Friday, August 23, 2013

Have You Thought About Self-Publishing?

Have you been searching for a home for your finished manuscript for months with no luck of finding a publisher that is taken with your book? That doesn’t mean that your book is not good enough for print. There are options in today’s publishing scene, other than simply going with an established publishing house, which are viable, and in some ways are an even better deal than going with a publisher.

Now the argument between writers of “publishing vs. self-publishing” will always be an issue of debate. From my experience in publishing with both a publishing house and self-publishing, I can say there’s good points about both, and there are drawbacks of both. But so far, I’ve enjoyed, and have gotten more out of, self-publishing.


A few pros and cons of going with a publishing house.

PRO: Marketing  and customers. In my opinion, the greatest asset a publisher can offer you is their ability to market your book to a wide span of people. It doesn’t hurt to have a budget when market, and with their access to many proven outlets to market your book, this can be one of the biggest helps an author can have when looking for sales.

PRO: They take a load off. Editing, proofreading, formatting, printing, sometimes cover art designing, and many other mandatory steps, a publisher can help you with. Each publisher is different in what they provide, but most publishers help to get your manuscript from computer to paper (or epaper), taking care of some, if not all of those steps that I mentioned above. If you’re not tech, or business, or art savvy, this can be a big help.

CON: Royalties. Be prepared to have a large bite taken out of your book sales from your royalties pie. Most publishers offer mere cents on a sold copy of your book, forcing your title to sell tens of thousands in order to start making you any kind of worthwhile income—and the hard fact of the matter is, most books published do not sell that well.

CON: The hassle. You probably are already well aware of this, but signing a deal with a publisher is a long, and usually very stressful endeavor. It can take months to hear back from a publisher who received your manuscript, just for them to look over your first chapter and send it back (if they send it back at all). I don’t even want to know how much I’ve spent on manila envelopes and postage, when only half of the time the publishers would even bother to use my self-addressed stamped envelopes to return my couple hundred page manuscript, which alone was an arm and a leg to print. Dumping money into the off chance that a publisher will pick up your copy can be disheartening.


Next, the pros and cons of self-publishing

PRO: Royalties. These depend on who you’re self-publishing with and how much you’re pricing your book for, but generally the average profit made from a book sale will be somewhere around $2.00, a bit more if we’re talking about paperback or hardcover. When comparing this profit per book opposed to the 20 cents or less per book with a publisher, you have to sell roughly 10 times more the amount of books with publishers to make what you would when self-publishing.

PRO: No publisher contracts. You retain every right with your work. You can print it here, or there, post it on your blog, do whatever you want with it (within reason, even self-publishing has contracts, though they’re much looser). Once you sign a contract with a publisher, you’re locked in for however long you signed for, and you’re stuck fulfilling that contract on your end until the contract is up. Be very careful if you do sign one. Make sure it’s worth it. With self-publishing, you don’t have to worry about that.

PRO: Open-source. I compare going self-publishing vs. publishing house to PC vs. Mac. Sure, Mac products (publishing with a publishing houses) are flashy and impressive, like showing off your new iPhone (your badge of honor stating that your published with xyz publishing), but when it comes down to it, what should matter is which style suits you and your personality. Do you like the ability to do whatever the heck you want with your work, or do you want a publisher to tell you what’s important and what you should be doing with their product? Do you want to be able to hire a favored artist to design your cover? Most publishers have in-house designers that will work with you on cover art, and not always will they agree with you on who, or what, should go on the front of your book, even if you are a professional designer yourself.

CON: Marketing is left to you. Now, you’re part of the marketing plan even when you’re with a publisher, but with self-publishing, everything’s on you. Marketing can be like a second job that you don’t directly get paid for.

CON:  You take up the costs. Cover art, ISBN, printing, editing, proofreading, not to mention all that time dumped into research for all of this stuff. This can add up to a hefty price if not done carefully. Most of these costs can be avoided if you have the right connections though.

A consideration: Pride. neither a pro or con to some I suppose (some really aren’t affected by this point), but usually you deal with this issue in some way: and that issue is the stigma of self-publishing authors are lesser authors than those who sign on with a brick and mortar publisher. We all know the merits of a writer are unique and can’t be wholly determined by this one point alone, but your family doesn’t know that, your friends don’t know that, and people who ask what you do and find out that you’re a *dramatic voice* “self-published author” don’t know that. And it can hurt the pride every now and then when one of these people jokingly jab and say, “Oh, so you’re not like…you know, a real author,” when in reality, you’ve put just as much, if not more, into getting your book published and marketed than the author who signed with a publisher.


