Tag Archives: Publishing

Reader Response to Indie Publishing Prices.

Hey folks,
I just read this post on GoodReads on ‘gouging’ my readers. I was initially offended, but I took the time to write a thoughtful response, I think. Both the initial note and my response are below.

Any thoughts? Should I not have responded? Is $6.99 too high a price for a new release like STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS [Will be on sale for $4.99 November 22-30]? I released ALL IS SILENCE at $5.99 and dropped it to $4.99 [Currently on sale for $2.99 this month.] when it had been out a year. Both books are approximately 90,000 words. That’s nearly 300 pages in the Trade paperback 6×9 inch format. It would be close to 400 pages in a traditional 4.25×6.75 mass-market paperback format. That’s a thick book in my mind. Please, let me know your thoughts. If you buy e-books with any regularity, what are you willing/interested to pay? What price makes you think, “Ah, this is an amateur?” 😉

Anyway here are the note and my response.

“Well, I was planning on reading the sequel, but $6.99 for a kindle book is just crazy. The publisher is the authors company, so this is self published. Self published authors make almost 15 times more than a normal published author, which is why their books normally sell for more reasonable prices and why I buy them. As much as I read, I cannot afford published author prices and no need to with so many great and reasonably priced books out there. This author asking that much for his book is crazy and he will find his sales drastically reduced at those kinds of prices. I would have been a faithful reader and read everything he has out, but I got no use for an author that gouges his readers.”

My response:

“Dear Reader,
I’m sorry you feel that way. Thank you for letting me know that you think my prices are too high. I will take that into consideration.

Please consider the following before judging me so harshly. I gave away my first book for free. It’s also just come out and will be on sale at the end of the month for a short time. When book three comes out it will also drop in price permanently. Putting out a professional level book with cover art cost me about $2500 not counting my time to write it. It took me 2 years to cover those costs.

Gouging seems a particularly harsh word choice and I am sorry I have lost your readership. In the days when movies cost $10 and a cup of coffee is $3, I think $5-7 is a reasonable price for a work that will take several hours or more to read, hopefully taking the reader into a world other than this one.

Thank you for the positive comments on All Is Silence.

Sincerely,
Rob”

After getting caught up in this I did some checking around. Cool authors who are still relatively new like my Path to Publishing buddy, Marshall Ryan Maresca are selling ebooks for $7.99. Well-known in the genre writers like Seanan MacGuire are $7.99-9.99 and more famous folks like Jim Butcher are at $9.99. Though Andy Weir‘s The Martian $8.99, but he’s only got one book. 

So, tell me your thoughts. Thanks. If $6.99 is a gouge, please buy my books this month while they’re on SALE! 😉

~ Rob

P.S. After writing this I went to the Amazon Kindle bestsellers pages for the first time. John Grisham’s new one with a really crappy cover is selling as an ebook for $14.99! Now that feels like a gouge.

Village Books, I love you, let me count the ways…

Hey folks,VillageBooksHeader

If you have ever been to Bellingham, Washington and never set foot in Village Books, you have missed out. Village Books, once housed in a single older building has expanded along with Paper Dreams into a multi-layered party cake of printed and print-related materials.

They are my favorite bookstore. The location on the Village Green, where many concerts and movies are offered free to the public, is lovely. From the top floor there is a view of Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands. Though, in the evening there are times that the sun takes full advantage of its view of shoppers requiring the addition of sunscreen and sunglasses to shop or write with the writer’s groups they host.

Also sharing this view is Book Fare, purveyors of delicious snacks, meals and beverages. If you sign up for the Village Books frequent buyer club, you get a card every year with a 25% off discount on one book, PLUS a free drink at both Book Fare and the world famous Collophon Cafe downstairs, home of the renowned African Peanut Soup.

