Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taking A Breather

Very quick post. 

I have to take a break for a few days.  I'll try to check my email some and hopefully will be back around during the week. 


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Indie Fantasy Review Blog

Derek Prior set up a new review blog solely for fantasy books by Indie authors.  I'm recommending a look at  Indie Fantasy Review because I like the reviewing style.  I'm the kind of person who believes it if someone tells me they just read the best book EVA!!   Inevitably, I'm disappointed quite a lot because I expect too much.  (Which is why I get so excited when I read books like Glimpse - I hadn't heard anyone rave about it at the time so I was pleasantly surprised by its awesomeness.)

I like detailed reviews such as those by Red Adept because they give me enough information on things that matter to me.  Some things bother other people but don't affect me in any way.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to find lots of new fantasy books to read if Prior keeps going with Indie Fantasy Review.  So far, the reviews are well thought out, unbiased and detailed without spoilering (or boring me).  Sometimes it can be hard for people to trust indie book reviews that have been written by other indies.  That's understandable so it's nice when someone writes thoughtful reviews that come across as honest and trustworthy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Elitist Jerks

Be prepared, this is a ramble/rant/whine/meandering thought process.  I've been lurking a lot this past week or two and as so often happens, I've come across a lot of the same arguments and discussions.  I'm not going to link to anything but there is something in the air this month that has almost everyone ready to offend and be offended.  Lets just say the Internetz has made Claire sad.

Spite and vitriol abound.  I've lost count of how many replies I've written and then deleted without pressing send.  Life's too short to get dragged into debates that are going nowhere, particularly ones arguing over who is better/smarter/more successful/funnier/etc.  Greatness is subjective and to follow Darwin's thinking, ignorance can boost confidence more than knowledge or true skill will.  Maybe, maybe not (it's something to think about but apparently the less talented are more confident than the most talented.  X-Factor/Idol type singing contests are an excellent example of this, I wonder how well this applies to creative writing).  But what makes a good book is subjective - I stand by that.

It's bad enough constantly seeing traditionally published writers (or those aspiring to this) slamming indies/self publishers/whatever label you want to use this week.  It's bad enough when indies mock trads (I need better labels when I pigeon hole people) for their choices. (I'm pointing out here that the ebook thing might be working in our favour but we're riding a wave, all good things come to an end and it's plain rude to mock those left on the shore in the meantime.)  It's bad enough when talent (of whatever degree) is insulted by people who have not even given said talent a chance.  (You can't say a writer is crap if you haven't read their work.  Just . . . no.)  It's bad enough when spiteful reviews are left solely to harm a person's career (and it's equally bad when false flattering reviews are left too).

But I'm starting to think the people who are hurting indies the most are indies themselves.  Some of the spiteful reviews are left by indies who see everyone else as a threat.  Yes, this and more can exist in traditional publishing - the elitism that exists there seems to be extending to indie publishing too.  There's the typical genre bashing but worse is the attitude of many indies.  This notion that there is plenty of crap in self publishing but not me.  And if anyone doesn't agree with me then I don't give a shit about their opinion.

I'm better than them, ask my beta readers/critique partners/reviewers is the new ask my mother/father/brother/sister.  It isn't any more professional, it just sounds better.  My new pet peeve is arrogance in the ranks.  I'm guilty of it myself sometimes (feel free to slap some sense into me if I am).  The thing is, we can be confident and humble at the same time.  We can accept that we have lots to learn while still being proud of what we already know. 

Just because someone doesn't like your work doesn't mean you are bad at what you do.  On the other hand, just because someone does like your work doesn't mean you are great at what you do.  Don't get cocky and assume you're better than someone else because you didn't enjoy their work.  (Guilty.)  Definitely don't do it if you haven't even read their work.  We can't complain about the way most people perceive and judge self publishers if we, the self publishers are guilty of doing the exact same things.  (This happens so often, it's almost funny.  But not quite.)

Let your story do the talking, you don't need to prove yourself by boasting how much money you paid for editing/cover art or how long you worked.  And you absolutely don't need to put anyone else down to look better.  (And remember how offputting a bad attitude is, be bloody grateful when someone at least gives you a chance.)  All this arguing and insulting and bragging only serves to make us all look bad, don't blame it on the "crap" self publishers.  Maybe someone else out there is doing the same to you. 

*Steps off soapbox and leaves, forgetting to edit the million and one uses of the word just (and brackets).*

Friday, September 10, 2010

Authors: Add Your Books

I mentioned Scott Nicholson's Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour already.  Aside from the free Kindle, there is a bumper pack of ebooks up for grabs.  There are over 70 books on the list already so if you want to donate yours, click on the link and send Scott an email with your manuscript or a Smashwords coupon.  The more people involved, the bigger the whole promotion will be.  Scott is periodically twitting about the authors involved and all of the names are on the site already. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Contest: Free MS Edit

CA Marshall (freelance editor and literary agent intern) is currently running a contest.  The winner receives a free manuscript edit.  The manuscript has to be 100k or under, but doesn't need to be finished by the contest end date which is the 20th September.  The edit itself is a biggie and includes plot development so worth entering if you would like another pair of eyes over your baby before you self publish or query - whatever your flavour is.

