These random ramblings and author musings are designed to entertain, though they might drag you kicking and screaming through my daft indie publishing journey. If you are somehow inadvertently informed, or if you have discovered something useful within, well then . . . count that as a jolly coincidence. Thanks for reading! (header background - Sky_18 Free Texture #133 by Brenda Starr)

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A hearty "Congratulations!" to Lucy Pireel (indie author of soon-to-be released collection of twisted fairy tales, Red Gone Bad), who's already figured out my blogging pattern! "Every eleven days at exactly 11 hours,she said, which is absolutely correct.

Kudos to her, and as promised, she receives the mock cyber-puppy!

Golden Retriever 
Bailey-boo, the mock cyber-puppy!


Word of the week: plethora \ˈple-thə-rə\ (hear it!) - noun: excess, superfluity, profusion, abundance - Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Indie Publishing: Big, Bad, and Ugly?

Once upon a time, there was a darkness.

And within this darkness lurked something so thick, and so foul, and so feral, it frightened everyone with roars of failure, threats of strife, and spam on rye. And it reeked—oh, how it reeked! Shady dealings, broken promises, stigmas that could never be washed off in a lukewarm bath with soap and water.

Those who dared to venture near the darkness were lured into a labyrinthine lair, bewildered, then chewed upon, sucked dry of their lifelong funds, and spit out as a carcass forever branded poor and naïve, while the creature within laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Oh, how everyone trembled! “No!” they'd cry in unison to those who dared to venture near the vile darkness. “Never, never go near that! It will devour you—alive!”

Thus, they all shied like skittish horses, for fear of losing all they had gained and all they had yet to accomplish sat too precious within their hearts . . . until a different creature crawled out from this darkness, one that no longer fed on the impatience of the naïve, and it glowed with the light of more feasible possibilities. . . .

* * *
Ah . . . indie publishing.

All right, so maybe it wasn't always a horrid creature skulking around in the dark. But if memory serves, used to be very few writers wanted to touch self-publishing with a fifty-foot pole; it was considered a last-ditch effort of the desperate writer willing to pay a subsidy to publish his book. (Yippee!) And it was expensive. (Damn!) Thousands of dollars (Ouch!) to create hundreds of hard copies (Only hundreds?!) that may or may not have been sold anywhere—ever. Oh sure, a few to friends and family, and friends of the family, and families of the friends, etc. and so on . . . but to bookstores and other distribution outlets? Pfft. Who had that kind of chump change to throw away? “Oh, gee, here's a random two thousand dollars. Let's be all crazy-like and take a chance down this dead end street. Whoopee!”

But the landscape of self-publishing has changed over the years—a lot.

Now, I'm not going to spout off all there is know about indie publishing . . . because I can't. An indie newbie shouldn't. (Ooo, taboo.) Besides: 1) it's been discussed to death, all over the place and everywhere; b) there's a plethora of more-in-depth information than I could ever “spout off,” all over the place and everywhere; and iii) writing this blog post has proven just as bewildering as when I turned a “keen eye” to indie publishing for the first time (1); my thoughts were all over the place and everywhere, as in:

Ach! Where the heck do I start?!”

Writing. Editing. Proofreading. Formatting. Cover art. Cover design. Uploading. Downloading. Backloading. Sideloading. Promoting. Pricing. Writing. Editing. Proofreading. Connecting with authors. Connecting with readers. Connecting the dots. Blogging. Creating a publishing website. Writing. Editing. Proofreading. Goodreads. Smashwords. Amazon Kindle. Nook. Front matter. Back matter. Dark matter. Anti-matter. Arrgh! Did it all even really matter?! . . . Writing. Editing. Proofreading. *whew*

But as I squinted deeper and deeper into my cracked and clouded crystal sphere of success versus failure, I could see . . . yes, it does matter. All of it, and it's all tied together.

Like one enormous rubber band ball. *grumble*

So that left me with: “Where the heck do I start?” (← note the lack of colloquial double punctuation there; calmer, yes, calmer. . . .) And the answer is (all together now!): “At the beginning!”

*stares, dumbfounded, at the rubber band ball of indie publishing*

Um . . . yeah . . . right. . . .

For those of you familiar with circles or spheres or any other round things, you know these objects don't have distinct beginnings or endings, so my starting at the beginning of indie publishing was as futile as my trying to morph into a fish.

But! I did learn two very important things. One: true indie publishing is distinct from subsidy publishing.
  • Indie publishing: the author retains control over his project, rights and all, and chooses who to pay and who to use as editors, proofreaders, cover artists and designers, etc; i.e. he is the publisher.
  • Subsidy publishing: the author not only pays a company to publish his project with no say in who handles what, but the company also claims various rights to the work; i.e. they are the publisher.
. . . and as one who thrives on maintaining control over everything that involves my projects, full-length or short, the prospect of indie publishing was far too tempting to resist. Thus, I started there, at . . . um . . . well, somewhere in the middle of the rubber band ball—snap-twang!and I'll merely fumble my way through it by trial and error, then report it all here, so you can laugh, and laugh, and laugh, whilst I suffer dreadful misery and woe from within those infuriating tangles of stretchiness. *sigh and sob*

Oh, the second thing I learned? Long blog posts put people to sleep. Good night.

