Sunday Thoughts

There is a stigma to Self-Publishing that is very strong and very real. Even though I have decided to go this route for most of my work, I find myself struggling at times with the idea of validation. If you publish through the big/small publishing companies you have that stamp of approval from a “pro”. If you self-publish there isn’t that stamp of approval.

I’ve read on many boards, many places from people who simply avoid the self published books.

Why is there this stigma? Because there is a lot of crap out there. As stated over here

It’s like being allowed to make my own clothing line out of burlap and pubic hair and being allowed to hang it on the racks at J.C. Penney.

**snerks at visual imagery**

But seriously, think about it. Then go and cruise through some of what is out there. I have gotten the occasional self-pubbed bit o shit and deleted it from my nook midway through it because it is so awful. The biggest reasons have been tense issues, head hopping, grammar*, poor dialog structure, the list goes on.

I do find myself a touch nervous about this issue. How much harder it is for readers to find and trust my work. I have several grammar nazi friends and am considering looking into hiring a professional editor because I want to make sure my writing is quality.

Negativity in any DIY endeavor is bound to happen. There will be those people who simply will not go outside of convention to find a good read. Luckily though, I can’t help but think there are those who are willing to.

As my grandmother says, you can’t win them all. I’m not going to insult their intelligence, just ask they keep an open mind.

Here is another article by Catherine Howard over here which I found interesting (and quotes the same passage I quoted earlier).

The world of publishing is a very complex one, one I won’t pretend to understand fully. Negativity surrounds it, on all sides. I think that if we can keep our heads up and stay positive while the larger Publishing Companies figure out how they are going to adjust to the changing climate things will be much better in the long run.

Today I work on covers.
Just felt the need to share that. 😛

Take care all.

*I don’t consider myself a grammar nazi but if I notice bad grammar you know it HAS to be bad.

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Am I good enough?

I have heard this a lot. How do I know my writing is good enough? We have discussed it in chat, had conversations about it in IM conferences and I have seen several good posts about it on the web.

How do you know your writing is good enough to self pub? Is a question I got hit with the other day. To be honest I scrambled for an answer. Was I being ego-centric by saying ‘I just know it is? Or should I be humble and wait for it to make a round through the betas and then on to editors? I don’t remember what I said in reply to be honest but this morning I ran across an article by Dean Wesley Smith over here in which he rants a bit. Go read it, it is interesting. This is what stood out to me (the emphasis is mine):

Writers, grow a backbone and start trusting the readers. If your book doesn’t sell given enough time (meaning a year) maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with your cover, your blurb, or the opening of your novel. But for heaven’s sake, TRUST THE READERS.

Trust the readers.

I have stories that people have enjoyed. They aren’t masterpieces of literature bound to change with world with their wit or wisdom! They’re just simple little stories, tales that I enjoyed reading, that others have enjoyed reading.

And I have to say that that is one of my greatest joys, knowing that something I wrote was enjoyed by other people.

So how do I know my writing is good enough? I think I will trust my readers, trust the people who are looking for a read that will take them, for however long, out of this world.

I am good enough.

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Topics for discussion and other things

Yes this is a baby blog, I don’t have a huge following and I have more in my life than my writing. So I am asking those who do venture here for topic ideas. See I have this idea for a series of posts on time management, haven’t quite gotten the…. **coughs** time to do it yet.

RL just pounced on me.

Topic Ideas:

Time Management
Guest Blogs
Book Reviews
Intricacies of Self Publishing


that is a must read, because ….. SQUIRREL …… is exactly how I feel right now.

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I have often gotten asked where I get my inspiration from. I find that both an easy and difficult question to answer. Because I get my inspiration everywhere.

Back in high school I had this really kick ass history teacher. I don’t remember his name, but I remember that every thurs we watched episodes of this show called Connections in which James Burke made links between seemingly unconnected things which connected to other things which make up our modern world (hence the title Connections). Back and forth through history he would weave telling the stories behind the things that made modern warfare, light-bulbs and typewriters. (Most my fellow peers snoozed through it. I took notes! 😛 I love history and stuff.)

For me, that is how inspiration works. I might see a picture, a movie, a person who somehow clicks together in my head for a story. Watching a movie trailer, playing a video game and listening to my favorite playlist and suddenly I have this idea about elementals and dragons and evil twisted seeressess and… and…

I find inspiration everywhere. I think I’ll netflix that show. It’s been years since I watched it, and who knows what stories I might get from it this time around…

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Define Success….

Each of us has a diferant view on what is successful, in writing, in our personal life. Since this is a writing blog, lets focus on success as a writer. When just starting out, finishing a story was a goal of mine. Man I had so many unfinished stories, I wanted to finish one. Doing so left me feeling successful and I raised the bar. Finish 2 stories… 3…. complete NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) and so on. My successes are personal, but mean a bunch to me.

So when writing what defines a “successful writer”? For many people Success = Bestseller. Being picked up by an agent and having their stuff bought by Big Name Publishing. Personally I wanted to have my books published by Tor books. After all that’s who put out Anne McCaffery’s books, right? (TBH I am not sure who is now putting them out, but that was my first dream with writing)

But there are many paths to success and defining YOUR path to success may take some time and adjustments.

