Why I decided to self-publish.

I am a self-published author. My first fiction book was a bestseller on Amazon for over 9 months both in the US and the UK. I was as surprised as anybody since I was a complete unknown and honestly, just learning how this whole writing/publishing thing worked.

People sometimes ask me how I got a book published. I did it myself. Reactions to that statement range from barely concealed horror to genuine appreciation.

The reason I decided to self-publish? It’s complicated, but I’ll try to explain.

The big traditional publishing houses in New York used to be the only way to get a book in front of potential readers. Amazon changed all that. There are many who still bemoan the fact that “just anybody” can publish a book these days.

Yes, that is true. And yes, there are a lot of bad books out there, but I’ve also found some great authors and great stories by self-published authors. If the story appeals to me and is well told, that meets all my criteria for a pleasurable reading experience.

Did the book win awards? I could care less. Did some huge traditional publisher put this book on the market? I don’t care. Did I get involved with the characters and the story line? That matters to me. I read for the story and the big traditional publishing houses don’t have a corner on the market for good stories.

Hi, my name is L and I’m a Readaholic. If there were a 12 step program for reading, I’m sure my family would have found it by now and then I’d have to go to the meetings and that would take away from my reading time.

The big New York publishing houses are struggling. Amazon changed everything for them just like Wal Mart changed everything for the mom and pop stores. But what does that mean? Everything changed? Here’s what I know about change as it applies to large institutions.

Years ago I worked at a bank. I worked with their computer system. The interesting thing about banking at that time was that the Savings and Loan companies had just been deregulated and banks were thrown into competition with the savings and loan companies. They might as well have put all the banks on Mars. Confusion on a mass scale ensued.

Banks had no idea how to compete with savings and loan companies and vice versa. Neither entity had ever had to compete. It was carnage. You might remember a lot of banks being bought out and merged and a lot of savings and loans going out of business.

Although it was painful to watch, it was a great learning opportunity. Bankers, who had previously spent their time measuring their desk size to compare to their peers, or whatever they had been doing, now had to come up with ideas to “compete for customers”.

To compete for customers was a totally alien concept for the bankers and the savings and loan people. Think about it. The banks didn’t make anything. Their customers brought the money to them. All they had to do was count it and keep it in the right buckets.

Oh, and they had to send out statements once a month or once a quarter depending on the type of account. That’s a little simplification, but those are the basics.

Competition.

Enter the era of the “giveaways”. Banks decided to give something to people who opened an account with them. And that worked, but the customers were smart enough to figure out they could open an account at one institution and get the free toaster and then withdraw their money and go to another institution and open an account there and get a free something else, or maybe another toaster. I’m glad I didn’t get married during that era.

The banks and savings and loan institutions floundered. And they needed to make money. Up until this point, they had come to work every day and folks brought money to them. The banks counted the money and put it in the right bucket.

Sudden and unprecedented competition meant that banks were no longer making the profits they had become accustomed to. We began to see fees for “hot” checks. The institutions had to keep up their profits which were generated on the money their customers brought them and those customers could take their money somewhere else and get another toaster.

In this era of change, customers who formally stayed with one banking or savings and loan institution for life became fluid. They might take all their money out of your bank and take it to another bank to get whatever that competing institution was offering.

Eventually, everybody had plenty of free appliances and banks were not able to pull the customers back to them for a decades-long relationship that they had previously enjoyed. It seemed the era of loyal customers at financial institutions had come to an end.

What were financial institutions supposed to do? When I say chaos ensued, it was Chaos with a capital “C”. The business model which had remained stagnant stationary, for so many years, had to change. But change to what?

After chaos came panic. The marketplace, the customers, how people thought about their money and where they kept it, everything changed rapidly. Financial institutions, where ponderous stability had long been their greatest strength, were stunned. Change, that ancient evil, had come to fiscal institutions.

If you remember, it took years for the banks and the savings and loans to change their business models and stabilize. Those were painful years while financial institutions struggled to cope with the changes in society.

What did I learn from that experience? Change can be painful and expensive in ways you never even dreamed. And business had to be fast. By fast, I mean quick to see the change coming and re-structure their business model to accommodate said change, but that turns out to be easier said than done.

Change has now come to publishing.

The big traditional publishing houses remind me of the financial institutions when everything changed for them. If they saw it coming, they thought they could ignore it or maybe they could shame people away from self-publishing. Then they completely missed the boat when they tried to divert self-publishing authors to “vanity press” scenarios. In these ridiculous situations, the author pays the vanity press to publish their book. They pay an awful lot too.

Since most of these “new” authors had little or no idea what they needed, the vanity publishing houses were able to take advantage of new “aspiring” authors. Enter the “authors beware” era.

