Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Recently, I’ve taken the Indie Publishing thing more seriously. I believe there is only two ways to go about this. Do it or don’t.

I’ve also learned that is also hard work and that it requires a different mind set from traditional publishing.

Traditional publishing you have the acceptance of the publisher etc and they (hopefully) have a strategy to market your books. If you have the print deal you get into books stores and launches and if the publishers are pretty good you’ll have some press releases and even a marketer selling your books, getting you press in various places. These days you have to do some of your own marketing, Twitter, Facebook Pages, Blogs, Instagram etc etc.

That is nothing like Indie Publishing. And I don’t even know the half of it. I’m at the bottom of the hill pushing the dung to the top.

So what have I learned so far?

Advice is out there. Ask. I have learned so much mostly from the generosity of Patty Jansen and her cadre of Indie Publishers. (I’ll put a link up her page at the bottom of this post). Believe me there is a lot to ask.

Putting your book up on Smashwords or Ingrams and expecting it to sell doesn’t work (except maybe in some fluke circumstances). Believe me I had a book up there and it didn’t do much. You have to write more books. I had to turn that one Indie Published book into a trilogy. And I have the rights  back to another series so by mid-year I’ll be playing with eight Indie Published books and that gives me more options marketing wise/promotion wise. This does not include my traditionally published works under my own name and my pen name.

New skill sets…administration, formatting, Photoshop, buying stock images, learning about newsletters, different places to market my books, cross-promotions, pricing etc.

That’s just a quick overview. You really don’t understand until you do it. For example, I buy my own ISBNs so they have to be registered, then I register them with the National Library Catalogue in Print, then there is listing the books with different sellers and distributors, writing blurbs (the hardest thing of all), hiring editors, proofreaders, cover artists and writing briefs for cover artists. There are the ebooks to format and upload and print files to prepare…yadda yadda

Yet, it is rewarding. This has been the most challenging thing that I have done. It’s scary. It’s empowering. But most important of all–it’s a business. That’s the biggest change in mindset for me. I want to make a living from my writing. I want people to read and enjoy my books. I have to get the books out there. I have to find my audience.

So big achievement of the week. There have been a number of them, but sending out my first newsletter is the star  moment.

I’ve called the newsletter Wing Dust. People who have read the Dragon Wine series will get the reference.

Here is my newsletter banner, which I put together on Photoshop. Thank you You Tube for the tutorial. (It’s a very complicated and powerful program btw).

Newsletter banner master amended

If you want to sign up to my newsletter click here. 

You can unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time.

Heartfelt thank you to Patty Jansen. I suggest reading a few of her posts on Indie Publishing. Great advice and good sense from her. You can find her here.

Advertisements

Just sharing a snippet from Opi Battles the Space Pirates. The book is only available on Amazon and Amazon Unlimited for the moment.

The Blurb

Ms Opeia Gayens, head of AllEarth Corp, has a problem—her company is rotten with Space Pirates. She wants to get rid of them once and for all. An unexpected invitation to dinner challenges her plans to be the bait that will draw the nasty pirates out. It’s been forever since she’s been on a date—just been Opi. Somehow, Owain McDevitt, mild-mannered, potato farmer from the planet Islay 2 is drawn into the intrigue. Yet, no one is who they seem, least of all Owain McDevitt.

opibattlesthespacepirates

Chapter One

Explosive Personality

 

Opeia Gayens was having a bad day. She was tired, oh so tired, and a wee bit cranky. Running AllEarth Corp had its highs and its lows. So far today had been one of the lows. And it wasn’t getting any better. Not only had her daughter, Rae, just told her that she didn’t want to join the company or want her inheritance, this executive interview with Jors Finksy had taken a bad turn.

Finksy held out a hot pink, round object about the size of a tennis ball that looked suspiciously like a plastic explosive. ‘This is a bomb,’ he declared, waving at her. ‘I’m going to take you with me.’

Opeia let out a sigh, moved her knee to key her distress alarm. ‘That,’ she said, ‘is rather counter-productive.’

