The Distomos – Now On Sale

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that I finished writing my first novel, The Distomos, at the end of October 2013. Now here I am – two years later – getting started to work on the final book in the series!

So to celebrate this momentous occasion for myself – and just in time for Christmas – The Distomos will be on sale for a limited time!

Ebook Copies
$9.99
70% off
Now $2.99

Physical Copies
$24.50
20% off
Now $19.60

I’m told the sale prices will take a short amount of time before they appear on these other fine retailers, however you can get the books and Ebooks from me directly, or from Lulu.com for the sale prices right away.

You can purchase paperback copies from:
Me! Just ask!
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes & Noble.com
Lulu.com

Ebook copies are available at:
iTunes Store
Barnes & Noble NOOK
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

The Dark Side of Self-Publishing

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve decided not to take the self-publishing route for my next book.

“Why not?” you ask. Let’s get into the nitty gritty with the Dark Side of Self-Publishing.

You’re On Your Own

You would think that self-publishing is pretty self-explanatory: you’re on your own. It’s not “group-publishing” after all. So how could being on your own be an issue?

Speaking with authors, listening to author workshops, and just generally knowing other people in the field of writing can be pretty darn helpful when writing a book. Not only are they available to bounce ideas off of, but those people don’t care to hurt your feelings. When you’re grouped with similar-minded authors or are at least starting to get to know people in the field/related to your work, it’s helpful to have those like-minded folk close by to call up when you’re struggling with a particular scene or needing help to find the right word for something.

Zoidberg Book

Now obviously that kind of description above implies you’ve already been published or are connected to network of writers, editors, etc, to call upon. If you’re not involved with one, it is something you will get forced in to when it comes to sending your book to a publisher for print. Your book will need to be edited and proofread by the publisher team and thus opening the doors to a whole new world: acceptance and rejection.

Friends and family let you down easy and fluff a lot of things for you. Now I’m not saying my personal experience was like that, but it certainly helps to have someone who is more crass in their opinions of writing. Why not make that person some sort of professional in the field? Don’t do it alone!

The Scams

Writing a book is one thing. Learning how to publish it is an entirely different animal.

When I went about looking how to self-publish, I had to be very diligent to find what company was actually a legitimate publishing company. There are plenty of websites out there that sell themselves really well but actually provide little of any results. There’s a few that will publish your book but not provide you with any income. I know, right?

I won’t name names, but there were a few sites I considered that ended up having class-action lawsuits against them in other parts of the world. It’s important to do your research about these companies before you go any further with putting your hard-work to their potential scamming services. But a bit more on this later.

The Cost

Save up.

Empty Wallet

Remember: YOU are the publisher. You are using someone else’s service to PRINT and possibly DISTRIBUTE your books for you. Therefore all of the costs around printing and possibly distributing are entirely on you.

It’s strange to think of yourself as a publisher as you’re just one person, but that’s really what it is! You are your own publishing house and thus you’ll encounter a lot of the costs a publisher would have had to pay. Whether it be printing the books, buying rights to certain font, or getting someone to create the cover art of your book – it’s all on you!

While the final cost of the book heavily varies on how many copies you want to have printed and the quality of the overall book, expect say, 100 books to start around $1000 in your cost. This is a rough estimate in Canadian dollars, but hey – at least you have an idea to save up for something. So yes, that’s $10 per book – your cost.

The Learning Curve

You may think a book is a book: it has a cover, page numbers, a spine, an About the Author section – you’re all set. Right?

NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! You’re not even close!

While explaining this section could take multiple blogs, I’ll try to make it concise: to guarantee your book to be mass-produced and accepted in book stores across the world (such as Amazon, Indigo Books, etc), you have to follow globally accepted publishing formats and standards to get your book into bookshelves.

These are including, but not limited to: making your margins meet properly within the pages of the book, using the proper, non-copyright font (ie. Times New Roman, Garamond – just because the font is in Microsoft Office does NOT mean it’s free to publish your book with it), make sure the font on the spine of your book meets within the sizing parameters, have a barcode present on your book cover, have numbered pages, have a copyright page in the front of your book, have multiple title pages at the beginning of your book, have an ISBN number, and so on.

