writing

Why Should An Author Self-Publish?

                                  
That is a question that can have many answers, and I’m willing to bet that if you took a poll with authors, you would get varied opinions, ideas, and reasons why. And to me, that is the beauty of the question – each author, with their own creative minds and with their own creative ideas will have their own reasons why.  But before we get to that, the first question we have to ask ourselves is why do we write the first place? If yes me that question my answer will always be, because I Iove to write. Our love for writing propels us to use our creativeness, refine it, and release it to the world. We spend hours, days, months, and sometimes even years getting that story out of our head and ready for readers to enjoy. To do that, you have to get published – either electronically or in print. This leads back to the title of this post.

The answer lies within the prospects of you getting published by a one of the ‘Big 6’ publishing houses. (It may be the Big 5 by now, based on mergers and buy-outs.) If you are one of the few to get that big deal, then most of the things that involve the process of self-publishing will not concern you. The publisher will take care of all the behind-the-scene details. If you are not one of those few then the answer is . . . YES! But this post isn’t about traditional vs self-publishing.

Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s focus on what most of us will face – then ins-and-outs of self-publishing. 

ALL DONE

Now that we are done with our novel, novella, or short-story, we need to refine it, edit it, and make it ready for the masses. The process of editing and having a second, third, and even a fourth draft is something for another post, but the editing process must be addressed seriously before moving on to the next step. Now once we have that done and we have our cover art done, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are other things that are involved in the self-publishing process, and again, that is something for another article.

I want to go back to something I wrote earlier – We write because we love to do it. For me, that is the biggest truth in all of this. Believe me, I will take all the profits that my work produces, icing on the cake, if you will. But the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of setting a goal and completing it is the number one reason. Writing something that is yours gives you total control, and that control is one of the great advantages of going indie.

CONTROL

The times have changed and the best part of self-publishing is having control of everything about your work from start to finish. Most of the authors I know, and have corresponded with, prefer having a grasp on their projects and their future. While having control comes with its own financial costs, in the end, a self-published author will always receive more of a profit because of substantially lower commission rates. And yes, while we do write because we love to do it, once we put our product out into the public and it is up for sale, then their has to be some business-minded thinking involved. 

Having complete control that comes with self-publishing, is the biggest difference with being traditionally-published. You get to decide which way you want your story to go. You get to decide what cover art works best for you. Only the author of the story they tell, or book they write, can know what concept they want their book cover to reveal. In my own case, I have done cover art prior to writing and I have done them after the story was finished. Both have their advantages and both can guide you in your writing based on what your cover reveals. Another part of that control Is for you to decide on doing your cover art yourself or hiring a cover designer to get it just the way you want it. Sometimes it’s good to get someone else’s perspective and ideas. But again, you have the control!

Since there are so many distributors to make your book available, deciding on where, when, and setting the pricing points is entirely up to you. Publishing ebooks does not cost a thing, if you take the time and learn how to do it yourself. If not, with all the resources available, you can get your work formatted at a relatively low cost. 

If you decide to sale your book in print, once the file is in the proper format, usually PDF, you can have your book up for sale at no cost. This is possible because of POD, or print-on-demand. Basically, your book is a file sitting on a company’s server and when someone places an order to buy your book, it prints it, cover and all, and sends it out to the reader. The companies involved in this, (Createspace, Lulu, Lightning Source) take their cost for printing, paper, etc, then you get the residual. The best part of publishing your books these two ways is CONTROL. You choose the sale price, thus determining your profit percentage. Being able to have your book in paperback and it not cost a thing is almost too hard to believe, but it is very real and being done daily. 

ACCOMPLISHMENT

Doing it yourself, from start to finish, gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment – more so than being traditionally-published, in my opinion. I say that because it is a long road from the time you type or write your first word of your masterpiece to the fine-polished and finished product. At that point, only YOU truly know how much hard work you have put into it. The blood, sweat, and tears are only experienced by you. And no matter the sales or the reviews, good or bad, you will have done something many people have said they would do . . . finish writing a book! The sense of accomplishment in that can never be taken away from you. You gave birth to your idea and saw it to the end. 

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY 

Remember when you were a kid and you did something that would get you in trouble? Back then most of us would not take responsibility for our bad actions, and it was only until our parents ‘persuaded’ us into telling the truth. But taking responsibility for something as exciting as writing a book is easy because it should fill you with a sense of pride . But the difference here is that the words you have ‘penned’ are solely yours – your ideas, thoughts, and hard work. You were responsible for the finished product, and if you did it the self-published route, then it’s all your baby to claim and be proud of. 