It had been a run-of-the-mill ethics appraisal. Obviously, the testing regime designed to filter out space pirates, or those likely to be suborned by space pirates, was more stressful than she anticipated for her employee to take such drastic measures.

Jors had standing-on-end, spikey, white hair and his red, sweating face sported puffy cheeks and very pale eyes. His burnished-silver body suit hugged his plump frame in a less than complimentary manner. Not the sort to bring a bomb to a meeting.

Her security chief, Mueller, was going to get an earful for his team letting this incendiary device through the screening procedures. It signalled a lapse that wasn’t acceptable. She eyed the bomb. It had no discernible controls or wires or lights. It looked like a lurid, ball of soft, mouldable plastic that a child might play with.

Finksy stood up suddenly, waving the ball around. Instinctively, Opeia leant back. Where was her security team anyhow?

‘You were going to dismiss me from my job. It’s all I have…’

Opeia blinked. She hadn’t been about to sack the poor fellow, but that outcome seemed inevitable now.

Distracted by security taking their time, Opeia was taken by surprise when Finksy thrust the bomb into her face. Instinctively, she slapped his hand and the bomb flew up. She leapt for it in case it would explode on impact. She caught it with one hand and with the other, punched her terrorist under the chin. The man wasn’t expecting it and went down.

Letting out a breath, she had one second of relaxation and then she noticed the bomb started to sweat in her hand and was slightly warm. Leaning down, she said into her intercom, ‘Polly where the hell is security!’

‘Oh? We thought you’d triggered it by accident.’

‘I have a bomb in my hand and an unconscious executive who will come around very soon. Get the team in here now.’

Polly didn’t answer but in about thirty seconds her door slid open. ‘Don’t move,’ the lead security guy said. ‘Smithy, get up here with the analyser.’

Opeia swallowed and looked slowly down at her hand. ‘Geez.’ Bubbles appeared on surface of the ball. There was a chemical reaction going on. The hot pink bomb was definitely giving off heat. Why had she tackled for the bomb anyhow? Was she insane?

Smithy, face covered in a shock proof shield, aimed the pointy end of the analyser at her. ‘Plastic explosive. DNA key.’

‘Can’t you get a bin or something. I don’t want it going off in my hand.’

Smithy backed up, head titled on the side. ‘Containment possible,’ he spoke into the mic.

A rumble from the back of the door and a trolley came in, bearing a two metre by two metre metal box.

Smithy keyed a small panel. ‘Now, mam, a drawer will slide out. Quickly place the device onto it and back away. It will shut rapidly and should contain the blast.’

Opeia looked up. ‘Should? Great.’

From the bottom end of the metal box, a square door opened up. It could hold a basket ball-sized object. With lips compressed, Opeia bent her knees, bringing the bomb closer. The bubbles on the surface of the bomb resembled boils now. The heat it gave off was starting to burn her palm. Carefully, she placed her hand near the bottom of the box and started tilting her hand to allow the ball to slide off.

Finksy sat up suddenly and shook his head. ‘Stop!’ he said. Opeia jerked her hand with surprise. The bomb dropped. She snatched her hand back. A security guard charged forward tackling her to the ground to shelter her with his body. The drawer shut with a snap. The containment box jumped and a loud boom sounded from inside. From where the little drawer had retracted, the metal had melted and fumes were rising.

The guard levered himself off her. ‘Pardon me, mam.’ The label on his hazard gear gave his name as Muri. He offered his hand and assisted her to stand.

‘Thank you, Mr Muri.’

Another security man came up and sprayed her hands. The burning stopped as the spray cooled her skin.

Two burly ones grabbed Finksy. They brought him in front of her.

Her hands were red and the skin had started to peel. Compared to what could have happened. No hands. Or no body. She had come off lightly. ‘Mr Finksy. I am sorry to have to tell you but you’re fired…and under arrest.’

The containment box was wheeled out. The security team followed, along with Finksy who was quite verbal in his resentment. When they left, Polly buzzed. ‘Chief Mueller for you.’

‘Send him in.’

‘He’s not actually here, sorry. On comms.’

