Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: publishing advice

#SelfPublishing Decisions . . .


There’s no way I could write a post (or, series of posts) that would capture all the decisions you could make in a self-publishing career… Notes from An Alien

Though you could delve into most of the important options by taking this Free Course

The reason you could never discover all the options? The selfpublishing landscape is always changing.

If you were to click on these links {from the Top-Tags widget in the left side-bar} for the archives of my posts about selfpublishing or self-publishing (even the word indicating its existence has two accepted forms…) and read them in chronological order, you’d see my changing coverage of the Whole enterprise.

I began my foray into self-publishing by availing myself of the services of FastPencil and had them help me publish my short novel Notes from An Alien (free to download) in print and e-book formats.

FastPencil distributed the books to Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and a few other places; then, more outlets than I’ve yet been able to determine joined the bandwagon (most of them charging more than I’d asked for from FastPencil {some day I just might figure out how they got away with that; though, I don’t much care if they make money off me as long as my book gets more coverage…}).

Over the last 6+ years since I first published it, I’ve:

Revised it…

Made it free to download here on the blog…

Published it, in serialization, on Wattpad.

Figured out how to make various e-book formats of it…

And, always had a link to it (plus all my other writings) in the left side-bar here…

Just over a week ago, I did something it took me around 4 years to finally accomplish.

I published the revised edition on Smashwords.

It would take a number of blog posts to explain why it took me so long to utilize Smashwords, since I’d blogged about them numerous times (check the Top-Tags widget, down a bit, in the left side-bar…).

Then, last week, I just Did It

Then… I discovered I had to get FastPencil to stop distributing it (they were ultra-nice about it and I’m hoping to get an interview with them here on the blog soon…).

It’ll take another week for the old versions to disappear; and, one of the things which it may surprise you to learn—I, in no way, bemoan not having it on Amazon (though, it will still be on all the other platforms Fastpencil was sending it to—PLUS, about 25,000 libraries…)

O.K….

There are more details about the why and how of this Self-Publishing Decision; but, since the book will no longer be on Amazon; and, since I want the reviews to be on my Review Page; but, since I have to have a post to link to in order to put the reviews on that page, here are the Amazon Reviews (there were more on Amazon; but, they were already included on my Review Page…):

By John Paul:

“Fantastic book that requires the reader to think and rationalize. If you like intellectual reads that inspire provocative discussion this book will not let you down.”

By Emmaleigh:

“Zoltai’s Notes from an Alien is a thought-provoking trip into alien worlds that makes the reader shudder with the close similarities that are often reflected on our own planet. The inhabitants of Zoltai’s worlds are bent on destruction of other worlds, over such things as greed, religion, and politics. Worlds are being lost, and civilizations are declining, all because one civilization assumes they are better than the other.

“This tale is an interesting and provocative leap into the realm of Sci-Fi. Using ties that reflect back on much of our own world history, the story is told by the view of a descendant of the first expedition to a new world. History unfolds rapidly, and the search for everlasting peace in the galaxy is profoundly written. The characters are finely crafted and the story unfolds with magnificent clarity, worthy of a movie. These characters, as they live and die, as they walk through time, leave a palpable change in their world.

“Notes from an Alien is a must read for fans of the Sci-Fi genre. In-depth, detailed, narrated by the fabulous Sena, the reader struggles along with each character, slipping into a world that mirrors our own. Well crafted and, if Sci-Fi novels are among the genres you like to read, definitely add this to your own TBR list.”

By Saran:

“Before reading, I knew very little of what this book was about beyond the title. But in nineteen chapters, each headed by an attribute of the Divine, Mr. Zoltai leads us through the struggles of a dual-planet civilization in achieving real and lasting peace. It is a deep rich read, a history, detailed with nobility and sacrifice, characters that I fell in love with, and mourned when they passed. There’s little humor, but what there is adds whimsy to the personalities of such as Rednaxela, Velu and the Artificial Intelligence Morna (btw, I would like an AI myself!). I also want to say that it’s the novel’s use of religion to create a united world, beyond the division and strife it’s blamed for on this, that appeals greatly to me. That is a subject very close to my heart – seeing the progression from one being and the resulting civilization to the next. I want that for us.”