While those are some examples, it’s important to know there are a lot of legalities to publishing a book. While your copyright claims the book to be yours, it may not hurt to register it for copyright as well.

A side about the fonts: this is what caught me off-guard the most. There are fonts within your computer that you can write whatever you want in, but when it comes to making money off of your book, you’re technically using a font that is not licensed for commercial use. So if you’re DYING to use a particular font for your book, you may need to pay up.

And remember: you’re on your own to figure this out! Get it right or it’ll cost you.

However, if you went through a publisher, you don’t have to worry about any of that stuff.

The Fear and Expectations

You’ve done it! You’ve wrote your book, got it published and are ready to sell! Now what?

Get out there and sell! Wait, you only have friends and family buying? What happened? You printed 500 copies because you knew it was going to be a hit. Everyone said they’d buy a book! But now you’re finacally in the hole and sitting on boxes of your work without anyone willing to buy them.

And there lies the next problem with self-publishing: the support.

While you can take pre-orders from people before you order your books, you can’t guarantee they’ll still buy them. To make things even more difficult, once your book is published, you can’t just expect word to get out and people to flock to you for purchases. You need to advertise and you need to advertise HARD.

Go to conventions, go to libraries, go to poetry readings: just get out there and start pumping your book out!

I mentioned scamming services before, and I want to touch back on them. Some scamming services are even involved or connected to some of the big book stores. When it comes to trying to get your book into stores, if you’re self-publishing, you’ll have to fork out tons more cash to make it work as you’re essentially “buying yourself a spot” in a book store. When you use the self-publish service of these businesses, you’re told you’ll be guaranteed placement in stores, book signings, and the like. However it may not – and probably will not – meet your expectation in sales. It will only hurt you financially and emotionally, so it’s recommended to stay away from these kinds of places.

Some places even tell you they will not publish your book until it is professionally edited by their editors. They’ll pressure you into paying or harass you to work with them as they try to make you believe there’s no one else who’d accept your book. It’s sort of like a relationship gone bad.

Emperor Palpatine Book

On the bright side, if you go the route of a publisher, you don’t have to worry about doing all of the legwork yourself. Most of these publishers have their connections to the book stores anyway, so it’s just a matter of signing up with them and then bam! You’re in the book store! Remember: they want you to succeed as much as you do. They’re in it to sell your book and make money, not to scam you. This is why there’s very little – if any – upfront costs when going through a legitimate publisher.

If you’re a local author, some book stores do offer a bit of help, but that requires you to find out who does that and you’re stuck doing what they ask you to do. After all, they’re providing you with a service you’d not get elsewhere.

As for the fear: you don’t really know how well your book will do. You don’t know if it’ll end up dead on arrival. You don’t know if everyone who said they’d buy a book would actually buy one. You don’t know if you just sunk hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars into your book only to find yourself in the finacal hole for the next couple of years.

You don’t know and it’s pretty freaking scary.

But take solace: because you wrote a book and saw it through to its conclusion.

Speaking of Conclusions

I self-published my book and I saw my book through its conclusion. While I’m quite happy with how it went, I know it could have done better if I only had all of the time in the world to do what needed to be done. Unfortunately that’s impossible unless Earth conveniently switches to 54-hour days.

I enjoyed self-publishing and I got a kick out of learning all of the legalities and rules behind it. But I’m a strange person that enjoy boring things like that. You? Probably not so much. And while I did enjoy learning the ins and outs of self-publishing, I feel like I’ve put all of that behind me. I set out to make my own book – and I did it. Me and no one else.

Going forward, however, I do not feel like shouldering the responsibility of self-publishing again. There were a lot of things I could’ve done better – such as advertising, getting my book into stores, and having more professionals check out my book before it went to print. Alas, I didn’t and yet my book, The Distomos, still exists. I’m still really proud of it and glad it’s done.

So while I made self-publishing to sound scarier than it probably is, it’s more or less just a lot of work. A LOT of work. And also making sure you’re doing your due-diligence. Personally, I do not feel like doing that all over again. But that’s not stopping me, and I’m excited to see where my new venture takes me.