VBfriendsThe staff, from Manager Paul Hanson to the most recent hires, are amazing, friendly and helpful. And, oh so, passionate about their job, the books! They’ll remember your name and probably even what kind of books you like, or be happy to try to track down that book. You know, the one with the blue cover and the lampost by that guy who wrote that other book set in Seattle.

As a reader and a teacher, Village Books has many high-quality lightly-used books specially priced. I’m a sucker for the little round colored stickers on the spine that tell me somethings at a reduced price. The Village Books staff have combed their collections and catalogs to get my classroom sets at a discount and individual books at the best possible prices, new or used.

Hangin'WiTheBiggiesAs an author, Village Books has been amazing in supporting my books. Since I used their publishing services for my small press publishing company, I get special rates on my books that they sell on consignment. Brendan Clark, who helped me maneuver the maze that is Ingram Spark publishing, earns his  pay and much respect as the last set of eyes and advice before we go to press. He also has great local connections if you need a quick print run because your computer died two weeks before your book release party!

We also partnered to print a limited edition hardcover of my first novel, All Is Silence, the first hardcover Village Books brought through their print partnership.

They’ve been helping me to marketshelf-hanger my ebook download cards, so that people who like to read ebooks can buy them from a local store and benefit the economy and the local writer more than an online purchase.

In addition, they will ship my signed books anywhere in the continental U.S. for only $0.99! How cool is that?

Village Books also sponsors stellar events such as The Chuckanut Writer’s Conference, The Bellingham Steampunk Festival, The Chuckanut Radio Hour and many, many more.

So, I’m not going to count the ways. There is too much, lemme sum up.

Village Books in Bellingham is the place to go. My only complaint? Fairhaven is such an amazing, revitalized neighborhood, largely due

Chuck and Dee, owners on VB’s 35th anniversary!

to the actions of Village Books owners Chuck and Dee Robinson and a few others, that finding parking can often be a challenge! So, if you’re heading there for an author reading, a book or writer’s group or a film on the gree, go early. Have a donut at Rocket Donuts or dinner at one of the excellent restaurants nearby!

Oh, and lest I forget, they’re also opening up a second location in Lynden.

See you at Village Books!

Publishing: How the short-view can lead to Longview

Beware this is a bit of a random post. It would be more coherent if I had time to edit it! 😉

Longview Asylum, Cincinnati.

The publishing industry is in a state of flux. My take on this situation is in the title of this post. If a writer focuses too much on what is happening to publishing, their latest book ranking, and promoting, they will likely go crazy. Not that authors aren’t already by their very nature a little crazy. But focusing on the day to day details in publishing is about as bad as watching your daily stocks rise and fall.

I admit, I spend too much time looking at my statistics and reading about the latest thing to lift a book out of obscurity. But, I do believe the only way out is time. As i mentioned in a comment today on google+, I’m on year 22 of a 25 year Overnight success plan. I’m glad I started submitting fiction back in 1993.

So, how do I fight the urge to check the data every day? Mostly, sadly, adverbly, I don’t As the data gets less interesting, I pay less attention. I also fall back on my habits when I submitted short fiction. The more irons you have in the fire, the less important each individual one is to success.

One of the irons I put in the fire today was SELF-e. I uploaded Toils and Snares to it. SELF-e is a ebook service for public libraries. It is marketed as a discovery service. If your book is offered free and people read it, the more likely they will buy it or request the next one at their library.  It will be months before I see any feedback and then it will not be in sales, but the more I offer myself out there, the more likely people will find me.

When offering myself out there, I do my very best to limit my cries of “buy my books,” to cries of “buy it now on sale.” And the rest of the time, I’ll talk about process or share a bit of advice. I want to be that ‘cool bald writer’ who is very eclectic rather than that annoying bald writer whose record player is stuck in the same track endlessly begging for people to buy his books!

I’m off to Sucia Island in the Salish Sea with a bunch of high schoolers and some college folks. I’ll be taking word processor 1.2–a Write in the rain notebook, a comp book and pens and pencils.