Now, which route is best for you?

For me, I usually go with self-publishing. This isn’t to say that going with a publisher is the wrong choice. In fact, given certain circumstances (big enough publisher, publisher that goes beyond the extra mile, doing multiple contiguous series, etc.), I’d say that I might sign on with a publisher instead of going it alone. But, in most cases, I’d go with self-publishing—and here’s why.

Tech Savvy: If you know your way around the most recent word-processing programs, know how to properly format a book for print or eprint, upload documents in the appropriate file extension, and can navigate and tinker with whatever self-publishing platform you’re going to be publishing with, then you’re set to go to self-publish. If not, you’ll need to do some homework before you choose to. Ask people you know how to do these things. (You know me now. :) don’t be afraid to ask questions)             

The Covenant
Artists/Designer: This isn’t a must, but it can help save a thousand bucks or so from hiring an artist to whip you up a cover photo. I love art, and almost went down that route in college. Regardless, I’ve painted off and on and keep up with design regularly. My wife is a professional designer, so we’ve pretty much got book art under control.

Editing/Proofreading: You can get away with having your stuff edited by a writers group, or proofread by friends and family for a while, but it’s advised you seek out a professional editor/proofreader. I own an editing/proofreading business, so I feel a bit more comfortable going through my own work and having writer friends help me out with particulars than most, but even I often consult professional editors, because nobody knows everything.

Networking: You’ll need to work on building a large network of readers. These readers can be anyone interested in what you’re writing about, whether they be other writers, friends, family, acquaintances, or, and most preferably, plain ol’ bookworms.

Time: Probably the biggest qualifier in this list. DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE TIME TO. If you just write your book, throw it up online, and leave it, you’ll only end up selling a few copies. Don’t waste your time writing a book to have it fail miserably. You need to market that book once a week at least, but every day if you can. That’s how you get started. You have to find new ways to introduce your book to people who may have already been marketed to by you. There are countless ways to do this, and they’re strewn all across the web, so go look for them. (I’ll try to do another post down the road on this point in particular.)

I have all of the mentioned above, so it makes sense for me to go down the self-publishing route, pocket the extra $2.00 per book (opposed to the $0.20 I would be making with a publisher) and remain free of contracts and dealing with the headache that follows when you throw an organization in with creative works.

Again, I understand that each person is different and appreciates different things. Publishing houses work great with some authors, and there are other authors, like myself, who would rather just be on their own in this regard. To each their own it’s true, but it helps to know before you go down either path which path is right for you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Children of Lilith Series by C. David Belt

I've been talking with author C. David Belt recently about his vampire trilogy, The Children of Lilith. Just reading through the descriptions of his books made me want to pick them up sometime in the future, so thought I'd share! If down the road I do pick them up and finish them, I'll do a review and let you know how it went for me.

A bit about the series

In all the 6,000 years that the Children of Lilith have walked among us, there has never been an unwilling vampire… until now.  

The Children of Lilith is the story of the world’s first and only unwilling vampire.  Set in present-day Utah, it’s the story of Carl Morgan, a decent LDS man who loses his wife and children in an automobile accident.  Then he witnesses the murder of his wayward sister at the hands of the beautiful and mysterious Rebecca.  When the police can’t find the killer, he goes searching for her.  Carl finds Rebecca, but she takes away everything.  She transforms him into the world’s first and only unwilling vampire.  Vampirism is a choice, and you’re choosing to become a serial killer, because you can only survive on HUMAN blood, not animal blood.  Carl is unwilling to murder to survive and he really doesn’t understand what has happened to him.  He’s found and mentored by Moira MacDonald, a two-hundred and seventy year-old Penitent (repentant vampire).  She teaches him how to survive without killing, how to stay true to his temple covenants (in spite of his condition), and how to get justice for his murdered sister.  But to Moira?  Carl’s very existence as an unwilling vampire turns her world upside-down, because Carl is an impossibility.  In the 6,000 years that the Children of Lilith have walked the earth, there has never been an unwilling vampire, because eternal damnation cannot be forced on someone: they must choose it, just as Moira did.  And yet, there’s Carl.  If he can exist somehow, there must be something about Moira’s condition that she doesn’t know.  Is it possible that, after two and a half centuries of searching for redemption and repentance with no hope, perhaps there might somehow be a way back?  Meanwhile, Rebecca’s vampire Master, Michael, plans to unleash a wave of new vampires on the city.  Carl and Moira must stop him before countless innocents are slaughtered.
The Unwilling: 

In all the 6,000 years that the Children of Lilith have walked among us, there has never been an unwilling vampire...until now.

