Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: promote

Invitation To The Madhouse ~ Report On Self-Publishing


Alert: Stay turned to this channel for a special broadcast, Monday, 28 Feb.
Irina Avtsin will tell us all about the power of the word, “No!”.
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{This post is almost a rant and purposefully written in a voice I rarely use…}

A madhouse is where insane persons are confined or a place exhibiting stereotypical characteristics of such a place.

This, to me, right now, is what self-publishing is.

Let me define my terms a bit more precisely:

“Sanity” has roots indicating “healthy condition” or “soundness of mind”. If I temporarily constrict my argument to the term “publishing”, most people who are trying to keep up with the frenetic pace of change in this arena of human experience would, I feel, tend to agree that publishing is not in a healthy condition or showing soundness of mind.

Many of those same people would go further and claim that self-publishing is the medicine needed for the sick field of publishing.

Well…

I’ve been involved in self-publishing for about six years now and the last year has seen me working overtime to come to terms with how to best take advantage of the opportunities that self-publishing seems to offer.

I don’t have space in this post to detail the ills of the traditional publishing route but anyone interested can easily find much to ponder.

So, try to accept one point on a conditional basis: self-publishing can bring a book to market faster and supply the author with higher royalties than traditional publishing, as long as the author is not already on the bestseller lists or in the stable of a publishing house being preened to take the book-world by storm when the right marketing moment arrives.

If the above statement is true, one would think that an author would find it easier to self-publish…

My experience has been that the word “easy” needs to be carefully defined with ample attention being paid to whether said author has what it takes to build their own following and work intensely at experimenting till they find the particular combination of tasks that can assure them a sufficient platform of eager individuals waiting to render them aid on publishing day.

If you are comfortable with building relationships, if you can be honestly altruistic in those relationships, if you can multiply the number of those relationships, if you have the time to attend to them with care and diligence, if you have the money to pay for or can trade for the expertise of editors, artists, and publicity specialists, then, maybe you would say self-publishing is easier than going the traditional route.

The reason I’ve been willing to persevere in the madhouse of self-publishing isn’t because I can easily fulfill all the ifs in the last paragraph.

I will continue to do all I can to successfully self-publish my work-in-progress because I lack the patience to search for an agent who would accept the unusual book I had to write and must publish, because I don’t have a few years to wait while such an agent finds a publisher who thinks my book can sell and negotiates a contract, because I refuse to be paid a royalty that can have itself disappear in paybacks to the publisher if the book doesn’t sell, and because finding an editor I don’t have to pay and supplying cover artwork are something I was able to personally handle.

So, from my perspective, the crumbling house of traditional publishing and the raucous adolescent scene of self-publishing are both “madhouses” but I’m a writer and I have a book I’ve written and I want people to read it and I had to make a choice…

I chose self-publishing.

I’ve written about this topic before in this blog and using the handy Top Tags Cloud in the side panel will lead you to those other musings…

What are your thoughts, theories, experiences, and rants or raves about traditional publishing and self-publishing?
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A Virtual World, A Writer’s Mind, And Serious Business That’s Always Fun!


I just got back from Book Island in Second Life.

Yep, a virtual world I visit for play and work. I wrote about virtual worlds in a previous post. Here’s a bit of what I said:

“All virtual worlds have virtues that make them valuable whether we’re talking about your mind, a book you read or wrote, or a computer-created world.”

Yes, I called our minds and books “virtual worlds”. Check out that post for more about what I’ve done as a writer in Second Life.

This post is for talking about what I’m doing as a promoter (of my writing) in that virtual world.

Just like a book’s virtuality can become quite real to us, walking around in a computer virtuality can make you wonder why this “real”, consensual, physical reality puts so many demands on we weak humans :-)

My latest book will be coming out in May and I’m doing all the necessary promotional tasks I can squeeze into my day–writing this blog, visiting the blogs on my Blogroll and commenting there, planning a BlogTour for the book launch, making final revisions, preparing for online reviews of the book, using Twitter and Facebook, etc…

Most of those activities are me relating to other people and that’s what I consider Promotion to be–Relationships.

