Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Author Interview ~ Ali Noel Vyain – Part Two

Image courtesy of Ali Noel Vyain

This is my 1,000th post and I’m glad we can celebrate the accomplishment of writing over 350,000 words with a second  interview with an author and publisher friend—someone I was always glad to have at events on Book Island in Second Life and have recently been hanging out with at the Cafe on Writers’ Island.

I interviewed her two years ago and I’m glad she’s agreed to another interview.


So good to have you back, Ali! Let’s start with what your current plans are for the publishing house known as The Moon Publishing?

I’m fazing out the publishing house—no more publishing other people’s books and focus more on my books and the monthly magazine. I no longer do book printing because too many people complained and I couldn’t fix every little thing they didn’t like. Basically, I’ve had readers try to tell me how to run my publishing house and tell me I should run it like the traditional publishers do. I will not do that. Printing is expensive and a waste of time anymore. We have digital and I do realize that many people aren’t making the switch for various reasons. However, I don’t think many people will continue to buy the printed books. It will mainly be the people who like vinyl records. Plus any printed books I sell do cost much more than their digital counterparts. I know many readers do not know that fact.

What are your plans for the monthly magazine known as The Moon?

I’ve found a money-free way to distribute it as an ebook. I no longer offer any subscriptions and there is a free issue anyone can download. I’m trying to keep the little cultural icon alive and see what new interest will be generated. So far, there still isn’t much, but that may change in a year or so.

Where are your books and magazines available?

I upload everything to Smashwords first, then once the books are approved for the premium catalogue, Smashwords distributes to everyone else, except for Amazon. Last I heard, Smashwords doesn’t distribute to Amazon right away because there is not bulk upload. I know that can change soon and that’s fine as long as I don’t have to deal directly with Amazon. The magazine doesn’t go to all the stores because I don’t assign ISBNs to it. It has an ISSN and it seems silly to me to add a book number to it. That means Apple and Kobo won’t get the magazine.

Why don’t you upload the books directly to Amazon?

It’s too much work and I have to babysit the sales on Amazon. Oftentimes, books don’t sell on Amazon as well as I need them to. My books don’t tend to sell on Amazon at all. I do get sales from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and various other stores. I don’t want to give up sales from other stores. Amazon also wants to sell both the ebook and printed books together. That’s unrealistic when many people just prefer one book format over another. Besides, then they won’t allow me to sell the ebooks at a rate which will allow me to pay royalties to the writers or even allow me to earn any money. Amazon has really made it hard to sell books and earn even a small pittance. My other complaint is that Amazon will not allow me to give anything away for free. I still think one free promo book and one free magazine are the best way to generate interest and more sales down the road.

What do you think of publishing now, Ali?

I think publishing has become a war zone. I don’t feel like taking sides or joining in with the fighting at all. I’d rather back off and be self published. I don’t think many of the readers know and understand what is happening. I doubt they can see the whole picture as the publishers tend to be invisible to them. Readers usually only see the writers. I know writers who don’t even know what’s going on either. It’s sad, but I think we all need to keep up with what is currently happening as it can affect us all in different ways. I am also tired that readers and writers think they can tell me how to run my own my publishing house. If they feel that way, then I think they should run their own publishing houses and leave me alone.

Since you and I, along with the Owner of Writers’ Island, have been writing together at Storium, would you share your experience with it?

Storium has been fun. I haven’t played any role playing games before, so it’s a whole new experience for me. I find it interesting that we’ve lost three players and those of us who are left are still at it and we also all met in Second Life. It is fun to be creative with other people and see how we can mesh our characters and their backgrounds together. Sometimes I can’t wait to see what you and Jane will post next.

What are you currently working on, Ali?

I’m in the middle of trying to write and release at least a hundred books into the world. I have three which need to be edited. One has been giving me problems, but I think with the next pass, it should be much better. The next book released will probably be The Colonies of Earth (Venus): In Men’s Shadows, followed by The Guardian Series: The Formation of the Guardians, and The Violet Series: The Water Nymph.

What kinds of promotional work do you do for your writing?

I have a new website,, which is devoted to my writing and a little about me. I don’t use much in the way of social media and certainly not everyday. I have been creating character pinups using The Sims as starters. Then I have to finish them in Gimp. I upload the graphics to the Character Pinups page on my site and also to Pinterest. When I release new books, I will add the covers and link to Smashwords, where the ebooks will be available. I may announce the book release on my various social media sites as well.

I have also written blog articles, but I don’t do it all the time. Typically, I don’t post anything unless I have something to write about. Then I schedule the posts to appear on Mondays, as Monday is the moon’s day. Right now there is a series of blog posts coming out for September. I may continue to write more that will also cover October.

Do you have a writing ritual?

I don’t have a set time to do anything. Currently I have an open schedule, which allows me to set up any appointments I may need. I try to get myself to work on the writing in some form or at least do something promotional. After several days, though, I find I need to just let myself play and goof off or else I will get too stressed. I do have a tendency to work too much and then play too much. I’m still trying to find my balance.

Unfortunately, this could change as I probably should have a part time job to help cover basic expenses. I do plan on growing as much variety of food as I can so I can keep my food bill down as low as possible. I’m still learning how to do that and it will probably have to be indoors in a small horizontal space. It’s not impossible and it’s certainly doable.

And, finally, Ali, why do you write?

It’s like breathing. When I don’t write, I feel like something important is missing from my life. Writing, or any creative work, helps to keep me calm. I find that I don’t want to scream or yell or lose my temper when I keep up with the writing. My life is frustrating enough with the way things currently are and I’m tired of getting blamed for things I have no control over.

Thank you, Ali, so much, for taking the time for another interview :-)

O.K., folks, time to ask Ali a question or two in the Comments…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

2 responses to “Author Interview ~ Ali Noel Vyain – Part Two

  1. Jane Watson September 9, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Really interesting interview, Ali. I am wondering how you “…have been creating character pinups using The Sims as starters…” I like the idea of having something visual to inspire me when I write. Your process sounds fascinating :-)


    • Ali Noel Vyain September 9, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Jane, I start the character pin ups using The Sims. Typically I can use the create a sim feature, but sometimes I have to play the game for a bit to get the character, like say for a mermaid. Then I take pictures and open those pictures in Gimp. Next I erase the background from the sim. Finally I have to add a short bio which includes name, job, skills, traits, partner, children, parents and what kind of creature they are–human, elf, etc.


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