Monthly Archives: February 2012

Milestone: Half-Full Cup

ancient Greek numeral for 50

Image via Wikipedia

At least for me, there are many milestones while writing a book. For example: each completed page is a milestone. One page written is one less you need to write before completion. You could even say each day you sit in front of the computer is a new milestone.

I keep track of the hours I work each day and the number of pages I write. This way I can see (quantitatively) how much I’ve written. I feel it’s a great boost to see my daily numbers. Even if I’ve only spent 30 minutes and written half a page, it’s 30 minutes I’ve been able to enjoy writing and I have about 200 words to show for it. This is my reward, my milestone.

But this is a big milestone for me. One that definitely deserves attention:

I’m officially half-way done with my novel, Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds.


I think that’s pretty cool.

I was planning on writing on a new topic this week, but I felt this was something to stand up and cheer about.




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Co-oping the Middle Man

An on-demand book printer at the Internet Arch...

An On-Demand book Printer

Though my wife would disagree with me, I hate spending money.

Well, I’m not a big fan of spending money on things like paying the electric bill. But, unless my family wants to go the candle-lit and or gas lamp lifestyle, we have to hand over (currently a lot of) money to the Electric Powers-That-Be so we can enjoy the finer things in life like microwaves and the internet.

Given the choice, I’d much rather spend our money on vacations for the family, the one insanely expensive piece of jewelry at Costco (how many zeroes is that?!?!) for my wife and, for me, my incredibly long wishlist of books and games.

Now after talking about price points in my previous post, I began thinking about spending money as a writer in order to, well, make money as a writer. Part of the writing process, regardless if you self-publish or not, will most likely be spent giving other people your money.  Whether it be having your manuscript professionally edited, producing cover art, and/or sending paper copies of your book for (only!) positive reviews, you will most likely have to spend money on producing your Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius.

I’ve looked into the costs of  putting out my novel, Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds, and it seems selling paper copies will not only be much more challenging but the financial return percentage isn’t a whole lot unless I sell around 100,000 copies which would be absolutely incredible. And after all those are sold, next comes the film rights and then the lavish amusement park with little kids (and grown ups!) dressed as my characters. I mean if one is to dream, then dream big.

So, while scoring the internet looking for both traditional publishing houses and the costs of publishing my own, I stumbled across something interesting.

Cooperative publishing.

I’ve never heard about it before until just last week and the idea intrigues me. A group of writers coming together to not only support one another, but to help produce and distribute books under one common banner. A.V. Harrison Publishing is such cooperative company.

During my research, I found another type of cooperative publisher. BPS Books is an established cooperative company which will aid a writer in publishing and distributing their work. While the author will still need to put money up front as they would if self-publishing, BPS will aid getting your book to outlets that otherwise might be untenable. They also claim, due to lower publishing costs, the writer will be able to claim a much higher percentage of royalties for each book sold. In my research, I have yet to find out how this is but, once I do, I will let you all know. The nice thing about BPS Books is the company wrote a post about the advantages and disadvantages of co-op publishing.

Interesting note (at least to myself): Many of the co-op publishing companies I’ve found are located in Canada. Perhaps it’s a result of my search methods. Or maybe those Canadians are ahead of the curve. I still think we Yanks don’t give them enough credit where credit is due, but I digress.

I’ve spoken with and worked alongside a fellow writer about publishing works under the Daedalus Press banner. I never realized what we were thinking about was creating a cooperative publishing company.


So, I wonder if you or someone you know who has worked with or been part of a cooperative publisher?


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99 Cents: The Question Of Life, the Universe, and Marketability

English: Large amount of pennies

Image via Wikipedia

Pending the independent publishing of Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds, a major question I have with regards to marketing will be this:

What is the optimum price point for an ebook?

I’ve seen tons of ebooks on Amazon that are priced at a mere 99 cents. Not even a dollar. One penny less than a hundred pennies. You get the idea.

I found this article the other day which talks about using math to determine the optimum price point in which to sell an ebook by an independent publisher who at this point is little ol’ me.

