Monday, 24 December 2012

Indie vs Traditional Publishing - which is better?

Since I started writing this blog - approximately nine months ago (almost sounds like a pregnancy!) - my most popular post has been, My Self-Publishing Journey, or Do I Need a Traditional Publisher? Seems most of my readers are interested in this particular debate. And as yet, I haven't decided which side of the fence I'm on myself.
Writing a book is almost - mind, I said, 'almost' - easy compared with marketing and publicity and I've learnt to appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into it. An indie author has to do the work of an experienced publisher and know how to sell themselves and their book to an already saturated market. And if you're a genre writer, then it's like climbing Mt Everest without ropes!
But, who says it can't be done!

Now, here are the pros and cons. Let's start with the cons. I think it's always best to get the negatives out of the way; rather like eating your brussel sprouts first and leave the goodies for last.

1.  Marketing/Press Releases. Be prepared to spend a lot of time marketing and publicising yourself, especially on social media, although not to the detriment of neglecting your writing. That should always come first. After all, people are after a quality product. So, learn to organise your time. If you're not on twitter or Facebook, join now. It's amazing how many contacts you can make on there.

2. Networking. Get to know other writers - not necessarily in your genre - and book bloggers. They are the ones who carry weight with readers, and nowadays, even traditional publishers are checking out their sites. Find out who are the most popular and follow them; leave relevant comments on their latest reviews and strike up a relationship. Perhaps one day they'll review one of your books.

3. Create your own distinctive website. Statistics show readers are more inclined to visit a website that contains several attractive features and more information about yourself and your book, than a blog. That's one thing I still need to do for myself!

4.  Book Trailer. Know who your audience is and start preparing them. One way is to create your own book trailer. Most computers these days come with Publisher or imovies. I've got an Apple Mac and it's quite easy to make your own trailer using the apps provided, then upload it to youtube.

5. Professional Editing. Unless you have the skill, it's a better idea to get your book professionally edited. It's worth the investment. A professional editor can spot mistakes the author is often blind too. We're too close to our work.

6. Book Cover. As in No.5 above, it's worth paying a graphics artist to produce a professional cover which won't scream, 'home made'! No matter what they say, people do judge a book by its cover!

 1. Control. You've got sole rights over your own work and absolute control over its contents and if it doesn't work you only have yourself to blame.

2. No Deadlines. As your own publisher, you determine when to release your next book. There are no particular deadlines to adhere to. You are your own boss. But remember, nobody wants to wait two years between books in a series. They'll lose interest and move on.

3. Not boxed into a particular genre. You can create your own niche and write the book you want.

4. Royalties. A self-published author doesn't have to share royalties with their publisher. What you earn is what you keep. But, you need to complete a lot of complicated tax forms, especially if you're not a US citizen, before you see a cent.

Now, the above list is not exhaustive - it's merely a brief comparison between the two forms of publishing available to writers these days, and from what I can see, the cons outweigh the pros.

What do people think? Is it worth self-publishing?

Monday, 17 December 2012

My Favourite Vampire Movies and TV Series

Recently my friend and fellow paranormal romance writer, Lindsay Pryor, posted a list of her all-time favourite vampire movies. I had such a fun time reminiscing and watching the video clips she provided on her blog, I decided to add a few of my own - ones which Lindsay hadn't included in her lineup.

So, here's my first one -  Moonlight, starring Alec O'Loughlin (be still my beating heart!) and Sarah Miles. He's a private investigator who just happens to be a vampire. She's an internet news reporter whom he saved as a baby and has been watching over ever since.
It was one of the best adaptations of the vampire myth and proved really popular. But then the series came to an end after Season One because of the writers strike in Hollywood at the time. Unfortunately, when that was resolved, the actors had been contracted elsewhere and so the series was never completed. It left a lot of questions unanswered and Moonlight fans (like me) moaned!

Check out the original trailer for the series. The actress who portrays Beth, was later replaced by Sarah Miles.

Here's another one. It's the Canadian production of one of my favourite authors - Tanya Huff. Her series of vampire books, Blood Lines, Blood Debt...etc was made into a TV series entitled, Blood Ties. It's set in Toronto and deals with two police detectives and their vampire partner, Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII.
It's another great take on the vampire genre and involves a love triangle between detectives, Vicki Nelson, her partner Mike Celluci and the aristocratic Henry.
I went and bought the whole series as soon as it became available on DVD and play it on rainy days!
For those of you who've never seen it, here's a clip.

That's all for now. But, as soon as I find some of my other favourites, they're going right on here!

I'd love to know your suggestions. Have I left out one? Please, let me know, I'll check it out and maybe post it on here.
Happy viewing.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Writer's Choice - Traditional or Indie?

Isn't it wonderful that writers nowadays have a choice of publishing routes? Now, anyone who has been following my blog will be familiar with my publishing journey - whether to go traditional or independent. To be honest, the jury is still out on that one, especially as I'm waiting to hear back from a UK publisher who has asked for my manuscript. And, if I was to go traditional, this publisher would be my choice. It's a pity I can't say the same for many other publishing houses, especially the one which handles my friend, Peter.

Pete writes children's literature and his illustrated books are delightful. I bought a couple for my cousin's little girls - aged three and five. They loved them. So far, he's sold over four thousand copies worldwide. Unfortunately, that doesn't translate into a viable profit, as his royalties amount to less than 5%! On a $24.95 hardcover book, Peter earns 0.9 cents!

Wow! Isn't that an inducement to becoming a professional writer! Obviously we do it for love, not for the profit. But still, it would be nice to earn enough to pay the electricity bill, at least for the amount of energy it took to power up the laptop!

Why are publishers so stingy? You'd think the individual who spent a year of his life writing a book, then another getting it edited and professionally polished, should be entitled to a larger share of the profits? After all, without us authors, they would be NO publishing industry.
Apart from the insulting royalties, this publisher has done absolutely nothing for him. There was no press release, no report in the local papers and as Peter doesn't have a social media presence, they didn't help him try create one - no website, no blog, no Facebook page and no twitter! And yet, they take ninety-six percent of the profit! For what???
When I went looking for Peter's book in Dymocks - the largest book seller in the country - the sales assistant and I had to go on a major hunt to find where they'd been stacked. But perseverance payed off. They were well hidden on the bottom shelf of a bookcase near the service entrance!

If ever there was a reason to go indie, that's it!

So, what do people think? I'd love to know.