The Score

Since Monday there have been two new entries in the sidebar. One, Current Daily Word Target, is pretty straight forward. It is the number of words per day I am targeting in my writing. It will be updated on Mondays and is the 105% of the average of the prior week.

The second, The Score, is a bit more complicated.

In his book Heinlein’s Rules Dean Wesley Smith discussed an idea he, Kristine Katheryn Rusch, Kevin J. Anderson, and others had in the 80s called the race. He even published stats for The Race in his magazine The Race.

The Race was about rule four, “You must put it on the market”, and rule five, “You must keep it on the market until sold”. You got points in the race for having stories, outlines or chapters, and full novels in the hands of editors who could buy them. The three categories gave one, three, and eight points respectively.

Smith notes he had over 70 points during the years he tracked The Race and wasn’t winning. Rusch and Anderson were always ahead of him. He also notes that going back to those late 80s issues the names routinely at the top of The Race had long careers while those with only a few stories out at a time are not around now.

I think The Race is as good for writers beginning their careers today as it was for Smith and company thirty years ago. In modern terms it gamifies rules four and five and, by extension because you have to write and finish to get it on the market, all five rules.

However, I want to update it a bit to fit the recommendations Smith makes for today with indie. Smith recommends sending short stories to actual market instead of just putting them up on Amazon, Kobo, et al. He argues the possible lower pay is made up for in marketing and advertising value. Conversely he argues books should just go up as indie eBooks. So, we’ll modify the meaning of on the market.

I also want to include an idea Smith discusses both in this book and in the video I linked this past Monday. A story shouldn’t be sold or put out as an indie eBook and forgotten. You can reprint, collect, translate, sell game rights, etc. We’ add points for repackaging and reselling after the initial publication.

Finally, I am going to add a few additional points for royalties earned on indie and auxiliary rights. This is more a success than getting it out there measure but I think adding them will draw attention to the synergy and marketing feedback as you get more items out in the world.

Out of those desired updates to The Race, The Score was born.

Points for short stories:

Points for novels:

Smith needed 70 short stories out to have 70 points (in fact, he does not quote his points and just notes he had 70 stories out at a time on a regular basis). If you write a novel a quarter and two stories a month on top of that just by having all the stories out or sold to $0.5/word market and all the novels on Amazon plus one other store (KU, iBooks, Kobo) you would have 60 points.

The scoring is designed to reward immediately being in the preferred channel by type and only reward the non-preferred channel when it provides actual cash flow.

My intent was to post this today with a score of 1 but I am still at 0. Time to get something out in the world.

Fellow writers, especially young writers (career length young, not age), I challenge you to reveal your score. Put it in the comments. Put it on your blog. Engage in a little friendly competition to have the highest score at the end of the month or be the first over 100 or some other value. Yes, with the sales numbers a lucky break could push someone over the top but just getting stuff out there is going to dominate most of the time. Plus, luck is when opportunity meets preparation which is why most overnight successes took ten years.

So what’s your score?

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