Back To The Basics

One thing no writing manual will ever teach you is balance. How do you balance your imagination with the business side of things, on top of your other life responsibilities, and do it all without working yourself to madness? I can tell you it’s really, really, ridiculously hard to do–and I have it fairly easy, all things considered.

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The thorn on the rose (and in my side)

I write this post for authors. Forgive me, dear readers, for pulling back the curtain behind which you may or may not want to see. I don’t do it to garner sympathy–I don’t do that–I just think better on paper, so to speak, so this is my way of trying to work through an issue I know other writers share. Maybe someone out there knows of a solution I haven’t thought of yet. Never hurts to ask, right?

Last chance to close the tab before we begin…

Still here?

Cool. 🙂 Read on.

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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 pain in the ass it is. My goal was to get it all done and out of the way so I (1) wouldn’t forget and (2) didn’t have to worry about it for an entire year, and I was doing so well, too!

Until, 104 scheduled tweets and 70 quote graphic creations later, I receive this email in my inbox:

untitled

A bit hard to read, so let me give you the gist of it: Another eBook store is closing due to insolvency. They are shutting down operations in 3 days and because of money issues are offering to pay $0.10 on the dollar for their last quarter sales.

This is the fourth eBook store (that I know of) to close in the six years I have been a published author. I think it’s safe to say that I came in at the trailing end of the eBook boom and it’s now pretty much over. It saddens me because it means one less place where readers can go to find great books. One less Indie-friendly place for authors to lower their literary anchor. There are plenty of factors that have contributed to this, and unfortunately those same factors will continue to affect other eBook stores until the little guys all go out of business the same way small, mom-and-pop corner book stores were and continue to be pushed out of business.

It saddens me to see a healthy, growing book market place sicken with lack of competition. It saddens me when I see people posting about how eBooks should be free because they cost nothing, or that authors who dare charge a price for their work should be pirated or boycotted. It saddens me when the beautiful tradition of spreading word about one’s favorite book turns into a tradition of spreading word about where to get that book for free illegally. It doesn’t just hurt the authors who put their life and passion into page upon page of beautifully crafted fiction; it hurts their editors, their cover artists, their formatters, their publishers, their publicists, and their bookstores. An entire industry suffers for the misdeeds of the few, and this is the result.

Another bookstore gone.

So here is my plea to you for 2017:

If you’re a reader, support the authors who bring you the books you love. Purchase from legitimate bookstores, tell your friends, maybe leave a review. Don’t download content from pirate sites, or share it with others. For every book someone downloads illegally because, “It’s just one book, no big deal!” there are hundreds, thousands more downloaded for that exact same reason. It’s never just one book, and it’s always a big deal.

If you’re a writer, don’t give up! Now more than ever the world needs our words. It needs our truth, and our fanciful lies–the first to paint the world as it truly is, and the second to give hope that something better exists, if only we believe hard enough to make it happen. Support your fellow authors, buy their books, tell your friends about the ones you love. We’re all still readers as much as writers–never forget that.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single one of my readers around the world. Thank you for reading, for trusting me to give you something worth your time and money, for being the starlight throughout a dark year, and for giving my dreams a home among your own. And thank you to all the writers I have met along the way for being the most incredibly supportive people I have ever met in the world.

I wish all of you nothing but the best in 2017, may you find the happiness and success you’ve always dreamed of.

See you all on the other side of New Year’s.

 

EDIT TO AMEND:

Since my gut reaction post, info I was too upset to pay attention to at the time has given me a very chilly wake up call. ARe’s actions and notices leading up to this email (which I forgot all about because they didn’t concern me) are suddenly adding up to something much worse than just an eBook store going out of business. We’re talking premeditated fraud on a massive scale. Long and the short of it, if you are an author with books listed for sale on ARe, pull them down immediately. If you’re a reader who purchased my books on ARe and have trouble recovering them, send me your receipt from ARe and I will send you a coupon code to download the book(s) from Smashwords for free in whatever format you like. Send to me directly at alianne (at) aliannedonnelly (dot) com.

Ugh, man… just, ugh…

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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