Monday, March 25, 2013

Three Reasons Why I am Independent

First off let me say I love being an Indie Author! It is the sixth best decision I've made in my life. There are a lot of ups and downs and I expect there will continue to be, but in this moment I love it. Here's why:

1. I control when my books are published.

This is a huge one. I wrote seriously for eight years, sent out letters to editors and agents (yes letters. Like with an envelope and stamp. I also sent out e-queries as it was that wonderful point in history where everyone started to switch over to the Internet.) and kept hoping that one day all the hard work I was putting into my books would be worth it. I would sit down in my chair surrounded by all my ideas and wonder if they would ever be seen by an audience. I expected it would happen one day, yet the dream was feeling more distant.

But, by being independent I get to look at a story I've loved and know it will get out there. There is no one I have to convince at a board meeting. There's no getting stuck in some catalog spot that will take two years to arrive. There is no waiting and hoping for that life changing message to sweep me away into happily ever after. Nope. I get to do that myself. Leading to....

2. I am independent.

Which means I do everything myself. I am my own boss. I either have to learn how or I do without. The downside is that I'm a good ten steps behind even a small publisher. I make mistakes and I don't always know how to get out of them. I was the one to set up all my accounts and the one to post everything on them. I have to learn every aspect of the publishing process and marketing a book. But the benefit to all this is that I am learning how everything works and the more I learn the easier things become. I don't have to wait on anyone but myself for things to get done because I'm doing it on my own.

3. I get to write what I love.

This one is a bit tricky. You'd think it would be easy, but it's not always so. In some respects I'd always imagined my writing career to be controlled by some editor at a medium sized publisher. I would get an e-mail stating that they wanted to do another book in my current series and I'd nod my head and panic a bit because I didn't have ideas, but then I'd call my wonderful publisher and they would give me ideas which I would then sit down and write. Once every two years I'd pitch to them my newest idea and they'd tell me if it was good or not. It would be wonderful because I wouldn't have to make any big decisions, although it would also be depressing if I couldn't work on the great new idea I had. But that was the life and I was resigned to it.

However, now I only write what I really want to work on and it won't matter if this story is going to be a NY Times best seller or at least the top 1,000. I won't penalize myself if my last book doesn't do as well although I may have to get a bike. I get to write whatever idea has my imagination buzzing. This works great when there's only one idea, but I've got dozens and I'm not sure how I will pick because they are all so wonderful to me. Have I mentioned that I don't like making decisions?

So what are your thoughts? What reasons do you like self-publishing?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What's to come in ABNA

In case you are not familiar with Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award, here's how things work. There are five genres, General Fiction, Romance, Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror, Mystery/Thriller and Young Adult. Each genre is allowed a maximum of 10,000 entries which would be winnowed down until only one from each genre remains. Each round would judge a specific part of the manuscript, or be judged by different methods and the one who survives gets a publishing contract, which is really cool.

So I entered my book into the contest on January 14, 2013 and had to wait until February 13, 2013 to find out if I made the first cut. It was based on my pitch, which I agonized over not sure if I was even doing it right or if it was enough for me to make the cut. A cut that would be from 10,000 possible entries to 400. Yeah. Making 4% didn't seem that possible, but somehow I did. I can only assume it was a combination of luck, with a smidgen of talent, a sprinkling of a happy reviewer and a giant heaping of miracles from God.

Once I made it I had to wait until the next round which would focus on the first 5,000 words of my novel. Originally this was the round I felt the most confident in because I worked hard at making the first two chapters in my book shine, but as I started to look at the numbers (of the 400 only 100 would move on) I began to wonder if I would be one. Despite my fears March 12, 2013 rolled around and my name was on the list.

Which leads us to now. This round is based on my entire manuscript. The cut is from 100 to 5. Yep, just 5! Only 5 manuscripts will be moving on. As much as I would like to think my book is a good, solid story, I have a hard time thinking it would be in the top five of the contest. There are so many good writers out there and so many writers who can do things I would never be able to imagine in my wildest dreams for the simple reason that I am different from them, as they are from me.

If by some miracle I do make it to the top five, then I would need your help and the help of anyone you could find because the next round is judged by you! Everyone with an Amazon account can cast one vote for the story they want to win and the story with the most votes moves on to the next round and a publishing contract. Not that I would expect you to vote for me, I hope you would vote for whichever one you loved the most even if that is someone else's story. In fact, don't vote for me at all unless you really, truly want to. It would actually be a greater honor to know all the votes I received were sincere. Then I can rest in the knowledge that people honestly do like my story and aren't just voting for it because they feel like they have to.