Carl Morgan has lost everything. His wife and children were killed in a senseless accident. Then he witnesses the murder of his sister at the hands of a beautiful and mysterious woman named Rebecca. When the police cannot locate the killer, Carl takes matters into his own hands. But his search for justice costs him everything he holds dear.

Carl is unknowingly transformed into the world's first and only unwilling vampire. He is cut off from the light, damned to an eternity of darkness, barred from heaven and any hope of a reunion with his family.

Moira MacDonald, a repentant vampire, has roamed the earth alone for centuries seeking redemption. The very existence of an unwilling vampire, something she thought impossible, changes everything. Has she finally found a path to redemption . . . and an end to her loneliness?

Carl and Moira discover that Rebecca's vampire Master, Michael, plans to unleash a plague of vampires on the city. Can Carl and Moira stop the slaughter of countless innocents?

 The Penitent:

In 6,000 years, no vampire has ever defied Lilith, Queen of the vampires...until now.

Moira and Carl Morgan have saved the city from the horror of Michael and his evil wives, but victory has come at terrible cost.  And there are consequences to every choice, every victory.  Word has spread that someone has broken Lilith's power, that someone has defied the ancient Queen of the vampires.   And she's not happy about it.


 The Prophecy:
For 6,000 years, Lilith and her Children have walked the earth, hunting, preying, seducing, corrupting, ruling from the shadows...until now.

An ancient prophecy, spoken by Adam, Lilith's grandfather, foretells her doom. She will do anything, corrupt any innocent, murder countless mortals to save herself.  To survive, she knows she must destroy Carl and Moira Morgan.  The war has begun.  And Carl and Moira know, win or lose, it all ends here.

There you have it! All three books. Would you like to know a bit more about the author? Well keep reading then! Here's a bit about him and where you can find him.

Author Bio
C. David Belt was born in Evanston, WY. As a child, he lived and traveled extensively around the Far East. He served as an LDS missionary in South Korea and southern California (Korean-speaking). He graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a minor in Aerospace Studies. He served as a B-52 pilot in the US Air Force and as an Air Weapons Controller in the Washington Air National Guard. When he is not writing, he sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and works as a software engineer. He collects swords (mostly Scottish), axes, spears, and other medieval weapons and armor. He and his wife have six children and live in Utah with an eclectus parrot named Mork (who likes to jump on the keyboard when David is writing).

You can find his books on the official The Children of Lilith website:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Covenant by Paul Yoder

Title: The Covenant

Author: Paul Yoder

Series: The Bracken Covenant #2

Genre: Supernatural/Suspense

If you like suspense that runs a very thin line between reality and dark fantasy, this series is for you. Though the series is set in modern setting, its origins run back to the time of fey and forbidden fairytale.

Book Description

Dr. Carver, who is the head of the English department at Stanford University, would not be the most likely of men to embark on a mission to save a group of kidnapped kids from devil-worshiping zealots in an underground facility, but after trailing a suspected colleague, and witnessing a kidnapping first hand, his pursuit quickly lands him in an underground bomb shelter, renovated as a secret monastery for a cult that calls themselves "The Bracken Covenant."

Dr. Carver and the group of kidnapped kids struggle to survive the horrors of the elaborate underground cultist den. Outnumbered and vulnerable, with the kids being easy targets for not just the demonic zealots, but the wretched, feral animal experiments that the zealots keep underground, Dr. Carver has to lead the kids through trial after trial of both man and beast to escape before the covenant can cave in the underground passages, trapping them inside a den of evil—doomed to share the same fate as the hundreds of tortured spirits that reside there.

Excerpt from The Covenant

Making it to the shelf which the candle burned on, he stopped and turned back the way he had come just in time to hear the chanting grow louder, seeing a hooded figure in the doorway before the door shut again. Someone had just entered the room.

Digging in his pockets, he pulled out the taser that he had taken from Mucot and aimed it into the darkness, nervously waiting for the figure to loom into the candle’s dim light.

It went quiet other than the consistent chanting from the ceremonial room, the voices getting louder and louder, making it impossible to hear if the zealot was approaching him or not, until, all at once, the chanting stopped, and the only sound that Dr. Carver could hear was a sloshing behind him, sounding as if in another room.

 Interested? Well what are you waiting for? Pick up a copy today and start your adventure!

as an eBook on Kindle - $2.99
as a Paperback on Createspace - $8.99
as a Paperback on Amazon - $8.99

If you would like to follow this author, we've got you covered! Here's all their little hiding spots. :)

Paul's Blog