Extra, extra: Read All About It!

I want to formally announce my first novella series, Blood for Blood, is up at Amazon’s Kindle Store.  I’ve got Book One: No Beast So Fierce and Book Two: Innocent Blood up already, and I’m proud, honestly.

It’s not the same feeling as getting a short story published by someone else, that sort of immediate “other-approval” dopamine burst.

It’s not the same feeling as facing a gauntlet of agents, slush-piles, and transoms in order to get into a system that will allegedly take care of you … but we all know won’t, not really. [1]

Indie publishing is a completely different feeling, a sense of complete responsibility for my own success of failure.  There is literally nobody else in the world to blame but myself if this doesn’t take off: I wrote it, formatted it, did the covers, uploaded it, and publicized it.  I wasn’t my own Trust First Reader, but I fixed the errors she found.  There’s nobody taking a percentage for the life of the book, nobody “handling” or “managing” me, nobody pushing the book for six weeks and then yanking it from the bookstore shelves to make room for the next one.

Bottom line, sink or swim, this is all on me.  On the one hand, it’s scary, because it strips away all the excuses, every reason not to do it, every reason to delay or procrastinate.  I have to face my fears or just give up and walk away (no chance).  And that’s liberating.

1]  L.M. May had a great post on writers and learned helplessness. Dean Wesley Smith has been writing about writers wanting to be taken care of for quite some time. Here’s one about agents in the old model.  Here’s another about the future of agency and e-books. Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a great article on trust in the publishing industry that might also apply).

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5 Comments

  1. I really hope you do well. What led you to make the self publishing decision? I’m considering self publishing myself, so any tips you know or learn along the way would be great!

    Again, good luck!

    • I think I may do a full post about this later, with links and all, but long story short, I stumbled across Dean Wesley Smith’s blog about a year and a half ago, when I had sort of lost the joy of writing.

      I read some of his “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing” posts, including the ones about revising and writing speed, and realized that what had killed my joy was the revision process, endlessly rewriting to make it “right” (which I find emotionally draining), only to end up with something that’s smoothed-off and boring.

      So I started writing, following Heinlein’s rule for rewriting: only rewrite for someone who will buy the story if you make the revisions. And I started liking the process of writing again, and, for the first time in a long time, REALLY liking the stories I was creating.

      After a few months, I decided it was time to get serious about it. I started writing 1,000 words a day (I wish I could say “without fail”), or trying to, at least. Around December, it became clear that I needed to do something with it.

      “Blood for Blood” could have been shopped around New York publishing as a single novel (I’m self-pubbing it as a series of novellas, because that’s what it really is: a series of novellas). The thing is, as I researched the current state of New York publishing, I kept finding more and more reasons not to get into it – bankruptcies, predatory contracts (no author should sign a “non-competition” clause, ever), and an entire industry going through a seismic disruption.

      It honestly seemed safer to strike out on my own, make a little money, build some kind of loyal readership, even if it’s small, and still have the rights to my work intact if and when the New York big six regain their balance. By that point, I’ll have a good idea as to whether or not I even WANT them involved, or whether I’d rather stay indie like Zoe Winters.

      Honestly, I’m leaning toward the latter; I like having nobody to blame but myself. I like having to force myself to make the right decisions, to write, to promote what I write, to decide what I write. And so far I really enjoy writing novellas. They seem a natural length to me, and New York doesn’t really know what to do with them.

      • I think you have a point about having no one to blame but yourself. I like that responsibility for some reason, and it does seem doable in comparison to having to fit my stories into the traditional publishing mold (most of my stories are clearly not what they would deem marketable). You should do a post on this. I’ve noticed that, while there are many great writers who create this sort of self publishing blogosphere, many writers aren’t that aware of it. I wonder why.

      • I think it has a lot to do with what Dean Wesley Smith talked about in his “Killing the Sacred Cows” columns: in any field, especially one with a lot of people who dream of making it “in,” myths and ideas grow up, spread as received knowledge by people who really don’t know the score.

        DWS says a lot of it comes from wishful thinking, writers hoping they’ll find an agent and editor to take care of them so they don’t have to make the hard choices that come with owning a career. I’m inclined to agree with him, if only because of his experience and my cynicism. 🙂

        For example, have you noticed how many “how to write and sell a novel” books are written by agents, editors, or authors who haven’t sold a fiction novel in almost twenty years (James N. Frey, I’m looking at you).

        And the vast majority of writers’ forums are choked with people who don’t make a living with their writing, to the point that professional writers may get shouted down, especially if they go against the forum’s “accepted wisdom” (accepted by people who haven’t made it…)

        I have a rule; if they’re not making a living off of their fiction writing, I don’t take their advice. I may listen to them as an equal, as an Internet friend, but I don’t follow their advice.

        I don’t look down on them, but I don’t look up to them, either. They’re where I am; not making a living off their writing yet. They don’t know how to get to the other side of the mountain.

        Taking their advice would be as dumb as taking mine at this point 🙂

        People like J.A. Konrath, Zoe Winters, Dean Wesley Smith, and Kris Rusch do know. So I listen to them. But a lot of people violently reject the idea that the New York system won’t take them in and take care of them.

        It’s a lottery mentality, the desire to be the “next big thing.” Doing it yourself and building things slowly is more like a savings and investment approach, working along, putting effort in, and letting things grow until they start to snowball in your favor. Sure, you may never be as rich as the $350,000,000 powerball winner, but you’ve got a better chance of holding onto what you do make, what you do achieve, and you’re a lot better off than the guys who didn’t get the winning ticket.

  2. That, I think is the biggest difference between those who like self publishing (as well as multiple options) and those who advocate traditional only. I personally don’t care if I’m a millionaire. Sure, it’d be nice, but I’m not going to waste my time and effort on it. I would like to make a steady living on writing for the rest of my earthly existence, thank you. Traditional publishing doesn’t necessarily sound like that’ll get me there any better than self publishing will. I’m not interested in a lot of fame, just satisfaction of knowing I’m a paid writer.

    I have low goals I guess.


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