THE JOURNEY

Speaking for myself and my travels down this self-publishing road, I am very happy with what I have accomplished. Make no mistake, writing is hard work, and if you add in the rest of what goes along with self-publishing, the work is even harder, but in the end, knowing you did it right and did it yourself will propel you to your next big project. The self-confidence that self-publishing brings is priceless. We can’t forget we have to do all of the little things to put out a good product and make it just as professional as a ‘Big 6’ production. 

So get out there and gather as much information as possible and use that to make your dream come true . . . and Self-Publish!

A. Lopez, Jr.

(artwork by Richard Krzemien)
 

Cover Reveal – Demoness Enchanted by C. Desert Rose

Author, C. Desert Rose is releasing Book Two of the Fate’s Endeavor Series – Demoness Enchanted

Here is a poster and blurb from the publisher All Authors Publishing House

DE Poster 1

Normalcy, was not a word recognized by Zita. Her entire life was nothing, if not abnormal. Her family, herself, her entire existence, all of it; unnatural. Yet, to her it was nothing but the truth of her actuality. Such, was her life—making it to her normal, as she knew nothing else. Still, it was what made her whom and what she was… a hybrid!

Roman; a witty, silver tongued young man with an average life. He looked forward to finishing High School and thereafter going on a missionary trip to Brazil. He knew that something special awaited him there. What he didn’t know was exactly how special it was.

Fate’s endeavor is Fate’s design, and Fate’s design is unlike any humanity has ever known.

Demoness Enchanted, the story of two completely different beings and the scheme which destiny has preordained for them.

The Fate’s Endeavor Series, surpassing the emotional fabric of angels and demons and delving into the delicate threads which infuse Fate’s tapestry.

Having read other works by C. Desert Rose, I look forward to reading this second installment of FE. And here is the book cover for Demoness Enchanted

DE Front Cover

More details to follow!

 

Queen of Spades releases Spaded Truths

coverbannertruths2Blurb:

This is not your average bowl of Alphabet Soup. Substitute the broth with Beliefs and the meatballs with tinges of Controversy.

Now, attempt to take a spoonful into your mouth. Does it sting your bottom lip and the tip of your tongue? Does it feel too hot for you? Do you know this, yet want to have more?

Excellent!

Indulge in Spaded Truths: Themes and Proclamations—a delectable mix of creative uses of the letters A-Z with social and political viewpoints from the twisted mind of Queen of Spades. This dish is engineered to provoke multitudes of reactions to reach the ultimate pinnacle: mental stimulation and satisfaction.

poster-1

Blurb:

Truth has no expiration date.

A second helping of Spaded Truths has arrived in the form of Life-O-Suction. Seasoned with a rich blend of prose with poetry, this follow up explores the human condition with a simmering of stimuli that lingers long after one has reached the end.

Note: Both books in the Spaded Truths collections have content which may not be suitable for those under eighteen.

Also, from now until the end of 2015, the electronic version of “Themes and Proclamations” will be at a discounted price to celebrate the release of “Life-O-Suction”.

To connect more with Queen of Spades and her Verses of Sovereign Diction, please visit her at these locations:

A Queen’s Ramblings


Facebook Author Page


Twitter @authorqspades


Amazon

Why Should An Author Self-Publish?

20140120-233341.jpg

That is a question that can have many answers, and I’m willing to bet that if you took a poll with authors, you would get varied opinions, ideas, and reasons why. And to me, that is the beauty of the question – each author, with their own creative minds and with their own creative ideas will have their own reasons why.

But before we get to that, the first question we have to ask ourselves is why do we write in the first place? If you ask me that question my answer will always be, because I Iove to write. Our love for writing propels us to use our creativeness, refine it, and release it to the world. We spend hours, days, months, and sometimes even years getting that story out of our head and ready for readers to enjoy. To do that, you have to get published – either electronically or in print. This leads back to the title of this post.

The answer lies within the prospects of you getting published by a one of the ‘Big 6’ publishing houses. (It may be the Big 5 by now, based on mergers and buy-outs.) If you are one of the few to get that big deal, then most of the things that involve the process of self-publishing will not concern you. The publisher will take care of all the behind-the-scene details. If you are not one of those few then the answer is . . . YES! But this post isn’t about traditional vs self-publishing.

Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s focus on what most of us will face – then ins-and-outs of self-publishing.

ALL DONE
Now that we are done with our novel, novella, or short-story, we need to refine it, edit it, and make it ready for the masses. The process of editing and having a second, third, and even a fourth draft is something for another post, but the editing process must be addressed seriously before moving on to the next step. Now once we have that done and we have our cover art done, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are other things that are involved in the self-publishing process, and again, that is something for another article.

I want to go back to something I wrote earlier – We write because we love to do it. For me, that is the biggest truth in all of this. Believe me, I will take all the profits that my work produces, icing on the cake, if you will. But the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of setting a goal and completing it is the number one reason. Writing something that is yours gives you total control, and that control is one of the great advantages of going indie.

CONTROL
The times have changed and the best part of self-publishing is having control of everything about your work from start to finish. Most of the authors I know, and have corresponded with, prefer having a grasp on their projects and their future. While having control comes with its own financial costs, in the end, a self-published author will always receive more of a profit because of substantially lower commission rates. And yes, while we do write because we love to do it, once we put our product out into the public and it is up for sale, then there has to be some business-minded thinking involved.

Having complete control that comes with self-publishing, is the biggest difference in being traditionally-published. You get to decide which way you want your story to go. You get to decide what cover art works best for you. Only the author of the story they tell, or book they write, can know what concept they want their book cover to reveal. In my own case, I have done cover art prior to writing and I have done them after the story was finished. Both have their advantages and both can guide you in your writing based on what your cover reveals. Another part of that control Is for you to decide on doing your cover art yourself or hiring a cover designer to get it just the way you want it. Sometimes it’s good to get someone else’s perspective and ideas. But again, you have the control!

Since there are so many distributors to make your book available, deciding on where, when, and setting the pricing points, is entirely up to you. Publishing ebooks does not cost a thing, if you take the time and learn how to do it yourself. If not, with all the resources available, you can get your work formatted at a relatively low cost.

If you decide to sale your book in print, once the file is in the proper format, usually PDF, you can have your book up for sale at no cost. This is possible because of POD, or print-on-demand. Basically, your book is a file sitting on a company’s server and when someone places an order to buy your book, it prints it, cover and all, and it is sent out to the reader. The companies involved in this, (Createspace, Lulu, Lightning Source) take their cost for printing, paper, etc, then you get the residual. The best part of publishing your books these two ways is CONTROL. You choose the sale price, thus determining your profit percentage. Being able to have your book in paperback and it not cost a thing is almost too hard to believe, but it is very real and being done daily.

ACCOMPLISHMENT
Doing it yourself, from start to finish, gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment – more so than being traditionally-published, in my opinion. I say that because it is a long road from the time you type or write your first word of your masterpiece to the fine-polished and finished product. At that point, only YOU truly know how much hard work you have put into it. The blood, sweat, and tears are only experienced by you. And no matter the sales or the reviews, good or bad, you will have done something many people have said they would do . . . finish writing a book! The sense of accomplishment in that can never be taken away from you. You gave birth to your idea and saw it to the end.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
Remember when you were a kid and you did something that would get you in trouble? Back then most of us would not take responsibility for our bad actions, and it was only until our parents ‘persuaded’ us into telling the truth. But taking responsibility for something as exciting as writing a book is easy because it should fill you with a sense of pride . The difference here is that the words you have ‘penned’ are solely yours – your ideas, thoughts, and hard work. You are responsible for the finished product, and if you did it the self-published route, then it’s all your baby to claim and be proud of.

THE JOURNEY
Speaking for myself and my travels down this self-publishing road, I am very happy with what I have accomplished. Make no mistake, writing is hard work, and if you add in the rest of what goes along with self-publishing, the work is even harder, but in the end, knowing you did it right and did it yourself will propel you to your next big project. The self-confidence that self-publishing brings is priceless. We can’t forget we have to do all of the little things to put out a good product and make it just as professional as a ‘Big 6’ production.

So get out there and gather as much information as possible and use that to make your dream come true . . . and Self-Publish!

