Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Author's Journey

I would like to talk a bit about WHY I went the self publish route, and what I found when I got there.

I am shy and insecure about selling myself. I knew I didn't have the energy in me to face the rejection process of finding an agent then finding a publisher--I wanted to save all the positive energy I had for writing my book and I focused on honing it as best I could.

I owe a great deal to author, Hugh Howey. I became an instant fan of his Wool books when I was somewhere between the first and second drafts of my book. I followed his journey, and it struck a chorde with me; here was this humble, personable man who knocked it out of the park--and look how open and upfront he is with his fans! Very inspiring for me and he showed me just how I could go about keeping the focus on my work and not on my self promotion.

I found beta readers by getting engaged in discussions, talking with readers--getting to know my audience. I found readers from among my friends and online aquaintances that I have known for many years. Gaming buddies who I have never met face to face but have already shared virtual lifetimes with!

I edited and edited, then proofread and honed the book some more. I painted my own covers and designed my interior graphics (helps to be an artist in my day job), learned how to do my interior layout through CreateSpace's wonderful resources. I was able to do it all myself! But that 'myself' includes friends and family (my supporting wife in particular).

The process began over two years ago and yielded a 200,000 word fantasy which I divided as cleanly as I could into a trilogy (I did that back when I was still thinking I HAD to go the traditional route--and research showed that debut authors books were rejected if they had wordcounts above a certain threshhold.)

The division of books has also allowed me to focus on the three parts individually...insuring that each was given my undivided attention and its own rich cover. It has also allowed me to test the waters, to a certain extent, with a low price point that insured someone buying the ebook versions would pay less for all three books than the typical cost of a traditionally published ebook.

At the time of this posting I am a few days away from the release of my third book and reviews have been wonderful--Better than I had ever hoped for my efforts.

There has been one drawback to this whole process that I did not see at the outset however. I am finding descrimination against Indie Authors, something I never wanted to be a target of. The people in the writers group I joined after last years NaNoWriMo are truly wonderful people, but even they have cast disparaging comments my way, calling me 'prideful' and 'unwise'...when all I really have ever been was insecure and non-assertive.

I want people to look past the dividing line. What counts, all that should really count, is the story in the reader's hands.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Some humble self-publishing tips from my experience so far: Note. I wrote this initially in reply to a wonderful post on Hugh Howey’s website here.
Step one: Write the very best book, novella or short story you can. Make it clean, make it professional, whatever it takes.

You have written the very best book you can, right? If not, return to step one. Your books won't announce themselves. Amazon does not shelve your ebook on a display for passers by to see once you have uploaded it for the Kindle. The world will not know your book exists until YOU begin shouting it out from the mountaintops.

The Voice: If you want to have your work read, you need to find where the readers for your genre are and tell them about your book, individually if you have to. Each and every reader you find is a wonderful thing. Not for the two dollar and something cents in royalties, but for their voice. You want them to  enjoy the experience of reading your book, and this assumes you have done your very best to write an enjoyable, clean, and professional (appearing) book. Remember step one?

To gain their voice you must tickle that nerve. Once you have, and it may not happen, as Hugh Howey says, until the 10th book or more. On the eve of releasing my third book I can see this now, and I am not saying that I am there--though for a few precious first readers I am. I made something they enjoyed. Their gift to me is their voice.

They may take the time to write a favorable review, or simply give it a Like. They may post about your book on their blog or facebook page, or to their reading group. They may tell some personal friends about your book, some may even put a copy in their friends hands for you--or lead them to a point of sale for your work. That is what gets you read. This is the start of your network.
Treat these readers well, be accessible to them. Ask them if they would like to beta or alpha read for your next book, but make sure you tell them to pull no punches.
The actual shouting: Spend a few minutes of your day looking for more of these readers. Don't spam for them in any forum. Make one announcement for your book on any given forum that allows you to do so, follow their guidelines to the letter. If it is allowed, be sure to make working links in your announcement that take readers directly to a point of purchase for your book. Once you have made your announcement, introduce yourself--most all of these forums have a place to do this as well. Mention a few of your favorite books (not your own) and authors you enjoy (Hello HUGH!). Do not, under any circumstances, start plugging your work. You are there to engage with these people. Some will be readers, some will be other authors doing what you are doing.
Improving: You are going to learn something when you get engaged with these groups. You are going to learn their likes and dislikes--write what you want, and write to improve. Keep those likes and dislikes in your mind and you will improve, increasing the likelyhood that your next book may reach a few more readers and return a few more voices.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Take 2

More polish, cleaned up the composition a bit more. Narrowed down the color scheme to a clean triad.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lord of Vengeance cover - take 1

I am really liking how this is shaping up. I need to step back and mull this one over for a while, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The results of the 5 day free promo!


If you are one of those readers - Welcome to the world of Vorallon! Best wishes to each and every one of those readers! Thank you as well to my current readers, those who helped spread the word for a new independent author.

I invite you all to friend and follow me here or on goodreads, my two most common haunts. Send me your thoughts, your conundrums, typos you found--I look forward to hearing from you.

I hope you find joy and adventure in this forbidden tale. If you did, please show your support with a like or a review or a mention on your blog or among your friends.