J to tha M: Spring Cleaning the Brain

Finding Our Passion for Reading and Writing Again

finding passion for writingM:  Ugh. I’m coming out of the winter icks. Been so just bleh lately with all the expectations–mostly my own–and constant struggling to figure out what the hell I’m doing, what I should be doing, blah blah blah.

J:  heh. I’m in a blah mood about the time part of writing this week

well, all the time, really

M:  It just seems like we’re pushing so hard all the time. I’m sad it takes the joy out of reading and writing

but, it’s true for just about everything, so eh

J:  yeah. once anything becomes a job, it’s a lot less fun

M:  I’m going to take a couple weeks and see if I can’t just have fun with the stories and characters again

It’s like spring cleaning for my brain

J:  I need some kind of recharge, too

a reset button or something

M:  I used to get such a good recharge out of reading, but lately, I’ve been more or less forcing myself to read stuff, for whatever the reason, and it’s really blah’d me. So, reading is my personal thing, even if it is “business” related now. I’m not going to force myself to read anything if it doesn’t grab me, just like I’ve always done

J:  that’s exceptionally good

there’s not enough time in the day to read a crappy book

no matter who wrote it

M: and it’s about finding those gems

they’re out there, it’s just holding out until you find them

I’ve found a couple of good ones, but man, it’s depressing to see how many just don’t appeal to me lately

J:  it’s a lack of quality, for one thing

I used to be able to get past anything if it was a good story

but it’s hard to do that anymore

M: I can overlook some things if the story is awesome. Just haven’t found many of those, even

J: perhaps it’s just general discontent. it happens sometimes

M: My own personal tastes, I guess

I’ve found an awesome one every now and again, and those are those gems I’m talking about

J: right. I think that happens all the time, though. I’ve had some big pub books that just lost me

I have an Evanovich in my bag that I keep swearing I’ll finish

but meh

M: I like her Stephanie Plum ones

they’re easy fun reads

J: I kind of feel like I’m reading the same thing over and over, though

this is the Diesel one

the magic series

M: oh, I haven’t gotten into those as much

J: it just feels like Stephanie Plum with magic

and all those thing we pay such close attention to: show vs. tell and active vs. passive

it’s just not there

M: Yeah, I don’t like the Diesel storyline anywhere near as much as the Stephanie ones

I can overlook a lot if the story grabs me enough, but when it doesn’t – yikes.

J: So what isn’t “yikes” lately? Anything amazing? You made abundantly clear how much you loved Qhuinn, so give me one better.

M: I did love Qhuinn. There were some things I would have liked more or different, of course, but overall it gave me the happy sighs like I haven’t had in quite a while. But I’m head over heels for that boy, so having most of the focus on him was…sigh.

I read Ben Monopoli’s book that KC Beaumont reviewed (loved her review), and omg was that just a hell of a lot of fun. I loved it. Loved! I mean, Boots McHenry. That’s just all kinds of absurd awesomeness for a main character name, and the entire story lived up to all that and so much more.

J: I love hearing that!

M: I highly recommend. I went and got his others, started Cranberry Hush, and it’s amazeballs (so to speak, heh) too.

And then I’m reading a couple of serials I’m really enjoying. The stories are released in parts every two weeks until they’re complete, about eight or nine parts, I think. You pay one price and then get the installments automatically delivered to the kindle. Falling for Frederick by Cheryl Bolen and A Hero Lies Within by Patrice Wilton. I’m having fun with them so far.

J: See, Monopoli is a self-pub gem. Proof that awesomeness can happen without a big house. The serials sound like a good idea, too. Maybe small bites are what I need. I should go buy some books…

M: Whaaaa…?

J: I know. I know. I’ve just been waiting for the right book, and Mr. Monopoli wins.

brb

J to tha M: The eBook Revolution

What Would You Pay for an eBook?

how much would you pay for ebooks?

adamr for freedigitalphotos.net

M:  I did something I never thought I’d do

J:  oh, do tell

M:  I’ve always thought how ridiculous it is to pay $14.99 for an ebook and how I’ve never ever done it.

I would have laughed if you said I would up until about a few weeks ago, when I pre-ordered the new Black Dagger Brotherhood book–Lover at Last–out at midnight tonight on Kindle

Qhuinn!

I think a whole shit ton of people are waiting for that little story to appear on their e-reader at 12:01AM

so go ahead and make fun of me being stupid excited for my guilty pleasure

J:  and you paid $14.99 for it?

