Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The New Model

Here's part of the discussion between Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler, which contains much of the philosophy of why I went with an indie publisher instead of a legacy house:

And more from Joe:

The old model of legacy publishing was that you were properly grateful to get published, and took whatever they gave you.

The new model is that the writer has control, and can get paid in a fair way for their work. I like this. It's good for writers.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Latest Publication

Eric's Hysterics is run by a guy who thinks that Mondays are bad enough, so we should start it with a laugh. So today he's published my short humor piece "Writer's Diary."

It's the answer to those who think writing from home is easy and glamourous, and brings in scads of money.

Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Publishing Debate II

Recently I served as a mercenary in the war between traditional big-house publishers and "the other options". I noticed a usually good posting board was warning against a publishing route-- with my publisher, but relying on misinformation and misdirection. So I signed up and jumped in, to try and clear things up.

Ouch. What I found was a group that really didn't want to hear anything which contradicted the group opinion. It was like a Tea Party rally, where someone spouts something totally insane and untrue, while the others nod agreement. When you disagree, they challenge your discussion points, but using completely untrue statements as contrary evidence. You spend so much time countering the untruths, the real point gets lost. They keep compounding the untruths, until you realize that nothing will change, because they have a vested interest in "being right."

A few of the big laughers:
"Publishers would never let one of their books go unpromoted."
I asked the poster to go to a writer's conference and make that statement in public, to see the response. Truth is, it happens fairly frequently, and books die an inglorious death.

"Publishers aren't concerned with 'self-publishers'."
Wow. This shows that they don't know what they're talking about. Read any of the hundreds of articles of the past few years detailing how the big publishers are absolutely panicked (with good reason), and don't know how to react. After the news broke of author Barry Eisler turning down a half-million-dollar, two-book traditonal contract to 'self-publish', you don't think the big dogs spit their Scotch onto their deep-pile carpets? What happens when more of their cash cows take that route? The big houses rely on a handful of big names for their profits, and if those go, it's 'going-out-of- business' time.

So with statements like that being tossed out, another poster tried to school me with 'nobody gets a free pass here'.
Unless they agree with you, and make really dumb claims...

It turns out that a number of those pushing traditional, big-house publishing as the only path were those who had, or knew someone who had, benefitted from the lottery-win situation of those houses. I'd been saying that for those who wanted to go that route, great, but I was taking another option. Some refuted my option, and blew off the examples of independent success I'd countered with. Then they wondered why I wouldn't go into an in-depth debate, point-for point. But I noticed the person really pushing this was making the most outrageous statements, and had thousands of posts on the site. Frankly, I've got better writing to do than post a couple of thousand responses to someone who won't listen. They just want a debate- but it won't change their mind, no matter what.

You have fun with that- while you diddle around the posting boards, spreading misinformation and scoring points, I'm going to be publishing and selling stories and books.

For a view of what's going on, here's an article on how book publishers are in denial on Amazon's e-book sales:

One quote from a publisher:
"But everyone involved makes less money from the sale of an e-book."

Uh, not everyone. The creator of the actual work gets as much, if not more. They're the ones I root for in this equation. This is part of the problem- big publishing houses made tons of money, while screwing the producers of "the product". Now that writers have a better chance to make money, the big publishers have lost the publishing monopoly, and they hate it.

And two more stories from today's Boston Globe. One about a writer who tried to publish a book concerning a critical detail about the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. He tried for years, and they turned him down. The second story was about another writer whose book was turned down 165 times, over the course of 25 years, before he was finally published.

Unacceptable. So viva la revolution! I've got my first book out, and will get others out, while the traditional world keeps insisting we go through them as gatekeepers, even though their gates are broken and streams of invaders have poured through.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Time Management

Best-seller Debbi Mack gave me some great advice here recently, saying the secret to success in the writing, publishing, and promoting game is time managment. She's so right.

With a full-time job and a family, my writing time is spotty and limited. For the last month I've neglected it, because I've been pushing the release of my first novel and had my very first signing, which was a group signing for the Fungi horror anthology.

So my book was released ten days ago, and I've been doing a lot to get the word out. Takes an awesome commitment, and more time and energy than I can muster some nights. And as a writer, I have to keep writing, not just rely on works already done.

So last night, disgusted with my lack of new output for weeks, I buckled down and wrote 1100 good words of Book 3 of the Zack Taylor series. Felt rather good.

And tonight, I just finished a little more than a page of a new story, as I got the killer idea on the way to work.

But, as Debbi says, you have to block out time for both writing AND promotion every day. She does it, and does damn well at it-- she's got a Best Seller! I'm in awe of what she's accomplished with her work.

And here's the funny part-- she thinks I'm a hard worker! Wow- I don't feel like I'm doing enough of all the right (and write) things. I need to focus my efforts more efficiently. Truth is, I'm pretty damn tired after a long day of work and all the other stuff that needs to get done, so some days it's hard to push through and be creative, optimistic, and efficient.