Too chicken to face her. Damn the man. Walking to her desk, she keyed her comms. ‘Mueller what the actual?’ she yelled at him. He opened his mouth and kept it open. ‘Nobody responded to my distress alarm and how did that goddam bomb get through screening?’

‘Ms Gayens…Opeia…’

‘Don’t try to sweet talk me.’ Mueller’s bull dog face loomed on the viewscreen.

‘I won’t. The bomb was a new type of material,’ he rushed on before she could interrupt again. ‘We had rumours of it being in production but our screening wasn’t calibrated. It is now.’ He let out a breath. ‘The non-response is a bit more difficult to explain.’ He ran his fingers through his short cropped hair. ‘It had been reported to me that you accidentally set off your distress alarm seven times in the last month. My men advise that you were pretty pissy at them for the repeated interruptions when they responded as per procedure.’

Opeia nodded, recollecting the mayhem. The distress switch had been relocated to under the desk so she could call for help without anyone knowing, unfortunately she kept bumping it. Her annoyance at having important and confidential meetings and video conferences interrupted had been quite strong and verbal. May have involved threats too. She chewed the inside of her cheek. ‘Put the location of my distress alarm back on our regular agenda. I don’t want to be left vulnerable like that again.’

‘I’ll tighten security measures.’

‘No! Goddam it Mueller! They are so tight already.’ As it was she hardly saw normal people. Her children were exempt from the security procedures but not anyone else. At times it was a tad embarrassing. I hope the cavity search wasn’t too uncomfortable, Mr…

‘But not tight enough. Today is a good example.’

‘You’ve explained today. It won’t happen again.’ He opened his mouth to protest but she raised her hand. ‘Your hand to hand training came in useful.’ She thought this would divert him.

He growled. ‘Ms Gayens you aren’t meant to tackle people with bombs or grab the devices yourself. May I remind you that you could have died if it had been another type of bomb?’

‘I know. I’m sorry. I just reacted when he thrust the bomb in my face and no one had come to help.”

He let out a sigh and rubbed his hand through his hair. ‘I see.’

Opeia thought she could wrap this up with another diversion. ‘Say, can you send me an update on that bomb material. DNA triggered you say? Let me get across that.’

‘Very well. Done and agreed. The information will be sent to you by the end of the day. My advice is that you should not have ill effects from holding the bomb except for some superficial burns.’

She held up her hands. ‘I got that part.’

‘Although I wish you hadn’t tackled the man and taken it.

‘I know. I don’t know what came over me. Spur of the moment—panic. It was entirely stupid. It won’t happen again.’

Mueller grunted and she keyed off. Turning to her handheld, she entered in the information about Finksy’s dismissal and sent a memo to her personnel manager to start new recruitment activity. Then she slumped across her desk. She was sick to the bone of this. Over it. That’s why Rae’s message had gutted her. If she wasn’t doing this for her daughter why was she doing it? Essa, her other daughter, had already bailed a year ago.

Sometime later her office door chimed. ‘May I come in?’ Polly, her personal assistant, asked as she poked her head through the gap in the sliding door. Polly was a few years younger than Opeia and had such an easy going personality that Opeia thought of her as a friend. About five foot five, trim with a pixie-like face, she was a trendy dresser and was forever ribbing Opeia about her penchant for pantsuits for business or shapeless coveralls when travelling on space cruisers. Polly argued they marred her beauty, where Opeia thought they hid a multitude of sins, like a peach shaped butt, well-rounded belly, largish breasts and generous thighs.

‘Sure, Pol. What is it?’ Opeia sat up and self-consciously tugged at the tunic top of her pale lemon, pantsuit. The material was self-cleaning and wrinkle proof. What could be easier?

Polly raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips, then let out a sigh before continuing. ‘I have a priority-keyed message for you from someone called,’ she looked down at her handheld. ‘Owain McDevitt.’

‘Who?’

Polly sighed. ‘Owain McDevitt.’ She scrolled through the page on her handheld. ‘McDevitt Enterprises. You completed the takeover of his transport companies last year. All the official paperwork is completed.’

‘Refresh my memory. What did I do to him, actually?’


