Sunday, February 24, 2013

Alternate Paths

Given the current publishing climate, I've been exploring options.  It seems that nowadays, many more people are self-publishing than ever before.  Given that, and also given the fact that I've been working more on non-fiction than fiction lately, I've been considering the self-publishing option for the non-fiction.

I've done a lot of homework.  While it does seem that some of the former stigma surrounding self-publishing for unknown writers is beginning to relax, and more established professionals are self-publishing their own work as well, there still seems to be a bit of a question on the parts of some people as to what can actually be viewed as self-publishing and what can be viewed as "vanity press."

From some of what I read, it sounds as though if you format and produce your book entirely under your own steam, it's seen as self-publishing.  It also seems to be seen as self-publishing if you produce your book via a packaging service that simply incorporates your own formatting, your own cover art, etc. and then just prints exactly what you've provided to them exactly as you've provided it, in the form of an e-book or as a print-on-demand book.

The place where the information began to get a little foggy was where it concerned paying to have your book produced by a book packager who actually gets more involved in the process--where you pay for services such as the procurement of ISBNs and LOC control numbers, formatting help and even cover design.  For some reason, there are people out there who seem to view paying for these things as "vanity press."

I have to confess, I have no idea why paying for professional help to bring a book to market would be seen as "vanity press" as opposed to "self-publishing."  Whether you pay for help or do it all alone, you're still the impetus behind putting your own book out there.  You're still the person who decided it was good enough for the public eye, and you're still the one footing whatever bills there might be.  So why in the world is admitting you need a little pro help considered "vanity press?"

This is one of the reasons it has taken me so long to even begin to consider the possibility of self-publishing in any capacity other than the one in which I run Pookatales Press.  But now that I have a non-fiction book very close to completion, I have to begin to consider how I will go about getting it out there.  I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I will be going with a very well-known, professional packager.  I will pay for help with all those things that make a book look like a professionally-produced product.  I care about quality, and I want to treat the upcoming book the same way I would treat it if it had actually been picked up by a traditional publisher.  I want the book to look good and come across as a quality work.  I don't think that constitutes "vanity" at all.  Just the opposite, in fact.

I think it constitutes humility--the ability to admit that one needs help to bring a book into the light and make it be the best that it can be.  That, friends, is where an author lays his or her ego in the dust and humbly admits that it's time to change a paradigm--the very concept that has been drummed into all writers for decades.  The concept that we aren't really writers unless someone pays us for our work.

I'm challenging that concept now.  I am a writer, and I am going to pay someone to help me put my non-fiction book out there.  There, I said it.  So far, I have not gone up in flames.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Late For an Update

One of my critique partners reminded me that I hadn't posted here in a long while.  I didn't mean to leave such a long gap between posts, but to be honest, life has been hectic in the extreme.

By way of update, I've completed a new short story recently and have been sending it out to online magazines.  This is a process that can take a considerable amount of time, with upwards of three months or so at each venue, unless they happen to be fast responders.  I'm quite happy with the way the new story has turned out, and as with each story, I hope it will find the perfect venue for its debut.

I'm still working on an urban fantasy novella, as well as continuing to work on cover art for the e-story release of "The Truth One Sees."  Maybe, if the Universe is kind and I can manage it, I may be able to release it by Christmas.  But I cannot promise this absolutely, because as I said, life has been hectic.

I have several online businesses of my own, including Pookatales Press, RavenSidhe on Etsy, and a CafePress store, Wild Raven.  In addition to that, I sell some of the RavenSidhe products on consignment at a local store, and Pookatales Press products on eBay.  Between those and helping with my family's business, it can be a challenge to keep up with the writing.

With the economic crash of 2008 and the recent trend toward e-publishing, the traditional publishing industry has seen quite a few changes, many of them negative.  Not as many books are being acquired in general, and publishers are less willing to take a chance on new or unknown authors.  More and more authors, both well-established and unknowns, are turning to e-publishing and self-publishing as a way to get their works out there.  From what many people are telling me, self-publishing is becoming much more widespread and accepted in the writing/publishing community.

I've been working on both fiction and nonfiction of late, and particularly with the nonfiction, I've had to begin considering self-publishing as an option, so lately I've been doing a lot of research into that.  However, as this is my fiction writing blog, I won't be going into much detail about the nonfiction here.

In any case, that's the update in a nutshell, and I'll be sure to post when I have release details for the e-story.  I hope this finds everyone well, and I with you all luck with whatever you're working on.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

100 Words a Day

Well, time has certainly gotten away from me this year, and here we are in August already!