But it's what ya gotta do if you're going to make it. Seems like success is in a box at the bottom of a huge pit filled with earth and large, heavy stones. To reach the box, you have to dig it out, shovelful by painful shovelful. Most people give it up before they reach it, because it's hard, dirty work, day after day, year-in and year-out.

I can finally see the box. A lot of work yet, but I'm digging as fast as I can, while still keeping the rest of my life together.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Different Strokes

While publicizing my recently-released mystery novel, I found a posting on a site where people were dumping on my publishing company-- but none of them knew anything about it, and most had incorrect information. Some just seemed like shills for the big-house traditional pub companies, and they trashed the whole idea of going outside that world to publish. Are they that afraid of independent publishers? Good!

It's a lot of time and effort to convince others that they can't succeed. When you see that someone has posted thousands of times, you wonder if they're really writers, or just spend all their time posting about writing.

Well, I'm a writer, but I put out a brief disclaimer, trying to correct the misinformation. Then there were repostings, with one person questioning or attacking almost everything I said. They included a bunch of blatant falsehoods as well. I posted a reply, saying that different options now exist, despite what people want to believe.

I'd love to tear into the falsehoods, one by one, but as someone said, "Don't get in a mudfight, because everyone gets mud on them."

So this is me being diplomatic...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Featured in the paper!

Today's Chelmsford Independent, the local newspaper, has today published a lovely feature on an emerging new writer, who's going to be quite successful.

Yup, me.
Mwa-ha-ha-ha. Wow. Wicked cool!

The reporter got it right, quoted me accurately, and paid attention to my website. Gosh, at times in the article I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about.

All good, as it lets people know about my book. Gotta get readers, you know.

Pick up your copy today!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Novel is Released!- And Signing Event

It's out folks! The publishers worked night and day to make it happen, overcame the last-minute glitches, and as of yesterday, my first novel, "A Memory of Grief" is now publicly available an an ebook on Smashwords! Print version to follow in about a month.

Wow- the goal I've been working for for years has happened. And the new adventure has just begun.

It was really special to announce the book at our group talk/signing/reading for the Fungi anthology yesterday, at A Novel Cafe in Tewksbury. We had pro author David Daniel and editor/author Pierre Comtois, as well as a number of other authors with stories in the anthology!

Many signings resemble an afternoon at the mortuary, with two people wandering past and not buying, but this one was the opposite- quite the busily fun, gala event! Had dozens of people showing up- friends, family, co-workers and customers. We couldn't get to the reading for quite some time, because we were so busy signing copies of Fungi and my book.

Uh, how do you sign an ebook, Dale? Cleverly. We produced a CD with a PDF version, which included a coupon code for the Smashwords ebook. Then I signed the CD label (where we left space), and folks got to keep a souvenir, read the book, and still download it to their e-reader of choice.

When the buying/signing frenzy slowed (Fungi sold out!), we were able to move everyone to the spacious and lovely cafe area for a reading. Dave Daniel played emcee, introduced our string of authors, and I got to publicly read "Locust Time," my lead-off story in the Fungi anthology. Then Josh Shapiro, another Fungi contributor, did a mesmerizing reading of a Dave Daniel story from his recent "Coffin Dust" collection.

The staff at A Novel Cafe were gracious and well-pleased (and somewhat surprised) with the turnout. This is a terrific store, one everyone in the area should check out and patronize. Bookstores have it tough these days, so when you find a good one, help them out!

Meet some very nice new people, and was supported by many others. I've got a long list of people to thank, so I'll post that, with all the details, on my website, along with photos from the event.

Just want to say, it was quite a ride.

And sorry to say, folks, but it's a sure sign of that May 21st apocalypse... Just kidding. I hope...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

It's Coming!

My publishers, Briona Glen, told me that they got clearance on the legal issues to start publishing and promoting. So my first novel,"A Memory of Grief" should be out this week as an ebook on Smashwords. Will send the link as soon as it's available.

Can... not...wait...

And the party will be next Saturday, May 14th, at the author talk/reading for Fungi, at A Novel Cafe in Tewksbury, MA at 2 in the afternoon. Nice to have a book ready for my first author event, and it came just in time.

Now to get people down to the cafe that day, to hear some of us read from our anthology stories, and to see Dave, Pierre and I wax eloquent on the horror genre. Tell your friends-- come on down. We'll have a lot to offer.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We Did it!

Today, my daughter Erin and I walked 20 very painful miles to raise money for local food banks in the greater Boston Walk For Hunger. We raised $743, which can feed one meal a day for four people for a year!

It was a milestone for both of us, as we've done previous walks, but never the full distance. We are sore and hurting, but very happy. As always, I'm so proud of her- she made me do it.

Perfect weather, cool and clear. New route, over 40,000 walkers. Check the website after tomorrow for pics.

The secrets? Training walks, good walking shoes, good hiking socks (EMS) and petroleum jelly all over your precious tootsies. Yeah, I've got fewer and smaller blisters than previous years without it.