Intrigued? You can buy or download Opi Battles the Space Pirates here.

Want to hear about special deals? Sign up to my newsletter here.

Some people may think writing a book is easy. Maybe writing a trilogy isn’t too hard. And that fantasy stuff? Why it’s all made up so what’s the problem? Anyone can make stuff up.

Ahhh…I’ve finished a trilogy and it was a challenge. I thought they were easy before I finished one. Now I know it’s damn hard work. Also, I started The Silverlands more than fifteen years ago. I know so much more now than I did then but it’s hard to go back and change things so you have to be happy with what you have and what you can achieve within the limitations of your original vision.

But the map? I always had a drawing of Argenterra but a wise person once said to me back in 2003-That’s not a map! And proceeded to tell me all the things that were wrong with it-scale, place names, the size of a lake etc.

Through the years I worked on the Silverlands series and on Argenterra, the imagined land. I thought about the landscape and what is going on with the magic in that land. How did it get there? What does it do? What does it all mean?

To cut a long story short, with the excellent assistance of Russell Kirkpatrick, (@insanemapboy), I have a map. It was hard work. I think I drove Russell to the brink of madness. I’m sure he wanted to throttle me. Yet, he dragged me kicking and screaming into a better understanding of maps and I listened. So now there is the map of Argenterra, taken from my scribble and drawn into perfection. (as perfect as it is going to get). The ebook is not going to show the map well. The print book maybe. So I’m putting it here for you all to see. You won’t see the tears, the sweat, the anguish, the retro fitting. I mean I literally moved mountains and changed the course of rivers to bring you this. Something I envisaged so long ago and now here looking awesome.

Final Map Argenterra

And, yes, it was Russell Kirkpatrick that told me my map wasn’t a map way back in 2003, when I was a babe in the woods. He sent me on a path to better understanding. Thanks Russell.

I have put the map with the series description under MyBooks! Link is here.

 

 

Time flies! I meant to write this post when I got back but with one thing and another it got delayed.

I had a fab time. It is such a shame there will be no more reader conventions. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Australian Romance Readers Association will come up with in future because they are badass organisers.

So for a romance writer at a reader convention there are these things called swag or loot where writers give stuff away. It can be corny condoms, chocolate with flyers for books, post it notes, pens etc. A lot of it can be personalised. Often it will just be on a general table. When I went to RT Convention in New Orleans authors and publishers had to pay to put their swag in a special room, where readers could go in and take what they want. So as I knew this was the last convention I thought I’d go for the swag giveaway.

My book Opi Battles the Space Pirates was meant to be out. First, I was going to give away print copies, but I didn’t get the cover in time. Then I didn’t get the cover in time to give away Ebooks. So in the end I copied the Ebook (without cover) to USBs and included them in the loot bags.

Ten lucky people got the swag with the book on a USB stick. I had another six bags with general loot. Cautionary tale, don’t put the chocolate hearts in until after you have driven from Canberra to Melbourne as the chocolate will sweat in the heat. Other than packing, that was my preparation.

On the way down and on the way back I stopped at my favourite place, Benalla Art Gallery. This is a picture of the view from where I ate my lunch!

IMG_7467

So what was different about this ARRC? This is my third convention attendance and this time it was in Melbourne at the Rydges in Exhibition Street. Great location and great hotel. Always a good start.

I signed up for the extra-curricular activities, such as the high tea at Zumbo’s and the cruise but my first foray into meeting readers was in the lift. I spoke to Tiffany (waves to Tiffany) and asked her if she was there for the convention. We talked favourite genre on the way up in the lift. She reads paranormal and I write it. So good start. Good on me for being friendly and actually saying hi! to someone. I’m an extrovert but I don’t always find it easy.

Next up was saying hello to whoever was around while waiting for the bus to the high tea.

Keri Arthur called me over, then CS Pacat was there. Say hi to these talented and lovely authors!

