August 16, 2012 · 5:52 pm
I loved the essays by indie authors in the back of LET’S GET DIGITAL by David Gaughran, so I was eager to read INTERVIEWS WITH INDIE AUTHORS, an entire book of “Top Tips from Successful Self-Published Authors,” by Claire Ridgway and Tim Ridgway. I wasn’t disappointed. This book is exactly what it claims to be. Every author answers the same set of good questions about how they achieved success.
Some of the authors were brand new to publishing, others already had a fan base after a career in traditional publishing. Almost all of them cited freedom and control as a reason why they turned to self-publishing.
I found it interesting to see where the various authors agreed on what worked for them to “get the word out,” and where they differed. A few used targeted advertising. Most of them said they used social media networking, but several said they didn’t bother with it. I got the impression that many different things were tried by the authors and only a few of the authors had any hard data about whether any particular thing was responsible for increasing their sales. Getting the next book out, especially when they were writing a series, is one of the few things most authors were sure worked.
The interviews are best read two or three at a time. There is a ton of information in this book, including specifics about where some of the authors advertised. I enjoyed reading the stories of people who are where I want to be someday. If you’re an indie author, or thinking of becoming one, I recommend this book.
LIGHTBRINGER: A Celestial Affairs Novel will be free on Amazon 8/17 through 8/21.
April 30, 2012 · 11:42 am
I’m old enough to have grown up when reruns of the original Star Trek were one of the few sources of science-fiction on TV. (Lost In Space doesn’t count. It just doesn’t.) SF wasn’t mainstream back then. Trekkies were geeks and nerds long before there was such a thing as geek chic. Did that make us cutting edge? Well, uh, no. At the time it just made us different.
Or maybe it was because we were already different that we loved the show. Instead of playing cowboys and Indians, I imagined Away Team adventures. I never put myself exactly into the shoes of any of the original characters, though. I was a Russian/Vulcan hybrid. Emotional and analytical. “It is logical that humans are emotional, Spock. It is their nature,” I’d tell him. Like he didn’t already know.
I knew at nine what I was. I wasn’t impulsive and egotistical. I wasn’t decorative and supportive. Grumpy, stubborn, sneaky, or technical. (Hmm. The seven dwarfs as an away team . . .)
And yet, I’m all those things. The crew of the Enterprise (in the original show) represented the individual traits of a whole personality. The show wouldn’t have worked as well without any one of them. They even addressed that in the awful episode where Kirk’s personality was split in half. Still, some traits dominate.
But at nine, none of that was on my sensor array. At nine, I was just a Vulcan, with enough Russian in me to justify my illogical emotional outbursts.
Which character were you?
February 17, 2012 · 12:29 pm
I came across this blog post, and I want all my followers to read it. It’s titled, “Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success,” and it was just what I needed to read today. I can imagine returning to it often to keep me focused.
I particularly like the answer to the question: how do we define ourselves? We are not just the sum of what we have done so far, but also who we aspire to be. We must not sell ourselves short, or stop before we have begun.
Failure is not (usually) fatal, and really, despite the saying, no one died from embarrassment. Going for it is so much more exciting than not trying.
February 15, 2012 · 12:27 pm
I’m not feeling particularly insightful today, so I thought I’d share a great pic with you.
This fellow is how I picture one of the male protags in a future MMF project which I finally got a handle on. (Do you think he looks like an elf?) I can’t wait to share it with you, but I’ll have to while I finish FIRSTBORN (or whatever I wind up calling it).
February 8, 2012 · 11:16 am
This is a great message. I’ve implemented it many times, but I seem to need to hear it on a regular basis.
One Step. It’s all it takes to begin to change your life. You have to follow it with another step, and then another, but it’s a law of physics: Bodies in motion tend to remain in motion. Once you take the first step–at anything–taking the next one is easier.
A little less than a year ago I took the first step of contacting a cover artist and an editor. Now I’m preparing my third manuscript for publication and having a blast.
A saying has been running through my head a lot lately: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll only get what you’ve already got.” Otherwise stated: “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Take a step. Do something different. Enjoy.
January 23, 2012 · 10:35 pm
Available at Amazon and B&N
I finally put up an excerpt of WITH HEART TO HEAR, my erotic Victorian fairytale. (Click on the EXCERPTS tab above.)
I absolutely love the cover Rae Monet did for this short (11K words).
The seeds of this story are from a dream that a friend told me about. She gave me permission to use it as a jumping off point, but by the time I finished, it bore little resemblance to the original inspiration.
Here’s a bit about WITH HEART TO HEAR:
An erotic beauty and the beast tale.
Elise Craft is a well bred Victorian spinster who, at the advanced age of twenty-eight, would rather study the flora and fauna of England than indulge in the social games of the ton. Then, on a trip to the lake country of Cumbria, she makes an exotic and erotic discovery on the border between everyday England and Faerie. She will never see the world the same again . . .
