Saturday, May 28, 2011

Five sips of Indie Kool-Aid

One of the core themes of my inspirational guide The Indie Journey: Secrets To Writing Success is "Don't expect tomorrow to look like today." A lot of indie writers are making big decisions based on the expectation that the world will remain exactly the same, which is contrary to the experience of every one of us who have lived on this planet. Here are things that could and almost certainly will affect the indie future:

1. "I'll get 70 percent forever!" Yes, and those tech stocks in the 1990s just kept shooting through the roof, didn't they? The housing market of four years ago was unstoppable, too.

2. "There will be more and more markets in the future, so competition will keep retailers offering good terms." There will be one winner who basically sets the terms for everybody. Look at Apple for music and games apps if you need convincing.

3. "Library lending opens a whole new market!" Well, actually, it may CLOSE markets. If people can check out your ebook from home, and a library only needs one digital copy, you will be very lucky to get one sale per library. That's a lot of libraries, but also no reason for anyone ever to buy your book again from a retailer.

4. "Advertising will support ebooks so  companies will pay writers to be featured in their books." It's likely advertisers will pay retailers and distributors, not the authors. No one knows what this will look like, or how revenues will be split--or even if there will be writer revenues at all. Think of the YouTube music video where you sit through the 15-second ad first.

5. "So-and-so promised all indie authors will be rich." We usually hear what we want to hear. Lottery stories are cool. But the lottery is only cool because almost nobody wins it. Including you and me.

Mantra: Since the future will be different, why not be happy now and be prepared to be happy tomorrow?


Monday, May 23, 2011

Chronic Fear chapter

Yes, I am actually writing a sequel. Chronic Fear will release June 21 whether I am alive or dead. The first chapter is now up at Roland, Wendy, Alexis, and Mark are caught between two secret agents with conflicting allegiances as Alexis synthesizes her own secret drug.

I have one more sequel planned for a fall release, and September will see the U.S. release of the long-lost Creative Spirit (formerly The Manor). Five years after a callous New York publishing house left it for dead, an evil, wait, that's not the log line. This is a haunted house story.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Indie Journey: Marketing 101

I've collected many bits of self-publishing experience to stack on 14 years of writing, and I invite you to share some ideas that may work for you--to build your happiness, creativity, and success. The Indie Journey collects blog posts and original material, along with six guest essays from people like J.A. Konrath and Zoe Winters, and puts them into one handy digital package, available at Amazon, Smashwords, and

Here's an excerpt:


The term "marketing" is anathema to most writers, who prefer the fantasy of the artist’s life and that they will be able to create while somebody with a power tie and a telephone handles “all that business stuff” for them.
I’ve been around a long time, in both traditional and indie publishing circles, and you can just about take this one to the bank: the writers who cling most fiercely to that illusion usually end up as the least creatively free and the most dependent. Not to mention broke and destitute and sick in their old age.
As an indie, it’s all on you. Sure, there are services you can pay for, such as book-promotion boot camps, blog tours, and straight ads, and those may be wise investments, but a lot of it can be done in the same way any business is conducted:
Yes, the same creativity and effort you put into manufacturing your product can be applied to sharing it with your audience.

Social Media
Social media is a big buzz phrase right now, and all the pundits say it’s the key to everything. There is no one key to everything, only many doors and many modes of entry. People who hear "You have to get on Twitter" may get on and blast their same book ad six times a day, wondering why it’s ineffective.
Same with Facebook, Goodreads, or any of the sites. People who do that are forgetting the word "social." The sites aren’t built for selling. They are built for connecting. Use every tool for its purpose. You wouldn’t use a jackhammer to trim a picture frame, would you?
Balance your time on social media. The hour spent Tweeting every day could be the equivalent of two or three pages on your next book. Even if you generated two sales from your hour of time, you probably wouldn’t make up the money you’d have earned with a new product.
Don’t make the mistake of measuring your value or your audience by the number of friends or followers. It’s been said elsewhere, but you’re better off with 100 people who care about you and your message than 10,000 people who skip right over when you flit through their busy stream.
Which is another point—social media outlets are vast, rapid streams, in which immediacy is all that matters. That’s why people rarely leave the outlet to go buy your book or read your blog post. It’s not necessarily that they aren’t interested, it’s just that so much is going on, they may not want to miss the latest. Fifteen minutes is an eternity on Twitter. Facebook has a longer shelf life but not by much.
A reasonable goal is to really connect with a manageable number of people. Spend time getting to know the people, even if it’s a small thing—a favorite band or book you share, living in the same state, a comment on a family picture. That will not only instantly make you stand out among the thousands of others screaming "me, me, me," it will help you remember that person as you expand your circle of friends.
Some authors have a distinct style and are more broadcasters than interactors. Others simply advertise. Some never talk about their books at all. The important thing is to follow the simple formula for indie happiness: Figure out who you are and why people should care, then be that person wherever you go.
I don’t know any secrets to social media, though there seem to be plenty of high-priced seminars teaching how to exploit it for financial gain. If you aim to give as much as you take, that sounds like a decent balance. Best of all, besides the time you invest, it’s free, but as you know, time is your most valuable commodity.
But it is also your friend’s and customer’s most valuable commodity, too, so respect it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Giveaway at My Bookish Ways

Interview at My Bookish Ways with giveaway of the new children's book Too Many Witches:

Hard at work on the Liquid Fear sequel, targeting the summer solstice, June 21 for release of CHRONIC FEAR...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blogtalk Tonight: ParaYourNormal

I'll be on ParaYourNormal blogtalk radio tonight at 10:10 pm EST (6:30 PST)
Please drop in or call in a question! Also an interview with three book giveaways on the ParaYourNormal Blog.

Please enter and good luck! Busy working on Chronic Fear, aiming for a late June release.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mostly Human--four blokes, four continents!

Talent from across the world (and then there's me!) combined to bring together this little creature/horror/mystery tale with a swaparound. Out through Generation Next Publications for 99 cents, also through Amazon, BN and Kobo, SOny, and Apple through Smashwords. Though it's been out a while, we haven't taken the time to properly introduce it to the world--so I hope you give it a taste.

Steven Savile is a UK bestseller from Sweden, Steve Lockley is a multiple award winner in Wales, William Meikle is a a Scottish writer living in Canada, and I'm the boring old U.S. guy who just lives in the U.S. It was a real honor to work with this international group!