What one person considers a success, another person inevitably will not think much of it. Basing your success on the opinions of another person can lead to trouble, emotional stress and frustration.

I feel it is important that we figure out what we want in writing, (what we want in life is a whole other post and I am not doing that today).

You have to ask yourself “What do I want out of writing?”

If the answer is money, riches, fame, go be a doctor or a lawyer. (My opinion based on the research of many hard working authors I read and some I know.) Writing is NOT the path to fame and fortune. Yes people have become famous authors; Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyrs, but it isn’t something you can count on. Stephen King has written for YEARS, Rowling and Meyrs happened to fill a hole and gave a door to others who saw the need they did and jump on it.

It just doesn’t happen like that very often. And they work very hard.

So what do I want out of writing? For me? I write to shut up the stories in my head. (Unfortunately other stories begin caterwauling but that is another subject) I want other people to read my work and enjoy it. I want people to love my characters as much as, if not more than I do.

Money would be nice, but that isn’t the sole reason I write.

I write, because I can’t not write.

What do I feel will be a success with MY writing?

~Improving. I want to write better, I want to give the stories in my head the best chance I can to find a readership.

~Readers, fans, people who have fallen in love with the worlds I write about.


Balance? Yes Balance. Balance between independent publishing and the more traditional publishing.  Because when it boils down to it, the ‘traditional’ publishing has a far greater reach to readers than I alone will have. I would like to get an agent, to have things traditionally published and distributed. But that isn’t going to stop me from moving forward with self-publishing.


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The Grand Idea

There are a lot of posts out there, a lot of talk about indi pubbing, self pubbing, small press, ebooks, and the more familiar ‘traditional’ publication. There are people taking up stances that the ‘traditional’ publishing/big publishing companies are teh evil! Others express that indi/self publishing is only done by people who are lazy, or trynig to make a grab for money. There’s talk out there about how small press or ebooks just aren’t worth the time.

So what exactly is indi publishing?  Well it is interesting, I always thought of Indi publishing as being independent, not going through a big corporation basically another word for self publishing. However I found on several blogs people nit picking the terminology. Apparently it is also thought of as another word for a vanity press in some circles or a small press in other circles. **rubs forehead** not good. I’m actually still lurking through various posts on the subject trying to gather more info, skimming through the comments. Sometimes the information in the comments section can be as informative as the original post.

Self publishing is exactly what it says; you publish your work yourself. Whether POD or ebook or what have you. Personally I am still gathering information, putting together a knowledge base.

Small Press: a small publishing company which doesn’t have the huge sales that the big guys do.

EBooks; wave of the future baby!

Lets talk about ebooks. For the longest time I resisted ebooks. I mean dudes, I LOVE the feel of paperbacks, I love the smell of ink on paper, the feel of the pages between my finger, the absent folding and fiddling with the corners of my books as I read. I mean really who doesn’t love that?  But there is (Amazingly) a downside to the physical paperback or hardbound book. Space.

Space? Yes, space. For instance, I am a mom. I have 9 kids. When I go out I have a loaded down diaperbag, bottles, sippycups, extra outfits, wipes, diapers, snacks, cellphone, planner, diaper rash ointment, bandaids (which are a must with small boys) the list is huge. The bag is heavy! add to it a couple paperbacks.

Now I just recently got a Nook. Which I LOVE. It is lighter. As a mom on the go with so much already on my plate, it is so much easier to carry the nook to dr appointments than fighting with paperbacks. I can also take a variety of books with my nook. So if I feel llike switching from one book to another I don’t have to fill my overfull bag with more than one item for reading.

Has it completely replaced the physical books in my household? No. I still love sitting in the bath with bubbles and a good book. I won’t take my nook in the bath I’m afraid I’ll ruin it!

Traditional Publication. Let me say this, I use the phrase “traditional” for lack of another term. I DON’T care for the term. It reminds me too much of Publish America, which is a vanity press. For more information on the dangers of getting sucked into PA’s trap go check out Absolute Write’s forum.

That said, the route I was taught was the BEST way to go was this. Write, edit, perfect your book, send it to an agent. Why an agent? Well to best negotiate your contracts. Oh, ok. The agent will then try to sell your work to an editor at a publishing company.

Well why not just send your work straight to the editor? Because most will not take unagented work. Ok.

Then you sit, and wait. Write another book, and wait some more. The time span it takes is daunting. And you know from reading the blogs of editors and agents I understand, they have a HUGE work load. But that is still 6 to 8 months of my time waiting for a send me a partial or no thanks and that is even IF I get an agent.

There are folks who will talk very negativly and passionatly about this process, and there are folks who will passionatly defend this as a tried and true way of being a successful writer.

My take on it: Yes it is a familiar pathway. But just because it is familiar doesn’t necessarily make it the BEST pathway for everyone.

I see 6 to 8 months, possibly more that the story could be making sales instead of languishing on someone’s slush pile. It could be gaining readership instead of being crushed under the pile of an over worked under appreciated editor’s table.

For further information and another, more experienced writer’s take on this check out Dean Wesley Smith’s posts here. Very well written and clear cut.


*note to self; countdown widgets. I need one…*

Nvr mind. 😀

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