Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Are Indie Publishers an Option?

   This last weekend, our writers group was treated to a presentation by successful local author, Jami Davenport. Having been involved with the publishing world for many years, she had experience with the top publishing houses, independent publishers, and self-publishing. She discussed the pros and cons of each, plus included how some of the recent changes in the industry affect writers.
   I also subscribe to David Farland's news letter on writing tips, where he has discussed the pitfalls and dangers involved with publishing, especially in the area of contracts. Apparently, the big houses feel threatened by the self-publishing market, and have changed their contracts to reflect that. Read any contract you are given very carefully. Once you sign on with some of these publishers, you are required to write what they want, and give up the rights to your work forever. I don't think I need to tell you that this is a bad thing.
   It would appear then that self-publishing is the way to go, as many here have praised the results of doing it this way. However, according to David Farland, over three million e-books were created last year, and an equal number is expected this year. Unless you already have a following of thousands, your story will probably be lost in that ocean of e-books.
   Studies have shown that readers will first be drawn to your cover, then read the back cover blurb, and purchase the book based on those two things. While you may have generated a sale, you had better have a well written, engaging story to tell, or they will never buy another book with your name on it. But that is a discussion for another time.
   For someone such as myself, as in, "I'm so broke, I can't even pay attention", independent e-book publishers are a viable alternative. I can't afford to pay someone for a cover that grabs a reader's attention, and neither can I pay for a quality editor. I feel blessed to have found an indie publisher who believes in me, and I have developed a friendship with.
   As with anything in today's world, there are good ones and bad ones, so it is up to you to do your homework prior to signing any contract. If possible, make an effort to meet and/or spend time with the publisher, maybe over a cup of coffee or lunch. Find out if the two of you are a good fit, and exactly what you expect from each other. Also take the time to check out the authors and their books that the publisher handles.
   One of the major advantages I see in this relationship, other than the obvious ones of a professional cover and editing, is discoverability. While the publisher certainly can't afford to advertise each book separately, they can advertise the publishing house itself. Readers will visit the site with the assumption that the books have at least been edited, and that the publisher wouldn't promote them if they weren't a good read. By choosing a genre, the reader only has to view fifty to sixty titles rather than the thousands they would have to slog through on Amazon.
   Indie publishers may not be a good fit for everyone, but I believe it is a good option that should be at least looked into.
   Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Winds of Depression

   It's a fact of life that a large number of us suffer from depression, and I've had to deal with it most of my life. Fortunately, I grew up in an era where duty was more important than anything else. I live with, and take care of two disabled women, so regardless of how I feel, my duty is to provide for them. I also have three children and six grandchildren, three of whom are adults. When they call and need grandpa's help, I'm always there for them no matter my mood.
   I needed to write this post to apologize to my online friends and fellow writers for my negative attitude lately, and to try and articulate how depression affects me. Thankfully, reading and writing have always been a source of pleasure for me. However, when I'm depressed, it's impossible to experience pleasure, so attempting to write becomes an exercise in futility. No matter what I write, it is seen through eyes clouded by self-doubt and worthlessness.
   I know that depression affects people in different ways, but this is the best description I can come up with for me. When depression strikes, I feel adrift in a sea of negativity, paddling in circles, desperately searching for any positive debris that I can cling to. Sometimes I get so tired, all I want to do is quit and sleep, but my sense of duty keeps me going. If I didn't cook, clean house, etc. well you can imagine the result.
   One of the positives I've been able to cling to is the Saturdayscenes community. Not so much for any feedback I might receive on my writing (even though it's always nice), but the opportunity to do something positive for someone else. I try to read every post on Saturday in the hope that I can make a positive comment and/or offer some encouragement.
   Without the ability to make positive contributions, my life has no meaning. I know that's not a healthy attitude, but then depression is anything but healthy. Mondays are always the worst, waiting to see if the winds of depression will rise up and blow me back out into deep water. I worry that someday, my faith and sense of duty will no longer be enough to keep me paddling.
   Thanks for reading, and hopefully soon, I'll be able to come up with more stories to entertain you.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Back cover blurbs

   This week I will get back to the supposed purpose of this blog, and talk a little bit about my fantasy writing. I was tempted to join in on the reader immersion discussion, but since several others agree with my opinion, I'll just let it go at that.
   As I may have mentioned before, I play the scenes over and over in my head until I feel that everything is handled the way I want it, and then put it on paper. I normally work in two or three chapter increments, and since I'm getting close to the end of my novella "The Path of Exile', the last chapters are on the back burner for awhile.
   I'm making some progress on my epic fantasy, but it's slow going because of the multiple plot lines and a large number of characters. My publisher would like to add a short story I wrote to one of her anthologies, but it needs to be longer. I've been trying to add words that enhance the story, and not just end up as filler.
   What I would like to share this week is a back cover blurb I put together for "Eyes of the Deluti".
Any comments would be appreciated as to whether this sounds interesting or how I could make it better. Thanks for taking the time to read!

Many generations have passed since all but the last of the Deluti Lords were destroyed in a decade’s long war between the High Lord Demitrios and his brother Scorpios, the Dark Lord of the South. Five amulets of immense power were dispersed through-out the two continents until a time when the blood of the Deluti would re-emerge and reveal itself.

The Ancient One has known for some time that Navon d’Roddell, the youngest son of a minor Baron, was chosen to receive the first amulet. He sent several non-humans to watch over young Navon on his journey north to learn of his heritage. The Scarred Mage, twin brother to the Ancient One, also knew and had sent one of his sorcerers to either kill or preferably capture young d’Roddell. Unbeknownst to either brother, the second amulet had chosen Princess Sofia Salidoris to be its next wearer once she learned to control her anger, buried deep inside.

Join them as Navon is plunged into situations that test the limits of his compassion and Sofia’s temptation to use her new found power becomes more than she can bear.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Enough is Enough!

   There comes a point, during your self editing/revision process, where you just have to sit back and say, "Enough!" Face it, your story will never be perfect. Every reader is a little different, and has their own personal expectations while reading a book. How do you please all of your readers, all of the time? Simply put, you can't.
   The most difficult phase of this process is the opening scene of your story. You want to gain the reader's attention, right? Well, for some, that could be the first ten pages, the first page, the first paragraph, or even the first sentence.

   For example, you start off your story with dialogue because you've dreamed up this awesome character, and want to introduce him/her to the world. The first person you share it with, be it a critique partner or family member, says they read somewhere that you should never start a story with dialogue. So, you re-write it to add some action. Now the problem is they can't relate to the action because the characters are unknown. Someone else asks, 'where's the tension?' You try and re-write it again.

   When does it all stop? Only you can decide. This is true for the entire novel, not just the beginning. You can revise yourself into an early grave, but at some point, you have to realize that all you're doing is making the story different and not better. You've done your best to weave all of those elements into your story, from start to finish, and now it's time for a professional editor.

   A good editor should be able to help you polish those rough edges and untangle plot knots you didn't even know were there.

   The ultimate decision to say when enough is enough, is yours. Is it the best it can be? Probably not, but if it's the best you can do at this point in your writing journey, publish it and go on to your next story. Take what you have learned and improve. Even the most popular authors started with books that weren't stellar, so go for it!

   Thanks for reading!

BTW. Even though I hope my blog posts will help someone in a small way, my main purpose is to help me verbalize some of the issues I've been dealing with in my own writing. I'm certainly no expert, so take any advice I may give with a grain of salt. Have a great writing week!