M:  yes I did

and I’m only slightly ashamed.

but I can’t stand it

J:  you know what, though?

we all pay more money for the things we really want

I mean, compare it to a Wal-Mart handbag or a Coach bag

no one gives a girl the side-eye for buying a Coach bag

$.99 for $14.99

if you’re going to love it, what does it matter?

M:  I lurve him. I seriously do. I haven’t been this giddy over a fictional hero since Jamie Fraser.

It would kill me to know the story was out and I didn’t have it in my hot little hand as soon as possible. Especially since I’m certain it’s not going to be for sale anywhere on the island

I will stay up all night and read it

J:  well, the fact of the matter is that some authors are the Coach bags of the publishing world

Coach charges so much for bags because people are going to buy them

some publishers charges so much for ebooks because they know people will effing buy them

people can roll their eyes if they want to, but they have their own “must haves” that they’ll pay for

so if you must have Qhuinn (omg, did I spell that right?), then by all means

and no need to be ashamed

I should probably also mention that I don’t even have an eReader

and when I do read, it’s usually a paper book

but that I have zero qualms about paying for the hardback version of a much-coveted book at the stroke of midnight the day it’s available. I have before, and I will again

 M:  hardback is different, though

there’s some cost involved in producing, shipping, etc. those. Not so much for the e-versions

J:  no, but in the end, it comes down to what you want

M:  I didn’t have an ereader until last Thanksgiving. I got a Kindle Fire, and I love it. I mostly got it so I can read in bed at night without having to turn on a light and disturb hubs when he’s actually home.

As much as I do like reading a book, there’s something just really exciting about pressing a button and instantly having access to a story

especially when he and I have always lived a million miles from nowhere. It’s a planned outing to go to any bookstore

and then, when we moved…oh, boy. All my books. Boxing and then paying per pound to ship them across the country.

Not to mention, I can carry over one thousand books in my purse when I travel. Don’t have to pick and choose and then lug them all over with me.

J:  I’m honestly afraid if I had one, I’d never get anything else done

M:  I think it’s opened up a whole new world

Good one for readers and writers, maybe not so good for publishers, booksellers, libraries. I’m not entirely certain how much it’s affected them.

J:  with the decreased overhead, it seems as though ebooks would be a good thing for publishers

all the same preparation goes in, but fewer materials are needed

of course, they also have to have people on staff who can format for ebooks

probably more staff needed for that than for setting it once and going to print

I don’t yet know how formatting is different for each epub type

can you just set it once and it works for kindle, nook, etc.?

M:  Pretty sure each is a different format

it has affected booksellers, though, as evidenced by Borders and Barnes & Noble, the neighborhood bookstores

it just seems the world is always change, adapt, move forward, or die

I’m kind of getting the same vibe from the Big Six publishers that was hanging around the Big 3 automakers, and look what happened to them

J:  that was a point Nathan Bransford made on his blog recently

that as an agent, it’s his job to sift through what’s on his desk for the books that will be profitable. How many books throughout history were rejected when they might have been classics? World changers?

the ebook and self-pub phenomena (both separate and combined) have taken that power away from publishers and agents and given it to the readers

including those readers who would pay $14.99 for an ebook

sure, there’s the chance you’ll pick up something self-published that lacks in quality

but it’s the same for anything from a big six anymore, too

I do think an established author with a reputation for quality has a better chance of pulling in such prices for an ebook than a debut self-pubber

there is a big difference there

M:  oh, yes, but that’s more established reputation. that can be either self pub or traditional

people are less willing to spend money on anything they aren’t sure about

J:  would you have paid $14.99 for JR Ward if you hadn’t read the rest of the series?

M:  no, but I’d spend $14.99 on a self-pubbed author in the same position

If I’d read their books and fell in love with the story or character–but again, that’s more about experience and reputation, which isn’t exclusive to any publishing format

J:  really, it comes down to an individual’s feelings

and what they want to spend their money on

while one person is astonished at a $14.99 price on an ebook, the next is just excited they can read it at all

M:  I’m a little of both

I’m a serious goner for this boy. I cannot wait for him to get his man

J:  oh!

this is that one

You’ve been excited about this one for a while

M:  Monday night, baby

midnight

J:  I hope it’s everything you hope for and more

M:  my first $14.99 ebook. Likely won’t be my last. I’m hooked on the ereader.

