, authors can bypass all that, and put their writing out into the market, for whatever price they like, and how often they like. And let’s not forget – trad publishers are a business, and their business is to make money. They can afford to take a punt on a very few new novelists each year because of the money they make on the blockbusters. The celebrity biographies, the TV chef cookbooks. They sell enough, and make enough money, for them to contract a few new authors a year. Repeat after me – publishers are in business to make money.

* For those who prefer orchestrated backing to blowing their own trumpet, who’d privilege running a narrative scenario over running a small business, who’d rather write adventures than adverts, self-publishing is not the answer.

So, anyone who self-publishes isn’t a proper writer? Really, this is one of the most obscene comments. How arrogant do you have to be to be able to sit on your perch, spitting on those who haven’t managed to attain your lofty (or, actually, not so lofty) status?

screenshots-twitter-rosbarber

Whilst trying to maintain an innocent face, Ms. Barber has written a rather nasty piece. It’s not, as she suggests, her personal reasons for not self-publishing her literary fiction. It’s an attack on the ethics and skills of anyone who might choose to self-publish. And she has, indeed, exposed herself to a number of cross people – good, professional authors who made a different choice to hers. And that is no reason to attack them.

The comments section of that article is awash with strong responses. Here’s one of the best pieces I’ve seen.

https://medium.com/@edrenehan/the-elites-vs-self-publishing-85e093b1ae65#.mjhag5q9i

UPDATE: 23rd March 2016 14:10

There was a Twitter exchange late last night. I reproduce it below:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 14.09.47I haven’t engaged any further with Ms. Barber. It’s clear from her Twitter comments to me, and others, that she thinks she was making a personal point about her reasons for not self-publishing her literary fiction. But she paints a picture of “if you self-publish, this is what you do, what you have to do, and what I see people doing”. The article was biased, unfair, and used the same old tired clichés to talk about self-publishing. She implied that self-published books were of poor quality, written by bad writers, and if you self-published, you needed to spend 90% of your time marketing. She was never specific, except in the article headline, and never acknowledged that self-publishers can produce good quality books and write good quality stories. It was throughly negative, which irritated many in the self-publishing community.

Anyway, the more that certain authors retain attitudes like this, the more self-publishers will execute a fundamentally fairer way of publishing their work, and readers will be able to read the books they want to read, and not what some corporate big-wigs in posh offices tell them they want to read. Long live independence!

19 days in – how are those targets?

I suppose one of my ‘start of year’ targets (see http://gerald-hornsby.com/blog/2015/12/31/welcome-2016/) should have been to make myself more accountable. Well, here goes. How am I doing?

✔︎ 1. to write one short story a week for the whole year (a.k.a. the Bradbury Challenge)
Yes! I’ve written 4 shorts in my linked series, and 7 (yes, seven!) pieces of flash fiction, one of which will be uploaded one day soon.

✔︎ 2. to write 100,000 words @ 1,000 words a day (a.k.a. #100kwords100days
Yes! I’m doing well, and certainly up to date, and in fact, slightly ahead. I also doing a 365k challenge for the whole year. Mad, I know.

⎋ 3. to do first edits on two previously-completed novels
Nothing more on this one yet.

⎋ 4. to self-publish two collections of short fiction for halloween and Christmas 
Nothing yet.

✘ 5. to write a blog post once per week (minimum)
Oops.

⎋ 6. to write book and short story reviews on the blog
Soon. Honest.

✔︎ 7. to be more active on Goodreads, posting reviews etc.
If you count logging in, updating my friends list and checking off my latest book, then yes, I’ve been more active.

So, all-in-all, not too bad. Some things are to be done later in the year, which is understandable, but apart from activity here, I’m doing well!

Moan, moan, complain, complain …

write for love

Once again, I’m inclined to write about the ability (or otherwise) of writers to achieve commercial success and / or recognition for their writing. This follows complaints from some would-be authors:

a) An indie author complains that their books aren’t selling enough to enable them to give up work and write full time.

b) An unpublished author complains about continuing rejections from agents and publishers.