For those readers still with me, I must reveal an Important Self-Publishing Decision—I began this blog (on January 1st, 2011) as a means to promote my novel; and, it’s probably the most important decision I’ve made; since, constantly shouting about one’s book will not draw folks to reading it—it, most obviously, repels them…

I chose to make this blog an Exploration of Reading, Writing, and Publishing; while, sitting patiently in that handy left side-bar is a link to the novel…

As the broadcasters say: “Today’s Important Take-Away Is…”:

If you plan to self-publish, find a way to be of service to others that carries within it a path toward your book; but, always, Service First………

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Want To Be A Bestselling Author? ~ Don’t Read This Blog . . .


In fact, if you want to be a bestselling author, don’t read any blogs, don’t listen to any of the self-professed experts, don’t use social media, and don’t self-publish—just make a deal with the devil

There is no “path to success” as a writer.

There is no sure-fire way to sell lots of books.

Let me share some quotes from past posts to convince those who saw “Don’t Read This Blog . . .” and are still reading.

From Bad Advice for Writers = Most Advice for Writers:

“Someone is a writer and writes a book—no, wait—wants to write a book.

“That someone looks at the publishing landscape and realizes the intended years of effort to create the book could be followed by many more years of the book not selling, even if they self-publish, even if they spend every waking hour doing social media, even if they can afford to pay a publicist, even if they find a magician who specializes in spells woven ’round readers hearts

“Perhaps, to salvage the self-esteem of aspiring writers, there need to be other options than sales and money to keep their artistic boat afloat?”

I then go on to quote some of those options from electronic bindery.

From What Are A Writer’s Odds of “Success”?:

“Who made it seem success wasn’t merely the next stage, from which further action becomes possible, but rather a pinnacle of achievement that leaves all other contenders breathless on the sides of the conquered mountain? So, who did that? Businesspeople? Fundamentalist religious folk? Football coaches?”

“’Success’ comes from roots that mean ‘come close after’.

“Society has boosted its meaning to something like ‘beat all the odds…”

I share some interesting thoughts in that post from author William Dietrich.

From Lies Writers Tell Themselves (And, Each Other):

An article in grub street daily lists these lies:

1. You’re only a successful writer if you’re published by paying markets, such as the magazines that you can buy in Barnes & Noble.

2. You’re only a successful writer if you’ve published a book-length work with a big publishing house.

3. It is hard to write a book, but if it is good, you’ll easily get it published and earn money from the royalties.

4. If you don’t publish a book, you can’t write very well and you’re certainly not a professional.

5. If you’re not earning large amounts of money, you’re not successful in terms of your career.

6. If you self-publish, it means you aren’t talented and/or professional.

From What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?:

Tobias Buckell says:

“Making a living off art is hard.

“But that isn’t a sexy sell.

“That isn’t to say you should give up. Fuck that. But I am going to say: get ready to work, don’t expect riches. Focus hard on the art….

“There’s a lot of snake oil sales going on. And a lot of well meaning people who won the lottery telling everyone to go buy lottery tickets while financial advisors shake their head.

“Pretty much the same as its always been

“PS: this survivorship bias also works for writing advice about ‘how to write’ if you think about it

So

If you got hooked by that part of the title that said “Don’t Read This Blog” and you’re still reading, I do hope you’ll check out those past posts and read them—cure yourself of dreams of having a bestseller and get to work on your writing—Your Writing, not what you think will sell

And

If you do write a book that becomes a bestseller, make sure you live through the experience without selling your soul

Now, for a QuizWhat’s Wrong With This Video? ~ (While there’s certainly some interesting information and, possibly, even some “valuable” information in it, What’s Wrong With It ?)

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This may be the shortest post I’ve ever done; but, it has Great Depth—if you take this link :-)
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Publishing Wisdom From a Whippersnapper :-)


Just in case you’ve never heard the word “whippersnapper”, it means “a young and inexperienced person considered to be presumptuous or overconfident”.

I found one through Twitter—Jolina Petersheim.

