Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Open topics on the Contest itself, to include results-watch threads and other items of note.
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Martin L. Shoemaker
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Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:54 am

From David on Facebook: The Contest is now officially using word processor count, NOT publisher's word count.

Go wild, people. Go wild.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby amoskalik » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:07 am

Thanks Martin. Publisher's word count is a pain, so I'm glad to see it go.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby disgruntledpeony » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:11 am

I just got used to publisher's word count, too. wotf019 Ahh well.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sat Nov 11, 2017 2:09 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:From David on Facebook: The Contest is now officially using word processor count, NOT publisher's word count.

Go wild, people. Go wild.


HOORAY FOR CLARITY! NOW I CAN GO BACK TO WRITING 22K STORIES AND ENTERING THEM LEGALLY AT 17K WP COUNT! MAUAHAHAHAHA! WAIT A MINUTE, THAT'S WHAT I'VE ALWAYS BEEN DOING!!! MAUAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Erm, I fear it's going to be another LOOONG year. : )

~Moon~

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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Wulf Moon » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:09 pm

This was a surprise. Dave said when he sees a submission at 16,999 words he immediately gets suspicious. When he does a word count check, 60% of the time he finds people went over the word count and then lied about it! Some of the word counts he cited were insane!

Rules are rules. The easiest way to get disqualified is to not follow them. Worse is to lie and hope the judge doesn't catch it.

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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:02 am

Wulf Moon wrote:Rules are rules. The easiest way to get disqualified is to not follow them. Worse is to lie and hope the judge doesn't catch it.


Writers worry that a bad story will ruin their reputation forever. Every editor I've spoken with says they're too busy to remember bad stories, much less the authors. They're almost too busy to remember the good ones.

But they remember the bad behavior. Oh, do they remember...
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby pcmccollum » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:13 am

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:Rules are rules. The easiest way to get disqualified is to not follow them. Worse is to lie and hope the judge doesn't catch it.


Writers worry that a bad story will ruin their reputation forever. Every editor I've spoken with says they're too busy to remember bad stories, much less the authors. They're almost too busy to remember the good ones.

But they remember the bad behavior. Oh, do they remember...


Concerning editors being too busy to remember bad stories, that's a great point and one that Dean Wesley Smith touts a lot. The notion has helped me get over my fear of putting my work out there.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:40 am

And the good news: editors DO take note of "beginner" writers that are close to creating professional stories they might be able to buy. They do enjoy discovering new talent, and it's a feather in their cap to say they were the first to publish someone that rose, say, to top of the NYT bestseller list (just look at DFs blogs). You will know you are close when professional level editors start sending you personal comments in the rejections. Do not take this lightly. It is a VERY good sign, just like getting HMs and higher in WOTF. Editors are trying to encourage you to not give up, and to keep sending to them, because they see your potential. Editors do not have to do this, and they usually don't, because they simply do not have the time.

Editors also talk to other editors, especially at cons. I know they do talk about who is close, because Dean (Wesley Smith) told me they do. And when someone that was *this close* to getting published drops off the face of the earth, they also ask one another what happened, and whether they've seen any other stories from X writer? It bothers them to see someone drop out, because truth is, they actually are hoping you will break through and send them a story they can publish. Their job is to pubish good stories. And the people that can write good stories are actually rather rare.

I'll say one last thing on word count, to make this post fit the Topic. wotf001 While you are safe to follow the rules and submit a 17K word processor count story, it still may not be the best path to success. The more words you have, the more skill you must have to make it *feel* effortless, like it's really not 17K. The more words you have, the more chance there is for errors. The more words you have, the more likely if you make Finalist, the prize judges are going to get ticked off at having to read such a long story (they're only human, they've got lives, too). The more words you have, the harder it will be to find a market for that story somewhere else. So, while it is legal to submit a 17K wp count story, you are definitely choosing a path that stacks odds against you.

That said, and like I've said before, I've submitted plenty of close to 17K wp stories. And I know for certain, like Martin, at least one of my stories lost Finalist because of it, because you get those nice critiques telling you so. : )

And then I hear Obi-wan's voice echoing in the back of my mind like laughter in an insane asylum.