The traditional publishing houses became more selective of which authors they would accept. New authors had to have a “proven” sales record with their work. Often, the author had to find and secure their own editor. Frequently, marketing fell squarely in the realm of the author. Yes, the new and untested author who had no idea how to market.

Unless your name is already a household word, traditional publishing is no longer the shiny apple it once appeared.

After my experience with banks when the world changed for them, I spent a lot of time on the internet. Over several months, I gathered information about publishing. I decided the traditional publishing route was a waste of time for me and I chose self-publishing.

Is self-publishing a lot of work? As a matter of fact, yes. It is. Do I enjoy every aspect of self-publishing? No. I don’t. Do I do it all anyway? Yes. Yes, I do.

Do I wish someone would come along and I could have a “Calgon, take me away” moment? Yes! Am I holding my breath for that? No. I am not.

Instead, I slog through all the stuff I have to do in order to get my stories out to people. And honestly, I have never had so much fun.

Author Animal Farm—New York GOOOOD, Self-Pub BAAAAAAD

And Kristen Lamb hits it out of the park with this blog post!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original image via Kabsik Park courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons. Original image via Kabsik Park courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons.

Okay at first I wasn’t going to say anything regarding the latest Let’s Bash Self-Publishing rant over at HuffPo, but (like all “real” writers) I am in the business of serving my audience—YOU—what you want to hear and after about the tenth person who sent me Laurie Gough’s Self-Publishing—An Insult to the Written Word, I figured y’all might want my take 😉 .

For another angle on this controversy, I strongly recommend Fisking the HuffPo’s Snooty Rant About Self-Publishing.

Moving on…

Consider the Source

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First of all, am I the only one to see the laughable hypocrisy of anyone who writes for Huffington Post lecturing anyone about real writing? Huffington Post is a predatory business, a literary parasite that has made hundreds of millions of dollars by paying writers in “exposure dollars.” And, by doing so, has…

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Emotional Beats: Ways to Portray Interest

Really enjoyed this. Reblogged on cpd-inc.com

Nicholas C. Rossis

Emotional Beats | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Read for free with KU

In September, I mentioned the launch of Emotional Beats: How to Easily Convert your Writing into Palpable Feelings. As promised, I will be posting the book on my blog. So, here is the next installment, listing beats you can use to convey:

Interest

Commonly used in a romantic setting, these are some nice ways to show interest between characters.

Eyes

  • She anchored her attention on…
  • For a moment, his eyes hung on the [object].
  • He shifted his gaze to the [object].
  • His eyes retraced their path to…
  • Her eyes darted toward…
  • His dark-eyed gaze tugged at her heart.

Hands & Feet

  • She spread her arms wide.
  • He held out his arms.
  • She raised a hand in greeting.
  • He snapped to attention.
  • He leaned forward, his fingers laced before him on the tabletop.
  • He gestured a little too excitedly and nearly toppled off the couch.
  • Her…

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Facing The Darkness by Susan Illene

Ch'kara SilverWolf

My first Christmas post which is also a New Release by my friend Susan Illene is Facing The Darkness, book 4.5 in the Sensor Series.  This is a holiday novella and is a great story, I loved it.

Facing the Darkness: Book 4.5: A Sensor Holiday Novella (Sensor Series) by [Illene, Susan]

Description1Originally featured in the “A Very Paranormal Holiday” Anthology. Facing the Darkness has since been revised and expanded.

Kerbasi, a former guardian of Purgatory, has resisted every effort to help him find his humanity. After more than four-thousand years of ruling over supernatural prisoners in the cruelest of ways, he feels he’s above the petty concerns of mankind. But what is he to do when he’s tasked with bringing comfort to a boy sick with cancer during the holiday season? This is one child who just might break through the impervious wall he’s wrapped around his heart.

Word count: 22,000 (approximate)

Links7

AMAZON US       AMAZON UK

WEBSITE       FACEBOOK       TWITTER

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Warlord’s Flame

It’s here!!!  Warlord’s Flame is available on Amazon.  New Release in the Krystile Warriors series. Book 2. Var wants to rescue Bess, but she has other ideas.

Amazon UK link is  http://amzn.to/2exlS4w

And I reduced the price on Warlord’s Honor   http://amzn.to/2fqvbSY

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Warlord’s Flame

3 Simple Tricks to Create a Character OH SO Different From YOU

Yes, I’m reblogging another Kristen Lamb post. I really like this one.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Characters

As some of you know I am still recovering from the flu. Also, the holiday season gets more than a little insane so it is always a joy to run across fresh talent to share with all of you. The bad news is that Alex Limberg lives in Vienna so taking him as a hostage? Can you tweet #logisticalnightmare? Good news is, apparently Austrians work for compliments and candy cigarettes #littleknownfact.