ALJ

Creating A Story

The Building Blocks

Creativity, be it for a writer, musician, artist, or anyone who takes something from scratch and completes a work that will be seen or heard by the masses, is something special for the one giving birth to their idea. This creates two separate points of view – the producer’s and then the reader’s, listener’s and viewer’s. King, Beethoven and Van Gogh all started from scratch, somewhere.
This being an author’s blog, it’s only appropriate that we talk about how we create our stories. I get a lot of inspiration visually, from things I see out in the world – most by chance or from stumbling across something unusual. I have found that looking at pictures, or still images, as a photographer would call them, can find its own place in my imagination.
Many of the places in my stories are real places that I have visited or grew up around and each have their own story waiting to be written. Of course, our minds are the most creative thing we have, so if we don’t use visuals or places to build our stories, we always can start from scratch and still make our masterpiece.

Filling in the Blanks

Now that we have our ideas ready to go, it’s time to put them down on paper (an old saying that’s hard to break) and complete that story. We have the building-blocks and foundation, but now we must fill in the in-betweens. This is where our creativity and imagination must run wild in that first draft. We must be relentless in our process of storytelling and pound away at that keyboard. We must not stymie our mind’s creative process with editing while in the heat of the battle – just let it flow and fill in the blanks. I don’t mean this in a reckless fashion, but we all know that great feeling when all the neurons are firing and the writing comes almost effortlessly. The blanks are filled and original inspiration starts to become a complete story.

The Rest of the Story

And yes, of course, the editing will come, and many of the words we have pounded out will be rearranged, reworded, or even disappear altogether. But this short entry is about how we create our stories and start to build them into the next Bestseller! This is only the start of the complete process that takes hard work, determination, and sometimes sheer will, but every story must start somewhere with some idea, no matter where it was conceived and born.

You have to absolutely love it to write it, and then finish the entire process. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, but I promise you that once you get there, you will have half of the battle won.

Where do you find your inspiration for creating your masterpiece?

Happy creative writing,

~ALJ~

(image via empowernetwork.com)

Gieveaway Done … And

Starting Out

2013 has arrived and already is moving into its second week. I wanted to start 2013 with a Giveaway on Goodreads for Episode #1 of Night Dreams. 761 souls signed up for a chance to win 3 copies, and I appreciate everyone for their interest and their time, to sign up. The 3 paperback copies have been mailed out today, and I hope to hear back from the winners at some point after reading it.

Short-Range Goals

If you write and take it seriously, then you know goals have to be set. They have to be not only set, but those goals (self-imposed deadlines) have to be reached. Reached, if you want to make progress in your projects, books, and goals. My first goal this year is to finish my novella Floor Four. If you are a self-publisher, then you know just writing and finishing the story is not the end of it. 1st draft, 2nd draft … editing, beta-readers, and formatting (ebook & print). It’s a non-stop process that many of you know well.

After that is done I will put the finishing touches on Episode #2 of Night Dreams – Andrea’s Demon. I’m setting my short-range goals in 2-month blocks. So every two months I will have completed 1/6 of my overall (yearly) goal. 

For me, that is how 2013 will start. Along with the previously mentioned projects, there are plenty of leftovers from 2012 to be finished. (I guess my goals for 2012 didn’t all get done as planned!) 

It’s never-ending, but you really gotta love what you do to continue the fight.

~ALJ~

 

End Of Year Is Here

With Thanksgiving coming and going before we knew it, December is here and moving fast. From a writing perspective, setting goals and self-imposed deadlines, and keeping them, is a task, with everything else going on during the holidays. For me, getting the print copy of Night Dreams-E1 The Beginning, proofed and edited (formatting),  has taken the biggest amount of time. Hoping to get that out to family and friends for Christmas.  Goodreads and WordPress giveaways to follow soon after…stay tuned.

I am also finishing up my novella Floor Four (part of Purgatory-13 Tales of the Macabre). It is coming along nicely and will easily be over 20,000 words when all is said and done. Details on that to follow soon.

So, with my plate full going into the end-of-the-year rush, I’ll be keeping busy, and looking forward to hearing how your writing, and or reading, is going?

~ALJ~ (illustration by Anthony Russo)

Night Dreams Cover Unveil

I have completed the first story (episode 1) of my horror series Night Dreams. It checks in at over 22,000 words before editing, which is taking place right now. Episode 1 is titled The Beginning, and details how it all started for Dream Psychologist Dr. Joseph Rickettes. I hope to have it available in eBook format by Halloween.

Here is a synopsis:  Serialized fiction that follows a Dream Psychologist, Dr, Joseph Rickettes, who has no choice but to live out the nightmares of his patients in hopes of curing them of their demons. He is bound by the demons in their dreams, while he struggles to make sense of the nightmares that plague his own life.

