The usefulness of blogs and social media

The ongoing disagreement between Amazon and Hachette has led me to happily realize a good example of an actual usefulness for twitter and blogging. I’ve been able to follow this debate thru twitter to various blogs on the subject. I’ve enjoyed the extensive analysis by Hugh Howey, David Gaughran, and others. I was also glad to see that Amazon posted an explanation on their motives and decisions. Very interesting.

This particular usefulness covers a robust and interesting debate that has flushed out the details of how traditional publishers and e-book vendors compensate authors and the difference between the two. It boils down to more options for both consumers and authors, and that is always a good thing.

As a new writer, and hopeful soon-to-be published author, this debate has helped me make informed decisions regarding how and with whom I want to publish my books. As is the case with any type of business, I think there is room for both types of publishing and that a fair compensation for all parties involved is possible. And why not? What’s good for the consumer is ultimately good for everybody.

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To self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish

As the tussle between two giants, Hachette and Amazon, carries on, I am still undecided as a first time author as to which method I want to try first. Perhaps it should come down to how adept I am at self promotion on social media combined with how skilled I am at self editing. Self publishing by default requires skill and confidence in my own ability to edit to a level worthy of publishing. An agent/publisher has the resources to help with editing and promotion. Assuming a non-best seller right out of the gate, one method pays more than the other percentage wise.

I have recently taken up reading other author’s work, mostly in support of other new authors. Unfortunately, the self published side often has more editing errors than the traditionally published books. I reckon if a reader can look beyond the mistakes, he can still enjoy the story. But if the errors become distracting, then it is no longer enjoyable. One has to weigh the risks involved – a give and take, check and balance.

Of course, I eventually plan to leverage both methods and as many platforms as I can reach. The social media … thingy… will always be a challenge for me because my generational upbringing makes me think of it as just a little weird. However, for my first book, I have only to decide which one to start with first – agent or self pub.

With so many agents out there, and presuming the quality of my work is adequate, I’d think the odds are at least decent when connecting with a suitable agent. On the other hand, the self publishing outlets are numerous and are just a few clicks away. But even folks I ask have differing opinions and the argument for each is compelling.

So, what do you think, all of my vast cache of followers? I’m very interested.

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Snowpiercer – movie by director Bong Joon-ho

Watched Snowpiercer last evening. Rather entertaining in a bog of boring and unoriginal movies. This one has the potential to become a classic similar to that of Blade Runner. It leaves you wanting more with each stroke of the perpetual engine. It also speaks volumes against the perils of radical decisions regarding climate change and human meddling.

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A big thanks to my beta readers

A big thanks to the handful of beta readers who gave me their time and effort and expertise to read through my first draft manuscript and provide such excellent feedback. I plan to get deep  into my revision this weekend. Thanks to Jolene, Carman, Stan, Tom, Julie, Linda, Tina, and Suzie. You’ve helped make my first book a readable product.

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Amazon v. the world

I’ve been following the tug-o-war between the giant online retailer and 1/5 of the so called big 5 publishers. Thanks to a few leading edge authors (HughHowey, for example) I think I’ve come to a decision regarding how I should pursue publishing my first work of sci-fi – CRASH COURSE.

I don’t pretend to understand even half the details of how authors are compensated, especially thru traditional publishing. Ironically, the growing disagreement between Amazon and Hachette has prompted a plethora of information and analysis which is turning out to be quite useful for new or soon to be published authors.

I have a mind to try both, but for different reasons. One, there is a certain challenge in writing a query letter that attracts attention and which (hopefully) leads to a contract and truck loads of sales. Searching the vast database of agents who might be interested in your genre and then gambling he or she likes your voice and story. The suspense is high – do or die.

However, the e-book route holds various degrees of ease – from simply providing the platform through levels of support and editing that closely approach a traditional publisher. The only decision to make here is how much of your own money do you want to spend up front versus how adept you are at editing your own work. The way I read the stars, the e-book is likely to be the way to go, and eventually, the only way to go.

Perhaps it comes down to what plans you have for your book. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Is it a stand alone story or will it be part of a series? And does it take you a year or more to complete one book or just a few weeks? Another and increasingly influential factor is the use of social media. I for one am from a generation that did not grow up with social media and I tend to ignore it. However, I also realize that younger generations and certainly subsequent generations will know nothing but social media, to say nothing about an actual paper book. So, I grudgingly drag myself into the cyber netherverse, watching, observing, and reading (and copycatting) everybody out there and hope to hell I get it right. Oh, and I just recently read that even traditional agents will Google potential new author clients.

Hence, new and old authors must live in cyberspace part of the time because that is where readers are trending. I do hope that the big five reconcile sooner rather than later because eventually all of the paper book reading generations will be replaced by a total device wielding generation.

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Fan Gogh – the antagonist in CRASH COURSE

Fan is an interesting character because she is not what you expect. Fan uses other people’s money and positions to further her own agenda. Orphaned at an early age, Fan’s innocent façade belies her willingness for swift and ruthless retribution in her pursuit of selfish pity. She risks countless lives and economies by going off mission on a time-trip into Earth’s past – 2021. Fan is from a very different Earth in the year 2407, an earth of choking overpopulation and harsh rationing of every resource. The scary part is she is not insane, crazy, psycho, or, even just plain nuts. Rather, she is rational and calculating, even to the point of discriminating in her tactics. She goes out of her way to avoid collateral damage, preferring subtly and covertness over mayhem. As we see in CRASH COURSE, Fan is pretty good at, and gets a certain pleasure from, tactical deception.