About Holly

Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

HowToThinkSideways.com Is Moving to A New Site

Moving HowToThinkSideways.com

Moving HowToThinkSideways.com

If you have ever purchased a class or a book from me using the old HollyShop or any of my sites, please put yourself on the list below. We'll be moving HowToThinkSideways.com to a new URL, and I need to let my readers, as well as past and present students know the following:
  • How to get to the new site
  • How to get to your purchases once you're there
  • How to use the very nice coupon I'm putting together as a thank you for folks putting up with the multitude of things that have been going wrong with HowToThinkSideways.com over the past...well, quite a while.
We're not moving onto the software Dan is building for me yet. We're just getting out of the earthquake zone and onto stable ground so that he and I can actually get work done without having to put out fires on the existing software. Thank you so much.


Before I was so RUDELY interrupted…

Rude Interruption

Rude Interruption

I had just put together my schedule for the next couple of months. (Link opens in new tab). The VERY next day, a Wordpress update broke an old plugin on my HowToThinkSideways.com site that just happened to have been delivering about 90% of my readers' and writers' purchased downloads. I finished manually locating and manually moving each of those roughly 800 downloads into new download software and manually attaching those downloads to the correct class and purchase pages late yesterday. Arrgh. Today, I'm resuming my Writing Life plan. Onward.

Scheduling a writing life: Follow-up #1

Picture of me in my office. Sort of.

Picture of me in my office. Sort of.

I'm following up on the "How Would You Clear My Schedule" post. First, INTERNS!!! was the cool and awesome suggestion that I leapt on, only to discover that the legal ramifications made it impossible for me to do. (Enormous thanks to Margaret Fisk, who did the research and let me know about this.) There are folks actively hunting for ways to monetize the suing of folks who offer internships, so I killed the intern program. I don't make enough to pay even one full-time employee at minimum wage, much less the numbers I need to actually get my out of print and "messed-up-in-print" work into circulation in a professional fashion. So here are the three things I'll be dealing with in May (with probable leak-over into June) PART 1: Working with Dan on software development for my new sites. This HAS to be done, and it has to be done now. The most recent WordPress update broke HowToThinkSideways.com admin for a full week. Dan had to do major, major overhaul work to get it up and running for me again so that I could go in and fix accounts for folks and do the other things I do in admin. (Create products, set up coupons, kill spammers, add new pages for things like the live chats...) I have to consider that the NEXT WordPress update is likely to not just break MY access, but everyone's access. So, as I said, this has to be done, and it has to be done now, and I am not a passive observer. I am wire-framing the designs for my future software, designing interfaces and front-ends and describing how I need elements to interact with users and databases. I am designing a fair amount of stuff that doesn't exist yet, but so far, I haven't done anything that Dan says is impossible. I have most of the wire-frames that I think I'll need done. As we build, and as we start bringing in live testers, I'll have to amend things and I'll have to add things. But Dan's and my objective is to have me off of WordPress for good, and onto the software I need, by the end of the year, and sooner if possible. PART 2: Finishing up The Prisoner Gambit, and then writing the next HTWAS Demo Story for the HTWAS Class. Before I can take the next module of How To Write A Series live, I have to write my proof-of-concept story for my writers. MODULE FOUR of How To Write A Series, by the way, is going to be PREVENTING SERIES BOREDOM---Yours and Theirs. So figure that I'm going to have to pull out all the stops for the fourth HTWAS demo story---Longview 4: Vipers' Nest. AND keep it between 20,000 and 30,000 words, which is getting really tough. These things keep trying to turn into novels on me, and in the first three stories, I've already done the equivalent of one full-length novel. PART 3: Working with RMW Beta Testers What I've done instead is ask founding members of ReadersMeetWriters.com to beta-test the in-house certification courses I'm putting together for RMW, and to test the courses using my lessons, letting me know where there are problems, and letting me fix the courses while they practice on my books. That way, RMW members who take the training for things like Manuscript Layout and Cover Art Design will not have to get the versions with splinters. My volunteers are taking the pain for them. I'll fit in other things as I can, but getting my out-of-print stuff off of my hard drive is done, and delegated, and the weight off of my mind from just that is massive. If I can also get two stories written, and my part of the software development mostly finished between now and the end of June, I'll be in much better shape than I was when I asked for help. Thank you for your suggestions. I wanted you to see what I've done with them so far. I'll be back here when I've finished something. :D

Now available to everyone: The Indie Pub Live Chat plus links

I think this particular chat---covering some of the issues of indie publishing, is one of the best live events I've done in a while. You can watch it and get the links, plus all the other chats in this series, here: http://howtothinksideways.com/2862749/htts-qa-live-chat-3/ No login necessary. Just go ahead over. HOWEVER: I experienced technical difficulties. What this means is that I'm going to look for someone who can go in there for me and help me out by popping up links, polls, other screens, and other things that take my focus away from answering questions. This is just a volunteer thing, but if you're interested (AFTER watching the chat---please make sure you know what you're getting into going in) just let me know here.

