What Brave New World is This?

Some of you may have noticed: there’s a lot of talk going around about independent publishing, especially e-publishing, and I know that I, for one, have been trying to listen in on as much as I can. Part of me wonders if my interest is purely pre-preemptive, as I have nothing even remotely close to being publish-ready in my arsenal at the moment, but, on the other hand, I have someone who is really interested in helping me through the journey of e-publishing and I’d like to take him up on that offer.

This process, I feel, will call for a change in the natural order of things. It will call for focus and drive and dedication. It will require prioritization.

Wait, hold the phone. Laura and prioritization? What has the world been coming to?

If there’s anything certain that’s come out of following various aspects of the e-publishing journey, it’s the fact that I am in dire need of some focus. Really, I started to latch onto this idea earlier this month, with the progress of Serpent in a Cage managing to make it difficult for me to write anything else. It’s made me question my motives and my processes, which have been scattered at best. Do I really need to be working on three writing projects at a time? More than likely, that scatter-brained multi-tasking is likely to hurt my process and success rather than support it. Now that my focus is mostly on SiaC, things are actually getting done. Sort of. I’m still distracted with various things here and there, but it’s been progressing at a very nice pace, while I’ve basically abandoned my novel project for August.

And I’m okay with this. My goals have changed, and the ability to change one’s goals to be more efficient is a good sign of a successful person. My inentions in writing is no longer “produce as much as you can,” but rather, “just finish something.” I need to finish something (and be satisfied with the results) if we’re going to consider playing around with e-publishing, getting something out there, and testing the waters.

But what does one test the waters with? Serpent in a Cage is the closest thing I have to being finished. One finished draft, working on the much improved second draft, and then probably another round of editing before I’d feel comfortable with it being somewhat ready. But the problem with that is that SiaC is so iconic to me. It’s the first book of what I hope will one day be a popular, well-loved series, filled with loyal fans and terrible fanfiction. It’s something well over a decade in the making, and something that I’ve always expected would be a matter of traditional publishing. I’d want it to follow through with traditional publishing; that had always been its intention.

Time change, though, and perhaps the future I had planned for SiaC is really not what’s best for the book or the series. On the other hand, self-publishing and e-publishing is a risk, it’s new territory, it could go anywhere. Do I really want to throw out my most cherished work to date out to the potential sharks? It could swim, and swim beautifully, but it could also sink, sink, sink. So the other solution is that I go ahead and plug on with SiaC, but I work on something that I could hopefully dedicate myself to until it was finished, revised, and ready to go, something to just sort of play around with and test, without it being something that, should anything go terribly, I’d be devastated as I would with SiaC.

Do I have the ability to throw together a novel in, say, two months? Perhaps some of the novels for the New Novel Project might be a good jumping start. I’ve been leaning toward Ragnarok: Space Vikings; it’s completely removed from anything Aryneth, it has a title that might garner a few glances, and I really feel that, so far, it’s a pretty good story, too. Should I stick with something genre, to take advantage of a readership that might already be present? Or should I lean toward a more accessible general fiction? What would be the most effective experiment?

These are the questions that have been plaguing me lately, but I know I won’t have much by way of answers until I actually start trying. Any advice? Do you do any independent or e-publishing? How did you get started into? Which types of books do you feel you have more or less success with? What do you personally like to read? Have you ever been able to spit out something in two months and been satisfied with the results?

It’s so exciting to be on the cusp of something new; I hope I can ride the momentum and have it work out for me in the end, but we shall see.



  1. Publishing method has little to do with it. Anyone, and I mean anyone can set up an account with Lightning Source or Amazon and become a POD or e-book publisher. For my money, I’d go with LSI, because amazon has a 25 title minimum.

    You have stated the risks with self publishing. But measure those against the risk of finding a traditional publisher that doesn’t market your book. A traditional publisher has many priorities and your book might not be one of them.

    But, having product is different than moving product. Unless you have a national radio show like Glenn Beck, word of mouth is what sells your book. Yeah, you can drive around and sell them out of your truck like I did with Transfer Guide, but the reading market place has become pretty astute. There are millions of writing and reading blogs. You have to get on at least a few of them. You may need some POD casts and link building and SEO.

    But, the internet again is only part of the story. Find out if this e-publishing guy has connections to the media. Either in your metroplex or elsewhere. He better be able to at least get you on a college radio station or a Sunday morning PBS.

    Never pay for a press release. When I was promoting my first self published book, drops of blood, I spent $300 on a press release and only got 1 interview, which came from UM Flint’s WFUM PBS affiliate. which is now WCMU, btw.

    There are plenty of free press release services that will keep your name and your books name searchable for a while. But do a free press release for every event you have. See if this guy can get you book signings and have a tour schedule with a press release before each one.

    Looking back, I have more street cred for being a self published writer than I imagined. but now, you answer me some questions…

    Is this an author services type of publishing? Is this guy from a place like AuthorHouse or is he a small publishing company? Will he offer you a contract with royalties or do you have to pay money up front? Does he have a la carte services? Has he done it before? If so what have been his most successful titles? Can you meet other authors he’s worked with?

    • I knew I could rely on you, Andy, to give some really good practical questions like that. The guy in question is not an agent or anything like that. He’s actually a boyfriend, but his parents have self-published several non-fiction books, and he’s interested in using me as a guinea pig for playing around with e-publishing and marketing and all that sort of thing. Which doesn’t sound like the most official way to go about it, but I see it as more like an adventure, and that’s why I want to do it.

      That’s also why I don’t want to throw Serpent in a Cage into it. It’s a greater risk than I’d want to take with that particular work, but if I could come up with something else, I don’t see why I shouldn’t give it a try. The question for me is more of whether or not I’ll be able to come up with something else.

      I couldn’t agree with you more, though, on how the method of publishing is really secondary to the method of marketing. That, more than anything, feels like what will make or break a book. But, if e-publishing helps at least get my toesies a little wet so that I’ll be better prepared to take a deeper plunge, then I think it might be worth a try.

      Just probably not with my Big One. Unfortunately, sometimes I fear that it’s all I’ll ever have.w.

      • Have you ever heard that Jay-Z song on to the next one? Its about going on to the next project. You’re supposed to get experience from the project you are working on to apply to the next project.

        Mixing love and business is a personal decision but in your case it could work. Have his parents made connections with media types? You have to try tapping those if they have them.

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