Both complainants stated that they’d been working hard for some time to produce the best books they could, and they’d paid out for editing services – one of them, a considerable amount, well into four figures in dollars.

I know, I know. I sighed, too.

But the thing to remember? No one owes you a living. And the other thing to remember? The best books don’t necessarily sell, and some bad books sell tons. Fifty Shades of Whatever-It-Was sold HUGE numbers, but everyone freely admits the writing was a bit dodgy. Dan Brown is a multi-millionaire on the back of his conspiracy thrillers. Quality of writing? Meh.

If you look at the best sellers in any book list, you might be surprised at what you see. I’ve just looked, but I’m not surprised. The first fiction book (Girl On A Train) comes in at 14th . And it’s the only fiction book on the list. The rest of the top 20 is made up of colouring books and food / diet / body and mind health books. How can you expect to make money writing fiction these days? What can you do?

I know.

WRITE

It’s simply that. Too much time is spent on whining about making money from writing, when time can be better spent actually, you know, writing. Because that’s what writers do. And if you’re already self-published, what’s the best way of increasing sales? Write more stuff.

Slowly, authors and self-publishers are realising that they’re shifting away from the core desires that got them into this game in the first place. They want to tell stories. But self-publishing has turned authors into entrepreneurs. Even traditionally-published authors are requested to have a presence on social media, and run a website and blog, and update on Facebook. Although that is important for sales, it’s sometimes tempting to do too much of that, and less of the storytelling.

So make 2016 the year that you write some more new stuff. Novels, short stories, any creative fiction. You won’t regret it.

Don’t just take my word for it.

Here’s Joe Konrath: http://jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/pay-writer.html

Here’s Kristine Katherine Rusch: http://kriswrites.com/2015/12/30/business-musings-the-upcoming-year/

Here’s Elizabeth Hunter: http://elizabethhunterwrites.com/2015/12/28/ten-things-i-learned-about-publishing-in-2015/

Welcome, 2016

2016So, here we are again. Another New Year – countries to the East of us here in the UK have dropped into 2016 already. So in this increasingly globalised society, we are all in the New Year. Sort of.

None of us knows what lies in store for us, as individuals, as a country, as a society. And yet, each year, we make resolutions – promises to ourselves, made public, to lose weight, exercise more, join a gym, drink or smoke less. All things designed to make us healthier, and maybe to live longer.

Inevitably, a lot of these so-called “resolutions” go by the board. Promises get broken, the healthy living takes a turn for the worse, and we’re back into the same old, same old.

I don’t make resolutions. I don’t give myself nominal binaries which can be judged a success or a failure.

So here, then, are my targets for 2016:

1. to write one short story a week for the whole year (a.k.a. the Bradbury Challenge) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1531196743840045/  I love writing short stories, and don’t write enough of them these days. I have the outline idea for the first dozen, linked, stories.

2. to write 100,000 words @ 1,000 words a day (a.k.a. #100kwords100days https://www.facebook.com/groups/100kwords100days/ I have done this challenge before – sometimes successfully, sometimes not. And you could say, I have a big enough pile of work that I don’t need to write more new stuff. But you know me and challenges …

3. to do first edits on two previously-completed novels Here I want to make use of some of that back catalogue of zero and first drafts. I have five finished pieces, and I reckon two of them are in a form that can be edited up into publishable works.

4. to self-publish two collections of short fiction for halloween and Christmas Again, I want to make use of my short story writing. I have a handful of stores already in the can, as it were, but I’m sure some of the Bradbury Challenge stories will be of a suitable genre to include.

5. to write a blog post once per week (minimum) Yes, I know. There are so many bloggers, and people who blog (there is a difference) who don’t blog often enough. I’m one of them. So this will change this coming year.

6. to write book and short story reviews on the blog. I read a lot, and it might be useful (and good for creating traffic) to write short reviews. Again, it’s a case of having things that I do that are related to writing, and it seems reasonable to record them somewhere.