J:  I’m still resisting. I’m afraid I’d disappear into a black hole and you’d never see me again

M:  hey, if it gets you to read, it can’t be a bad thing

as much as I read, if it hasn’t sucked me in…

Speaking of sucking me in…Going to go ogle the cover and pine for a few more hours until it magically shows up on my kindle.

brb

or not 🙂

How much would you pay for an ebook? Are you excited about JR Ward’s upcoming release? Does Nathan Bransford blow your mind with his wisdom? Let us know!

The Benefits of Small Press Publishing

Weighing in on Alternative Publishing Options

Guest post by David J. Kirk

publishing options for fight for your write

Stuart Miles for freedigitalphotos.net

I would like to thank Jen and Melissa for allowing me to guest post on this great new site.  Being a small press author, I am here today to talk about the benefits of publishing in this venue.

I have to begin by admitting that, yes, I have submitted to the big six (or five, or however many there are now).  I also received five or six very nice rejection notices, mostly on postcards so my mailman could read them.  Like many of us who have been submitting for years, my first goal was to get published, and how wasn’t a major concern.  However, I started to look into independent publishers as I became more realistic.

University and small presses have had their famous authors and best sellers.  The Dummies and Chicken Soup books started out this way.  Plus, the independents may also be willing to take a chance on an offbeat story or an unknown author.  I hear they give smaller advances, if at all, although I don’t know this from experience.  However, keep in mind that advances are not bonuses; they are just what the word implies, advances on royalties.  If you receive a generous advance, and your book starts out slow, it may be quite a while before you receive a royalty check.

Generalities aside, I can only speak of my experience with my publisher.  I signed with Martin Sisters Publishing and my experience couldn’t have been any better.  I entered into an agreement with them on April 1st and my book was released August 11th of the same year.  My first expense was the purchase of my marketing copies.  Editing, proof reading, cover design, and formatting were all completed by the publisher.  I was highly involved in the editing process of the entire book via email.  My book is now available in almost every online selling point imaginable in this and several other countries.  I have also placed it in several retail outlets through buyback agreements.

While my publisher did not take out full-page ads in the New York Times, they did keep me involved in the development of my release press kit.  I was allowed input in personalizing press releases to the targeted markets.  I am also free to purchase copies at the wholesale price and sell them as I see fit at signings and other events.

My overall favorite aspect of small press publishing, however, is the almost family atmosphere of the whole organization.  I’m never more than an email away with any question I have for my publisher.  There is just no substitute for the personal attention I receive.  I also have access to a group of accomplished fellow authors, my host Jen Barry being one, who have literally taught me this business.  Many of us MSP authors stay in touch and help each other out with promotion.

I just can’t say enough good things about this publishing venue.  I hope you give it a try.  I also hope that you keep reading this blog as I’m sure Melissa and Jen have many more great things to come.

David is the author of Particular Stones by Martin Sisters Publishing which can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online outlets.  His author page and blog appear at djkirk.net and please follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.  Watch for his new book Cornerstones.

J to tha M: Buying a Spot on Bestseller Lists

Happy Birthday to M! Here’s Your Bestselling Book.

buying your way to the bestseller list for Fight for Your WriteJ: So, I figured out what I’m going to get you for your birthday today

M: Yay!

J: I’m going to buy you a spot on the bestseller list. That’s a pretty cool gift, right?

ps, my birthday is in September, in case you want to plan ahead

M: uh

J: not awesome?

M: Awesome if you have that kind of money laying around and that you think of me, but…

J: it’s apparently a thing

like, it can happen

I was floored

where was that article…

jasmine referenced it in her blog for us

Melissa: I read about it on my TWRP chat list. One of the authors gave a link

of course, my email crashed this past week, so it may never be found again

J: oh, I found it

http://www.leapfrogging.com/2013/02/18/debunking-the-bestseller-book-sales-spike/

that was a guy who did it

after he read this: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323864304578316143623600544.html

M: Yay, you! My email makes me want to cry still. I’ll get over it in a few days. Anyway…

Yeah. It made me shake my head. Surprised…hmm, not so much, but still.

J: I can’t imagine buying my own way there

but it’s different if you do it for a friend, right?

I don’t know how that would work…

I mean, I consider it like Lance Armstrong or Milli Vanilli

it’s not real

but when someone does it for you… what then?

I can’t imagine a better present than making you a bestseller, but is it real then?

