Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Self-Published Writer

New Year’s Bonus — My Next Publisher’s Year-End Review, with a Look Ahead…


I’ve been published by Lulu and FastPencil and Amazon and Wattpad… Smashwords growth chart

One of my goals for 2016 is to publish with Smashwords

My email today had a special article from Mark CokerSmashwords Year in Review 2015 and Plans for 2016.

If you’re already published elsewhere and/or are considering the Indie route, you may want to study that article from Mark.

Here’s just a bit about Smashwords from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“‘Mark was very forward-thinking, and the way he set the company up appeals to independent publishers’, said Joel Friedlander, a book designer with Marin Bookworks in San Rafael and an expert in self-publishing. ‘There’s no cost, no frills, it’s a quick way to get your e-book into print, and you can do it in a day.’

“Coker, a former Silicon Valley publicist, started Smashwords in 2008 with the lofty goal of using technology to democratize publishing – allowing writers to appeal directly to readers without having to deal with gatekeepers such as agents and editors.

“In keeping with this mission, Smashwords applies no editorial screening. The only e-books Coker refuses to distribute are ones that contain plagiarism, illegal content or incitement to racism, homophobia or violence.”

And, to encourage you to read the full article from Mark, I’ll share just a few excerpts:

“Although we’ve been in business for almost eight years, we still feel like we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. We’re looking ten years ahead and laying the groundwork today to enable a better long term future for the constituencies we serve – authors, publishers, retailers, libraries, readers, and book culture.”

“A mere eight years ago, back in the dark ages of publishing and before the advent of Smashwords, publishing was a print-centric business where print accounted for 99.5% of book sales. A few large gatekeeper publishers in New York controlled which writers could become authors, which books could be read by readers, and which books reached bookstores. Bookstores, constrained by limited physical shelf space, could only stock a small fraction of available books.”

“Contrast the conventional print book with today’s self-published ebooks. Self-published ebooks are dynamic, living and immortal creatures, constantly evolving with new metadata, new cover images and new book content, as the author or publisher iterates to make their book more visible and more desirable to readers. Indie ebooks never go out of print. Ebook stores will stock them forever.”

Lots more about the publishing world and Indie authors in that article

Finally, a special word to any readers who just can’t quite admit to themselves that they want to write and publish:

Now Is The Time :-)
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Independence, Freedom, and Self-Determination


For thousands of years, most writers have worked alone, then faced the challenge of finding readers.

Indie Authors

Image courtesy of Mateusz Stachowski ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/Mattox

Some, of course, didn’t care if anyone read their work—they’d just had to write it

These days, many folks have the impression that “being a writer” automatically means the person wants to make a living with their authorial efforts.

And, these days, it’s just a bit more likely a writer could make a living with words—if they work awfully hard or happen to catch a genre-wave at the right moment.

If you want some sage information about writers making money, check out the info I reported on in these past posts:

Is The Success of Indie Authors Just A Bunch of Hype?

Making A Living As A Writer . . .

Certainly, self-publishing has enabled more writers than ever before to get their work published—having it read is up to one’s manipulation of the mysterious forces that swirl around the mountain of Book Promotion

Recently, Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, wrote an article called Indie Author Manifesto.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

“…as any indie author will tell you, the joy of self publishing cannot be distilled to dollar metrics alone.  How does one describe the importance of independence, freedom and self-determination?”

Yes, self publishing will enable more horrible books to be published than ever before, but it will also enable more better books to be published…”

It’s not an exaggeration to describe the indie author revolution as a global cultural movement.”

What does it mean to be an indie author?  I’ve distilled the movement down to ten principles that I think capture the mindset of indie authors.”

I am an indie author

I have experienced the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from self-publishing

I have a right to publish

My creative control is important to me.  I decide when, where and how my writing graduates to become a published book.

Indie does not mean “alone.”  I choose my partners.

I shall not bow beholden or subservient to any publisher. In my business relationships, I seek partnership, fairness, equity and mutually aligned interests.

We indie authors comprise diverse writers unified by a common purpose to advance, empower and celebrate writers everywhere.

I am a professional.  I take pride in my work, and I strive to improve my craft to better serve my readers, myself, my fellow indie authors and the culture of books.

My writing is valuable and important.  This value and importance cannot be measured by commercial sales alone.

I celebrate the success of my fellow indie authors, for their success is mine, and mine theirs.