"You must do what you feel is right, of course."

~Moon~

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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby AndrewDWallin » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:12 am

Thank you for this! This is really helpful. I realize now I need to approach my story submissions here in a whole new (read: shorter) way.

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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:56 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:Editors also talk to other editors, especially at cons. I know they do talk about who is close, because Dean (Wesley Smith) told me they do. And when someone that was *this close* to getting published drops off the face of the earth, they also ask one another what happened, and whether they've seen any other stories from X writer? It bothers them to see someone drop out, because truth is, they actually are hoping you will break through and send them a story they can publish.


Ah, the infamous Topanga Canyon story! When Dean used to tell this story, he always referred to his example author as Topanga Canyon, because that was where the guy was from. Topanga Canyon became kind of shorthand around here for giving up too soon.

One day, a new forum member who didn't know the story asked why we kept referring to Topanga Canyon. See, he was from Topanga Canyon.

So we explained the story; and he said, "Huh. I'm a fiction writer from Topanga Canyon. It's a pretty small place, so I suspect I'm the only one. And I used to submit a lot; but I never sold anything. So I gave up."

He contacted Dean. Yes, HE was Topanga Canyon. And he's back, and writing, proving that even giving up doesn't have to be forever.

(And my memory has faded. I don't remember who he was now. I thought Dustin Adams, but he's from New York. I'll dig it out.)
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!
REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby preston » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:10 pm

That's me. I'm Topanga Canyon. When I found this out, it was one of the biggest shocks of my life. It was like I had a secret identity I didn't even know about. The stories I could tell you! And I fully intend to tell them all. The good news is: I didn't give up forever. I came back, and my stories are now selling. In fact, just had my second pro-sale a few weeks ago. Still waiting for the contract to announce it. But yeah, yours truly is a well-known cautionary tale. Don't give up. Ever.
wotf009

Thanks, Martin! wotf013

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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby amoskalik » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:18 am

preston wrote:That's me. I'm Topanga Canyon. When I found this out, it was one of the biggest shocks of my life. It was like I had a secret identity I didn't even know about. The stories I could tell you! And I fully intend to tell them all. The good news is: I didn't give up forever. I came back, and my stories are now selling. In fact, just had my second pro-sale a few weeks ago. Still waiting for the contract to announce it. But yeah, yours truly is a well-known cautionary tale. Don't give up. Ever.
wotf009

Thanks, Martin! wotf013


That's awesome. Not that you quit writing, but to be both the cautionary tale and the redemption story all in one and become a semi-mythical figure in the process. Good thing you come from such a cool sounding place. Topanga Canyon. That's right up there with Dixville Notch.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby jficke13 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:03 am

amoskalik wrote:
preston wrote:That's me. I'm Topanga Canyon. When I found this out, it was one of the biggest shocks of my life. It was like I had a secret identity I didn't even know about. The stories I could tell you! And I fully intend to tell them all. The good news is: I didn't give up forever. I came back, and my stories are now selling. In fact, just had my second pro-sale a few weeks ago. Still waiting for the contract to announce it. But yeah, yours truly is a well-known cautionary tale. Don't give up. Ever.
wotf009

Thanks, Martin! wotf013


That's awesome. Not that you quit writing, but to be both the cautionary tale and the redemption story all in one and become a semi-mythical figure in the process. Good thing you come from such a cool sounding place. Topanga Canyon. That's right up there with Dixville Notch.


I went to school with a bunch of folks from the suburbs of Chicago. We always used to joke that all of the suburbs there were a combination of [Geographic Feature] and [Flora]. For example, Cedar Lake, or Oak Lawn. So we started trying to make up our own imaginary Chicago Suburb Names. The best we came up with was Sumac Chasm.