M: I think most people never imagine that kind of stuff happens behind the scenes, so to speak. It’s almost misrepresentation. When you see “bestseller,” you think it’s because individual people are buying the book. Actual readers. Not publishers, companies, affiliates, or a friend who have money burning a hole in their pocket.

J: (I like to look for ways around my conscience, as you can see)

M: I mean, if you have enough money to buy three to five thousand copies of my book, maybe we should use it to rent some tropical seaside cottage with cute cabana boys and try actually writing a bestseller. That sounds like more fun.

or hire a marketing expert to market the book to readers

or just hire those cabana boys. I live by the water. Not exactly tropical, but close enough.

J: i’m coming over

But I totally agree with you. Why not put your resources into doing it right?

is it easy to be proud of a bestseller when you’re the one who bought all the copies?

maybe it is for some. I don’t know. I’m kind of confused by all of it, to be honest

M: But what if it launches a book that deserves to be there into the public eye? What if you use it as simply another line item in your marketing budget?

It’s obviously a very effective way to get your name out there.

bring attention to your book

J: *sigh*

I understand bringing attention to it

but still. it’s false

it’s false inflation

It’s a fake identity

it’s a book photoshopped into the hands of a super-celebrity

maybe it deserves the accolades, but when it doesn’t reach those accolades fairly, what then?

M: I can see the marketing argument. I can the reasoning behind bringing a book to the attention of readers that they will probably like anyway, to distinguish it from all the millions of others. But.

But.

Most readers don’t see the best-seller list as a marketing tool, so to speak.

They think it’s an actual representation of what is being purchased by people like themselves, and liked, and recommended, and then bought by more readers.

J: there are thousands of other writers out there who may have an EVEN BETTER book, but not the means to buy their way onto the list

how is that fair?

I mean, none of it’s fair, and we’d be here all day if we stomped our feet and yelled about what’s fair

but still

M: I guess, like most things, it’s all in how you see things, what conforms to your ethics, and what allows you to sleep at night.

Can’t deny it’s a good marketing tool.

Also can’t deny it happens all the time.

But, being perfectly honest, you also can’t deny it just leaves a bad taste

J: well, if readers all knew, then it would be fair

if they knew people bought good reviews for their books and had basements full of their own copies just to get that spot on the list, that might be fair

and knowing which authors bought that spot and which fucking EARNED it…well, it’s just not that easy

M: Right. If we didn’t think it’s exactly fair, think of the authors who didn’t utilize that neat little trick and earned their way by actually selling copies to readers.

but then, that begs the question, did any of them actually do that?

And to me, that’s where the real damage lies. You start doubting the validity of everything the bestseller list represents

J: also an excellent point. Are these big six books so popular because the publisher can afford to get those books on there?

M: and is it okay because readers ended up really liking the book and bought a million more copies, and that ends up being an honest representation on the list?

J: i just don’t know. I think I’d be upset if I read a book that didn’t deserve to be there and found out later the spot was purchased

I’d feel super cheated

M: I think most readers and authors would

I also think others wouldn’t care.

And still others think it’s a great idea

J: it’s those who think it’s a good idea that govern the rest of the world, too

well, and those who don’t even know it’s going on

M: No matter what you’re involved in, people do crazy things

J: siiiiigh

so no bestseller list for your bday?

appletini instead? I can go either way

M: Let me go find those cabana boys to serve us drinks all day while we write fabulous bestsellers.

brb

buying your way to the bestseller list for Fight for Your Write

freedigitalphotos.net/markuso

Have something to add? Go right ahead! Nothing new to say? Just tell M happy birthday, then! We love hearing from you.

So, You Want to Publish (God Help You)

Various Publishing Methods and Why They’re All SO HARD

Guest Post by Lissa Bryan

Various publishing methods for Fight for Your Write“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.” ― Dorothy Parker

You’ve done it. You’ve completed your magnum opus and are now ready to share it with the world, but now you’re faced with the monumental choice of what to do with the damn thing. Writers have a greater range of choices in this regard than ever before, and really, the decision comes down to which method of publishing best suits your goals and the amount of effort you’re willing to personally invest. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Traditional “Big Six” Publishing

This is the typical writer’s dream  when it comes to publishing, but it’s also the most difficult to achieve. Only about one or two percent of manuscripts will be accepted by a Big Six publisher, hereafter referred to as “Bix,” because I’m a lazy typist. (Soon, it will be “Bive” after the merger of Penguin and Random House. I’m really hoping they change their name to “Random Penguin,” but I digress.)

