Indie Publishing: No Wimps Allowed!

Confession: I’m kinda persnickety. I like my things a certain way (just ask the Lovely Leann) and yet I’m constantly making choices that fly in the face of that persnicketyness.

Confused? So am I.

So let’s try and figure this out.

Exhibition  #1: Beer

I’m one of those guys who goes into the liquor store and looks for the bottles he doesn’t recognize.

“Hey, there’s one with a monkey in a space suit!”

[Buys. Consumes.]

Exhibition #2: Music

While I’m completely cool with all that 80’s music I grew up on (The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Love and Rockets – Yummy!), I’m always jonseing for something new and different. Like, “Who’s this Skrillex guy I keep hearing about?”  Or maybe, “What was that awesome song I just heard?”

[Checks The Current’s Twitter stream. Downloads.]

The Common Thread

Beer and music are safe bets.

I mean really, how much can go wrong with a bad beer? It’s still beer!

So safe is nice, but…

Safe, like a good ‘ol can of Surly Fest, can be awesome.

But safe doesn’t stretch your corn-fed, Iowan wings. Safe doesn’t make your dreams come true.

Like, for instance, writing a book and publishing it.

Indie Publishing: Not So Safe

The book is written. Woot!

But as for publishing…

I’ve known for a few years now that I wasn’t going to publish with the Big 6 (uh, looks like I mean 5).  Their royalty structure is not to my advantage (unless I was crazy popular, which I’m not) and they would be all too happy to put a noose around my intellectual rights. But man, those boys sure do have the appearance of SAFE. “Here’s your advance, kid, now sit back and we’ll take care of EVERYTHING.”

Well, not everything, but they do take care of some really important things, like: editing, getting a book cover, printing, distribution, ebook formatting, etc., and one shouldn’t discount that. But is that enough to offset the negatives?

Not in my opinion. Not when I can hire all that done myself.

Although, that ain’t easy. Not even a little.

So even though I would love nothing more than set settle into a firm Big 6/5 embrace, it’s the dark and choppy indie waters for me.

Step 1: interviewing editors

For the first time Indie Author like myself, this is like interviewing the doctor who is about to give you a heart transplant. Sure, you can check references, but at the end of the day you just have to trust that they know what they are doing because you have no decent frame of reference on which to evaluate them.

It’s kinda scary.

Step 2: finding an editor

Google’s no help because any schmuck can hang their virtual placard on the internet and claim to be an editor. And let me tell you, wading though all that chaff is hard. The only decent resources I’ve found are organizations such as the Alliance of Independent Authors (which I found useful), but the lists there are small and if editors don’t self select in (i.e. fill out a profile) then you won’t find them. Publishers Marketplace is much the same.

Editors, where are you?

Step 3: waiting for the editor to deliver the news

I’m currently somewhere between steps 2 & 3 but I can already see the writing on the wall. Step 3 is going to be a hand wringing nightmare. I’m already at the point where all I can think is, “How bad is it going to be?” and for those of us doing without the Big 6/5 embrace, there’s precious little validation to keep us going. I’m surviving on guts and gumption and the longer I wait for that editorial report the more convinced I am that I’m going to get clobbered.

Step 4 and beyond

Getting a book cover. Ebook formatting. Navigating Amazon. Deciding whether to go exclusive with Amazon or publish through multiple venues (and ebook formats).  Marketing. Social Media. Blog tours.

And don’t forget, writing book 2.

So – not – safe.

But frak safe. I’ll make it through.

I’ll just download some fresh tunes, crack open a new beer, and get to work.

It’s time to make those dreams come true.

No wimps allowed!

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Editing, Editors, and Excedrin

Holy crap is self publishing giving me a headache – and I’ve barely started!

Hence the Excedrin (which I’ve never taken, but it did make for for a nice title).

So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Conversations With Potential Editors

These are going well, but in the interest of full disclosure, I have admit that I’ve been self medicating on Surly Fest!

To date, I’ve had conversations with three editors. Now that is a strange experience. It’s one thing to ask the Scribblerati for feedback, but it it’s entirely another to talk to a total stranger and have them zone in with laser precision on the faults in my book.

Of course, those faults were all I focused on at first. It wasn’t until after some time for reflection that I saw all the incredibly complimentary things they also said. I mean, damn did they come back with a lot of really nice things to say.

But don’t think I’m taking all the credit for that. Sure, there was a tremendous amount of hard work involved (and really, if it isn’t any good by now then I might as well hang up my hat and take up golf or something) but I know I couldn’t have made it to this point without the encouragement of the Lovely Leann or the insight of the Scribblerati.

So while I’m feeling good, I’m also well aware that there’s still a serious stretch of road ahead, but things are good, you know? I feel like I’m on the right track and that there’s a possibility ahead, like anything could still happen.

Wrestlin with the novella

On the personal writing/editing front, I’m finishing up Draft 3 of my novella, Witness It. The first half is in front of the Scribblerati right now, which is super exciting. It’s been fun revisiting the story (I wrote it almost exactly a year ago) and I’m excited to hear what they have to say. My intention has always been to pair Witness It with To Kill the Goddess, so it feels good to have that in motion as well.

And what about Book 2?

Moon Sister is gestating. I have the first half-ish sketched out in outline form and the next step is to start writing.

From scratch.

Page 1. Word Count = 0.

Gulp!