C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

The Heart of the Matter: Ebooks and Self-Publishing Part 2 – Another Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath

The Heart of the Matter: Ebooks and Self-Publishing Part 2 – Another Dialog Between Authors Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath.

 

Here’s a conversation all writers should grok. This is a long read, but worth it.

Filed under: authors, Books, DIY, ebooks, publishing, Writers, writing tips, , , , , ,

Writers: Do you have time to get published? And can we dump the “self” from publishing?

P Harry Potter

Image via Wikipedia

Wow. I just noticed that an author profiled on this blog, the great JE Knowles*, was rejected 100 times before her book Arusha, was accepted by Spinster Press. I’ll say it again: Wow. That’s common. Many authors who later went on to great success were rejected many times before someone in traditional publishing saw their manuscript’s sales potential. One day, JK Rowling will announce who rejected Harry Potter before Bloomsbury picked up the deal of a lifetime. (Then the tears, excuses and recriminations can really begin. That promises to be quite delicious, but I digress.)

The reasons for such rejection are many (and many of those reasons have little or nothing to do with any particular author.) I’ve delved into that reasoning elsewhere, so let’s talk about time. It takes you a long time to write a book and get your editor and/or beta-readers lined up. You comb and comb the manuscript and until at last you don’t find any typos. (As soon as you send off the manuscript, inevitably you will find a new round of typos and errors but just do what you can because that’s all any of us can do.)

You do your research and you send it off to editors or agents. You format your submission to the individual requirements of each agency or publishing house. Most just want queries up front and some want an outline, too. Others will ask for partials but the length of a partial can vary. If it’s non-fiction, you’ll need a business plan for all the marketing you intend to do to sell the book and evidence of your vast platform. You send it all off to five agents or houses and you wait. In the meantime, you work on expanding your platform and thinking happy thoughts and get all caught up in that positive thinking bullshit of The Secret.

Many agents and houses don’t actually do rejection slips anymore. No answer is an answer. The trouble with that is, you don’t know when they’re done with you. Next, after some undetermined time, you feel like your stress headaches will squeeze your forehead so hard your brains pop out through your nose. So you decide it’s time to decide upon the next five agents and you begin your research again.

And so on. And you begin to question your mission on earth and the need for your existence. And you get more of those brains and blood in the Kleenex headaches. And then you get a nibble. An agent wants a partial from a query you’d assumed had been forgotten. This tentative bit of interest can go south so many ways so quickly, I’m not even going to belabor those ugly facets here. Let’s just say, it’s a long road to getting an agent, and that’s no guarantee you’ll be published.

Once you get over the initial ecstasy of someone validating your wretched writerly existence (and that little orgasm is disappointingly brief) you start to get itchy that your book isn’t up for sale and won’t be for a long time.  “Patience,” you’re told. You’ll be told that a lot. Eventually you may begin to wonder if it’s just you being impatient. Then that will pass and you’ll start to wonder if there really is a flaw in the argument of  “This is how it’s done and this is how we’ve always done it.” The point is, after you’re accepted by a traditional publishing house, it still an 18-month wait until you hold a book in your hand. In most cases, unless you’re Sarah Palin (and thank God you aren’t!) that time-frame is a minimum.

So, how old are you? Do you have years to wait before you’re in print? There are alternatives. Smaller presses and POD publishers might have a shorter time frame to get your work in print. Using Smashwords, you could have your book out very quickly.  E-books are fast. Often, too fast.

If you’re not prepared to wait for the traditional publishing model, the deeper question is: Are you prepared to start your own business and become an independent publisher? I see a lot of self-publishers, but I see far fewer independent publishers who are prepared to dive in and get really serious.  The difference between a self-publisher and an independent, I think, is one of seriousness and commitment. You can get anything out there quick and awful. Any half-considered manuscript full of errors and dropped threads can be pushed on an unsuspecting populace quickly. (Of course, it won’t sell well, the word of mouth will consist of warnings and readers you suckered the first time won’t come back for your next book.)

I’d like to see more independent publishers who are ready to hire an editor (said the editor) and swim in the deep end of the pool. The stink on self-publishing is that the quality is atrocious. Eventually, I’d love it if the independent publishers who committed to quality outnumbered the self-publishers. In many people’s minds, “self” will always signify “vanity.” Those objections aren’t all wrong.