Would you rather be bombarded with TV or online ads for books, movies, or your favorite things, or would you like to have a friend recommend one to you?

Relationships have always been the most effective form of promotion, in spite of the mega-budgets of the marketing firms. Sure, you may have seen a movie that got mega-hyped and liked it but, imho, most of what’s sold through the traditional channels of promotion is either quite useless or actually harmful.

So, I take a break from the sometimes sweet, often harsh, conditions of Real reality and move my relationship-forming brand of promotion into Second Life.

I’m the events manager on Book Island, I help host the weekly Open Mic on Sundays, I take part in the Wednesday Writer’s Chat Support Group, I’m organizing the new Happy Hours at the Writer’s Block Cafe, and I read chapters from my forthcoming book on Thursdays.

Apart from the live reading of book chapters, most of the “work” is hanging out with people and forming relationships. I’m not running around shouting out my agenda. I talk with folks from all over the world. I bond with them. They often wonder what I do in Real Life. I tell them about my book…

What I do in real life takes many hours of every day. I make time for virtual relationship-building, carve it out of my diurnal allocation, find it often more satisfying then this war-torn, global crisis-ridden, greedy and dangerous “real” world…

Like yesterday: I sat with five people from various parts of the United States, one man from Finland, and two others from the UK. Some were writers, some artists, and one was a pole dancer. We all had a great time. We shared information, experiences, laughter, and good will

I think it’s time to wrap this post up. I’ll do it with some questions from that previous post:

Have you ever wondered if your mind is truly registering our physical world with fidelity?

How lost can you get in a good book?

Has a book you’ve read ever made you want to abandon our consensual reality?

Have you ever visited a virtual world?
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
On Twitter
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book

Meeting My Editor And Other Strange And Wonderful Events


I’m going to have my first face-to-face meeting with my editor in eight days.

I just realized as I wrote that sentence that the combination of “face-to-face” and “editor” might have given a few readers a chill.

A face-to-face is serious, right?

Does serious have to mean bad?

The editor, that horrible person who has some perverted need to hack away at my pristine creation, tells me I can’t be inventive with my punctuation, and shows disrespect to my artistic integrity.

That last sentence is fiction since my editor is a delightful young woman who found a bunch of typos, suggested a few sentence rearrangements that will make the story flow better, and actually thinks I’ve written a very good book.

We’ll be meeting at the Starbucks inside the Kroger’s just past the Veteran’s Park. She’ll have come from one of her classes at the University of Dayton and I’ll have just emerged from my writer’s cave.

I look forward to that conversation.

I’m also looking forward to the May publication of Notes from An Alien. I’m self-publishing with FastPencil so I call the shots on when to release the book (if you visit FastPencil’s site, getting an account is free and so are many of their writer’s services :-).

The delay in publishing, since it might take me all of two days to incorporate the edits from Laura and get a little final formatting done, is necessary because I need to do more social networking–a strange and wonderful thing–before the book is born.

I gave a little hint at the creative side of publishing in a previous post but the actual path I’ve traveled, since well before I sat down to write the book, is very strange and quite wonderful to me.

First the on-going experience with my main character and “co-author”, Sena Quaren, in the virtual world Second Life.

Next, the experience of building a web site for the book.

Then, the rather awful experience of wading through how to integrate Facebook and Twitter into my social networking efforts. It might be that I’m such a massive introvert but the blatant and brazen extroversion of those spaces took some creative throttling to fit into what I consider social activity.

Next was the creation of this blog, separate but integrated with the book site, and the search for folks for my Blogroll–people I communicate with and promote on Facebook and Twitter.

That little boy who was born on the southern shore of a Great Lake almost 6.5 decades ago is still in here, an important part of my consciousness, marveling at all this activity to create an audience for a book we wrote. Yes, little Alex is still here. I lost him for a bunch of years but he got my attention again and we’re both goin’ to a party with a nice lady named Laura in eight days!!!
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Follow the “co-author” of Notes from An Alien, Sena Quaren:
On Twitter
AND, Get A Free Copy of Our Book