December 19, 2011 · 5:16 pm
Merry Yule! I hope you and yours are all enjoying this holiday season. So often at this time of year it’s easy to become stressed by the additional efforts of shopping, entertaining, and planning holiday meals, not to mention the disruption of our usual routines. I compounded the chaos this year by planning the holiday release of WITH HEART TO HEAR and replacing some very worn carpet in my living room before we hosted our holiday party.
I was starting to feel a little snippy about my home being discombobulated for longer than planned when I remembered how blessed I am that I can do both of these things. Then I read this excellent post from Dan Wells from early last month about Cheerful Flexibility.
Cheerful Flexibility is a wonderful mantra for life as well as publishing. With the industry in the process of finding a new way of doing business we’re bound to need to adjust and readjust in the next few years. If we can do it with an open heart, life (and change) will be so much easier for us (and for those around us). We probably won’t like some of the changes we’ll be facing, but they’ll be less painful if we work through them instead of resisting them. I fully expect I’ll have to alter my plans–probably more than once.
In the meantime, it’s good to keep focused on what’s really important: friends, family, meaningful work.
May the blessings of the season be upon you!
December 8, 2011 · 5:00 am
“Where do you get your ideas?”
Every writer who has ever lived has probably been asked this question. I got it the first time before I was even published. The answers are as numerous as the stars in the sky. Sometimes there’s a temptation to be flip: “From an online catalog,” but most non-writers really don’t know, and they deserve a serious answer. To those who don’t write, creating people and worlds out of nothing is akin to magic.
Even for those of us who do write, the act of creation sometimes feels like magic. Even if we research and organize and outline first, there are details and turns of phrase and whole characters that seem to spring full grown from our heads without any volition on our part.
For me, my process to date has been that an idea comes to me, I munge on it for a while, grow some characters out of it. I think about what they want and why. I let them start trying to get it. Then (with a novel) I get to a place about 60 pages in where I write down a semi-detailed outline. For short stories the outline is in my head.
But where does that first seed of an idea come from?
- Questions: What if the bad guys are really the good guys? LIGHTBRINGER. What if two lost civilizations wound up in the same alternate world? DANGEROUS TALENTS. What would a playboy priest take seriously? FORBIDDEN TALENTS
- Dreams: “With Heart to Hear”
- Contests: Write a story that mentions Lubbock, TX: “Night Run”
- A stray image that popped into my head: “Debts”
- A challenge: How could something horrible be the right thing to do? “Koomb’s Tunic”
- Catharsis: How do I get something horrible out of my head? “Falling”
There isn’t much of a pattern for me, so when people ask where I get my ideas, my answer isn’t very illuminating. I just say, “Everywhere.”
Where do you get your ideas?
September 21, 2011 · 10:55 pm
My Dear Husband said today, “Even if self-publishing somehow turns out not to be the ‘right’ choice for your career, it was the right choice for your life. You have more enthusiasm for writing now than you’ve had for years.” To which I responded, “I’m happier than I’ve been for at least a decade.”
And that got me to thinking about what was going on in my life ten years ago. By 2001 I’d been writing for several years without making any sales. My father-in-law and my mother had passed. My father had Alzheimers. And of course there was 9-11. In the intervening years several friends died too young, one in an accident only nine months after marrying his sweetheart.
I don’t relate that to elicit sympathy. Many, many folks have much more difficult lives than mine. I’m writing this short post to remind you: Give your attention to what is most important to you. If you do that, no matter how short or long your life is, when it’s over you’ll be satisfied.
Or to put it more bluntly: Stop dicking around! You are not guaranteed another day.
I’ll still be posting tomorrow as usual: VEILED MIRROR — Chapter Five
Also, check out my guest blog on Friday at Secrets of 7 Scribes.
June 30, 2011 · 4:27 pm
I had a different topic in mind for today’s post until I read J.A. Konrath’s most recent blog post. He’s interviewing Scott Doornbosch, an author who recently self-published his first novel, Basic Black. I was struck by one of the comments, made by K.D. James:
I’ve seen it over and over again, large scale and small. From writers who give up a precious bit of time for a critique, to those who teach a class and pass along hard-earned pieces of wisdom, to those who offer monetary contributions in a time of need — bottom line, we all have each other’s back. I can’t think of another profession where that is the norm.
I’ve been lucky to work in two professions that are supremely supportive and nurturing: occupational therapy and writing, but I have to agree with K. D. James. The writers I know (and I know a lot of them) are all willing to lend a helping hand. Yes, as in every profession, there are some unhappy and sour curmudgeons, but in my experience they’re the exception. I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without the help, freely given, of other authors.
So here’s the pitch: In case you didn’t click through to Konrath’s blog, Scott is facing a serious medical condition with some serious medical bills. If you’d like to support him, buy his book. It’s available on Nook and Kindle for $2.99 as well as in print.