IMG_7471

I don’t have a photo of her, but a few minutes after this photo was taken, Debbie (chair) introduced Courtney Milan to us and we hung together for the bus ride (ended up being a life dare to ride that thing) to Zumbos. The high tea was amazing. I’m trying not to put on weight so I figured there were parts of the high tea I could skip. No! I couldn’t. It was all different and peculiar and amazing. The food gave everyone something to talk about. I sat next to Keri Arthur, opposite Cat Pacat and with Courtney Milan, but even better I had eight readers on my left side and I got to talk with them all. Here’s the test. Can I remember all their names?

First up was Tiffany who I met in the lift, then Amanda (we became buddies), Yanna (also became a buddy) oh oh…Barbara?, then ???, the Melissa and Melanie….oh I was so close. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Anyway it was so much fun. I talked all manner of science fiction and fantasy as well as romance reading across the table, sharing our faves and also picking up new recommendations. Melanie I knew from Canberra. She’s a librarian and she had already encouraged me to read McMaster Bujold’s Vorkorisgan series. My fun moment was when Courtney Milan realised she was sitting next to CS Pacat and she had a fangirl moment. That must have been very cool for Cat! (hahaha).

Then it was back to the hotel, where there were a few close shaves in the bus. Glad to be still living, we went off to get ready for drinks. I really did go over my limit. More on that later. Got to talk to heaps of people. Got to chat with Kristen Callihan, but I didn’t know who she was. (she gave an awesome talk by the way!) PS I stole this photo from Yanna on Facebook.

arrc group

Then came the Trivia Quiz. That was hard. I was tipsy. I snaffled Melanie and Melissa and Amanda with us writers. It was hard. We did well in the movies, abysmally elsewhere. We won Ice Magic topping for our ice cream. We also won Tim Tams. In the end we resorted to making up answers. Being silly was the fun part of it. We didn’t win either.

Next day the conference started. One of the really cool things I did and I think other conventions should steal this idea was author speed dating. (I keep writing hot dating but that just boggles the imagination). Ten authors, ten readers, four minutes each!  It was great for author/reader interaction, which is sometimes hard to do even at a reader convention. I got to give away nine of my goodie bags. I was so pleased. One reader didn’t show. It was a great way for readers to discover new authors too.

Later that day was the book signing. It took place in Bobby McGees nightclub and it was an interesting venue. The prize for the most startling attraction to her table goes to Wanda Wiltshire for a shirtless man with wings. The poor man was freezing but you know it worked! The photo below is from my signing table. I gave away the rest of my goodie bags and sold a book. Woot! Sorry no picture of the bare-chested man or is that fairy?

IMG_7474

I also went along to the Harlequin drinks and had a very interesting conversation with Narelle Harris, who talked about her slash Holmes/Watson book, called A Colonial Boy (I bought the book later). Thank you Harlequin!

IMG_7472

Next big thing was the ARRA Awards dinner. I sat at the table with the most awards. Keri Arthur won for her section and Anne Gracie won about five awards. I really should have taken a photo with Anne and her collection. It was amazing.I sat with Anne Gracie at the signing so I can understand how much that support from readers means to her. I did snag a photo of Keri though.

IMG_7493

Melissa and I went into the bling off. Melissa should have won. She made her outfit but she needed to flash her sequined bra to bring it off. Kate Cuthbert co-judge offered to send her a prize. I wore my amazing Bollywood-type shoes I bought on a shopping expedition with Keri Arthur in New Orleans. Below is Melissa and below that my shoes.

IMG_7494

IMG_7496

Yanna and Amanda came over to take a snapshot of us in our finery.

IMG_7487

On Sunday, I chaired a panel on Feminism versus Romance. At the end of this post is a link to a post about that panel. Renee Dahlia took what looks like incredibly detailed notes. I was nervous as all hell. I’d left my computer at my friend’s place in Melbourne, thinking that I wouldn’t be writing then remembered it had all the stuff for the panel on it. Anne Gracie kindly chatted to me in the dealer’s room beforehand. I was pacing. She also had a print out of the questions. Handy!

I thought the panel discussion went well. I’m usually good at public speaking but I did feel nervous. The panel itself was so interesting and right on my PhD topic area. Thank you to the lovely authors, Erica Hayes, Anne Gracie, Amber Bardan and Bronwyn Parry for a great discussion.