Don’t let it kill you baby. Don’t let it get to you. The waiting is the hardest part. ~Tom Petty

 

 

MY PATH TO INDIE PUBLICATION: PART XI—KDP Select and a “novella” idea

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIIIPart IXPart X

Part XI— KDP Select and a “novella” idea.

Once I had published ALL IS SILENCE on all formats and in all major markets, I realized I was unable to take full advantage of Amazon’s considerable marketing. My idea for a solution was to write a novella set in the same universe. I expected it to take a month or so and be a short novella, about 22,222 words, or that was the goal I set. I had the idea of a story that was a prequel to a later series of DESERTED LANDS novels about a religious family that had gone off into the wilderness to escape the pandemic. It would start slightly earlier than ALL IS SILENCE and cover a longer period of time with a lot less characters. Then at a point 15 years in the future the two storylines would connect.

By marketing the novella as a parallelequel, I might gain new readers for ALL IS SILENCE, but most importantly, I could offer it on Kindle Select and take advantage of Free days and Countdown Offers. While working on the novella, working title: SAFE THUS FAR, I realized I could also begin uploading short stories to Kindle Select and submit them to Kindle Singles.

I chose my first, JUST DESERT, a long short story that I was proud of, but had no connection to anything else I had written. I did a quick rewrite, I hadn’t read it for years and had gone through several revisions when I first wrote it and a revision in order to submit to the Norman Mailer fiction competition. I was pleased with the story, so I uploaded it to Scrivener, formatted it and then added a bonus short-short story: BEGINNINGS, the opening story to the OUTWARD BOUND collection. Already free to read on Amazon by using the LOOK INSIDE feature. I thought it might offer an invitation to read OUTWARD BOUND or one of the other DESERTED LANDS works.

August of 2014, when I released JUST DESERT, also happened to be the month Amazon introduced the Kindle Unlimited program. Not surprising to me, my ebook sales dropped 90% from August to September. Now some of that was that my book had been out for 8 months, but I could read the writing on the wall. I needed more ebooks on kindle select without moving ALL IS SILENCE out of all the other markets. So, I continued working on TOILS AND SNARES [Safe Thus Far sounded too, uh… safe.] I also got another short story, ONE TIN SOLDIER, up on Kindle Select.

I’d planned on TOILS AND SNARES being in the 20,000 word range, but as I wrote I realized the story, though smaller than ALL IS SILENCE was going to be a lot bigger than planned. When I finally finished it, I had over 40,000 words. Instead of paying one editor, I worked with no less than 8 people offering me advice on the story. I also uploaded it half a chapter at a time once a week, building up to putting it on sale. It didn’t do as well on Wattpad as ALL IS SILENCE, but that didn’t surprise me; it wasn’t young adult.

For TOILS AND SNARES and all of the other Kindle Select submissions I did my own cover art. For the two short stories I used the website Canva and spent a couple hours per cover and a couple bucks for stock art. For TOILS AND SNARES I used a photo taken by my son near the area where the story is set, lifted some of the lettering from ALL IS SILENCE and then did the title art myself. None of these titles look as good as the three covers I’ve paid for, but they’ve cost me about 10% as much even figuring in time spent.

When TOILS AND SNARES released on February 28th, it had a nice solid bump. And what do you know? There was a corresponding bump in sales of ALL IS SILENCE about a week later. Now this week I’ve got TOILS AND SNARES on sale with a Kindle Countdown. I’ve managed to hit my highest Amazon author ran in all categories, but the #1056 in Science Fiction made me happiest.

What I’m hoping for now is enough reviews to get TOILS AND SNARES on a Bookbub advert and see if I can ride that wave into the release of STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS this summer.

That’s all for now. I think my next Path to Indie Publishing post will probably be a final update on my Wattpad experience where this week TOILS AND SNARES is #62, STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS is #20 and ALL IS SILENCE is #1.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

New Frequently Asked Questions thanks to Wattpad.