This is a bit off topic, but have you ever had someone come up to you and tell you something really nice and at first you were happy, yet when you had time to think about it you weren't sure they really meant it? If you've had that experience, I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Amazon Second Round Results

It's official! The White Lilac has made it past the second round and is now a quarterfinalist!!!!! Woohoo! I think I've been so focused on just making it to today when I could find out the results that I never considered what I would do if I made it. But now I'm in it for another month. April 16th is the next cut and this one goes from 100 to 5. Yikes!

If you want to see the excerpt on Amazon it's here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Waiting on ABNA

The results of the 2nd round of Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award are going to be posted tomorrow. I don't know what time. It's probably because Amazon likes their servers working overtime when thousands of hopefuls check and reload their accounts every 5 seconds. :P

I'm not sure how I will be doing this. If I should give in to my emotions and check as soon as my eyes open in the morning or to wait. It may be easier to wait until the afternoon before I start checking like an insane person who keeps doing the same thing over and over yet still expects a different result. It's weird to think that someone, somewhere already knows who has made it and who hasn't. After all, it probably takes a good day, if not a week or two, to format all the names and reviews to each correct account/book.

At this moment I've either made it or not. The White Lilac excerpt has already been reviewed, the review has been written and the final result tallied. Only two options are available, either pass or fail. In this instant my book has already passed or not passed and I know not which will be proved true. It is a reality I can do nothing about but wait to see for it to be revealed. Either way I'll post when I know.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Amazon Jitters

I have a confession to make.

I wasn't sure I wanted to write about the ABNA on my blog. It's part of the reason I didn't write anything until after I'd heard the results of the first round and knew I'd made it. You see, I didn't want to share my hopes and get everyone excited about the possibilities and then have to deal not only with my own shattered dream but the disappointments of everyone else too. It seemed easier to just carry my own and suffer in silence.  But then I saw this talk. Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking which is about being vulnerable with others, particularly those who are interested in your art.

What I had been doing was not as much from the desire to spare you as it was to hide me. I didn't want to throw myself out there, because what if no one cares? Or worse what if there are people out there who are secretly glad if I don't succeed? How would I be able to get up the next morning if that were true? And if no one ever knows what I am thinking or feeling then I will never get hurt. But this is a lie. I would still hurt and I was inhibiting the very thing that could catch me and keep me from falling. Namely you.

So in four days I will know the result of the second round of Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award. My mind is clogged with questions, fears and hopes. Will The White Lilac make it? Will it not make it but get a decent review? Will I search for my name only to be crushed moments later? But I would like to share these with you. To be open about my own fears, dreams and disappointments and to share them with anyone who may care. To share them with you.

This is me holding out my hands and saying I can't do this alone. I need help. I need you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fadeout is here!

My second book Fadeout is now available online.

It's the first in a series and it follows the story of Silas Durant, a 13 year old Carillian who has lived on a human farm his whole life and Jamar Pelacroix, a boy of privilage whose father owns the farms. When they meet Silas is in the midst of planning how he can escape along with his older sister, Malina, and he's not sure he can trust Jamar. All Jamar wants is a friend and all Silas wants is to protect Malina from the Machine including the terror that comes with it. But their dreams reveal they are on opposite sides of a class war. Only if they can work together will everyone make it through alive.

Only 2.99 at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.

Here's a sneak peek at the poem at the very beginning of the book.

And Carillians for the Machine

A darkness filled the nation, little ones beware

Oppression comes to all and torments without care

Chaos, pain and death chase our people every night

We only had two choices: Die or stand and fight


The battle that we won was not without its cost

Someone had to pay for the dignity we lost

Tireans, Faans and Ajaks begin new life serene

Justice for all and Carillians for the Machine


Ajaks in the chamber, Tireans on the throne

A cow in the stable, a hawk to soar alone

A horse on the battlefield as a Faan is to war

A spy in the branches and a boat on the moor


Memory is the answer, emotions are the key

Protection for our cities, light for all to see

A moment of compassion hides a lone wolf unseen

Plague, darkest night and Carillians for the Machine


Dangers on the horizon, Tireans beware

Before the foul disease starts spreading everywhere

A dagger in the shadows, bloody and unclean

The answer is Carillians for the Machine