7. to be more active on Goodreads, posting reviews etc. Goodreads is one of those places, like Facebook, Twitter, and other places, where time can be sucked away, drifting in and out of conversations and reading what other people are doing. I shall limit my time there, perhaps having specific days where I will be updating.

So, all in all, a pretty mixed bag of writing and reading-related goodliness. But I’ll leave with a quote from Joe Konrath, a leading light in new writers and self-publishers, who does a look forward each year. If you want to see the complete post, it’s here:
http://jakonrath.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/konraths-new-years-resolutions-for.html

2016

This year, I’m boiling my resolutions down to the essence:

WRITE.

It’s so easy to get caught up in different aspects of a writing career. I’ve had phases where I tried to help other writers, started my own company, blogged, collaborated, fought the publishing world, evangelised, experimented, promoted, tried to figure things out, and spent a whole lot of time doing stuff other than writing.

I’m happy I did all that. But it has taken me away from the thing I like most.

I might be a blogger, and a teacher, and an innovator, and a pundit. But first and foremost, I’m a writer.

And writers write.

So for 2016, I’m going to write more than I’ve ever written before. I’m going to finish those stories I’ve put aside, I’m going to break new ground, and I’m going to get back to my roots. I’ve spent a lot of time tending to my career. And for good reason. A backlist is a garden that needs attention to grow and prosper.

But now I’m going to spend the lion’s share of my time planting more seeds.

I’m looking for 2016 to be my most productive year ever.

Not much to disagree with there, I think.

2015 – what was that all about then?

2015-Web-TrendsAs is common, I’m using this blog post to look back on the year that is past, and then writing another blog post looking forward to the year which is to come.

Firstly, let’s see what I achieved in 2015:

1. NaNoWriMo. I ‘won’ NaNo again – my 11th win in 12 attempts, writing over 56,000 words of a political conspiracy thriller. This year, I used a slightly different method of planning the book. I had the whole novel planned out in broad terms in advance, then detailed plans were drawn up a few days in advance of me writing them, changing the specifics of the plan according to how the narrative changed as I actually wrote it. If that makes sense to anyone else. And it seemed to work really well. I’m going to be using this planning method as a basis for a ‘How To Write That Novel’ ebook, sometime in 2016. Probably.

2. Literary Roadhouse. I began as a co-host to the Literary Roadhouse podcast, where we read one literary short story a week, and then come together via a Google hangout to discuss it. After a change of host around halfway through, we now have a settled group – Maya (whose idea it all was to begin with), Anais, Rammy, and myself. If you have an interest in reading, writing, or expanding your understanding of the written word, it’s worth popping in and giving us a listen. Links are available at http://www.literaryroadhouse.com/

3. Literary Roadhouse Book Club. Along with the weekly podcast, Anais has started a monthly novel book club, with associated podcast. So far, we’ve recorded one discussion – of Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Heart Goes Last’. I was surprised at how different the podcast felt compared to the weekly short story version. If you’re more into longford writing, give us a listen, or just use us as a book club. We don’t mind. But if you do, you might as well listen to the podcast.

4. Word count. I wrote over 150,000 words during the year, across a whole variety of projects. Somewhat crucially, I wasn’t able to complete anything except the NaNoWriMo project, although after completing the ‘novel’ (draft zero), I then moved back to something else I had started but hadn’t finished, and moved closer to completion on that project. So this is a movement towards a ‘Complete Something’ state of mind that I want to encourage.

5. Writing groups. I began attending two local writing groups – one a more traditional writing group, with challenges and a ‘good news’ portion of the meeting; the other was a critique group, aimed specifically at novel writers. Two great local groups, with a strong core of members.

6. Pub book club. I continued my membership of the Pub Book Club (I know, a book club that meets in a pub – what could be better?) Members suggest books that the club might consider, and the leader of the group speaks to the local library, and between them, they choose books which are available through the local library network. The members are split roughly 50-50, between the Kindle readers and the tree book readers, and all mature adults. What’s that about ebook reading dropping?

So, all in all, it was a busy year, creative fiction-wise – a real mix of different projects. Emotionally, I’m both pleased and disappointed with the year. Pleased that so many new things have been achieved; disappointed that I didn’t get any more of my writing into the outside world.