Live Writing Chat #3: Today, May 5th at 1 PM ET

If you haven't yet signed up for this chat, you can do so here: http://app.webinarjam.net/register/4436/e963ecd928 This is what I'll be discussing:

WEBINAR #3: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015, 1 PM ET

  • Building A Backlist
  • Existing Backlist
  • Indie Publishing
  • Beta Readers
  • Editors
  • ISBNs
  • Copyright
  • Pricing
In order to make tomorrow's live chat run a bit more smoothly, if you have additional questions on these topics not included on pages 9-11 of the chat download here, please post them below and I'll add them tomorrow before I go live. I hope I'll see you there.

Intern Program #1: FICTION Critter, Editor, Copyeditor, Text Layout, Cover Design, Fiction Launch Path

Internship I've created my first intern program: COMMERCIAL FICTION DEVELOPMENT. The first intern program is for people who want to work with WRITERS OF FICTION (and personal non-fiction). And who want to get paid to do this. I'm looking for people with whom I can work LONG-TERM. I want to build a team I can rely on to work with every fiction project I write, and ideally the first interns who join the program would become my team, and will still be working with me as indie contractors 25 years from now. However, I know other writers need help, too---and I know where hundreds of these writers are (ReadersMeetWriters.com), and I can train more folks than just my own team. Whether we end up working together long-term or not, I'll make sure that, if you take the program seriously and apply the necessary effort to learn the skills I teach, I'll recommend you in ReadersMeetWriters for the skills you learned, and you can offer your skills in the RMW Market with my recommendation as your first client. This is the program to apply for if you want to get to read a lot of fiction, and work with writers to help them make their fiction the best it can be, and to learn how to get it out into the world to reach other readers. If you maintain your active status as an intern, you will get hands-on experience and training in doing:
  • Professional-quality crits
  • Manuscript Content Editing
  • Manuscript Copy Editing
  • Manuscript Text Layout and Manuscript Formatting
  • Cover copy and promotional copy
  • Cover Design
  • Fiction copy and launch building
Each of these skills is needed not just by me, but by the members of ReadersMeetWriters.com And I'll be recruiting FROM the membership of ReadersMeetWriters.com for my first interns. Here's the program. BEGINNING INTERNS---You'll work with my previously published work doing:
  • Reading and bughunting
  • Manuscript layout and pre-formatting (for novels) and ebook creation (for short fiction)
  • Writing cover copy and other promotional copy
  • Designing cover art
  • BASIC fiction launch training
ADVANCED INTERNS---Interns who perform well and reliably and hit deadlines consistently will move on to working with my new fiction as I write it, doing:
  • Reader crits of first drafts
  • Content editing of final drafts
  • Manuscript copyediting
  • ADVANCED fiction launch training
BEGINNING INTERNS will receive my downloadable training for bug-hunting, manuscript layout and formatting, writing cover copy, designing cover art, and basic fiction launches, and you'll get my input on each step you complete. When the split-tester becomes available, we will split-test cover-copy, cover art, and launch elements, and you will be able to see which of your own work is best (you'll do multiple entries), and how your work stacks up against the work by others---and you'll be able to use what you learn to improve your skills. By successfully completing each section, interns will receive my recommendation and points in ReadersMeetWriters.com, as well as the courses I offer that include additional training. Interns will also receive an acknowledgment in each book on which they are an active participant. I have room for twelve interns who will work in teams of three on the 19 projects I have ready to go. I will open up replacement slots for any interns who drop out of the program. Interns with whom I work well and who enjoy working with me will progress to the ADVANCED PROGRAM. All advanced interns will take How To Revise Your Novel at an accelerated pace, and will use this course to understand how to revise and edit fiction. You will each receive first-draft manuscripts of previously published works of mine to use for practice, and once you have completed the course and a full edit of a first-draft manuscript, will work with me on live fiction as I create it. ADVANCED INTERNS will also take the advanced fiction launch training I am currently developing, and will set up test launches. Successful test launches will become live launches. When each ADVANCED INTERN runs a successful live launch, that intern will receive fiction launch certification for use in RMW. I will contract with one or two certified fiction launchers to plan, set up, and run my own launches, and will recommend certified fiction launchers to RMW members looking to hire them. This intern program will be a lot of work, will not cost you anything, but also will not pay you anything. You'll receive free training; you'll receive points and recommendations in RMW if you do well; you'll receive acknowledgement in the books you help fix. And as I'm able to move from the intern-training model to hiring contractors, I will. If you want to apply for an internship, watch your email from the RMW list. If you are not currently a member, you can join ReadersMeetWriters.com, which is still in its BETA stage. I'll send an email out early next week.