(1) A deliberate semi-misnumbering, yes. Good of you to notice.

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Photo credit for gargoyle - Bichuas (E. Carton) – Flickr Photo Sharing – Creative Commons License

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Author's Note: A hearty kudos and a free mock-cyber-puppy* (author's second note: please see disclaimer at the bottom) to the first person who figures out my blogging pattern.

Word of the week: fathom - \ˈfa-thəm\ (hear it!) - noun: a unit of length equal to six feet (1.83 meters) used especially for measuring the depth of water; verb: to penetrate and come to understand - Merriam-Webster Dictionary
 
365 Days and Counting

And so it begins.

indie publishingThree-hundred sixty-five days until I publish my full-length dark fantasy novel, even fewer before I dive headlong into the indie publishing world with my short story collections. Yes. Face-first. Like plunging into ice-cold water.

Brisk!

Truth be told, ten years ago, I would have never envisioned myself sitting and planning (and learning!) all that went with publishing my own work. No, no, no . . . that was for agents, and editors, and publishers to handle; I didn't have to worry about this or that or the other thing or . . . you know, those . . . whatchamacallits, doohickeys, and whoozywhatsits involved in the business side of publishing. I was a writer, dammit! I wrote. Period. (Or full stop.)

Yet here I sit, nearly a decade later, and here I plan. And prepare. And drink coffee. Determined. Sometimes frustrated, occasionally perplexed, and often jittery from too much caffeine. But am I scared? No, not yet. And likely not ever. Too much to do with regard to preparing my short story collections and novels for a potential readership. Besides, what's left to be scared of when one approaches middle age? Barring natural disasters, of course, or personal harm, politics, a bunch of angry circus clowns driving heavy machinery through the woods . . . not much. Or perhaps that's just the way I think.

So, why did I choose to indie publish, when traditional publishing is the “holy grail” for writers?

Oh, various reasons. Sure, I tried to break into publishing through the traditional route (you know, the query letters, the synopses, the sample chapters polished to near-perfection) yet got no closer to that much-coveted end goal of a published book. Before I knew it, a cruel and puzzling mini-cycle of research, revision, and rejection had developed. Cruel, because it made me over-think, and over-edit. Puzzling, because I couldn't fathom how beta readers always wanted more, while those in the publishing industry always told me: “No.”

It made my brain hurt. And old brains are fragile. So I . . . um . . . er . . . *ahem* Yes. Where was I again?

Oh, right. Reasons.

There were many: the constantly slamming doors, the subjective selection, the as-of-yet unestablished author reputation, the hale and hearty “try, try again!” mindset smothered to near-death by a bewildering overabundance of advice on snagging the attentions of the right people in the right business at the right time with the right words and the right hook, the right amount of this sprinkled with the right amount of that, slathered and mixed and ground up and marinated and sautéed with the right dash of—

Crash-tinkle!

Damn. I told you old brains were fragile.

So I swept up my brains, and turned a keen eye to indie publishing when I discovered the bottom line of those in the industry was different from my own. And I believed in my projects.

Yes, of course I'd been told to try harder, wait longer, aim higher; that my author reputation will be tarnished, and no one will want to pick up my projects because they would have been published already. (But if you self-publish a book, it's not considered . . . published? Really haven't figured that one out yet.)

But you know what? I have worked long and hard enough to try to leap through the near-impossibly high hoops of subjective gatekeepers, and I no longer wish to smack my skull against this brick wall. With six novels, one novella, and a collection of shorts all waiting to be read? I ain't getting any younger. I no longer believe in the contract fairy, not when a hopeful sliver of light shines from that cracked-open back door. . . .

So here I sit, and I plan. And prepare. And drink coffee. Bold and determined enough to meet publishing challenges head-on with gritted teeth and a pieced-together brain.

Alas, my hell-spawn demons may never overrun the world. Yet they may one day be enjoyed by my ultimate bottom line and true reason I chose to plunge face-first into the ice-cold, semi-uncharted waters of indie publishing: Dark fantasy readers.

Oh, they're out there, all right. I can sense it. Somewhere. Waiting. Watching. Breathing. Stalking. Eating, or maybe sleeping, or engaging in other recreational goings-on . . . but they're out there, yes. . . .

And now, I just have to snag them.

*  *  *
Photo credit for blue "365" picture: Velo Steve - Flickr Photo Sharing – Creative Commons License

*Actually, I'll just post up a picture of Bailey as a puppy (oh, he was ever so cute!) with an official "congrats" to the winner.