Writing-wise, what have I been up to?  I've been primarily working on non-fiction, but I have also completed a new short story that I'll be submitting to various places for potential publication soon.  I should have the last polishing done no later than Sunday.

Aside from writing, I've been doing contract work for my husband's company, building wired adapters for injectors.  I've also taken up archery.

Each day is just a series of choices, really, and that pertains to writing as much as to anything else.  Work, of course, is rarely much of a choice; it must be done.  But what about the work of one's heart--the work that doesn't necessarily bring in much money?  At the end of a long day of working with my hands, I've also tried typing for three hours, and have learned that there are limits to what my muscles can endure.  However, if I could just do 100 words, that would be far, far better than nothing.

I agreed with my critique partners that I'd do that much, at least.  If you're writing short stories, 100 words a day will lead to a new story on a regular basis, as most places prefer stories 4000 words or less, and many places would be happier with 3000 or less.

Problem: I can't easily write a short story of less than 3000 words.  I've tried, and found that I have enough plot that to do less than 3000 just wouldn't serve to tell the story properly.  Even with everything trimmed and shaved, sentences tightened as much as possible, my stories all seem to want to be between 4000 and 4500 words in length.  Nevertheless, even at roughly 4000 words in total length, that 100 words a day would indeed net me many more short stories per year.  1000 words a day would get me a novel in just 100 days, but let's say I halved that figure and got 500 words a day.  In 200 days, that's a novel, and easily fits into the ideal framework of one novel a year, plus a novella or several short stories.

When you think of it like that, it's not all that daunting, really.  It's just a matter of doing that 100 to 500 words.

I've talked myself into it.  It's just like with archery practice the other night, when I decided that as soon as I put all of my arrows into the target, I could stop for the night.  No matter how many shots that took, as soon as each arrow went into the target, it could stay there.  If I had to retrieve it from the grassy slope, then it had to be shot again.

I don't know how many shots I took before all six arrows were sticking out of the target, but it was a lot more than six shots total.  Nevertheless, I stuck with it until they were all in the target.  And one of those arrows was in the center--a bullseye.  I can't help but think that's a good analogy, except for the part where I quit for the night at the end.  Otherwise, it's great.  Fire enough stories out into the world, and keep putting them out there, and eventually one will hit the bullseye.

After that, the next logical step is to write new stories and start the process over again, until the next bullseye.  And all that sustained effort would take is just 100 words a day.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Happy Independence Day

It's interesting that the notion of independence is becoming more accepted in the world of publishing as well.  More and more people are publishing their own works in the e-pub arena, and others are self-publishing print-on-demand books via various services.  In short, people are doing pretty much everything that new writers were told, even as recently as ten years ago, not to do if they wanted any credibility.

Maybe this is another instance where rebels end up creating something entirely new.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Checking In

It's amazing how much time goes by almost without notice!

I'm trying to work on nonfiction and fiction both at once, so while my posts here are sporadic, I journal daily.  I'm partway through writing a short story and have some on submission.  And I'm working on the cover art for the e-story I plan to release soon.

I'm thinking that an anthology of Sidhe fiction would be a very good future e-book release.  I have a novella and several short stories, and that would be enough to fill the word count, so that is something I will be seriously considering over the next few months.

I have ideas and basic plots figured out for a fantasy romance novel as well as a YA steampunk, but they may be some time in coming because there are also a short story and urban fantasy novella that I think should be finished first.  So onward....

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Moving Forward

On the fiction writing front, I've got a new short story underway and a couple of already-written ones submitted to online magazines.

One theme in the new work is the notion of sacrifice.  Just what might you give up in order to be with the people you love most?  A job, perhaps?  A calling?  Money, status, fame?  Those things would be more of a sacrifice to some, less to others.  It's all in what you truly hold dear, right at the very core of your being.

What if your sacrifice was something that some people think of as the Holy Grail?  We're speaking, of course, of immortality.  If you were an immortal, would you give that up to share one brief lifetime with someone who was not?  Then again, that might depend upon your personal definition of immortality.  Perhaps it is really love, after all, that defines immortality in the first place.

Thoughts to ponder.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Mini Les Bois Miniature Show, 2012

The miniature show went on last weekend, bigger and busier than ever.  We had quite a few vendors there, and a good number of customers.  Some of our customers at the Pookatales table were repeat customers from last year; a big thank-you to all those who came to see us again and collect a few new items!