Entering is easy, follow the link above to fill in the entry form.  You can gain points by following her blog, her twitter profile or by posting a blog about the contest - but you have to put the links on the entry form as proof. 

Now I'm off to try and get my wordcount up because I slept forever instead of writing last night or this morning.  The novella is running away with itself and turning into a novel so I have to catch up.  :)  (It's the most fun thing I've ever written so I don't mind.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Word Count Progress

I've added a word count progress meter thingy in the sidebar.  Mostly to shame myself into writing, I've been using the #amwriting tag on Twitter to do the same thing.  It's an ugly wee widget but it does the job.  I looked at roughly five thousand similar looking widgets before finally deciding on the basic one from Writertopia.

The 50k target is a bit random.  I've no idea how long this first draft will be but it is a novella so 50k seemed like a nice fit, considering I'm almost halfway there.  I might add another counter for Nanowrimo (not long to go,squee!) or if I fail on my plans and end up working on two first drafts at once.

I was extremely proud of myself when I began this particular WIP because I wrote out a huge outline and even made an excel sheet with scene lists.  I forgot all about it in the first chapter and ran wild.  I took a look at the "plan" earlier and it is a completely different story to the one I've actually been writing.  I'm hopeless.  I've already got far too many subplots going on.  It's in my nature to overdo everything.  I've come to the conclusion I need a highly organised writing partner.

I'm writing this post at 5am because I've a persistant 7week old stuck under my chin.  (Seriously, she has her face squashed right into my throat, I don't know how she can breathe like that.)  I can't work quick enough on first drafts while holding a child so I'm blogging instead to make me feel like I've accomplished something.  I'm going to try and put the baby down so I can work a little on my WIP - no point sleeping  as the rest of the family will be up in two hours.  Three more years and the whole gang will be in school, that's my reward for a few sleepless years.  :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Six Months On

I'm extremely unorganised right now.  I keep saying I'm going to do things (like fix my blog feed, post to wattpad, take a look at ebooks, the list keeps growing) and then completely forgetting all about them.  I've about a million and one late appointments to make too.  I need help so it was funny to see this post on Author Assistants in my feedreader today.  How cool would that be?  Being able to afford an assistant is totally going onto my imaginary sign of success list.  Imagine how different the lives of useless people like me would be if having an assistant was mandatory.  :)

On to the point of this post.  It's been almost six months since I started with Kindle.  I'm focusing on Kindle because that's where most of the action is.  August was a peak month for me.  It's supposed to be the worst month but my sales (on one book) pretty much doubled last month.  Ebook sales (so far) have seen a steady growth.  I've been thinking about why this happens.

For most indies, there isn't a huge market boost when the book is first released.  Usually, the debut is a quiet release because the author name is unknown.  (Of course, when they have a few books out, building up a buzz around a new release is more viable.)  Most of us newbies don't have a clue what we're doing when we start out (I still don't) so it takes a while to figure out what to do next.  Some people take a chance on an unknown but sales usually start trickling in when the writer becomes involved in forums where people are open to the idea of self published books.  There are lots of genre threads and indie author threads all over the place, there's no shortage of ways to "sell" your book. Recommendations boost sales and quite a few authors report steadily increasing sales rather than an initial flurry.

For me, I place responsibility of the majority of my sales to two sources.  Now I'm not in any way saying my sales are good, especially in comparison to so many others so I'm merely sharing my own experiences.  Your mileage may vary.  Anyway, I credit the people who have reviewed my books and Kindleboards on most of the sales I've gotten.  I'm not good at selling and if it wasn't for either those reviewers or Kindleboards, I doubt I'd have sold a thing. 

Good reviews are self explanatory.  The Kindleboards thing is a little more complicated because it leads onto my book being linked to other books - people who bought this book also bought . . . .  I'm pretty sure people at Kindleboards bought my books after seeing me around.  They also bought from other indies.  This is what gets the ball rolling.  The more sales we all get, the closer we're linked in Amazon's magical mystical numbers & advertising game.  People stumble onto a book then see similar titles and might buy a couple of them.  This takes time.  It's taken me six months to really notice this making a difference.

But this is an example of why you need patience to do this.  Little seeds get planted all the time but it takes a long time before they start to bear fruit and even longer before you can benefit from the harvest.  It takes some longer than others, there are no overnight successes in self publishing.  (Before anyone says it, Amanda is the exception. (: )  I regularly see new ebook sellers getting impatient and feeling frustrated because they're comparing themselves to people who have been doing it a while.  Time is your friend, ebook sales work differently from the traditional publishing model.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


September, this year has flown by.  I'm sick of hearing about Christmas already.  The word should be banned until December, I'm panicking already.  :)

Interesting week here.  The local school let my 6 year old leave the school alone.  He walked home alone. Alone.  Okay we live, like, three minutes away from the school but not the point.  He's six.  He doesn't play outside unsupervised never mind cross roads alone.

I won't even go into the ridiculous bomb scare we had.  I vented my little freaker out of my system on Kindleboards so won't bore you further.  Let's just say I'm glad August is done!

Some links that might be of interest.

Two blogs willing to review indie authors.  Smashwords Books Reviewed and E-Finds.  Another interesting blog is Kindle Cheap Reads.  They feature bargain books so a good place to check if you want to make the most of your book budget.