As ALL IS SILENCE has climbed the WATTPAD Science Fiction charts to #1, I have started to get a few questions over and over. I can only assume [be careful you know what that means, Rob.] that other folks might have the same questions.

If you have any other questions you think other readers might like answered, let me know. Eventually, I’ll get a new page up on the website for these! Thanks. Rob

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do you have any Writing Advice/Publishing Tips?
A. Publishing tips? Here are a dozen blog posts on My Path to Indie Publication.
A. Writing advice? Roberts’ Rules of (w)riting
–        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –
Q. How long is ALL IS SILENCE/is it done yet?
A. All Is Silence is finished and has 35 chapters. I will be uploading a chapter a week in three parts until early April 2015, then I’ll upload the first several chapters of its sequel. If you can’t wait, you can go to www.desertedlands.com and purchase an e-book or print copy.
–        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –
Q. Can you help me with my grammar/critique my story/help me format my e-book/etc.
A. I completely appreciate the desire to have someone read and offer a critique. One kind writer give me a verbal critique of the beginning of my first novel. Unfortunately, I am a school teacher by day, parent by night and have to squeeze in the times that I get to write and edit. I teach English so I get to edit papers daily. My son is applying for colleges and has an A.P. Literature class, so I offer suggestions and edits for him. In addition, I am in a writer’s group because I still need advice on my writing and I offer edits and critiques for that. So unless you go to my high school, join my writer’s group, or become my kid, I’m afraid I’m going to have to say no. If you join my newsletter at www.desertedlands.com you will hear about any conventions I might be attending and I will be doing writing workshops at some of them.
–        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –
Q. Are there more books about Lizzie? How many books are in the Deserted Lands series?
A. Lizzie will be in at least three more books, her trilogy and then one several years down the road. I currently have nine novel ideas for the series and about that many short story ideas. I will be releasing the novella [short novel about 111 pages] TOILS AND SNARES, a parallelequel to AIS, in the next month. It has different characters, but take place at the same time. It explains a bit more about how the pandemic happened. If you want to know more sign up for my newletter [yadda, yadda, yadda].

All Is Silence – 1 year anniversary

A year ago today I became a published author with the e-book release of All Is Silence. I’ve been a published writer for years, but until this novel came out it only felt like a hobby. In August of 2013, I released Outward Bound, an e-book collection of mostly previously published stories and poetry with science fiction themes. That was intended to be a warm-up for releasing the novel. It went well.

I have big plans for 2015, and every year after that! The news isn’t all good for Indie authors, but it’s not all good news for any industry. Persistence is the key. With the recent addition of SmashwordsAll Is Silence is now available on all the primary, secondary and tertiary markets, as well as, nearly directly from me on Unbound Words.

I haven’t made back the investment on the Outward Bound collection and probably never will. I’m now giving it away nearly all the time and by the time Straight Into Darkness comes out it will be perma-free.

A year ago, I had no idea what I would learn. And I am still learning. I’m already behind on my goals for the year, but ahead of where I was this time last year! No one to measure myself against except me.

Reflection on 2014 goals and renewal, revision and recreation of Goals for 2015.

How do I follow up a year like 2014? To finally be able to call myself not only a writer, but a published Author, has been a dream for decades and a goal since 1991. That was one small part of 2014!

2015 looks to be a challenging year for all authors, as the industry continues to flex and flux to maximum capacity. My overarching goal for 2015 is to beat all the records I made for myself in 2014: get more words written, more stories and books published on more platforms. Develop my web presence more to increase my discoverability. All of these are within my locus of control. I must have confidence that the sales will follow and keep to the long view [As opposed to the Longview] of success.

Doing some end of the year accounting I discovered that I have paid for all the printing costs of books I purchased: 600 copies of the paperback, 50 copies of the hardcover and another 10 copies of the Advanced Reader Copies. My cost in books, shipping and tax? $3935. My estimated income for 2014? $4037. Now, I haven’t paid for the cover art, editing or advertising yet, but I also paid the bulk of those in 2013! So, I very nearly broke even this year! When I have to order a second printing, I will have covered those costs.