As creators, we must demand more of ourselves for emerging models to fly. We’re at the end of the beginning. Now let’s knuckle down.

And yes, you’ll see my first book, independently published, up and out there, later this year.

 

*See the first link below for that interview and more information about JE Knowles.

Filed under: DIY, ebooks, Editing, Editors, publishing, self-publishing, Useful writing links, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , ,

Writers and Readers: Heads up! Exciting changes ahead!

I have some really cool changes coming in the near future. I really don’t want to lose anybody as the changes take effect so, against my nature and all that’s holy, brace yourself for a brief commercial:

I’m putting it out there.

Please subscribe to my blog

and please ask your friends and followers to do the same.

What changed? I’ve been making lots of moves in the last year or so, but there’s a lot more to do.

(Here’s what gave me the big push this week. If you need a push, you’ll get one. Hard.)

Since last May, I’ve been posting to Chazz Writes five times a week.

That will soon change to three rocking posts each week:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

When is “soon” with the new schedule? Probably after next week.

Nothing but the schedule will change immediately.

  • I’m still putting great information and links out there.
  • I’m still looking for authors to profile.
  • I’m still available for guest blogging opportunities and giving guest blogging opportunities.
  • I’m still editing just as much as ever.
  • Also still looking for (affordable) web developers to help me migrate to a new hosted platform that will become more interactive.

What exactly is coming, Chazz?

Aside from my regular editing duties, I’m editing my novel and its companion e-book.The details are top secret until I’m ready to launch. Subscribers will be in on the ground floor for extras when the books drop like valkyries from the sky attacking to a Wagner soundtrack.

Stay tuned. And seriously, please subscribe so you’ll be in the know.

 

Filed under: publishing, What about Chazz?, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ahoy, matey! Neil Gaiman VIDEO on why book piracy can be good

I’ve spoken with several publishers on this topic. They knew they shouldn’t do what the music industry did (i.e. sue their own customers) but that’s typically where the thought process ended. At a writing conference I recently attended, there were a lot of worried writers. They worried that someone would steal their stuff.

Don’t worry about it.

It’s either:

1. pretty rare (maybe it’s not good enough to bother stealing—uh-oh!),

OR

2. the people who steal it are power users and curators who are going to read more of your stuff and pay for it and the related products and services you sell  (so be prolific and imaginative),

OR

3. the pirates are scum who never pay for anything anyway so the sale isn’t really  lost. If they weren’t stealing your stuff, they’d be stealing someone else’s stuff instead. (Don’t waste time or base your business model on the lowest common denominator douche.)

Maybe that’s counter-intuitive, but I’d rather concern myself with factors I can control rather than worry about things I cannot control.

Free not only can work, giving to get often does work. You can hide your light under a bushel or put it out there so more people can find it. Scott Sigler built a bestselling franchise, for instance. So did Cory Doctorow, and the list of authors who embrace free and easy access is growing.

Repurpose what you write so more people can find you (and find you interesting.) The churning of information raises sales.

There are some instances of publishers stealing work, but it’s a rare anecdote, especially in an era where, with Google, stolen material is so easy to find. I’ve found a few things stolen from my features and columns in magazines. Usually it’s a case of someone on the other end who is clueless rather than malicious. We just ask that they attribute the material so I get credit and make sure a link back to the source is included. That’s the basis of the Creative Commons model. It’s not really a big deal.

What people forget is, though e-books and web bits are easy to snatch, so is a regular old paper book. When I worked at Harlequin, foreign knockoffs happened often in the  Chinese and French romance markets.)  The text was stolen and lousy covers were slapped on the books. All they needed was a photocopier. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

Consider this: put some or all of your book up on your website (using whatever model you choose: a taste, weekly podcast-a-chapter meal or the whole feast at once) and you’ve got proof of ownership in every time stamp.

 

 

 

Filed under: authors, Books, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Writers, , , , , , , , ,

Poll: When will you be ready to buy an e-reader?

Filed under: ebooks, poll, , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

You can pick this ebook up for free today at this link: http://bit.ly/TheNightMan

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

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