Small Publishers: Pros and Cons

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We’re continuing our conversation about small publishing houses. This week: Pros and Cons.

Let’s start with the pros. Chiefly, as a smaller publisher, they ought to have a greater vested interest in you as an author. If you are just another cog in the machine, chances are, you are with a vanity publisher masquerading as a real publisher.

Secondly, they are in business and want to stay that way—that said they want you to succeed and they’re going to try their hardest to stay afloat—when you make money, so do they… that’s how this business is supposed to work.

Perhaps the biggest Pro is that they are more likely to publish books that are outside current norms, risky, or difficult to read, and thus represent unlikely commercial ventures for larger publishers who only want to produce commercial gold.

Small publishers play a vital role in the development of materials that may end up going to larger publishers in the future. Essentially, this is the minor leagues of the publishing world. Just like in pro sports, many big-leaguers spend some time learning the ropes and being developed before they get called up. Click Read More for the Cons.

Continue reading Small Publishers: Pros and Cons

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Review-Wild Hearts: The Coming Night

51qsEghgsAL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_First of all, I’m totally digging this cover for Andrew Wichland’s new book, Wild Hearts: The Coming Night. Not just the cover, but the themes, too. Cyber suits and alien invasions? This is the kind of book that there ought to be more of: high intensity slugfests with supercool tech. It reads like Power Rangers wearing Iron Man suits! Continue reading Review-Wild Hearts: The Coming Night

State of Writing

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I may have cooked my brain. My nonprofit group runs two annual peach sales where I sit by the side of the road and sell peaches. Heat indexes where 105 and up for two days and I’m sitting on blacktop for 6-9 hours each day. Despite that, I managed to finish my paranormal detective story, Bridge of Se7en. I’m pretty excited about it; I’ve wanted to write my paranormal investigator series for years now (I started one several years ago that a windows update/forced shut down destroyed.) I hope to write a few stories in the series. The Vikrum Wiltshire stories actually bridge a gap between the Hidden Rings of Myrddin series and my Wolves of the Tesseract series.

Now onto editing! I’m planning to work the story to completion this week and maybe outline some new stuff. I have 2 or 3 other projects before I begin the next Hidden Rings novel, but I have a deadline for Bridge of Se7en in order to submit it to a publication whose window closes at the end of the month and their submission call was what prompted me to pen this story when I did.

The other project I am working on is a workbook for my Indie Author’s Bible. I’m talking with a library network to teach a series that follows the book’s methods and helps writers move into the publication realm (or at least foreshadows what is to come if their manuscript isn’t yet ready.) It’s a grant funded thing that is still in discussion with the powers that be, but at least one library has already said they want to do it. More on that later (after my brain recuperates from sunstroke… and that’s no joke. I was not well after the first day.)

Small Publishers and Ethics

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This month, we’re going to have an honest talk about small publishing houses. The good, bad, and ugly.

Every writer starts with a dream: get published, have their books on shelves across America, and be famous/die rich. Or some version of that… nevermind that bookstore chains are dropping dead left and right. As we wade deeper into the literary community, that dream tends to wither and shrink and we cry out, “my book is worthy—why won’t someone give it an honest read?”

Market saturation and competition means that publishers don’t care about good stories. They are a business. They care about SELLABLE stories; it’s all about the cash flow for them. It may sound heartless, and it is. It’s also good business… apparently business is good. Continue reading Small Publishers and Ethics

Review/Plagarism Alert: To Kindle and Beyond

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I’m going to sound overly harsh, probably, since you guys are used to seeing such positive reviews from me. Sometimes, however, there are books like this where somebody does not ask “does there need to be a book about XYZ” but instead they ask “can I make do a cash-grab and get in on the XYZ market?” That is exactly what this book looked like (from its non-industry-standard cover, to the poor language in the first few pages of the book). Continue reading Review/Plagarism Alert: To Kindle and Beyond

State of Writing

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I’m feeling okay! I wrote about 4,000 words and a detailed outline for a new short story, plus got some things ready for upcoming shows, although my 4th of July sale I was scheduled to be at got rained out mid-week. I also wrote a large number of future blog posts and read a few books for review.

Hopefully I can complete my newest short story by this weekend and then edit. It’s a paranormal detective story that I’m hoping to submit to an anthology by the end of the month. Once that’s complete, on to my next two projects!

If you’re in the metro area and looking for something fun to attend this coming Sunday, I’m going to be a guest at a Minnspec meeting at Lunds & Byerly’s Minneapolis (event details here: https://www.meetup.com/MinnSpec/events/250818399)

New Reason to Lose Book Reviews at Amazon

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Amazon has reportedly begun a new wave of review take-downs, from what I’ve been told.

Firstly, in an effort to kill off phony reviewers, anyone posting a review to a book used to abuse the KU rules and “skim the till” at Amazon (see my older article when scammers started doing this) are getting shut down. Amazon isn’t just deleting the review on that book in question… they are deleting every review that person ever posted. Hack and slash baby, Amazon isn’t messing around.

The second reason is more insidious. It may be just a rumor, but reviewers must spend at least $50 per year for the privilege of reviewing a product. I’ve been told that spend-deficient Amazon accounts are first notified of the policy, “and then [Amazon] deletes review privileges along with every review posted by that person.”

I’ve previously lamented that focusing book sales so heavily within Amazon is a little like making a deal with the devil. I guess that sometimes, the devil comes to take his toll.

Are You Using Social Media Correctly?

Hey Indie authors of all stripes, we need to keep this in mind… especially when it seems tough to find your tribe, don’t opt to start spamming people on social media (and yes…that’s exactly what it is.)
Have you ever been having a great conversation with friends and had a very loose acquaintance interrupt and try to sell you all on Amway/whatever pyramid scheme is currently popular? That’s an exact parallel to “using social media as a sales channel.” Read this article for more!

Marketing Christian Books

Contrary to popular belief, social media is not a marketing channel.

You are probably thinking, “What?! I thought social media is how you build an audience for books.”

Exactly! Social media is an audience building tool, not an advertising tool. Unless you are purchasing ads on social media sites or offering your followers an announcement or special on your books, the information you share via social media should not be broadcast marketing messages.

Many authors don’t understand this concept. These authors use social media to shout about their books. Recently, an indie author had the courtesy of asking if she could post about her book on Christian Small Publishers Association’s (CSPA) Facebook Page.

This author wrote:

“Good evening! I’d love to post a blurb about a faith-based children’s book that I wrote and published on your Facebook page. Is this something you allow publishers to do?”

I wrote her…

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Review: The Worlds Next Door

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C.E. White’s The Worlds Next Door is a fun genre blender of all the things that I love… and if you like Sci Fi and Fantasy books, then you probably will too! In the first couple of pages, White references some of the Janie (the protagonist’s) frames of reference: the TARDIS, and Hogwarts. I think that’s a perfect setup for a YA/MG adventure. Continue reading Review: The Worlds Next Door