So, onto the goals. In 2014 my original goal was 150,000 words [I actually raised it to 182,500 in a fit of optimism and then got very little writing done for the first four months after releasing All Is Silence. Not counting what I may write in the next two days, I hit 127,551 or 85% of my goal. I’d give myself a solid B for writing. 102,055 of those words were fiction and the other 25,000+ were blog-posts. So for 2015, my goal is to write 150,000 words of fiction and 32,500 words of blog posts and other non-fiction activities for a total of 182,500 words, averaging 500 words per day. Not bad for a father, partner, teacher.

I intended to complete two on-line writing courses I purchased from Holly Lisle. I got partway through both. No goals for writing courses in 2015 except for finding advice as needed.

How I did on other Writing Goals 2014 [and how I’ll adapt them in 2015.]

  1. 26 submissions – No. 3 publications and 1 submission. 2015: 12 publications of novels, novellas and short stories.
  2. Complete Final Draft of Straight Into Darkness before October. – No. Finished a really, really rough draft in early December. 2015: Finish Final rough by 48th birthday, February 15, 2015. Complete Advanced Reader Copies by April 1st before Norwescon.
  3. A three day novel writing weekend (outside of NANOWRIMO) – No. 2015: Renewed.
  4. NANOWRIMO – 4th Deserted Lands novel – No. 2015: Write 50,000 words in November 2015. Probably Grace I or Charley I.
  5. Break record of 6054 words in one day! [using TEK article] YES!! 11/15/2014. 6,238 words. 2015: Rebreak record. At least 7,000 in one day.
  6. Complete 2nd Draft of Oppositions, my second novel, fantasy – No. 2015: Tentatively renewed. Only if I finish a 3rd Deserted Lands novel draft before November.
  7. [added 5/4/14] Blog once a week [added 7/10/14] Blog longer, more content. YES!! 63 blog posts, averaging 386 words each up from 143 words each in 2013. 2015: Aim for 64+ posts averaging 500 words each. Focus not on writing.
  8. [added 5/4/14] Publish Toils and Snares novella in late summer/early fall. – No. Perhaps I should have set a goal to write it first! It was going to be 22,000 words. It’s going to finish at about 40,000. 2015: Publish in January of 2015.
  9. [added 7/10/14] Publish at least one Kindle Single [this summer?] YES. Published Just Desert and One Tin Soldier on KDP. 2015: Publish 8 short stories to Kindle Direct Publishing.

Additional goals for 2015

  1. Read and decide whether to rewrite first novel, Jack and the Beanstalk for YA/MG or not?
  2. Record all unrecorded, written/remembered songs.
  3. Complete at least 2 short Deserted Lands stories TBD: 10,000 words total.

My reading goal was 14 books and I hit it, not certain that I didn’t read a few more on e-readers! Oh, and not counting the three books I read to my daughter putting her to bed! I’m aiming for at least 15 in 2015 [not counting my own books! I read All Is Silence twice in 2014].

Hope your new year is a good one.

Write on,
Rob

Can’t Make it to WorldCon Sale and more marketing thoughts…

This post is really about marketing experiments. If you’re not interested in marketing and haven’t bought All Is Silence and would like it on ebook, go here. In paperback or hardcover go here. Now back to the topic: marketing! In Three Parts.

1. So. Do sales help? I’ve marked All Is Silence down temporarily in part to support other writers and on the off chance that I might sell a few copies. It’s currently $3.99 here. It will stay on sale until the 20th. The weird thing? And this happened the last time I marked it down as well… I had no sales. Not a one. No bump. Like I said… Weird. Yet. At the regular price of $6.99? It sells a few each week. At $4.99 it sells a few each week. I’ll continue to explore.

