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’.

Book News: The Distomos is En Route!

In case you are wondering, my novel, The Distomos, is on its way!

I have two hundred copies heading my way to be numbered and signed. There has been a surprisingly large demand for them. It’s been a little overwhelming, if not a bit humbling. Maybe a bit crazy, too.

This weekend I finished the eBook version of The Distomos. This means that if the shipment arrives on time, we’re looking at the first week of March for both the physical books and eBooks to go on sale!

While it will still be some time for the books – both physical and electronic versions – to appear in such stores like Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble, they will be readily available to order from the distributor. I’ll have that information to give you when it is available.

Until then, let’s bask once again in the amazing cover created by Matthew Therrien.

The Distomos

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’!

Onwards & Upwards! To Self-Publishing!

It hath been decided!

For the quite some time, I’ve been butting heads on whether or not to find a publisher or self-publish.
Rocket Science
I’ll admit though, it wasn’t as fun as watching Blitzwing and Astrotrain getting their heads butted together.

After some careful deliberation, I have decided to self-publish! It was a difficult decision to make. Let me write out my thought processes for both.

Why See a Publisher?

I obviously didn’t go this route. So why DID I consider it?

There were a few reasons why I personally thought to go this route. First and foremost, I knew it would give me the biggest distribution. Getting picked up by a publisher would obviously mean better sales and a mass market. It also would give me some pretty hefty credentials for future projects (which I will have) down the road.

Secondly, it’s good for the ego. Sure, that sounds selfish and greedy, but to be officially published by someone would be amazing. I definitely had a-many dreams about meeting with publishers and discussing my book in great length. It made me excited.

As weird as this one sounds: I wanted to get a rejection letter. I enjoy critical analysis of my work. While I know a rejection letter would not go into any detail at all, I personally take rejection as a sign of having to do better – which is something that motivates me. Albeit, I know it de-motivates others. But that’s how I work!

While I’m still not confident with royalties on self-publishing, I know a lot of the hassle and finances would be covered by the publisher. They want to make money, too. Seeing a publisher would take the financial strain off.

Why Stay Away From a Publisher?

I was still reluctant to see a publisher for a few reasons as well. The biggest reason was creative control. For example: I have an idea for my book cover which I know they won’t adhere to. However, it’s my novel, not theirs. It’s my artistic ideas. While this is arguably quite nit-picky for a first-time author, it’s still a big deal for my overall idea.

Money also isn’t everything. While I like the idea of making money from my novel, it’s not my ultimate goal. It’s not even a real desire. My desire is to write. Money comes second. While I know it’s not financially viable to continue a path of self-publishing (under the assumption my books suck and sales slump to zero forever and ever), money isn’t my driving force here. A publisher thinks otherwise, and that’s totally okay, but not what I want. I desire to write a novel. Sure, if my first novel did well and they’d pay me to write a second, that’d be great. But it’s not what I’d want. Let me be me.

My other big reason to stay away was just reading about trying to submit a book. Looking into many different publishers, some require a literary agent, while others require a book to meet certain criteria. For example, one publisher wants to publish science-fiction, but did not want religious overtones. Another was willing to publish fantasy and horror, but refused to take upon zombies books unless they were unique. While my book doesn’t include zombies, it does include religious overtones. Certain publishers want to market a book based on their image – which is totally fine – I just don’t have to send my book there. Other publishers I considered actually had their submissions closed until they decided to reopen again (seriously). However, if I were to send a copy of my manuscript in only to find out it’s “too religious” by their standards, or that their “not accepting submissions at this time,” then I’m out the money from getting my book printed, plus postage. (I figured it’d average around $60 per publisher submission).

Reading about it all made me feel as dizzy as Starscream after Gears spun him around for a bit.

Gears Spin

Why Self-Publish?

In case I hadn’t said it enough, I’m big on creative control. With self-publishing, I get to control everything about my novel. From how the cover looks, to the price. It’s pretty freeing.

I can also get published faster. Most publishers were asking for at least three months to review the book. It’d take still another few months for it to get published after that. With self-publishing, the road can be paved right away and I can get started.

