Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Declaration of Independence

In the not so distant past, self publishing was the kiss of death.  You would never reach a large audience, and the major publishing houses would shun you once you published your work.  That was the past.

I have done a substantial amount of research in recent weeks and found the e-publishing revolution in full swing.  Will I achieve such heights as King, Grisham, Martin, and others?  Not likely.  Will someone other than myself and my three editors read my work.  Heck yes.

Which has been my goal from the start.

I have a story that is screaming to be heard.  At no cost to me, I can throw it out there so people can read it.  Time will tell if it is worthy of reading.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to sell millions, but that is a dream at the back of my skull being held down by the strong hairy arm of reality.  What I think of my writing is irrelevant.  What you think is key.  I can only hope that you take as much joy in reading the story, as I took in writing.

Over the next three months, I will be using this blog, Facebook, and Twitter, to introduce the World of Nilrus.  Call it a miniature marketing campaign, which at this point will only be seen by friends and family (yes, I need to work on that too).  I won't be doing this on my own.  Teri, Lucky, and Athena are helping me on this journey (in some cases, pushing); without them this would not be happening.  It is my hope to show you the characters and the world they live in and maybe even strike that desire for you to read their story.

At the end of these three months, I will be an independent author.  The novel will be available at most of the e-book venues like Amazon.  You will be able to read my book on your Nook, Kindle, or one of the other e-readers available.  The ultimate judgement of success or failure will lie in the hands of the reader.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Growth of Independence

Jump into the way-back machine, okay, maybe not so way-back.

Books in electronic format have been around for a bit, but really, the Kindle really brought the written word into the modern age.  Resistance was there, and I was one of them.  I like the feel, the smell, the look of a printed book in my hand.  Not to mention the aesthetics of a physical representation of my purchase.  Regardless of my resistance, e-readers are everywhere, and more and more people are embracing this technology on a daily basis.  The traditional publishing houses still resist.

When Amazon brought us the Kindle, they warned that those $5 books wouldn't last; the publisher's were already resisting then.  Today, when you shop for a new e-book on Amazon, you will see one line; "the price was set by the publisher".  Is this their way of saying "we tried to tell them it was too much"?

Without getting into the whole argument about why, or whether the price is justified, let me just say that in most cases the paperback is cheaper than the electronic version.

But, this is a good thing.  Because of the arrogance of the Big 6, readers have found some quality independent authors.  If you scan some of Kindle's top selling lists, you will see they are skewed more toward the indie's.  Writers are finding out that they can do just as well, and in some cases better, on their own as if they had signed a big contract .

How long will this go on?  Seems to me that is up to the big publishing houses.  As long as they try to sell their books at the prices they are trying to sell them at now, readers will gravitate towards the independents.

Personally, I think the big houses should charge more.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I Have A ... Goal

For many years I have had a story in my head, at some point the howling of the characters forced my hand and I began to put this story on the page.  It is a big story; maybe not as big as The Wheel of Time series, and probably not as short as the fantasy standard trilogy.  Regardless, that first book was not a stand alone story, no matter how hard I tried to make it so.

And that is where this new journey began.  You see, getting Book One of many published through traditional means is improbable, at best, for an unpublished writer.  I didn't find this out until Book One had been through a couple of edits.  I was discouraged when this knowledge came to light, but I set aside that passion and began a new, stand alone, book.  Unfortunately, my heart was still with the characters and story line of Book One, which left the new project hollow and, at times, stagnant.

During one of these periods of no writing, I did a lot of reading.  I sought out newer fantasy novels by authors that I was not familiar with.  I wanted to see what was selling in the market.  I wanted to see if some of my ideas could sell.  This led me to the inspiration behind my change of path; David Dalglish.

David is an independent author, as in not tied to one of the big publishing houses.  And from what I can tell, he has been quite successful.  His books are well done and I highly recommend you read them.  They do have a few (very few really) editing issues, mispelled words, wrong words, etc. and a handful of phrases that just don't fit in a fantasy setting, but altogether well written.

I bring up the editing and phrases, not to bash Mr. Dalglish, but to bring up a point.  This was something that I feared with my own writing.  How could I publish something that had not been through the "process"; the process where an agent sends the manuscript back to me several times, and then an editor at the publisher takes a few pokes at it?  That process refines a somewhat rough work and results in the printed book that you purchase at the store.  David has shown me that it doesn't have to be perfect (or near perfect) to sell.

With all that rambling, I guess the bottom line is that David Dalglish has inspired me to pursue the once forbidden path of self-publishing.  I have imposed a deadline on myself and I have thirty-three chapters to edit, three of which will be a complete re-write.

My goal?  Publish my book in September of this year.  My dream?  That people enjoy it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yet Another Change of Plans

My lack of activity with this blog is reflective of my writing endeavors. That last post in October really explains a lot of the reasons why I've been in these doldrums. I know there are other writers out there who go through similar feelings; there is a passion tied to a project and when that project gets delayed, it is difficult to re-focus that passion to another well deserving project.

Condr is a deep, complex character that is a joy to write, yet I haven't approached his story with the lust that the Dalth epic had behind it. To use a phrase that sometimes irks me; I lost my muse. I love to write. I want to spend the rest of my life writing. Most important; I want to write what I want to write, not what a failing industry wants me to write.

The last two years has been an uprising of independent writers succeeding in the electronic market, thanks in a large part to places like Amazon and Smashwords. Writers now have an avenue that can, at times, be more lucrative than the old route through the big publishing houses. Those same large publishing houses are fueling the rise of independent publishing by over-pricing their electronic media. You don't have to trust me on this, just go to Amazon and check out their best selling lists and you will see that they are dominated by self-published writers.

Is there a trade-off with self-publishing as opposed to the traditional method? Heck yes there is. By following the traditional path your novel goes through several revisions and by the time it hits the printed page, it is a refined piece of work (for the most part). With self-published authors that forced editing is not present, so it is left to the writer to edit, re-edit, and find others to edit their work.

The self-published author has to market their work, but if you aren't a best-selling author at one of the big houses, those publishers often leave the marketing in your hands anyhow. In some cases, I have seen midlist authors discouraged by their publisher's when the subject of marketing came up.

I think you can see where I am going with all this rambling. I will continue with another post to discuss my decision to circumvent the big crumbling publishing houses, but for now; I am freaking excited again!