2. Does exposure help? Last Sunday after literally [not figuratively] six months of self-debate, I uploaded the first section of the first chapter of All Is Silence onto WattPad. What convinced me? More like who. Amanda J. Hagarty, Mark Leslie and Margaret Atwood. Amanda has been gently proselytizing WattPad for months. Mark Leslie got me on the site to read Evasion. And Margaret? Her novel Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, #1) is up on WattPad as well as available for sale everywhere else. So, I’m planning on putting up sections of chapters a few times a week with one chapter per week. It will finish about the time Deserted Lands book two: Straight Into Darkness comes out next March or April. It’s got a few more fixes than the final print version and it will remain free and readable through WattPad’s interface. Will it have an effect on sales? Mailing List? Fans? Who knows. Maybe I should put a how did you hear about question on the newsletter sign-up.

2. Does Kindle Select Help? Over the last year, I have sold half a dozen copies of my debut Fiction/Poetry collection Outward Bound. I probably purchased at least two of those copies myself. It cost me far more to create and upload it only figuring cover art, formatting, fees [BookBaby special $29! The same services they do for FREE now!} and not including writing time. Most of the stories and poems are a decade or more old and most have been sold and appeared in print. The goal was to create an ebook and get it up on all the platforms and perhaps get some exposure in the process. It was mostly a warm-up for All Is Silence. In that, it was successful. I made errors doing it so I could make new errors the next time.

A few weeks ago I decided to pull Outward Bound from all markets and try Kindle Select and see if I could use this collection as a marketing tool. I reordered the ebook so that the forward became an afterward thereby letting folks read a complete story, a poem, and part of a third piece, the title story. I also added more ‘bonus’ materials: a teaser for the Deserted Lands novella: Toils and Snares that I plan to release in the fall. So, if you are currently on Kindle Unlimited you can read it for free. I’ll also do some sales, I think, especially as I get close to other releases. And we’ll see. Does it get some traction with marketing? Does it lead people to buying the novella, signing up for the newsletter? We’ll see.

Now, back to writing the next books.

 

 

Best Laid Plans: Falling and getting up again…

I broke my 500 words a day streak two weeks ago at 34 days. I restarted and went another five days. Now I’ve blown it two days in a row. Not just the 500+ words a day streak, but the Write Everyday Streak after 52 days! No words. No fiction. No blog posts. A few social media posts, but very few, at that. And now the anti-streak is started…

Did I get Word Count Paralysis? Maybe. Did I fall out of love with my WIP [Work In Progress]? Well, WIPs in this case, but yes, perhaps. What I didn’t do? I didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to sit here until I write 500 words.” I have been thinking intensely about the two pieces I’m working on, but both are at a bit of a waiting point. And I don’t really feel like starting on the next two WIPs. Yes, there is a queue. Yes, I know what I’m going to write next. Do I want to start on them without finishing drafts of these? No way.

What I did do while I was not writing? I did put in several hours of Author Work. I reworked the order of the Outward Bound: made the Foreword into an Afterword and cut down the stuff a reader must read before getting to the fiction. Tis also allows the potential reader to read a whole story, plus the beginning of the Title Story. I also added a bonus sample of Toils and Snares. All this is in anticipation of a re-release on KDP select.

Outward Bound has sold a total of FOUR copies on non-Amazon distribution (and about SIX sales on Amazon!), at least one of which was to me. So, I am pulling it from Bookbaby for the time being. In the early years of self-publishing [2012] they charged $100 to list a book and then $ each year. I snagged a killer coupon $29 deal, which obviously never paid off. Even with sales of All Is Silence. BookBaby still made $ off me!

So, I’m going to use Outward Bound to play around with Kindle Select. It can’t do much worse. My goal with Outward Bound was to learn about self-publishing systems, so I am still going to use it as such. I’ll be giving it away for free from time to time. Maybe doing a countdown deal and probably eventually make it PERMA-FREE (kinda like Permafrost, but different.).

