New Releases List

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Not to Write

I've been thinking about beefing up my online presence as I prepare for the Thomas & Mercer releases of The Righteous. I don't always feel comfortable actively promoting my work, but neither do I want to appear indifferent or even hostile to my readers. I love to connect with people who have read my books. I'm just not comfortable with grabbing passersby and pressing flyers into their hands.

Nathan Lowell recently posted about the failure of many writers to effectively promote themselves via social media. The problem, he notes, is that people are trying to sell their work rather than just connecting. Nathan wrote:

If you’re genuine and responsive, if you’re interesting and engaging, then people will find you. When they find you, they’ll click your links and explore your world. Engage them and encourage them to become part of your world. They’ll support your work, if they find it interesting. They’ll tell other people and promote your work in ways that you cannot.

I'm no expert on social media, but I immediately saw the connection between how Nathan advises that one connect with readers and the decisions that I make about what kinds of books to write. I went through a period where I struggled to know whether I should write fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, horror, and how to write books that could attract first an agent and then a publisher. As an unpublished writer, publication was an all-consuming interest. I would talk about it with writing friends, listen to panels on how to get published, read books about getting published, and lie awake at night wondering why I had not yet, in fact, been published. I spent more time worrying about how to get published than, you know, writing. When I did write, I focused on short stories (the quickest, best path to publication), and on whatever seemed most commercial at the time.

All of this changed about ten years ago when I realized something. The stuff I wrote chasing publication was crap. The stuff I wrote because it spoke to me wasn't half bad. These less commercial stories were the ones that actually sold. The reason is obvious. It doesn't matter how commercial the genre, if my heart wasn't in it, the story wouldn't be good enough to sell.

I decided two things. First, I would write novels. I don't read short stories, I read novels. My pacing, my writer's temperament leans toward novel-length fiction. Second, I wouldn't worry about what was selling at any given moment, I would write the kind of books that I like to read.

It was about this time that I started writing stories worth reading.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Dark Citadel

I just released the first two books of my new epic fantasy series. I'm excited to finally bring these books to a reading audience. The first book is on sale for 99 cents and the second is only $3.97. Six hundred pages of wizards, dragons, griffins, knights, and magic for only five bucks. Did I mention that I was excited? :)

From the description:

A slave boy named Darik falls in with a pair of spies as the great city of Balsalom comes under siege by the armies of a dark wizard. They flee west to enlist the aid of griffin riders, an order of wizards, and a band of ascetic knights to come to the city's defense.

Meanwhile, a young queen named Kallia leads a heroic struggle to keep both her city and body free from the dark wizard's cruel embrace. After a treacherous attack opens Balsalom to the armies of the enemy, Kallia assembles an unlikely alliance of palace servants, barbarians, and jealous merchants to retake her city before its people are led away in chains.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Indie vs. Trad Pub

Someone recently asked why, if indie publishing is so great, you "have [never] heard of any big-selling indie that has stayed indie?"

My name was mentioned in the thread as someone who had bailed on the indie publishing model. Yes, it's true that I signed with Thomas & Mercer for books that had previously been indie only. The deal was a little different than with a traditional publisher, in that I'm able to keep selling my versions of the first three books of the Righteous Series until the T&M versions come online in February, but it's legitimate to ask why, if I were doing so well as an indie, would I sign over my rights? There is certainly the assumption that indie is a weak second place to a traditional contract, like Triple-A baseball instead of the Major League.

Maybe there's some truth to that, but for me the question is what will allow me to get my books the widest possible exposure and what will give me control over what I write. I wouldn't sign a contract that limited how much I could write or publish, or a contract that forbid me from continuing to publish indie books. Ideally, I would have a career that included both indie books and traditional contracts as I think this would give me the best possible chance for being able to do what I love for as long as possible.