Hitting the wall

Hello. I’m Gerald, and I write. I write lots. In my Works In Progress spreadsheet, I have 36 titles. Yes, 36. Over 1.1 million words. But out of all those words and titles, I have only 4 finished first drafts containing just over 200,000 words.

Really? Are you kidding me? What’s going on?

You may well ask. A lot of those unfinished titles were written as part of NaNoWriMo.

So, the big question is: why do I have so much trouble actually finishing off my novels? And the truth is: I don’t know.

However …

I’m not alone.

I watched an hour-long programme on TV about Ian Rankin (he writes crime novels, and one of his main characters is John Rebus, just for information). He’s very famous. Very prolific. And Scottish. But that’s nothin’ to do with nothin’.

There was this one little bit, where he shouted down from upstairs when he was writing. He was fed up, depressed. His wife said: “It’s page 163.” It might have not been 163. It might have been 263. I don’t know. But it was about 3/4 of the way through the novel. “This happens every time,” she said.

Cut to closeup of Ian Rankin. Looking very depressed. “I hate this book,” he said. Again, I might have paraphrased.

But the key thing here is: even a prolific author like Ian Rankin suffers from Three-Quarter Syndrome. Or TQS. There. I named it.

And during this NaNoWriMo, there was a guest post from Neil Gaiman. He’s a writer, too. Here it is:

http://nanowrimo.org/pep-talks/neil-gaiman

The key extract here:

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not really.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

So there you have it. That feeling you’re having just now? Ian Rankin and Neil Gaiman have it, as do scores of other writers. The feeling is that your novel is poor, pointless, not worth completing.

And I’ve been there, too. Lots of times. But the difference this year? I knew about it beforehand. I was expecting it. Goddamn it, I even gave it a TLA (Three Letter Acronym).

So, we’re all sitting in this cess pool of writing. We’re about 3/4 of the way through. HOW THE HELL DO I FINISH THIS THING?

First thing – there is no magic bullet, alas. I’m sorry. No one is going to come and sprinkle fairy dust on your laptop keyboard, making the words appear magically on your screen.

So, you have to write. You have to grit your teeth. You have to have an idea of where your story is going. But you really have to sit down, and type words. Not just random, fairy dust words, but words that move your story on, scene by scene, line by line. Find out what you like writing. Is it long and rambling descriptions of landscapes? Do it. Is it fractious and tetchy conversations between two characters? Do it. Is it an account of a journey in a 2,000 horse-power Einstein machine? Do it. As long as it moves the story towards that ending. You can even write the ending now. No, seriously, you can. Write that final scene, the one everything’s been leading up to. I’ve done this, and then worked backwards. That worked for me. But you have to write. No one’s going to write it for you.

Because it gets easier. Honestly. I have found this many, many times. Break through this stupid wall, this word-desert, because this is where typists give up, and writers carry on. You want to tell this story. You NEED to tell this story. It’s in your head, and if you don’t get it out, it’s going to make your brain explode. No, really. See if it doesn’t.

SO WRITE THE DAMNED STORY.

*silence*

I’m like a donkey in the desert.

The donkey in the desert is a story, wherein a hungry and thirsty donkey, wandering through the desert (stay with me here) climbs a rise, and sees food. And water. And, by a strange quirk of fate, finds himself exactly in the middle of the food and water. Should he eat first, then drink? Or drink first, then eat? What a quandary. And so the donkey, not being able to decide whether he needs water or food more, stays stationary for hours. And dies.
Happy story, huh?

I’ve written a ton of stuff over the years. A. TON. Literally. Well, it would be a ton if it was written on hunks of stone, something like Labour election promises.

I’ve published my now one compendium (some would say collection) of small dark fiction entitled Bleak Midwinter Tales. You should totally check it out. Maybe even buy it.

So that’s positive. And I have over a million other words, spread across some 30-odd works-in-progress. That’s a lot. Not a ton, granted, but still a lot.

And therein lies the problem.