So, I did some marketing. Coming Soon, in addition to the Pubslush for Straight Into Darkness’ Editing and Cover Art jumpstart [Save the date 10/17/2014], I will be running a short “Can’t Get to Worldcon” ebook sale on All Is Silence. I’ve also started releasing All Is Silence on Wattpad as an experiment to see if I can expand my readership before the next book comes out. Come check it out, vote for it, comment, tell when needs to happen in the next two books!

Now. Back to writing.

My Path to Indie Publication: Part V–Reality and the Instability of Time

My Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV.

Reality and the Instability of Time, a.k.a. Learning to Use Scotty’s Law of Time Estimation (or even less well known, how to a write a blog post with too long a title…)*

[Author’s Note: Sorry this is late. It’s at least slightly ironic that this blog-post was late, no?]

When I “finished” the first draft of And Everything After… [Third working title. First was Zombie Zoo, Second was Where Have All Your Children Gone?] I decided I wanted to publish in August of 2013—TEN MONTHS after I’d written the first words. Hubris? Yeah. There have been lots of humbling moments in response to this presumptuousness.

As part of my NANOWRIMO prizes, and on the recommendation of my new editor, I bought Scrivener Writing Software for half-price–a steal at $20. Reasonable at the usual price. I bought the Windows version to format Outward Bound, the Science Fiction & Poetry collection. I had struggled with the NANOWRIMO 45 day free download of Scrivener and given up on it.

After the stress of finishing the first draft of the novel, I found that taking already existing documents and uploading them into the software was easy. Then turning it all into an e-book was even easier. The only real issue I had was formatting the poetry. One poem graphically moves across the page like a spiral galaxy; getting it to look right in an ebook was challenging. I had hoped to release Outward Bound in April or May as a way to build interest in the release of All Is Silence In the World [the penultimate title]. But as June came, it was not yet ready for prime time. Luckily, as a self published author the only deadlines one has to hit are ones own.

Meeting Alice Acheson at the Chuckanut Writer’s Conference helped me figure out a more reasonable plan for marketing and releasing the novel. All Is Silence. Alice suggested waiting until February because when bookstores get a book at the holiday season or soon after, there is so much going on that it may not get noticed. So I picked February 11th. It seemed like a long way off.

With my final installment of Memories of Light, the Science Fiction Serial, appearing in the Bellingham Herald in August, I wanted to maximize that press opportunity. But the novel was not nearly finished. I decided that releasing Outward Bound instead of the novel in mid-August with a sampler chapter of the novel made the most sense.

In late July I submitted the current draft of the novel to CreateSpace to see what it looked like in print. I went with a generic cover and the wrong title, Deserted Lands, not wanting anything to go wrong about having the book out too soon. I had printed a slipcover for it featuring the amazing art of Pintado. ALL IS SILENCE.  I was thrilled to hold it in my hands. For about 30 seconds. Well, maybe five whole minutes. This now svelte title, cut down due to reading a blog from Mark Coker of Smashwords, [Web editor’s note: Rob’s daughter Sheridan suggested cutting the title to ‘All is Silence’ months before he] housed a manuscript that needed a similar svelteness.  If I had published it at this point I would have been deeply embarrassed, yet many of the self-published books I have tried to read seemed to be released at this point.

The weeks leading up to the release of Outward Bound and my “chapter” of Memories of Light became full of marketing and formatting and uploading and re-editing stories and poetry I hadn’t read in years as well as the new Deserted lands works. On a challenge from Holly Lisle, I had started three short stories set in the Deserted Lands universe intending to include them in the collection. The first two came easily, but I realized the third was not a short story. It told about a European stuck in the U.S. due to the pandemic and trying to figure out how to get home to his lover who had also miraculously survived. This novel, about a bunch of non-sailors trying to cross the Atlantic, is now slated for #10 in the series, I think. Might be #7.

More delays coming. Which leads into Part VI: Playing the Professional.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top