After reading that article and this one, I have to be honest: I really don’t get the whole $.99 cent model. At this price point, authors [through Amazon] earn approximately 34 cents per book. And that’s before any promo, marketing, whoring, and other such financial obligations. “To earn $40,000 per year, [an] author would have to sell 333,333 books per year.”

The magazine I worked with, eFiction, charges $1.99 for a monthly subscription and $3.99 for a single issue. I talked with Doug Lance, Editor in Chief of eFiction, and he informed me selling a product under the $2.99 only gives a royalty percentage of 35% whereas the $2.99 price point and above takes the seller into the 70% royalty rate.

NOTE: eFiction went “live” on Amazon back around April of 2011, and they now have 1000 monthly subscribers. That’s 100 subscribers per month. Pretty cool if you ask me. And if you haven’t taken a look-see, hop to their site and check it out. Some great stuff.

So, after reading articles and talking to authors, I’ve decided when I put Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds on the market, I’ll be selling the ebook version at the $2.99 price point. And that price is still a whole lot cheaper than a new trade paperback ($11.99) and a mass market paperback ($5.99).

Looking at those numbers, I would definitely spend $2.99 on an awesome ebook written by an incredibly talented new author. Plus, if you bring your e-reader to a book signing or other public event, I would be more than happy to autograph a copy of it for you. Then you can show everyone the back of your Kindle or iPad and tell them you met me. And you can’t put a price point on priceless.

What do you think?



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Daedalus Press

A month? It’s been a month? Well, I suppose any excuse I have is inexcusable so I won’t bother making excuses.

Well, except for a couple of excuses that I’m pretty excited to talk about:

1) This last month I’ve been putting my efforts into finishing a very special project that I’m proud to be a part of. Back in October of 2011, I was given the opportunity to collaborate with a film director and work on a new film project. I was flown to New York City and put up in a 5-star hotel (or, at least I was able to make peace with the cockroaches. Ironic that they love Twinkies; probably the main reason they could both survive a nuclear blast). I spent five 10-hour days locked away in a tiny studio somewhere in a…colorful…part of Brooklyn and only breaching for food and caffeine. During that week I…

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 “Who knows where thoughts come from, they just appear.”  -Lucas from Empire Records

Over the last year or so, I’ve had some people ask me where I got the idea for my current book, Jac and the City of 1,000 Worlds? What was the inspiration behind a 7th grade girl going on an unintentional journey to Meridian, a city at the center of 1,000 different worlds?

I don’t know.

For a good number of my stories, I’ve been able to find–at times odd–reasoning behind the spark of my ideas.

Many ideas have been due to a direct influence from already published works by my favorite authors. Neil Gaiman‘s novel Neverwhere and The Sandman series were huge influences in many of the stories I wrote 10 or more years ago, as was Warren Ellis and his graphic novel series, Transmetropolitan. And 15 years ago I was introduced to Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. While I knew Disney’s film adaptation of the book, I had never known the brilliance of Bradbury’s writing.

At times it’s been a result of statements that I or others have made. The creative seed for a comic series I wrote almost 20 years ago was something along the lines of me saying, “Wouldn’t it suck to have your hand bitten off by a demon?” And from there, my first completed project, CHANCE, was born.

I suppose I do know where my thoughts come from, at least in a creative sense (my wife would beg to differ that just about all of my thoughts come out of a certain part of my body that rhymes with bass, gas, and mass). Perhaps the ideas were bits from a dream that slipped into the waking world. Perhaps they come from the world around me and I piece ideas and images together which then slide into my mind.  Whatever the origin of a story is from, I’m blessed to be able to cultivate them into a work of fiction.

But, getting back to the original question posed at the beginning of this post, I must say in this particular instance, the original idea that gave birth to Jac and her incredible adventure was this:

I have no idea.

But I love it.

Stay tuned.


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Welcome to S.J. Norstrom’s blog! Here you will find everything related to my novels, short stories, and all things literary.

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