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On Writing

Self-Publishing: The New Gold Rush

gold_rush_flyer

On January 24, 1848, one lucky fellow named James W. Marshall found gold in California. For the next seven years, hordes of hopefuls flocked to the West Coast state in hopes of striking it rich with a pickaxe and just a bit of luck. For the vast majority of them, that never happened. What did happen was thousands of opportunistic entrepreneurs making a fortune selling gold seekers the tools they needed for forty times the actual price.

While self-publishing is by no means a new idea, it follows a similar trend. According to Wikipedia (so take the info with a grain of salt), in 2008, there were more books self-published than published by traditional means for the first time in history. For those who got into the eBook publishing game that early, the following handful of years were truly fruitful. The eBook market expanded rapidly as people not only accepted digital books, but embraced them with amazing enthusiasm. Those authors made tidy little fortunes, some even went full-time or built up enough status to rival traditionally published bestsellers, and like James W. Marshall, those early success stories had budding authors all over the world flocking to self-publishing in droves.

But that growth stage of endless opportunity is over now.

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Dear 2016: F*CK YOU!

I made an early 2017 resolution at the beginning of this month to plan out and schedule all my social media marketing for 2017 before the year began. If you’ve ever done social media marketing, you know what a royal… Read More »Dear 2016: F*CK YOU!

How did I get here?

When I wake up tomorrow morning, Dragonblood will be available for sale across online booksellers around the world. It’ll mark my 10th original book publication, and the 7th full-length novel to be unleashed upon the world from the dark recesses of my twisted mind. Quite honestly, this is the first time I’ve actually counted them, and that kind of gives me pause. How many writers out there lose track of their books? Is there anyone who would have passed a milestone like that and not notice?

Years ago, when my stories were being madly scribbled into the back of my ECON101 and PHIL210 notebooks, I kept meticulous track of every single title. No, seriously. Look:

Writing Database

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20 Questions

Saw this on Facebook and thought it’d be fun to do… So here we go!   1.) What is you Author name? Alianne Donnelly 2.) What is the first book you ever published? Blood Moons 3.) What is your publiversary? September 27,… Read More »20 Questions

The 10-Step Checklist for Self-Published Authors

Dear aspiring authors,

This post is for you. This post applies to especially those of you who are considering self-publishing your book. I write it, because it needs to be said, and because I want you to avoid the frustration, upset, and anger I see boiling up in the Indie community every day.

For those of you who don’t want to read through the entire list, here’s the main idea: Do your homework. It’s not just about putting your book out there; it’s about doing it in a manner that will reflect well on you as an author and publisher–because that is what you will become. It’s not just about the art of creating something out of nothing; it’s about conducting your business professionally–because that’s what it is: a business. It’s hard work, and it doesn’t stop when you hit the Publish button. Are you ready for that?

If you’re planning to self-publish, you should be. By going this route, you are taking on the responsibility for everything you put out there, from this moment forward. It’s all on you. Even if you hire professional editors, cover artists, formatters, etc., the final published product is yours, and no one else’s. Readers won’t see what you intended, or what you wanted to do. They won’t see your financial or personal struggles–and they shouldn’t. Your readers are your customers; they’re paying for a product that has your name on it, and you owe it to them to give them the best product you are capable of producing.

For those who want more details, here’s my little 10-step decision tree:

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Character Development: Aiden and The Break of Chapter 26

Have you ever been asked to do a character analysis in English class as a student? I don’t remember much from the ones I did, but I do enjoy the concept. Obviously, not every character ever written is worthy of the bother, but every once in a while you get one you could spend hours on the couch with (in psychoanalysis…). You think you know them, but the more you look, the deeper you see. Part of why I love reading, re-reading, and writing is that all three allow you to revisit a certain situation, a certain place and time, a certain sentence spoken, and look beneath the surface in a way you can’t do in real life. Nuance and subtlety are the most irresistible lure for any hardcore bookworm. Yes, we enjoy action and passion, and witty dialogue, but what really keeps us coming back isn’t the obvious, it’s the things you have to dig for, think about, and chew on.

Why would you do that to a person??

WolfenNot too long ago, I was confronted with a reader’s question that gave me pause. The question was about Aiden from Wolfen and a certain thing that happens to him about halfway through the book. My answer was going to be simple and to the point: it was a test for him and another character, and their arcs hinged upon how they responded to it. But I paused because as I was typing this answer out, my mind veered off to a place I hadn’t gone before, even while writing this book, and it completely changed what I wanted to say. That place was Aiden’s past.

“Why would you do that to a person?” they asked.

Here’s my answer:

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Exorcising The Blurb

Read7Call it a synopsis, a back copy, a blurb, or Satan’s revenge upon writers, the 200 or less words that describe a book always have the power to reduce a writer to tears. Over ten book into the game, I can honestly say I still hate blurbage with a passion. Why? Because being forced to distill a story down to one one-thousandth or less is cruel!

Ask me about my book, and you’ll probably get one of two types of responses:

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Reinventing The Wheel

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the moment you root your feet, you get struck by a speeding bus. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsher than I intended, but the sentiment is sound. The only constant in this universe is change, and that holds true for everything in life: relationships, business, art, culture, language, and everything in between. We come to expect it, get bored when nothing happens for a while. But we tend to develop a serious blind spot when it comes to ourselves.

Photo credit: Vaikoovery

Photo credit: Vaikoovery

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Tough Love: 7 Reasons Why Rejection Is Actually Good For You

 

Master

I recently came across this article about how publishing houses handle rejection letters. Shared on Facebook and promptly got into a couple of very good discussions about several elements the article presented. As I found it about a week after this blog post, which talks about the culture of entitlement and victimhood, I will admit my mindset was a bit skewed going into it, but thinking back, I still stand by my opinion that rejection is a natural and necessary part of growing as a writer and creator. Here is why:

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