Challenges are fun. I really enjoy them, even if they’re super-stressful and nerve-racking as publishing a first novel. Especially if they’re financially stressful. I just enjoy being stressed I suppose? I’m a sick man.

But it’s also quite self-fulfilling. Being able to publish all on my own is quite an accomplishment. I accept all of the responsibility on whether the book succeeds or not. It’s exciting and strengthening. I hate asking for help, so I feel being able to do this on my own is what I need to do.

And I’m not in it for the money. I have to stress that again. Why? Because realistically, I won’t break even. At least I don’t expect to. I’d be surprised if I did. So that poses the question again: why self-publish?

The answer: because I want to do this for me.

Shockwave Dance

And maybe Shockwave.

While my reasons for self-publishing may not be the “best” reasons in the world, they’re the best reasons for me.

Keep on Space Truckin’!

NaNoWriMo – Good or Bad?

It’s November and everyone is jumping on the NaNo bandwagon. Thousands of people from around the world get synced-up online on November 1st and start writing the first of 50,000 words to become an author!

But before we start, here’s a full disclosure: I totally did my own NaNoWriMo in January of 2012 (as I couldn’t partake in November). Later, I did something similar when writing my current novel. I did a Thirty-Day Challenge, where I didn’t force myself to have a word count. Instead, I would spend a part of the day to plan and organize my novel.

So what’s up here? I did NaNoWriMo (kinda) then I didn’t. So what?

Let me BLOW YOUR MIND

After getting over 54,000 words during my “JaNoWriMo,” and eventually reaching over 70,000 words a few months later, I SCRAPPED THE BOOK. Why? Because it was garbage, that’s why!

I can remember reading it over and just hating everything I had done. All of the characterization, plotting, the pacing, descriptions – oh, god, it was terrible. I still have a copy of it (unfinished) just to remind me how bad it was.

The problem with NaNoWriMo, which a buddy of mine, author Sean Munger, touches upon on his blog, is that it promotes bad habits. It promotes vomiting out word count over actual quality. While it may make a book, it doesn’t make a good one.

It stinks!

So when I did my Thirty-Day Challenge (which was for a different story), I took my knowledge from my JaNoWriMo and applied it to my busy lifestyle. I simply dedicated time to creating the project, rather than actually writing it. I would spend an hour or so getting 1,000 words of characterization down, rather than the novel itself. And I didn’t write every day (nor give myself a word count like 1,000 words a day for when I did). It made for a dramatic improvement to my story-telling and my skills of writing, pacing, and oh-so much more!

So NaNoWriMo is Bad?

There’s a silver lining to it all. I found that NaNoWriMo certainly didn’t make a good book, didn’t promote good writing, and didn’t promote good writing habits. What it DID do was get me to write and learn from my experiences. There’s a lot more to writing than just plugging yourself down and firing off words to reach a numerical goal.

I learned a lot about how to characterize and plot. My NaNo-Novel was a pale comparison to the newest one I wrote. The pacing in my newest novel is exciting and pulls the reader in – because I planned for it to do that.

Even if you plan out your novel before NaNoWriMo, you’d be surprised how many little things you will miss. Even with plotting out my novel like how I did, I had to go back multiple times and make sure things remained consistent and flowed together. NaNoWriMo doesn’t really give you time to pause or reflect. You’re just supposed to punch in a word count and call it a day. Coherent writing is important, but it’s not reflected in NaNoWriMo.

But as I said, NaNoWriMo got me writing. That’s important because it helps you hone your craft. You learn little tricks and the proper way to create sentences (And yes, I know this blog is littered with errors. Pot, meet Kettle).

The way I look at it is NaNoWriMo is the biggest Creative Writing Class you’ll take all year. It’s great writing practice, but terrible if you’re looking for quality.

And for all that is good in the world: if you do partake in NaNoWriMo, do NOT give your novel to publishers! You’re congesting them with a bunch of sub-par books! Stop it!

Thanks!

That’s my take on it. But have you participated in NaNoWriMo? What kind of learning experience was it for you? Did you go anywhere with it? Do my opinions sound ridiculous? Sound off below!