Posted in Lessons Learned, The Writer's Life, Writing & Publishing

My Indie Publishing Decision

The decision to go into independent publishing is not one to be taken lightly. There are many reasons that any writer might choose to take on the role of their own publisher. There are also many reasons to go with traditional publishing. Each route has their own set of perks and pitfalls to overcome. So, regardless of my own decision or what arguments for going it alone I may make in this blog, I wholly advocate doing your own research on both methods before making that decision for yourself. My purpose with this post is not to advocate for or against indie-publishing. Instead I want to explain why I came to the conclusion that this was the best option for my personal plans.Indie Publishing

I think every writer starts out with dreams of the big publishing deal at a traditional house. I know that I did. I spent years prepping query letters and submission packages, sending them off, and waiting what seemed like months for rejection letters to come. At first they were just form letters stating that my work wasn’t accepted. Then I started to get letters that wanted to see more of the work for review. When I sent it some would say that it wasn’t a good fit for them, others would tell me that their client roster was too full to accept another work of this sort or that. For me, it all seemed futile after a while. I knew that I had a story that people would respond to. I also knew that a big house putting money into someone with no track record for marketing purposes was going to be little more than a drop in the bucket if anything. So, ultimately, I was going to have to look at other options. I had to prove myself before a major house was going to accept me and put anything into building my career.

Make things happenSo, I started looking into the independent publishing movement. There was more to it than I originally thought. There were things like editing, formatting, and cover design to consider. Then there was the cost of getting the books to readers and ultimately how to market the book so that people would know about it. So, yes there was a lot of work involved and a lot of cost.

Then I started looking at what cut of the book I would actually make. With publishers it was pennies per book sold. Doing it myself, I retained a much bigger portion of the profits. Add to that the fact that I kept creative control over the cover, the title, and the rights to the work and I had my facts.

Yes, lots of work. Yes, there is some cost involved. But ultimately, the whole experience would give me a much better one on one with my readership as it grew and I would be able to give the readers more of what they wanted if I had that sort of control. And ultimately that’s what I wanted to do.

So after months of consideration and a few further failed attempts to submit, I decided that I would be an independent author and work on actually reaching my audience more than I would worry about reaching a publisher.

Honestly, the digital age has been a friend to writers and artists in general. Unlike in the past, the internet allows us to reach a variety of people and in ways that are far easier than mediums in the past. With email and blogs it has become easier to reach readers and make connections. While it is not an instant process, it can be done with a bit of effort and research. Since I was willing to put forth the effort, I really feel that independent authorship was for me.

I am going to start compiling the resources that I’ve used over the years. My aim is to make some posts, once a week, about writing and publishing and then compile the links and resources under a section of the blog so that other aspiring authors can have access to them.

The one thing that people ask all writers, it seems, is if they have advice for other aspiring authors. My advice is very simple. Write. Don’t get caught up in the whole publishing game until you’re ready to actually publish something. Otherwise, you’ll make yourself crazy trying to sort of what you should write and should avoid based on a company’s guidelines that may never accept your work to begin with. So, write the stories you know you have to tell. Write for yourself and for the people who may read your work instead of some corporate CEO. You’ll be happier for doing so in the long-run.

Posted in Marketing, Writing & Publishing

Write What You Know

The old saying seems to be the norm in the publishing world. Especially when it comes to building a platform. Most of the books that I’ve picked up and research that I’ve done pertains to nonfiction work. There just aren’t many resources geared for fiction authors. The experts say to become an expert in something in order to build a platform around it. That’s fine if you have a particular subject you write about or you’re trying to teach something. It’s easier to build a platform and define an audience with those criteria for sure. My interests are so varied that I really cannot claim to be an expert in anything. Though, my experience and interest in the paranormal, along with my research over the years probably fuels my writing and is likely what others would consider my area of expertise. You’ll likely read a number of entries pertaining to my views on the research I do over time but, I wouldn’t call myself an expert. It is hard to be an expert in a subject that is, by its very definition, largely unknown.

944e903479c324fa_Self_Motivation.xxlargeFor fiction writers things are a little different. Its important for us to keep our options rather open. We often research things that interest us to include in our work. And the beauty of that is that we can use multiple subjects and influences to make our work more interesting. There are many things that go into creating a novel but I think the most important element is character. In that regard, maybe fiction writers should become experts in psychology to understand the quirks and subtle nuances of people. Some of us probably are psychologists. But the truth is that so many, myself included, learn those things through observation rather than through academic study. How we develop characters is another blog topic entirely though.

This “Write What You Know” concept has been around for ages. And I think that for many it has been a good suggestion. However, where would literature be without free thinkers and writers who went out of their comfort zone to research and put forth new ideas and concepts? I think about Jules Verne in particular along with other science fiction authors. They have to research technology, medical sciences, space explorations, and other elements in order to make their worlds come alive. So, I think that it is also important for authors to get outside the comfort zone once in a while.

For my part, I get out of my comfort zone in Steampunk fiction. To build the world that I’m working on now it has taken a good deal of research into technology, Victorian customs, and medical terminology. There is also trying to get a better feel for what’s been done and what hasn’t. I personally don’t like to limit myself. I’ve found many good stories in various genres and I don’t read just one. I don’t expect that the people who read my work will be genre-specific either. Maybe I’m wrong in that expectation but I’d like to think that people have varied interests instead of tunnel-vision. But am I right in that thinking?

What do you think readers? Do you stick to a single genre or would say that you’re more multi-faceted than that?