Together we are pioneering a better future for books marked by greater quality, creativity, diversity, choice, availability, affordability and accessibility.

And, if you like that Manifesto and want one to hang over your writing space, go check out the free download at the end of Mark’s article :-)
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Thinking Self-Publishing Is Hard Can Be Dangerous . . .


There’s no doubt, barring felicitous coincidence, that traditional publishing is hard—finding a reputable agent, checking out the legally-dense contract, trying to negotiate better terms, losing a substantial amount of creative control, dealing with the strong potential for your book’s short shelf-life

David Gaughran David Gaughran, “34-year old Irish writer, living in Sweden, who spends most of his time travelling the world, collecting stories, and writing about them,” recently wrote Publishing Is Easy.

Of course, he means Self-Publishing and I recommend his primer on the process—Basics.

The ease of self-publishing is counterbalanced by the difficulties of the writing process and the need to promote yourself as an author.

Sure, it takes a bit of exploration and self-instruction to accomplish self-publishing, so it may seem harder than writing.

And, the favorite lie of social media “experts” that book promotion is easy should be cast swiftly aside

David, in that publishing is easy article, compares the difficulties of writing and promotion to the ease of getting your book out there.

Three snippets:

“Most people who think about writing a book never start one. Most people who start one never finish it. And most people who finish a book never polish it

“When you add together lack of experience or natural aptitude with mixed messages about what’s effective, you can see why many writers find the prospect of marketing daunting.”

And, the dangerous part:

when a newbie has been convinced that self-publishing is hard or expensive….they’ll take any kind of deal, or sign up with any fly-by-night outfit, or engage one of the vanity presses masquerading as a self-publishing company.”

As always, I urge you to take those two links to David’s articles and read them—unless you’re a successfully self-published writer; but, even if you are, you might still benefit from reading them :-)

And, if you want to read the 94 posts I’ve done about self-publishing, you’ll get an abundance of links to a wealth of information as well as discovering what I went through to find what I consider the “perfect” method to get a book published

[btw, you’ll see this post if you take that last link since I’ve tagged it with “self-publishing” (just scroll a bit to find the others and take the little “older posts” link at the bottom of each page to find more {plus, check out the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar for more topic collections}]
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“What IS An Indie Author?”


Yesterday, I published the post, Why Would An Author Want To Be Independent?, which had two videos exploring the benefits of “self-publishing”.

Today, I’ll let you in on something that turned my interest strongly toward an organization mentioned yesterday—The Alliance of Independent Authors—better known as ALLi.

As some of you know, I’ve focused my “social networking” on Google Plus (though I consider this blog to be a social network).

I’d circled ALLi to see their posts and discovered one called What IS An Indie Author <— That link is to the post on G+ –> here’s one to their blog post on the same topic

That blog post listed ALLi’s qualifiers for calling oneself an Indie.

In the G+ post, I made this comment:

“I notice the first ‘definitive’ statement is:
‘You have self-published at least one book.’
What is ALLi’s definition of ‘self-published’?”

Orna Ross, the Founder of ALLi, made this reply:

“Essentially, that the author paid and was the creative director of the book.”

I thanked her, then received this reply:

“You’ve actually sparked an entire debate in the office, Alexander, which led to this: Put The Author At The Centre, Not The Publisher.”

The Comments on that blog post, that my simple question apparently spawned, are interesting and quite varied

I do recommend reading both blog posts on the ALLi site but here’s a bit of that last one:

“Let’s talk terminology — a subject that’s been exercising minds around ALLi Towers of late.  And for the purposes of this post, three particular terms.

“* What to call authors who publish their own work?

“* What to call those who publish the work of others?

“* What to call those who help authors to publish?”

Before the terms for those categories are revealed, an interesting definition of “Publishing” is given.

Then comes their new, defining terminology:

“* An author who publishes his or her own work = Author-Publisher.

“* An individual or company that invests in work they haven’t written themselves with a view to making a profit = Trade-Publisher.

“* An individual/company that provides services — jacket & page design; editorial & proofing; printing & formatting; marketing & promotion for an upfront fee = Author-Service.”

Then, they get back to the term “Independent Author” and direct you to ALLi’s FAQ

As I said, the Comments on that post are varied

Orna shows great skill in her responses to a few comments that, less wisely handled, could have started a CommentWar :-)

My TakeAway (besides that ALLi is a fine organization) is an acute awareness that my comments, though seemingly neutral, can fuel another’s deep thought
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