Tuesday, January 27, 2015

omg, Marvel (and Disney/Star Wars). Get with the program.

Okay, so I'm not the only one who noticed that Marvel has a serious problem.  I guess... [insert something here about the decade in which the company was born?]  Maybe Marvel hasn't gotten with the times yet.  (By the way, it's 2015 now. Girls want superhero action figures/role models/etc. just as much as boys do.  Trust me, I'm a parent of young girls.  I've got my finger on the pulse of what makes 5 year old girls tick.)

Oh, you want more proof?  I'm not the only parent who thinks this way.  Here's a fantastic video. (God, if only I had editing skills.  I would love to have made something like this with my daughters.)

My comment on the i09 article is as follows:

My daughters are nearly 3 and nearly 6, and we LOVE watching Marvel films and reading Marvel comics together.  (Not to mention Star Wars, Lego, and tons of other fun/nerdy activities that /the man/ seems to think are only fit for boys.)

When are Marvel, DC, and Disney (STAR WARS) going to realize that girls like action heroes just as much as boys do?  When are they going to start selling us the t-shirts, toys and games that we want?

Speaking of Star Wars, I had to order our "May the 4th" t-shirts from HerUniverse.com (a fantastic site for women/girls, by the way) so we could go to the Disney Store and collect our keepsake pins.  (The Disney Store didn't have a single Star Wars t-shirt for girls or women.  I bet they still don't.)  The good news is I got some FANTASTIC shirts that the girls and I adore.  The bad news is... The Disney Store didn't/doesn't stock any Star Wars mechandise/t-shirts for women/girls.

(I'm going to take a quick moment to brag about how amazing my daughter Alice was on stage for Jedi Training Academy during our recent trip to Disneyland.  I have video proof.)

I suppose we're going to have to demand it.  In voices loud and clear.

-Missy Kirtley

Reviews and Promises

I was listening to the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast (which is absolutely AWESOME, by the way, if you haven't started listening to it, you absolutely should) and in their interview with Hugh Howey, which is Podcast #83, they discussed how Hugh Howey's book, Wool. (Available on Amazon and other fine retailers.)

I haven't read the book.  Yet.  I hear it's wonderful, and it's on my to-do list not only because of the great reviews and my desire to support fellow self-published authors, but mostly because I thought Hugh was great in his interview.  I liked what he had to say about it all.

The thing that caught me the most was his discussion about how he celebrated getting a certain number of reviews on Amazon.  The video-that-shall-not-be-named is linked here.

The first in my The Royals series has 6 reviews on Amazon.  I think it's a pretty good story at a fair price, and I would love to get more reviews.  I'd like to do some sort of recognition like Hugh Howey did when he reached review milestones.  I just need to brainstorm what I might do.  (The idea of posting funny videos is very appealing.)

10 Reviews - ???
50 Reviews - ???
100 Reviews - ???
200 Reviews - ???

Any thoughts?  Has anyone else done this sort of thing?

-Missy Kirtley

Monday, January 19, 2015

Word Count vs. Page Number

(In which I rant, admittedly likely unfoundedly, about people using "page number" when we should all switch to "word count"...)

I found an article this morning called The 10 Best Books Shorter than 150 Pages by Sarah Gerard.  While the article is informative and interesting (and gave me a few more books to add to my every growing 'Need to read again' list), I can't help but nitpick on one point.  Why is it that we use the archaic "page count" when talking about books?

It must be a habit that we're having a hard time breaking.  Because when I read on my Kindle, the page count varies from setting to setting.  Font size, header and footer size, page width, it all varies.  And aren't there large print editions of these books that would have a different page count?  Not to mention that the audiobook versions of these titles have no page count.  But the WORD COUNT remains the same.

At a meeting of the California Writer's Club, Berkeley Branch yesterday, I was speaking with some friends about word counts for Blog Posts.  Word Counts.  Not Page counts.  We discussed a Critique Group in Berkeley that suggests the writers who sign up for a critique session to bring in 1,200 words.  Not 3 pages or 5 pages.

I would love to see this change.  Instead of a "300 page novel" let's start saying a "80k word novel" or a "40k word novella" or a "10k word novelette" ... Unless I'm mistaken, in which case, please give me insight!  Answer my question!  Why "page number" and not "word count"?

-Missy Kirtley

Sunday, January 18, 2015

California Writer's Club: Berkeley Branch

I went to the meeting of the Berkeley Branch of the California Writer's Club today in Oakland.  It was a grand adventure with my girl friend.  We took the BART, which is always an adventure, and walked a half mile from the Lake Merritt Station to the Oakland Library.  The journey was relatively uneventful; there were no strangers cursing at me on the BART, which has happened in the past.  We were only asked for money a half dozen times during our treck.

When we arrived at the meeting, we made the group large enough that we had to add more tables and chairs.  From 1pm to 2pm there was a meeting about Marketing for Writers led by Kymberlie, who writes several blogs.  I found her input to be fascinating.  Then we had a break, and reorganized how we were sitting.  A speaker named Lucy came to the podium and talked about her long publication journey, and her bad experiences with iUniverse, a Print On Demand pioneer, who was a Vanity Publisher in disguise.

Sarah Sundin took the stage at 3pm and gave a presentation on The Snowflake Method and how to use it to outline a novel.  It sounds right up my alley, actually.  When it comes to writing, I'm definitely a plotter and not a 'pantser.'  The presentation left my girl friend and I enthused about our own writing, but also a little daunted by the wealth of information we were presented with today.  (Much like how we felt after our experiences at the Writer's Digest Novel-Writing Conference we attended this summer.)

I met some really interesting people, and learned quite a few things.  I am definitely interested in joining the Writer's Club, though my friend and I want to explore the other branches that are local--to make sure we find the right fit for us.

We're signed up for the San Francisco Writer's Conference, over Valentine's Day weekend.  My goal is to have my rough draft of Three Tiers (my YA/New Adult, Sci Fi Novel) finished by then.  I'm signed up for UtopYA Con in June, and I hope to have my NaNoWriMo 2014 Novel finished and polished by then.  These are just a few steps in my writing journey, and I'm so lucky to be travelling on it with such talented, giving, wonderful people.

-Missy Kirtley