Why is Donating to Self-Published Authors Important?

Self-publishing is a completely different animal from the traditional publishing process.  With traditional publishing, authors submit their work to Literary Agents who critique and sometimes edit the work before sending it along to a publishing house.  Once accepted, the book will then be edited some more, artwork for the cover will be created, and some sort of marketing will happen as the book is printed and distributed to a bookstore near you.  The publisher is the one taking the risk and eating the up-front costs in the hopes that the book will sell.  They can do this because they (Literary Agents and Publishers) reject 99% of the works submitted to them banking on only those that have a higher likelihood of wide appeal and continued generation of money.

The self-publishing author works in a similar environment, but all the costs, all the leg-work, all the work beyond writing the book rest solely on their shoulders.  The self-publishing author must pay for all their editing, must buy all their artwork, buy their own ISBN number and do their own marketing, pedaling their wares hoping to cast a wide net of customers.  Their success or failure depends on all they, and they alone, do to make their work successful.  They are the true starving artists of the book world.

Why do we do this?  Control over the machine that is the traditional publishing industry.  I control my cover art, I have final say.  I find my own editor, someone I trust and have faith in the job they will do.  I run my social media and websites and I put out the messages I want out there.  No one tells me what I should or should not do, write, publish or conceive.  It is freeing but has the benefit of having the same result as traditional publishing.  My books stand shoulder to shoulder on the electronic shelves of online bookstores and in the occasional library and physical bookstore.  I’m happy with this because my books are exactly what I wanted them to be and online distribution accounts for a vast majority of book sales today.

So why is donating so important?  Well, as unshackled as self-publishers may be, most are not independently wealthy.  Book covers, editing, even promotion can be expensive and sometimes cost-prohibitive.  Without the muscle and connections of traditional publishing, getting exposure for your books can be very difficult at times.  Amazon does its best, I suppose, with promotions and free book offers, but the revenue of a self-publisher is likely going to be less than traditionally-published authors.  Couple that with the up-front costs of preparing the book for sale, the self-published author may never emerge from the red into the black.

That is why donations are so important to the self-publishing author.  There are brilliant people out there writing books and self-publishing, many with skills and stories rivaling or surpassing traditionally published authors!  If you like an author, help him or her continue providing you with humor, joy, heartbreak, love, fear…the entertainment you have come to enjoy.  Please donate today.  If I am that author, please visit my website and help me out.

Article Submitted!

As mentioned before, I have been working on an article to submit to Law Enforcement magazines to off-set the cost of publishing my first book.  Well this morning, I sent it out!  The article is titled “Three Ways to Improve Millennial Recruitment”, a subject I think I know something about being a Millennial so we’ll see if anyone likes it.  I am submitting to one magazine at a time as they frown upon multiple submissions to multiple magazines.  Plus, if by some miracle more then one magazine wanted to publish it, I would have to pull it from others and that wouldn’t be great so, one at a time it is.  Review time is up to a couple months per magazine so we’ll see.

In other news, I am about 1/3 through my next book, about 25K works.  I already know that I have left some things out and some scenes are bare-bones as far as details so I will need to go back and beef those up with more descriptions and dialogue.  For now though, I keep chugging along and get the story out of my head and onto the paper (computer).  If I finish my first draft around 60-75K words, I’ll be happy.

And the journey continues…

Book Updates

So Break Away has been on Amazon for about a month.  I’ve gotten some good reviews both on Amazon and Goodreads which is great!  Everyone seems to be enjoying the story and pacing so I’m really grateful for that, the more I put it out there, the more that people will read (and hopefully review!!) it.  I did a free promotion over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend and over 150 copies were picked up.  I hope those people enjoy it!  I have been asked why I would give away my book for free and the answer is simple.  No one knows who the hell I am.  Break Away is my first novel so I am completely unknown.  The more eyeballs I can get my book and my name in front of, the better future books will sell (in theory).  It would be nice if any of the 150+ people left a review on Amazon, but beggars can’t be choosers!  I haven’t been thrilled with Kindle Select (exclusive 90 days with Amazon).  The higher royalty rate is nice, but that is about the only advantage.  If I can sell on multiple platforms and reach a lot more people, it seems like it will be at least a wash if I am getting a lower royalty with Amazon but I suppose we’ll find out in February when my Select runs out (and won’t be renewed).

Book #2, tentatively entitled “Homecoming” is in the works and I am about 20K words in aka about 1/4 of the way done.  Home has been crazy and my mistress, World of Warcraft recently released a new expansion so yeah…not doing as much typing as I would normally be.  Plus my basement office is cold!  This second book still has a lot of action but delves deeper into Rose’s character so it has been interesting to write.  Hopefully you like it!