I am working on Episode 2, yet to be titled, and plan on having that out soon.

I will be unveiling the cover art for the horror novella Floor Four within the next couple of weeks.

The Walking Dead or Falling Skies – By Land or By Sky

Being a fan of a few different television series, I found a similarity in two of them that I watch – The Walking Dead on AMC and Falling Skies on TNT. The former falls into the Zombie-Horror genre, while the latter is Sci-Fi. My first book, Purgatory, has 13 short stories and is my take on horror. None of the stories have a Zombie or Sci-Fi angle, but I plan to try my hand at those in the future.

The similarities between the two series are the, something has happened to our world theme, which is usually interesting if done right. The Walking Dead follows a group of survivors trying to find their way and learn more about what has happened and what their future holds. Falling Skies takes a similar path, only this time aliens are taking over. Groups of survivors are in the same situation of survival and learning how to defeat, what seems to be a superior enemy.

I am a fan of books, movies, and TV series that follow this trend. These two series, in my opinion, are done very well. The initial big-event happens, survivor groups are formed and the learning process begins. The stories then follow the main characters, and their own struggles and demons in dealing with, either a dead loved-one, or of them moving forward in the relationships that they forge with their fellow survivors.

As I said, I have not written a story in either genre, but they both appeal to me, so for any authors out there that have done work in either zombie-horror or sci-fi, what do you think of the two series I mentioned? (If you watch) And, if so, are they realistic from a writer’s point of view? What would you do differently if you wrote a story to base either series on?

~ALJ~

Horror Movies and Writing

The coexistence of books and movies goes back to the first time our theaters began flashing out the black and white films of yesteryear. Being a horror movie fan myself, I find that watching those movies, the old ones to the new, that they all have their own story to tell no matter how similar they may appear to the average or casual viewer. Within those stories that are portrayed on film, are the written works that inspired the acting, producing, and directing. Whether a screenplay, short story, or a novel inspired the movie, the movie becomes what the viewer digests and takes home with him or her. The impression from that can be good or bad and in that two or so hours of watching, the viewer forms an opinion about the movie and all involved, from the actors to the movie staff and crew. Hidden behind the scenes in all of that are the writers; the ones who penned the script, either in book form or from their own original screenplay. This is where the two connect.

As a writer of horror I have found that many ideas for my stories come from deep and dark places in my mind as well as seeing things that inspire a thought and then turn it into a twisted form of horror. When I take those thoughts and begin the process of writing my stories; many times those ideas turn into its own sort of movie in my head, and thus the story plays out on paper, or in digital form on a computer screen.

Everyone who writes has their own ideas of how writing a story should be done. Some say there should be an outline made, then the plot, and then the body of words will fill the page. Some say you should never play your story as a movie in your head as you write. “That is not how it’s done!” they scream. All of these are just opinions of course, with some having a good basis and foundation for consideration by this author. But as I write, I see the story taking place in my head and if the reel starts spinning and the lights hit the screen, I seem to hit the keyboard faster, the words flow, and the story is told through my mind’s eye.

Horror is something that can be told in many forms. When watching a horror movie you get to see what the writer and director intend for you to experience. The blood, guts, and gore are all part of a visual that can be achieved excellently, if done right. There is nothing like a well-made horror movie, but it’s much more than just the visual. The plot, and setting up each scary scene can be done through good writing. The so-called build up of a perfect, horrifying moment on screen can be crafted through the writer’s own movie playing in his or her head. For horror movies as well as for my writing, I feel that works well.

After a few disappointing efforts on the big screen based on some of Stephen King’s novels, King began to change his new agreements or contracts with the movie studios that approached him wanting to make the next big hit. He wanted more control of the presentation of his work to the big screen. What it really came down to was simple. The vision he had in his mind as he wrote his horror was not being translated over to the movie side of the projects. He felt that the movies lost the message, but more importantly, the artistic vision of the movie playing in his own mind.
Of course that is only one example, but Mr. King is a major player in the horror market. Undoubtedly there are many more who feel the same way he does and we are seeing a lot more involvement form the authors who pen a project to be played in movie theaters or on television. This topic will continue to evolve as the working relationship with writers and movie makers grows closer.

Going back to my earlier point, I like to write my stories by seeing the movie, playing the movie, and telling the movie in my head. Correct or not, that style of writing works for me and that has always made me aware of how and why horror movies and books are, and will always be connected. ~ALJ~