Most Bix companies and their subsidiaries will not accept directly submitted manuscripts. To go this route, you must have an agent, who will shop your manuscript around and attempt to get you the best possible deal if a publisher is interested.  Acquiring an agent is a difficult process in of itself, fraught with many pitfalls for the unwary and eager. The agent will also absorb a cut of your earnings, and most new authors don’t make much.

Going with a Bix company means you will get highly professional editing teams and graphic artists who will design the cover. However, you will sign over most of your creative control. You may be required to make changes to the storyline or re-write portions of the book to make it more marketable. Bestselling author J.R. Ward was recently forced to change an m/m romance storyline in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series to include a female character. You also may have no input whatsoever on what ends up on the cover. Even the highly successful Stephenie Meyer has said she had no control over the cover art for her first three novels.

Then, you wait. It can be up to two years before the book is actually published and on the shelves.

But, hey, you get an advance, right? That helps keep you going in the meantime and to soothe your wounded ego over the changes you had to make. However, the advance an author receives is essentially a loan against future sales. If the book fails to make back the amount of the advance, an author can be sued by the company to return it. And dozens have been.

Still, it will all be worth it to see your book in stores, right? Bix companies have the distribution channels no other form of publishing can match. However, a book’s time on the shelf may be brief, unless it’s a success. Bookstores typically stock a title for a certain number of months, and then return the unsold books to the publisher, so they can use that precious shelf space for another novel. Remember, too, that the big bookstore chains that comprise the majority of Bix publisher’s sales are quietly dying. Borders is gone and Barnes & Noble is teetering on the edge.

The amount of promotion a book is given by the publisher depends on whether a book is “front list” if it’s expected to be a hit, or “mid list” meaning, it might sell moderately well. There’s an old writer’s comic which shows an author and a publisher’s agent in contract negotiations: “We’d like to take your book, change everything about it, put it on the shelves for a few months and do absolutely nothing to promote it.” The days of the promotional book tour are almost over, and more and more, authors are expected to take on promotional duties themselves. The “mid list,” the books on which the publisher takes more of a risk, is shrinking, meaning fewer new authors are given a chance.

In the end, there’s a reason why some mainstream authors are ditching the Bixes and publishing themselves.

“Indie” Publishing

Small, independent publishers are booming, spurred by the ebook revolution and print-on-demand technology.  Look around a bit and check out the quality of the books they publish before you decide whether they’d be a good fit for your book.

Most independent publishers can be approached directly, without an agent, and most have their submission guidelines on their websites. The benefits include more creative control over your work and cover art, and having a professional editing and graphic arts staff to prepare your book for publication. Another benefit is a much quicker publication time, but that means a lot of work in a short period, so be prepared for it.

A book published by an indie likely won’t be found in a chain bookstore. However, your book will be available through online retailers, such as Amazon, and the chain bookstores’ websites may carry your ebook version.

An indie publisher may have a marketing team, but you’ll need to put in effort to help promote the book by getting reviews, guest spots on book websites, etc. It’s a lot of work, building a base of readers.

You’ll also have the added burden of a stigma. There are some who insist that the Bix publishers are the only “real” publishers, even as indie and self-publishing eat up more of their market share every day as the Bixers contract and merge. Your book needs to be squeaky clean when it comes to editing, because reviewers point out any errors they find in indie/self-published books.

That brings us to…

Self-Publishing

This is the do-all-the-work-yourself option. It’s going to require a significant investment both in time and money.  Research carefully the services you use for formatting and publishing your book. They vary widely in price and, apparently, in ethics.

The most important thing you need to remember is, You cannot edit your own manuscript. Nor can your mom, or your friend, unless either of those happen to be a professional editor. You’re going to have to pay for a professional, and a good editor doesn’t come cheap. Your manuscript has to be as clean as a saint’s soul or many people will reject it automatically, even if it has a great story.

This is only copy editing. You also need substantive editing. That means, you need strangers who aren’t worried about hurting your feelings to read the book and tell you the parts that don’t work. Every book has them, but the author usually can’t see them. You don’t want to learn about them from reviewers after the book is published.