After the panel I fell into a heap. I got to hear Courtney Milan’s guest speech and Kristen Callihan’s which were so worth it. I missed Kylie Scott’s which was a shame but I was busy doing other stuff. It was a sad goodbye at the end of the convention. The team really do organise well and there was masses of food and the hotel room was great.

I should give a shout out to my roommate, Catherine Evans. She was fun to hang with and so quiet. We had some fun midnight discussions and she drinks as much tea as I do.

So the convention was over but there was more. Yes, a river cruise and it was in a Tramboat. Very cute little thing. I got to hang out with my mates, Yanna and Amanda and we also had breakfast together. I’d been out for dinner on Sunday night and ate way too much and spent an uncomfortable night so was not feeling the best. But their company cheered me up.

IMG_7499IMG_7508

And that was that. A lovely weekend, great weather. Lovely people. Thank you so much ARRA for a great weekend. Edit! A shout out to Pamela Diaz for great MCing and her general sweetness.

A pic of me taken by Amanda. Drinking tea as I do.

IMG_7510

Notes to Feminism versus Romance panel discussion. Here.

Hugs!

I was trying to come up with a nifty way to encourage romance readers to respond to my survey for my Phd. So I’m putting this here so I can test it. Smile!

survey ad readers

 

So here is the one for writers.

writers of romance fiction

I’ve been writing creative prose now for over fifteen years.

I realise now that my story and novel writing has mostly been by instinct. Sure I’ve done some workshops along the way. I recall a workshop I took with Cate Kennedy in 2003 and I had an epiphany! Something she said turned my brain, just titled me until I saw it. I was so blown away by her workshop that I wrote poetry about her and my experience. It was bad poetry but still I wrote poetry!

One of the takeaways from that workshop was using the silences. What people don’t say! Who would have thunk it!

I am undertaking a creative writing PhD and this year (year 2) for me is all about improving as a writer. This means reading. It means writing. And on top of that I sought out ways to improve my technique, my skill, my craft…whatever you want to call it.

So I’m taking a Screenwriting course at the University of Canberra. Now as I said I’ve done workshops, read books about writing and even workshops that looked at the film structure and how to analyse your writing. But OH MY GOD! Screenwriting is blowing me away. Truly, I’m sitting there listening to a lecture about premise and the five important things and I jolt in my seat. Issue with latest book that agent rejected. Solved.

As I listened and took notes, I realised where my writing worked well for me was where I had a premise. Dragon wine for instance has a premise: How low can humans go and are they worth saving. That’s not quite worded exactly like a premise but for me it’s a guiding moral for the story. To be a premise it would need to be. No matter how low humankind sinks, it is still worth saving.

The other big takeaway for me is it’s not the risk of failure but the price of success. Oh wow. I am reborn. In Dragon wine I decided when I planned it that I wasn’t going to be nice to my characters. They were going to risk all for what they want. Unwittingly I stumbled across this.

I’m not saying that Screenwriting is the same as prose writing. It’s not. But the story essentials, such as structure etc are universal. And those techniques can help you refine your writing.

So for future works. I’m going to blow you all out of the water.

I mentioned yesterday  it’s been hectic here at Dweebenhiem!

First thing first, Oathbound, Silverlands Book Two is up for pre-order on Amazon. Finally!

Oathbound

You can pre order by clicking HERE!

I haven’t organised other retailers yet but I will soon and let you know.

I hope to have the proofreading changes in this week and a map! Yes, I finally did the map and it’s with a professional to make it look gorgeous. I’m not really good at drawing.

Ungiven Land, Silverlands Book Three, has been sent to the editor so it’s not too far behind. I hope to have it out by June.

To those of you who haven’t got your copy of Argenterra, it is up for grabs on Instafreebie. It will be up for grabs for free a short time.

Argenterra with subtitle

Here is the Instafreebie the link.

Argenterra is also available in print. Here is the Bookdepository Link.

And if you want to know more about the series check out the series page here.

And there is a preview of Argenterra here.