What is this mammoth body of work, I hear you ask (I hear voices a lot). I have horror. I have crime fiction. Rather a lot of crime fiction. I have apocalyptic thrillers. I have lots of those, too. And I have non-fiction travel stuff.

But the problem is, that all of this ‘stuff’ needs work. Editing, at least. Rewriting, some. Finishing, most. And (like the poor old donkey) I don’t know what I want to do first. And, as a result, I’m doing nothing, apart from moaning about politics.

As luck would have it, an extended break approaches. Some might call it a holiday, some might call it research, some might call it running away. But I shall be gone from my normal environs, to return some weeks later. And, by the time I return, I shall know what I am to do. I shall no longer be the donkey in the desert, but instead be the donkey laying down in the shade of a tree, having been eating and drinking to excess.

I’m looking for a tree even now. Just so I’m prepared, you understand.

A drabble (100 words)

I was providing a little support for an author friend, and we both wrote a drabble (strict 100 word story) to accompany the following photo:

10345836_1100739893286428_8345366663782968045_n

Colin paused, bending double, his breathing slowing, ruing all those expense-account lunches. He straightened again, looking up at the sky. In the distance, dark clouds were gathering. He turned, and his breath caught in his throat.

“What the …?”
Nestled amongst the trees, a door – white paint peeling and faded, innocuous in the natural surroundings. A glassed Gothic arch above bled feeble yellow light into the deepening gloom. He approached, slowly, carefully, dried twigs snapping under his feet. Despite the obvious anachronism, he couldn’t dispel the his feeling of unease as he extended his hand towards the round, brass handle.

Book reviews!

Yes! I shall be doing book reviews.

The reason being is that I write and read a lot. I don’t read enough, though. I love reading, and those times when the internet is unavailable to me are a blessing in disguise, because there is almost nothing to distract me from reading. I have a To Be Read pile that is longer than a very long thing, and it’s growing almost by the day.

So, what shall we start with?

5 stars

 

wine at breakfastWine at Breakfast by Claire King

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wine-at-Breakfast-Short-Story-ebook/dp/B00NBZSOL8/

This is a very short story,, currently free on Amazon. It’s probably more like flash fiction, and will take you around 10 minutes to read. The story is based around the events at Chernobyl in April 1986

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster

 

But the story is told from the point of view of one family, and gives an amazing insight into Russian life, what they’re told, and what they’re not told. It’s a fantastic piece of writing, and a lesson for anyone who wants to write short fiction.

 

Hello, 2015!

No New Year Resolutions here.Hello-2015-2 This is a resolution-free zone. Just some goals, smart targets, desires, that sort of thing.

* I’d like to think I shall be writing at least a quarter of a million words this year. Last year, I wrote more than 276,000, but that was with very little editing, and no publishing. I now have an office, so I have no excuse (I actually have hundreds of excuses, but I’m keeping those for this time next year). With a scheduled two sessions of #100kwords100days and a #NaNoWriMo, there’s 250k right there. Of course, I’d like to do more, but we’ll have to see about that.

* I’d like to be publishing 3 novel-length books this year. This is self-publishing, of course. Something I’ve done before, but it’s been a couple of years since I last self-published. My collection of short and flash fiction (previously available as two books) is being squashed into one publication, and will be available soon in every outlet I can find.

* I want to expand the Writer Chat channel, and maybe do just one chat a week, but with a wider variety of writers. Anyone have Stephen King’s email address?

If I achieve those three things, then 2015 will have been a win. And they’re all within my own control. I can do these if I want to, and no one can stop me. Except the Stephen King thing. That might be a stretch.

Here’s some writing motivation to start off the new year:

First from Dean Wesley Smith:

http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/new-world-of-publishing-failure-must-be-an-option/

http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/new-world-of-publishing-control/

And then from Chuck Wendig:

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/11/26/why-its-important-to-finish-your-shit/

and finally from Russell Blake:

http://russellblake.com/2015-predictions/

Thought-provoking, huh?

I hope you have a great 2015, and it will be a year of success, however that might be measured.