And you’re going to face an even greater stigma than those with indie publishers. Despite the ebook revolution, and the incredible success of some authors, there are those who disdain self-publishing. When I was at the Texas Book Fair with my publisher last October, a woman entered our tent and scowled at the booth of my publisher, The Writer’s Coffee Shop. Her husband headed in our direction and she grabbed his arm. “That’s self-publishing,” she said, in the same tone she would use to warn him away from entering an infectious plague ward. I stepped forward and corrected her, telling her we were a small, independent publisher. Her expression changed from scorn to interest, and she came right into our booth, where she bought several books. Good stories, all, which she never would have read if she thought they had been self-published.

That’s why your book has to be well-packaged if you want to be a success as a self-published author. You have to pay for professional editing and a good graphic artist to make an eye-catching cover. People do judge a book by its cover, unfortunately, and will scroll right past a book that has cheesy or clumsily executed cover art.

So, there you have it, in one overly-long article. Hopefully, I’ve given you at least a general impression of the pros and cons of each method of publishing. Success is possible with each of them, but no matter which method you choose, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.

It’s not a profession for the faint of heart. It’s a Sisyphean task, and sometimes discouraging… but ultimately, very rewarding.

Good luck, and may God have mercy on your soul.

***

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Find Lissa on her blog, her Facebook pageGoodreads profile, and follow her on Twitter. To buy the books, check Amazon.

J to tha M: Talk About Submission

The Pain and Anguish of Rejection

Novel submission, agent submissionJ: For this week’s talk, I’ve been thinking about the whole submission process, especially since I’m considering querying for the new series.

M: Yeah? We need to start considering that for our hockey hero story, too. Getting any closer?

J: Not really, but all this makes me think. It’s never too early to think.

When you started the submission process, what did you look for?

M: I looked for publishers specifically in the romance genre

made sure they published other books similar in scope to mine, my heat level

It was fairly broad in scope as far as that went. I started getting nitpicky when it came down to reputation and track record

J: I know working with an agent crossed your mind

That whole process is so nerve wracking. I started thinking about it when a friend revealed he’d been rejected several times

but I read the book, and it’s fantastic

M: oh, yes, I think being agented crosses every writer’s mind

it’s still so ingrained in us

used to be the only way to go, and it still has that cache

I figured why not try it, did my research for agents who represented my genre and type of story, sent a bunch of letters out

Ran the gamut of rejections, from no response at all, to I liked it, but…

J: exactly

Here’s why I think so many great authors see rejections

We all do so much research when we start the submission process, but I think maybe our research is too targeted

We write a fantastic book. It’s clean, it’s thoughtful, it’s well written

but it’s not what’s hot right now

Is it something to be ashamed of if you’ve written a great book that just doesn’t happen to be what Wal-Mart stocks on the shelves?

even further, we have to be able to see into the future, because it takes so long to get a book from agent to shelves

so even if we write what’s popular now, who’s to say it will still be popular when we reach the release date?

M: everything is changing so quickly, both with readers and the publishing industry

it’s hard not to fall into that trap of writing what sells, what’s popular, but it falls back to just write what you write to the best of your ability

we all want to sell, to reach people, to make some money to support ourselves, whatever your motivation

but you can make yourself crazy trying to second guess everything instead of just writing the characters and story in your head

J: of course. but we shouldn’t take that rejection as a reflection of the quality of our writing

M: can’t escape the fact everything is money driven What makes the most wins

J: No, but it’s important for authors to know there are other options. There are people who want to read those books.

It’s why I chose small press instead of chasing an agent.

M: It sucks, but rejection is such a big part of this business. You hear it over and over, how necessary it is to develop a really tough skin, and it’s so true

Once you get through the agent and publisher rejections and you get published with whatever path your choose, then you deal with the reviewer and reader rejection in the forms of reviews and opinions

and again, it’s not necessarily a reflection on you personally, but everyone’s thoughts, experiences, and opinions they bring into your words

it still hurts like a knife to the heart, though, no matter how prepared you think you are

J: Thick skin is important, but so is the realization that not everyone is going to like your book.

A bad review doesn’t necessarily mean you wrote a bad book

it could just mean the person who read it was looking for something else

M: exactly. still hurts, though

J: of course. but no one can write a book that EVERYONE loves

even the biggest sellers out there have their bad reviews

and even the biggest selling authors received rejection letters

Dean Koontz openly admits he was rejected 75 times even after he sold his first story

M: And Christina Dodd is very frank about how she tried to get published for ten years before she finally got rolling

J: The point being, of course, that rejection sucks, but it’s not the end of the world

and in many, many cases, it’s not the end of a career, either

M: it’s only the beginning of the rejection. heh.