Another update, in a effort to pay myself back for some of the costs of Break Away (it cost me about $350 all told with cover art, ISBN, etc), I’m going to try my hand at some freelance article writing for law enforcement magazines.  I have already written one article on recruiting and I am currently editing that as well.  Selling one or two articles would essentially cover the costs of publishing a book so any money I make on sales would be all profit, which would be nice.  We’ll see how it goes, easier planned/said then done!

And the journey continues…

Back To The Grind

So now that I have passed that major milestone of publishing my first book, I am now back to chipping away at book 2.  I am so glad I did all my research and ended up doing publishing the way that I did.  I’m so happy the way everything has gone so far and I am happy and surprised by the amount of support I have received!

I have finished the first two chapters of Book 2.  I have named it Homecoming, but in hindsight, I kind of wish I had named both books Break Away and done different subtitles for each of the two to delineate between them.  Oh well, the content is what matters more than the titles right?  Things have been so busy lately that I haven’t had much time to write, but now that I don’t really have to keep doing this or that with book 1 and I can just take a step back from it, that should free up some time.

As mentioned before, I have book 2 planned out, the skeleton is all done.  Now I just need to fill in all the details and flesh it out.  This is my favorite part and I’m looking forward to adding in some more crazy stuff that my main character Rose has to deal with.  I’m also trying out some new things I have been wanting to do as far as content so we’ll see what works and what doesn’t.  Onward!

Book 2 Started!

So I have done all I can with Book 1, Break Away, and I have a few betas that I am waiting on to finish, but they will hopefully finish soon!  I was planning on publishing by today, but oh well, I don’t want to rush these last few betas…feedback has been good so far though.

Anyway, I am on to Book 2.  I started writing today and I am about half way through chapter 1.  I have the book’s skeleton all planned out and that for me is the hard part.  I nail down all the major (and some minor) plot details in a big outline and now I just have to flesh out all the details in the middle.  This, for me, is the fun part.  Setting up, organizing, editing, and marketing are less fun.  Now I can just write and write and let me imagination pour out into the story along prescribed lines of thought.  If I didn’t have the outline to follow, I would go off in all different directions so it keeps the story on track and me focused on where I want the story to go.  I like writing with a lot of detail so the tangents could derail the pace of the book quickly.

Hopefully over the weekend, my betas will power through some more of Book 1 and I can write some more of book 2.  We’ll see, I’m anxious to get my stuff out there, hopefully it’s worth the wait!

And the journey continues…

The End is Nigh!

I think I may be coming to the end!  I have a few last beta readers out there, but once they are done, I will be publishing!  I’m super excited to get it out there and my last betas seem to really like my book which is good right??

In other news, I finished another big edit of my book before giving it to these last betas.  I couldn’t believe how many little tweaks I did here and there…I suppose I could be doing that forever!  After I made all those contraction changes, I needed to go through it again from start to finish to make sure everything sounded good.

Now that book 1 is almost done, I have been pecking away at book 2.  It is the conclusion to the 2-book series book 1 started.  I have the plot all planned out (mostly) in Excel and I’m at 12 chapters currently (book 1 was 15) so we’ll see…chapters are really fluid for me until draft 2 or 3.  It was initially titled “Resurgence” but after more plot-mapping, I decided to change it to “Homecoming.”  I like Homecoming more, but it still could be a placeholder if I find some other word that means essentially the same thing, we’ll see.

And the journey continues…

Contractions!

Oh man so I am so glad I have beta readers!  One of my betas has finished reading and since she is writing a book herself and has been doing so for years, her feedback was quite detailed.  At first I was a little overwhelmed to get all that feedback, but I realized that it was most positive and lots of the things were easy to fix…or so it seemed.

One of the suggestions she made was to add in all my contractions as I have a tendency to not use them when I write despite using them when I talk.  For example, I would say “he did not use that door” instead of saying “he didn’t use that door.”  Not a huge deal I thought, well it turns out I am really REALLY anti-contraction when I write!  Thank God for control-F or I would be editing my book for weeks!  I have made literally hundreds and hundreds of changes.  I would say out of all the non-contractions I used, I probably left 20-30 as non-contractions, all the rest were changed.

I’m a little frustrated because, as I have said before, I’m not very patient.  I really want to put my book out there but at the same time, I don’t want to embarrass myself either.  Now that the contractions are done (I also tweaked and added to my ending…), I need to go over a few more small details the beta pointed out.  Then I wait for the other betas to finish.

Oh and I also got another rejection letter today…a full 3 and 1/2 months after I sent it!  Whatever, their loss.

And the journey continues…