Announcement

Told you there’d be news today. What do you know, I’m sometimes right.

Okay, one of the reasons I haven’t been online is I’ve been working on a major project. When I released my books, I released them in a large trim size, hoping to cut costs. It has been suggested that may be one of the reasons that they aren’t selling well. So I’ve edited all of them, changed up the covers, and are re-releasing them in a slightly more standard size. There are no major plot differences, no major changes. But there are a couple minor things, fewer mistakes, smoothing things out, etc. At the moment, both copies are available for sale.

When April ends, I’m ending the distribution of edition one of all books. The newer versions are, unfortunately, more expensive. So if you want to buy a copy of the older book, which is cheaper (but has more mistakes in it. Not tons, I did hire an editor, but still, some), now’s the time to do it. Or maybe you’re a collector, and want to get what’s in limited quantity. Who knows, maybe some day my books will be famous and a first edition will actually be worth a lot, especially since there’s currently less than a hundred in existence. ;).

Or maybe you prefer new and better quality and what to buy a new one. I’d be thrilled. Heck, buy both and compare. (Joking, mainly)

I’ll be at Ravencon this weekend, selling the old versions, and the new ones if my shipment arrives on time (probably won’t). If you’re there, come say hi to me. Anyone who sees me at Ravencon and mentions reading my blog gets a free small gift.

In other news, I’ve been writing a few other things. Wrote a poem last week, a villanelle. I dabble in poetry on occasion, and short stories. I’ve been considering ways to share some of my poems and snippets. My ideas are I could open a Tumblr account for them, or share them on this blog. The problem with Tumblr is that I’ve never used it before and have no idea how, but it is a good set up for that kind of work, from my understanding. The problem with posting it here is I’m not sure if people coming for writing advice are as interested in reading my snippets, and vice versa. So, thoughts? Ideas? Anyone interested in reading those?

New covers are on pinterest with links to the books. Take a look. Some are very similar to the original, and one is very, very different.

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Why I chose to Self Publish

Secrets of the Moon Fox is a self published book. I don’t think I’ll surprise anyone by saying that. So, why did I self publish instead of publishing through a publisher? Is the story worth less because of that? What are the advantages of each?

Let’s start with the worth. There is still a bit of a stigma for self publishing, that only those that can’t be published traditionally do such a thing. And places that do that are frequently called ‘vanity presses’. That stigma is shrinking as more and more excellent books, fully the equal of traditionally published books are self published.

A good story is a good story regardless of who puts it out. I have read fanfiction that was better than the story it was based on. But, like fanfiction, self publishing is so easy to do that anyone can put out something, regardless of skill, ability, or quality. Presumably traditional publishing has had at least an editor go through it and correct spelling and grammatical errors. I experimented with self publishing some years ago and released a book before it was ready, and it shows. No, I won’t tell you what it is, but it is still available. I haven’t gotten around to taking it down. This time I made certain to hire an editor, something that is highly recommended for any professional who chooses to self publish.

A commercial publishing company is concerned with being able to make a profit. They don’t like to take chances on unknowns. Be that a story that doesn’t quite fit their divisions, a subject that might be a little too controversial or an author they have never heard of. They are however particularly interested in self published books that develop large audiences. For example, Eragon, or The Martian. Both were self published books first. Though it is worth noting that those stories are known so well because they are exceptions to the rule.

What are the advantages to traditional publishing? Well, your book is more accessible. Secrets of the Moon Fox will not be available in your local bookstore or library anytime soon. CreateSpace is a print on demand company. They only print a book when someone orders it. They don’t supply to bookstores, because bookstores don’t want to buy them because they can’t give them back if they don’t sell.  It’s a process called remaindering. No one denies that a book published through a traditional press is truly published, so there isn’t any of the possible stigma. The larger presses offer an advance on royalties that the writer gets immediately (though if a book doesn’t out-earn its’ advance, the publisher will be much less likely to sign on a second). They will send out copies for review and do a little advertising for you as they certainly want you to succeed.

What are the disadvantages? Time. If Secrets of the Moon Fox were accepted by a traditional publisher tomorrow, it could be somewhere between a year and a half and three years to end up on book shelves. Minimum would be eight months to a year if they had incentive to hurry, like believing the book topical. Control. As an unknown writer, I have very little leverage to negotiate with, meaning the publishing house could want to make changes in the story, and has final say on the title and the cover art. If I had a good agent, I might get a say, but the publisher generally has control. Speaking of an agent, most of the larger publishing houses won’t even look at your manuscript without an agent. I am not denigrating the role of agents, they are very important. One writer at Marscon put it this way. “The right agent is worth their weight in gold. The wrong agent is their weight in gold around your neck while in the ocean.” An agent also has to be paid. Ten to fifteen percent is current standard. So ten to fifteen percent of what you make would go to your agent. And what you make is a much smaller percentage per book sold than you can make through self publishing.

So, with self publishing you mostly flip those. You are on your own. If you want something done, you either do it yourself or you hire someone to do it for you. I hired an editor and probably should have hired a cover designer. When I had time to do so, I didn’t have money and when I had money, I didn’t have time. So I actually used a photograph I had taken. I am on my own to promote this book (which actually isn’t much different than if it was traditionally published). I did have to put out money to do this, as opposed to traditional publishing. Not to CreateSpace, but to buy ISBNs, to hire a proofreader, etc. But I didn’t have to wait years, and considering I started this story over ten years ago, I think it has waited long enough. I was able to pick the exact date I wanted the story to come out. I picked September 9th for a reason. Actually, my original plan was for July 12th, but life was far to chaotic at the time. My next book is due to come out November 1st because the sequel states that the school the series is about was founded then. Which is itself an Easter egg, because November 1st is my birthday.

Fun Contest: July 12, September 9, and the date the sequel is currently planned, January 5, all have something in common. I will send a free personalized autographed copy of Secrets of the Moon Fox to the first person who can tell me what that is. It is plot relevant but you don’t have to have read the book to figure it out. I also planted an Easter egg in the book about that date. I will send a free personalized autographed copy of either this or my next book to the first person who tell me that one. Winner’s choice. Yes, that one you do have to read the book for.

This is getting really long, so I think I’ll end this post here. Please remember to check out my website here. Secrets of the Moon Fox can be purchased here or in print or kindle on Amazon here.