If you have any questions, stories, or comments about self-publishing, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll do my best to address everything you throw at me!

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’.

The Next Book!

It’s been a while, no? Remember that time I wrote a book?

Can you believe it has only been eight months since The Distomos was released? It still seems kind of baffling to me that my book is out there in ISBN-land possibly grazing with other books in the library fields.

After I released The Distomos, real-life work picked up and kept me away from really focusing any attention to promoting the book any further. But that’s okay! I knew that was going to happen. While its sales did exceed my expectations, I definitely could have done better in promoting it had it been something to realistically pay my bills. Alas, at least my foot is in the door for bigger and better things!

Which brings me to: I’m writing another book!

While this may not come as a shock to all of you, it took me a long time to think of what to write next. While I have MANY stories on the agenda, I figured I wanted to get the story of The Distomos done and out of the way. This is why my next book will be a direct sequel (with a bit of prequel) to The Distomos! This also brings me to tell you, it will be the final book of the series, effectively making it a duology. Screw that trilogy hype.

I’ve always planned on The Distomos being two books, but I was unsure if I wanted to do the sequel right away. I feel that I need to finish off these characters and finish the story to really be “at peace” and effectively move on from my creation.

While some of you may be irked that I’m following the path of familiar ground for the next book, let me tell you: I’ve already plotted the sequel and it’s going to be a much bigger, if not a more in-depth book than the first one. Questions will get answered, backstories will get filled in, and most importantly: the excitement will be there.

Quite frankly, there will be nothing to stop me.

Space Truckin'

What I plan on doing a bit differently though, is NOT to self-publish. Why not?

Let’s save that answer for another blog.

And just in case you’re interested, I still have signed books I’m selling! Just message me if you’re interested, or check out all of these fine links below!

And don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter.

You can purchase paperback copies from:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble.com
Lulu.com.

Ebook copies are available at:
iTunes Store
Barnes & Noble NOOK
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

Until next time, keep on Space Truckin’!

Ranking on Amazon.ca

It’s been just over a month since The Distomos was available to the public, and it has been doing surprisingly well!

In fact, I found out that out of over 26 million books,

Distomos Amazon
Distomos Amazon Rank

I’ve cracked the top 300,000!

While that doesn’t sound *that* great (and it really isn’t), it’s pretty darn amazing to think about.

Thank you again to everyone who has purchased a book (not only through Amazon.ca), and helped support me through this wild ride of a self published novel.

You can purchase paperback copies from:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes & Noble.com
Lulu.com.

Ebook copies are available at:
iTunes Store
Barnes & Noble NOOK
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

Now Available on the Nook!

Going into the fourth week of availability, my book, The Distomos, is now available on Barnes & Noble’s Nook as a “Nook Book!” (It’s still an eBook, but just with a fun name to say).

I’ve been looking forward for it to becoming available there! Better late than never!

And in case you missed out on the cool news from last week, check out the interview I did with the Brock Press.

Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter.

You can purchase paperback copies from:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble.com
Lulu.com.

Ebook copies are available at:
iTunes Store
Barnes & Noble NOOK
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

—–

Until next time, Keep on Space Truckin’!

Author Interview – The Brock Press

The University that I went to did an interview with me about my book! It’s now published in their newspaper, The Brock Press! You can see it here! And yes, it even somehow made the front page!

A love for sci-fi leads to Brock grad’s self-published novel
By Celia Carr

After being falsely accused of plagiarism in high school for a strikingly creative and well-written short story, Derek Smith realized that perhaps he had a knack for writing after all. Now, after a lot of dedication, the Brock University graduate has published his own full-length novel, The Distomos.

The Distomos is a sci-fi novel set in the distant future in a world where mankind has taken to the stars and the church reigns as the ultimate form of government. Peace and prosperity are kept through Templars, a kind of policemen appointed by the church. Trouble arises when the Distomos, the secret weapon and power source of the church falls into the hands of the enemy. With very little time before interstellar war begins, the church hires two ex-templars, Kieren Rhet and Normandie Jade, to retrieve it. The Distomos is a story of friendship, courage and faith being tested when all seems hopeless.