So, with my Amazon Prime Account, I was able to secure SWEET blog content and all of us could avoid any sticky international incidents with the Austrians.

Which is best for all because, well who doesn’t dig their pastries?

This is another guest post by copywriter Alex Limberg. To mix things up a bit, Alex is assisting me through the holiday season until he makes his New Year’s resolution to kick his candy cigarette habit *rolls eyes*.

…and then we’ll…

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Why I Hate “The Giving Tree”–But How This Story Makes Us Better Writers

Very insightful.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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I’m going to say something possibly unpopular and perhaps a bit strange. I hate the children’s book The Giving Tree, even though oddly, it was my favorite book. I remember being five and reading the story and just weeping for the tree, feeling devastated. Understanding what she was feeling. I recall hating the boy and the self-centered narcissist he grew up to be. Taking and taking and never giving.

Why did the narcissist cross the road? Easy. She thought it was a boundary.

As a child I was obsessed with most of Shel Silverstein’s work, memorizing poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends. But maybe my early fascination with Silverstein highlights what good writers do for their audience, no matter the age.

While many people love The Giving Tree and hail it as a wonderful tale of unconditional love, there is also the other camp who finds the…

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Louisiana Flood 2016

We knew even if they didn’t.

We didn’t ask why us or when FEMA would get here. We got out and started working and saving lives. We remember hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and oil spills.

We didn’t ask when someone would come to fix this for us. We started fixing it ourselves. Neighbors and family and friends doing what they could.

We’ve been through hurricanes and tornadoes, floods and oil spills.

We didn’t ask people to supply us with diapers and baby formula. We knew people who didn’t flood would get it here as soon as they could.

We didn’t ask all those folks to get in their own boats and risk their lives to help us. They just did.

The people in the boats didn’t ask who the victims were going to vote for. They just rescued everyone who needed help.

The rescuers didn‘t ask if the victims were Democrat or Republican. They paddled up and asked how many pets do you have and can everyone fit in the boat?

They didn’t hesitate upon seeing the color of people’s skin when they arrived to rescue them. They just got them in the boat or helicopter and got them to safety.

We didn’t ask where the politicians were. If they showed up and maybe brought an 18 wheeler loaded with supplies, we appreciate that.

The size of this catastrophe is too vast. It was too much for the government to handle all by themselves. We knew it, even if they didn’t.

We worked hard and we mourned. We felt our hearts break and we worked some more. We commiserated with our friends and neighbors. We saved all the people and animals we could. We wept for the ones we couldn’t.

We worried about jobs for those whose workplaces were damaged. We prayed for each other and everyone who came or sent help.

We cried with friends and family and neighbors who lost everything they had. We felt their sorrow. Sometimes life was all that was left. We appreciate each and every life.

We are Louisiana. We knew even if they didn’t. We will survive this.

We appreciate your help and your prayers. God bless you. Every one.

4 Powerful Ways to Improve Your Writing

This might be the single best blog entry I’ve ever read. Way to go Kristin Lamb! And kudos to the guest blogger, Alex Limberg.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Today, copywriter and blogger Alex Limberg is back with a post that’s a bit different from his typical “how-to” writing advice. In this one, he spills the beans on how his own writing process came together. Here is the link again to his wonderful e-book that will help you create a tight and intriguing story by asking “44 key questions.” Check it out! And off we go…

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Over the last several months, I’ve had the great pleasure of publishing ten guest posts here on Kristen’s fine blog. They were posts about all kinds of technical writing topics like characters, action scenes, how to introduce information, plot, etc… (look them up).

But for my eleventh post today, I thought it was time to switch gears.

Yes, it’s time for me to stop hiding behind the mask of the teacher and show myself to you bare-naked. But fear not, this post…

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New Release – Dead Still by Barbara Ebel, M.D.

Re-blogged from Ch’kara Silverwolf. New medical mystery by this fantastic author!

Ch'kara SilverWolf

I have a new release for you from my friend Barbara Ebel for her new book Dead Still, which is a spin off of the Dr. Danny Tilson novels.

Dead Still (Dr. Annabel Tilson Novels Book 1) by [Ebel, Barbara]

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Annabel Tilson is a medical student finally liberated from the two-year confinement of lecture halls and gross anatomy. The first clinical rotation of her junior year is surgery where she has high hopes of mastering the basis of patient care like her famous neurosurgeon father. However, she soon realizes that studying for exams and taking care of patients is only part of the complex burden of her role as a surgical team member.

Grappling with a third-year resident who hates her and a dreamy infatuation for her chief resident, she also discovers an inordinate outbreak of patient mortality. Annabel then meets a resident from another specialty who has noticed the same statistics and, with his help, takes a crash course…

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