Her status as a whippersnapper is her own judgement

Based on her personal definition, we have a few more of them in our Author Interviews and some aren’t all that young :-)

I’ve tried to be a whippersnapper many times in my life—almost got to be good at it—but I was destined to become a maverick.

Perhaps, some day, over a cup of tea, I’ll explain the fine distinctions between the two epithets

I found a video by Jolina called Publishing Wisdom From a Whippersnapper— her first novel is due out in 2013.

As you watch Jolina and her baby, listen carefully

This whippersnapper does have some words of wisdom:

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The Fears of Self-Publishing Are Still Hotly Swirling . . .


Those who blindly cling to the Traditional Model of publishing have a tendency to raise biased alarms when others show favor for Self-Publishing.

I saw an article on one of my favorite sites, Publetariat, called Why DIY Publishing is Not a Dead End [ DIY meaning Do It Yourself ].

It was a reprint from M. Louisa Locke’s post with the same title—Why DIY Publishing is Not a Dead End.

Ms. Locke was responding to a Porter Anderson piece, EXTRA ETHER: Will DIY Pay for R&D?, which was responding to a post from the Boston Phoenix called The dead end of DIY publishing.

If you want to feel the full force of the Hotly Swirling Fears that the phenomenon of Self-Publishing can induce, read all three articles.

I happen to have chosen Self-Publishing for my books and would need a very good lawyer looking over any offers I might receive from a traditional publisher.

There are valid reasons to choose traditional publishing but my posts here about Joe Konrath’s experience show why you should be extremely wary

But, to return to Ms. Locke’s post, here are a few excerpts:

“I am not going to argue that traditional publishing is dead, or that self-publishing is the best or only route for every author to take, but what I am going to do is give you my reasons why I don’t believe that self-publishing is a dead end.”

[In reference to the writer of the Boston Phoenix post] “Since she can’t prove her statement that self-publishing is unprofitable, she instead feels the need to insult those people who do it by suggesting that the authors don’t care if they make money because they ‘wouldn’t make a dime because no publisher would take them’, or that if they make money, it was only because they had the money to invest in the process because the ‘truth is self-publishing costs money.’”

[Taking her argument further…] “If she had either done her research or wanted to paint a balanced view of self-publishing surely she would have taken the time to interview one of the hundreds of self-published authors she could find on the internet (we blog incessantly about our experiences), and mentioned that Smashwords, Amazon’s KDP, and Barnes and Noble’s PubIt, and Amazon’s CreateSpace and Lightening Source have made it possible for authors to publish without that large initial investment.”

[One of her most persuasive points—made in response to the claim that traditional publishing nurtures new authors] “What I will argue is, that if we are discussing fiction, which Williamson seemed to be doing, the nurturing that authors need the most is a steady predictable income so that they don’t have to work full time at something else, and the research and development they need is marketing data that they can then use to develop new strategies for getting their work to the reader and getting that reader to buy their work.”

“I have every reason to expect that the two books I have published will continue to sell, and that as I publish more books, my income will go up. My traditionally published friends know that in most cases they will never make any money after the advance, and they have no guarantee that the next book they write will ever be published. Which vision of the future would you find more nurturing?”

If you’re a writer or know one, I urge you to read or recommend Ms. Locke’s full post

And, while clearly admitting that all self-published authors won’t necessarily make big bucks, I’ll quote a bit from Joe Konrath, to show the possibilities:

“One hundred grand [$100,000]. That’s how much I’ve made on Amazon in the last three weeks.

“This is just for my self-pubbed Kindle titles. It doesn’t include Shaken and Stirred, which were published by Amazon’s imprints. It doesn’t include any of my legacy sales, print or ebook. It doesn’t include audiobook sales. It doesn’t include sales from other platforms.

“This is from my self-pubbed books. The ones the Big 6 rejected.”

And, just to drive the point home, one more excerpt from Ms. Locke’s piece:

“Will some authors fail, or be disappointed? Of course. Will some of these experiments prove unsuccessful, certainly. But, without self-publishing these authors wouldn’t have gotten the chance to fail, and many others, like myself, a former academic in her sixties, wouldn’t have ever gotten the chance to succeed.”

Any comments, thoughts, feelings, or rebuttals?
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