The word “Distomos” itself is Hebrew for double-edged sword but the story incorporates a number of different religions which complete the all-encompassing governing church in Smith’s novel.

“It was unintentionally more of a religious story, but there’s more than one religion involved and I sort of play on both sides of the debate,” said Smith. “A lot of it was almost subconscious just because I’ve been so exposed to it. I grew up in St. Catharines and apparently Niagara has the highest amount of churches in an area than anywhere else in Canada. Even just going down Glenridge Avenue, there’s at least five or six churches. Religion is very prevalent around here so it sort of just made its way into my writing.”

Smith knew from a young age that he wanted to be a writer, stating he was always writing Star Wars fan-fiction before he even knew what fan-fiction was. This creative spark eventually lead him to pursue an English degree at Brock in hopes that it would help him with his potential future career in writing. He graduated from Brock in 2009 with a degree in English and professional writing.

“I always had ideas but I never knew what to do with them,” said Smith. “It was in my third year of university that I took a creative writing journalism course, and I started writing in that class. It was mostly just a fictional skeleton of a story but just being in that class sparked a lot of creativity.”
After a lengthy process of writing, copious amounts of tea and learning the do’s and don’ts of self-publishing, The Distomos was officially published on Feb. 21.

Smith works full-time from March until August, so the majority of his writing took place from September until December. Sometimes he would be writing for as many as 16 hours per day, taking short breaks in between. He mentioned that he purposely bought a laptop that couldn’t handle an internet browser to avoid distractions while working on his novel.

“It was honestly just a matter of sitting down and actually writing it,” said Smith. “So that’s what I did. I just sat down and wrote.”

Smith described how many rules there are for self-publishing including things as simple as finding fonts to use on the cover that aren’t copyrighted. Aside from already writing an entire novel, sorting out the rules and legalities was a project of its own, but Smith said he enjoyed the otherwise tedious work. The Distomos also became a very “Brock” oriented project as it was peer-edited by other Brock English graduates. The front cover was illustrated by another Brock graduate, Matthew Therrien, who is now a professional illustrator based-out of Toronto.

Smith is now in the process of getting his novel into bookstores and currently runs a blog on how to self-publish.

To learn more about Derek and The Distomos, visit Smith’s blog at Uncannyderek.com. Paperback copies of The Distomos are currently available to order through Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and Lulu.com. E-book versions are available in the iTunes store and on Lulu.com.

When you’re out and about, you can pick up a copy of the paper today!

Distomos Front Page

While you’re at it, you can also follow me on Twitter.

For more information about the book or where to purchase it:
Paperback copies available through Amazon.ca
Paperback copies available through Amazon.com
Paperback copies available through Barnes & Noble.com
Paperback copies available through Lulu.com.

Ebook copies:
iTunes Store
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

—–

Until next time, Keep on Space Truckin’!

The Distomos – Still in the Top of the Month!

A surprise to me, The Distomos is still in the top-selling list on Lulu.com!

Top Selling Book

Once again, I cannot thank you all enough for making this such a successful venture. As my first self-published novel, it’s quite humbling to know that there are people interested in helping out “the little guy” and making dreams come true.

I certainly have learned a lot from making this happen. Not only has it been a great experience, but also a ton of fun to do! Writing is something I love to do. With the positive experience I’ve had with making this novel, you can guarantee there will be more stories coming your way!

To keep updated with the excitement, you can follow me on Twitter.

For more information about the book or where to purchase it:
Paperback copies available through Amazon.ca
Paperback copies available through Amazon.com
Paperback copies available through Barnes & Noble.com
Paperback copies available through Lulu.com.

Ebook copies:
iTunes Store
Lulu.com

The Distomos

Cover art by Matthew Therrien: MCTherrien.com

ABOUT

Mankind has taken to the stars; maintaining their empires through the belief in God. Peace and prosperity are kept through Church-appointed Templars: the police of the galaxy. But when the Distomos, a secret weapon from the Church falls into the hands of the enemy, two ex-Templars, Kieran Rhet and Normandie Jade, are hired to get it back.

With only a matter of time before interstellar war begins and the Distomos is used, friendships, courage, and faith will be tested when all seems lost.

—–

Until next time, Keep on Space Truckin’!