How would YOU clear this schedule?

Help?I'm swamped enough that the migraines are back, and I'm putting this in front of my readers hoping someone will see a way for me to clear a lot of stuff out of my schedule quickly. I'll be honest. I've got nothing. I can come up with ideas for books and courses all day long, but when things get this backlogged, I get stressed. I've been focusing on doing just three things a day, and doing them well, but even that is not clearing things. Here's the schedule:  


Publish books and stories for which I own rights that are simply sitting on my hard drive
  • Talyn
  • Minerva Wakes
  • Midnight Rain
  • Last Girl Dancing
  • I See You
  • Night Echoes
  • Last Thorsday Night
  • >>---4EVR--->
Copyedits, Corrections, New Covers, Republish
  • Fire in the Mist (Have commissioned cover art, need to put it together)
  • Bones of the Past (Have commissioned cover art, need to put it together)
  • Mind of the Magic (Have commissioned cover art, need to put it together)
  • Hunting The Corrigan's Blood (Cover needs new text only)
  • Warpaint (Cover needs new text only)
  • Light Through Fog
  • Rewind
  • Strange Arrivals
  • Sympathy for the Devil
  • The Devil and Dan Cooley
  • Hell On High
New Fiction
  • Cadence Drake Three: The Wishbone Conspiracy
  • Korre Three: Redbird
  • Rest of the Cadence Drake series
  • More Longview stuff
  • More short stories
  • Just more fiction...lots and lots more fiction.


How To Revise Your Novel Expansion
  • Revise Talysmana
  • Add step-by-step demo to the course


How To Think Sideways Walkthrough
  • Moon and Sun Three: The Emerald Sun (Book for the How to Think Sideways Walkthrough)
  • Plan: Write the book in one hard push, then
  • Put together the walkthrough in the same fashion
ADDED LATER: How To Think Sideways Quick Fixes
  • 10 remaining
How to Think Sideways
  • Weekly email with new HTTS Live Discussion link
  • Set up weekly Discussion Classroom Page
  • Set up weekly Discussion in forum
  • Comment in weekly discussion.
  • Monthly chat: Four remaining
  • Personal bonuses for students who received them: As scheduled
How to Write A Series
  • Finish The Philosopher Gambit (copyedit, formatting, cover copy, and uploading, and product setup on three systems remain)
  • Post the story in class
  • Put up all revised versions of Longview 1 & 2 on Amazon, B&N, and my shop
  • Start writing Longview 4: The Vipers' Nest
  • Start teaching MODULE 4 in the classroom
  • Finish and publish Longview 4
  • Finish MODULE 4
  • Start writing Longview 5
  • Start teaching MODULE 5 in the classroom
  • Finish Longview 5
  • Finish MODULE 5
  • Start writing Longview 6
  • Start teaching MODULE 6
  • Finish Longview 6 and the series
  • Finish MODULE 6
  • Survey the class for the bonus course
  • Write the bonus course
  • Set it up in the software
Ugly Baby / Ugly Workshop / Ugly Mastermind
  • Survey class for next module
  • Create Ugly Baby module
  • Create Ugly Workshop module
  • Do fiction launch post-mortem email for Launch Observers List
  • Do fiction launch forum post-mortem with Tom Vetter in UW and UMM
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Cat Gerlach
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 3
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 4
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 5
  • Do fiction launch, emails, post-mortem with Volunteer 6
  • Decide if the process in reliable enough to set up a fiction launch class
Yarnlings MM
  • Check in before they think I'm dead
  • Do regular monthly updates on what I'm doing and how it's working


Copyedit and correct every single page of every single writing course, and every single page of my sites. More than a million words.