Topanga Canyon could be right there!
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby amoskalik » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:55 am

jficke13 wrote:
I went to school with a bunch of folks from the suburbs of Chicago. We always used to joke that all of the suburbs there were a combination of [Geographic Feature] and [Flora]. For example, Cedar Lake, or Oak Lawn. So we started trying to make up our own imaginary Chicago Suburb Names. The best we came up with was Sumac Chasm.

Topanga Canyon could be right there!


Ooo, superhero suburb pseudonyms ...
Ginkgo Gultch.
Bonsai Hoodoo.
Peat Scowle.
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Ishmael » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:58 am

Do not explain to anyone who may be oversensitive the literal meaning of some place names.

Grand Tetons?

Especially not Grand Tetons, Long John. wotf003
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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:11 am

preston wrote:That's me. I'm Topanga Canyon. When I found this out, it was one of the biggest shocks of my life. It was like I had a secret identity I didn't even know about. The stories I could tell you! And I fully intend to tell them all. The good news is: I didn't give up forever. I came back, and my stories are now selling. In fact, just had my second pro-sale a few weeks ago. Still waiting for the contract to announce it. But yeah, yours truly is a well-known cautionary tale. Don't give up. Ever.
wotf009

Thanks, Martin! wotf013


We flushed out Topanga Canyon! Your secret identity has been revealed! Good to hear you returned to writing and submitting, Preston. I wonder if you've submitted anything to Dean, perhaps when he opens up Pulphouse to open submissions? He'd get a kick out of seeing your name again, and learning you did not give up, you just needed a breather. : )

Glad to hear this story has a happy ending. Keep writing the story YOU want told.

Warmth and sunshine,

Moon

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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby preston » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:20 pm

Wulf Moon wrote:
preston wrote:That's me. I'm Topanga Canyon. When I found this out, it was one of the biggest shocks of my life. It was like I had a secret identity I didn't even know about. The stories I could tell you! And I fully intend to tell them all. The good news is: I didn't give up forever. I came back, and my stories are now selling. In fact, just had my second pro-sale a few weeks ago. Still waiting for the contract to announce it. But yeah, yours truly is a well-known cautionary tale. Don't give up. Ever.
wotf009

Thanks, Martin! wotf013


We flushed out Topanga Canyon! Your secret identity has been revealed! Good to hear you returned to writing and submitting, Preston. I wonder if you've submitted anything to Dean, perhaps when he opens up Pulphouse to open submissions? He'd get a kick out of seeing your name again, and learning you did not give up, you just needed a breather. : )

Glad to hear this story has a happy ending. Keep writing the story YOU want told.

Warmth and sunshine,

Moon


Ha, thanks, Wulf. Yeah, I needed a breather, a 20-year-long breather. And yes, I'll definitely submit to Pulphouse if submissions open!

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Re: Goodbye, Publisher's Word Count!

Postby Wulf Moon » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:12 am

preston wrote:
Wulf Moon wrote:
preston wrote:That's me. I'm Topanga Canyon. When I found this out, it was one of the biggest shocks of my life. It was like I had a secret identity I didn't even know about. The stories I could tell you! And I fully intend to tell them all. The good news is: I didn't give up forever. I came back, and my stories are now selling. In fact, just had my second pro-sale a few weeks ago. Still waiting for the contract to announce it. But yeah, yours truly is a well-known cautionary tale. Don't give up. Ever.
wotf009

Thanks, Martin! wotf013


We flushed out Topanga Canyon! Your secret identity has been revealed! Good to hear you returned to writing and submitting, Preston. I wonder if you've submitted anything to Dean, perhaps when he opens up Pulphouse to open submissions? He'd get a kick out of seeing your name again, and learning you did not give up, you just needed a breather. : )

Glad to hear this story has a happy ending. Keep writing the story YOU want told.

Warmth and sunshine,

Moon


Ha, thanks, Wulf. Yeah, I needed a breather, a 20-year-long breather. And yes, I'll definitely submit to Pulphouse if submissions open!


Dean will flip when he sees a submission from you again (in a good way, he likes writers that persevere). He'll have to modify his story because YOU changed the ending! I hope you still have Topanga Canyon in your address!

Cheers!

~Moon~


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