Why do we do this again?

J: siiiiiigh. sometimes I don’t remember, either

I’m so glad this author took another route and didn’t let rejection keep him down, though

M: You just have to find a way to deal with it when it comes, because it will. You have to find the way for yourself to keep going. If you’ve got a story to tell, tell it. Don’t stop working until you find it a home, get it out into the world. It’s worth everything to make that one connection, get that one “loved your story.”

J: Right. And when someone has something constructive to say, we learn from it. Don’t hate the rejectors. Or the bad reviewers.

M: Oh, right. That. let me go cancel the voodoo doll

brb

***

Talk to us about your query process. How do you deal with rejection? Do you have other options you’re pursuing? Have encouraging stories to help others through the pain and anguish? We want to hear it!

Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

 

How I Became an Indie by Accident

Guest Post from Martha Bourke: The Tale of the Accidental Indie Author

Publishing Trends

For those who are open-minded about publishing possibilities, there are a lot of decisions to make when you write a book. Nowadays, there are three routes that can be taken: traditional, indie, and a hybrid of the two. The decision can be tough for a lot of authors. Some writers start down the traditional road and find it suits them nicely. Others try it only to find that it’s not for them and go the Indie route. Still many seem to know from the beginning that they want to publish on their own. Some authors choose to do both. It’s really up to the individual author.

That is, except in my case.

You see, I became an accidental indie author. Jaguar Sun made the decision for me because the end of the Mayan calendar in December 2012 is part of the plot. It typically takes one to two years for a traditional publisher to release a book. I finished writing the first draft in April 2011. I realized there wouldn’t be enough time for a publishing house to get Jaguar Sun on the market even if it were to be accepted. So, I found the door to the traditional route closed to me before I even started. Decision made.

Indie publishing can certainly be done quickly, but it still has to be done well. I also still had deadlines. I figured I would need to get Jaguar Sun on the market at the very beginning of 2012, as it needed time to find its audience. As I researched the indie process, I decided that I wanted to contract out for several services because I didn’t have time to learn it all myself. That meant I would need an editor, a proofreader, a formatter, and a cover artist. There are a lot of indie authors who choose to do these things for themselves. If you’re truly talented at any of the four, it can save you some or even a lot of money. Unfortunately, I don’t fall into that category.

A decent editor runs an indie author anywhere from $200-1500 or more. I know that’s a big price tag. I went for middle of the way, simply because I was lucky enough to find an editor that was good and could do the work quickly enough. Back then, I was too unfamiliar with the process to know I could have had it done just as well for less money. If you really look, you can find a good editor that will work with you on all aspects of a manuscript for $200-400. I also had to pay my proofreader. Again, I overpaid. I should have been able to find a great proofreader for $100, but I paid twice that amount. My cover artist is excellent and charges about $150-250, depending on how long it takes and how much work goes into it. The money that I spend for my formatter is about that much as well. I am now able to put out a book for about $700, while doing only the writing and then the work with my editor. Someone else handles everything else, although I have final say on all aspects of my books.

Since publishing the first book in the Jaguar Sun series, I have published the second book, Jaguar Moon, a prequel novella, and I’ve started an adult spin-off of the series called the New Breed Novels. So, the question is, will I stay indie? For me, the answer is yes. Everything I have learned has come from the indie community. They found me, taught me everything I know, and now I pass that on to other indie authors. It’s been a very powerful experience. I also get to publish my books my way, on my own time table, and choose my pricing, sales outlets, etc. That works well for me.

Does that mean I would never sign on that dotted line? Never say never, but for now, I’m happy where I am. The indie community feels like home.

Martha and her husband of fourteen years have carved out their own little piece of Vermont in the Massachusetts countryside. When not writing, Martha loves spending time with her animals, good music, thrifting, and adding to her Converse collection.

Martha has been very special to J since they first “met” on Twitter. J was hiding in her closet during a tornado warning, and Martha stayed with her until the storm was over. That care and concern for a virtual stranger has endeared Martha to J (and M by extension) forever. Visit Martha on her Goodreads page, her blog, and her website. You can also follow her on Twitter. You can also buy her books at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Feel free to share your own stories about indie publishing. Are you considering going it alone for your first book? Are you disillusioned with the traditional route? Have you done it? Would you do it again?