Website Development for Holly Lisle Online Writing School/ Readers Meet Writers/ HollyLisle.com/ OneStep Writing Website Dev
  • Build "what-it-needs-to-do/ how-it-needs-to-work/ how-I-want-to-use-it" wireframes for Dan (a lot of these are already done)
  • Daily updates and brainstorming on what we're doing
Community Posts
  • Minimum one daily until I get through this backlog
This Blog
  • At least once a week
Writing Tips Newsletter
  • 2 new tips a month
Fiction Newsletter
  • Build SOMETHING...my readers are just hanging there with nothing cool happening whatsoever
Other Mailing List emails as needed
  • I mail something to at least one list about twice a week, and try not to overlap
Help Desk
  • Monday-Friday Daily


Personal emails
  • Monday-Friday Daily (after clearing a lot of subscriptions, these are down to about 250-300 a day, so that's MUCH better)
So there it is.

I am wide open for suggestions.

Everything on this list is important. It all has to be done. It's all stuff I love doing, it's all stuff I'm excited about, but my two long-term goals are:
  1. Spend more time writing fiction
  2. Spend more time actually talking to my readers and working with my students


I’ve read every word posted to this point. And the first thing that jumps out at me is this: 1.) How the hell did I never think of INTERNS? I didn’t want to ask for volunteers, but I will happily trade writing courses in exchange for things like bug hunting, copy editing, and help with reformatting courses. 2.) Nobody writes my words but me. So ghostwriting is out. Having readers and writers contribute guest posts, tips, and discussion ideas is in, though. I like that idea. 3.) The organizational tips are enormously helpful. As stuff piled up, Calendar (the Mac software) stopped being quite as useful as it initially was. The reminders are good, but getting everything ON the calendar is a mess. 4.) Because of the migraines, I’ve been doing the relaxation, meditation, and exercise all along. At this point, my issues are in actually clearing the load. I see a light, though, in how I can do that.  


I now have the better part of a plan of action for the next few weeks. Thank you, ALL of you, for every single comment here. I'll continue reading comments tomorrow, but right now, I'm sitting down to set priorities and clear out everything that can be delegated. I'll be back to the blog when I have some internships to offer, and when I have a clear picture of what the next few months are going to look like for me.

Longview Cover Art: THIRD Massive Overhaul

Nothing about indie publishing is simple. Making your own cover art is actively difficult. You can create acceptable cover art, but it takes a lot of trial and error, and some good feedback helps. I had help through the first rounds of this, and now have replacement cover art for:
LONGVIEW 1-Enter the Death Circus

LONGVIEW 1-Enter the Death Circus

  • TALES FROM THE LONGVIEW Episode 1: Enter the Death Circus
  • TALES FROM THE LONGVIEW Episode 2: The Selling of Suzee Delight, and NEW cover are in the new series style for
  • TALES FROM THE LONGVIEW Episode 3: The Philosopher Gambit
LONGVIEW 2-The Selling of Suzee Delight

LONGVIEW 2-The Selling of Suzee Delight

I finally managed to make the covers all obviously science fiction, but kept the personal aspect with characters, and figured out a way to keep my original titles for the first two stories while coming up with a new title for the third that did not hit readers with my episode main character's name before they were ready. Bashtyk Nokyd will now be IN the story, but not spelled out on the cover.
LONGVIEW 3-The Philosopher Gambit

LONGVIEW 3-The Philosopher Gambit


The HTTS Q&A Live Chat Replays link

Workshop Orange Speech Bubble Isolated On WhiteI've now set the replays for the live chats up so that you can view them and get the downloads without having to login. I'll add each one after any special offers I do in the live chats have expired (so that I don't end up with dead coupons on permanent pages). Here's the link: http://howtothinksideways.com/about-the-htts-qa-live-chats/

Tom Vetter Hits #11 on Amazon’s Bestseller List

Tom Vetter at #11 on Amazon, in Expeditions and Discoveries World History

Tom Vetter at #11 on Amazon, in Expeditions and Discoveries World History

Tom Vetter holds the #11 spot this morning in Adventures and Discoveries World History on Amazon's Bestseller List! The book jumped significantly overnight, from the high 300,000s overall to 28,289 right now, and he's sold most of his first editions. The author's page with first editions is here: http://www.tomvetterbooks.com/i-read-from-30000-leagues-undersea-authors-intro/ The book on Amazon is here: http://www.amazon.com/000-Leagues-Undersea-Submariner-Submergence-ebook/dp/B00VERWICQ/