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Posts tagged ‘Indie authors’

Chicken Little

It’s been a while since I read it – my kids are all teenagers now! All four of them! (Ok, shutting the existential crisis up for a few) – but as I recall, Chicken Little was not a precautionary tale. It didn’t end with ‘the sky was really falling down, and as the world ended in fire and ashes, Chicken Little danced on the bones of his barnyard pals, finally vindicated in his unheeded prophecy.’

Instead, Chicken Little was about a small hen who panicked at the smallest provocation, like a ripe apple falling from a tree, and learned through wise guidance to keep her chill. My kids say something like this all the time to each other. “Keep your chill! Keep it!” and the other one will wail back “I can’t! I can’t keep it!” Because teens, and hormones, and all the feels, y’know, man? I can dig it. Read more

Happily Ever After the End

I wasn’t sure what to talk about this week, and then I was, and then I thought someone else said it so well, how could I possibly do better? Then I got into a conversation privately with another writer who has, through no real fault of their own, wound up in a tight spot. And I realized that I’m weird.

Ok, if that wasn’t confusing enough, here’s this: this post is not about writing. It’s about what comes from writing, after the story is finished. Because as we all know in our cynical little back-brains, there’s no HEA.

Read more

Indie Authors are Alive and Thriving!

(Sarah asked me to cross-post this to the MGC from my blog today. You’re not seeing double if you read both!)

Author Earnings is back! I’ve been spending a few moments this morning trying to geek out over the new and improved dataset – it’s the bomb, it really is! – while helping kids get ready for school. I’m seriously excited over this report, which has been nine months in the making. If you’re an author, whether hybrid, indie, or traditional, you should be looking at this data if you’re interested in marketing your work. I know, I know, I’m such a geek. Read more

The Fourth Annual Indie Author Labor Day Sale!

Welcome to another long holiday weekend, and have we got reading material for you! Kick back, relax, let the smoker do the work on that brisket, and check out these books and stories by independent authors.

 

Coming Home

By Tom Rogneby

On sale from Sept 1 through the weekend

 

Elsked, son of DaddyBear the Minivandian and Ruarin, the Lady of Eyre, ventures out into the night to learn the saga of his mother and father.

An ancient storyteller exchanges tales of Elsked’s life for the story of how DaddyBear and Ruarin became the lord and lady of their manor.

Coming Home brings together the stories of Quest to the North, Lost Children, and Lady of Eyre, along with four new short tales of the Minivandian and his family.

Join Elsked as he creeps into the storyteller’s lair and comes to know the next Tales of the Minivandians

 

Rimworld- Into the Green

By JL Curtis

On sale  for $1.99 1-3 September.

 

After a chance encounter with Dragoons and Traders turns a routine planet exploration into a rout that kills his team and his career, Lieutenant Ethan Fargo, medically retired, wants nothing more than to hole up in the backwater Rimworld he’d explored and enjoy a quiet retirement far from people or problems.

Unfortunately, he’s about to find out that he’s not as retired as he wants to be, and that his new home system comes with dangers, politics, and Dragoon sightings of its own. What promised to be a boring retirement will turn out to be anything but.

 

Take the Star Road

by Peter Grant

$0.99 Sep 1- Sep 4

 

Nineteen-year-old Steve Maxwell just wants to get his feet on the star road to find a better homeworld. By facing down Lotus Tong thugs, he earns an opportunity to become a spacer apprentice on a merchant spaceship, leaving the corruption and crime of Earth behind. Sure, he needs to prove himself to an older, tight-knit crew, but how bad can it be if he keeps his head down and the decks clean?

He never counted on the interstellar trade routes having their own problems, from local wars to plagues of pirates – and the jade in his luggage is hotter than a neutron star. Steve’s left a world of troubles behind, only to find a galaxy of them ahead…

 

Scaling the Rim

By Dorothy Grant

On sale for $0.99

Sept 1 – 4

 

Never underestimate the power of a competent tech.

When Annika Danilova arrived at the edge of the colony’s crater to install a weather station, she knew the mission had been sabotaged from the start. The powers that be sent the wrong people, underequipped, and antagonized their supporting sometimes-allies. The mission was already slated for unmarked graves and an excuse for war…

But they hadn’t counted on Annika allying with the support staff, or the sheer determination of their leader, Captain Restin, to accomplish the mission. Together, they will overcome killing weather above and traitors within to fight for the control of the planet itself!

 

Carpathian Campaign

By Alma Boykin

It is on sale today through Wednesday, September 6 for $1.99. The sequel, Grasping for the Crowns will be out in November.

War rumors stalk Europe, but István Eszterházy has other concerns. Or so he thinks. The Powers—ancient creatures living on the very energy of the land. Allied with the Houses, together the Powers and Houses have guided parts of Europe for a thousand years and more, humans, HalfDragons, and True-dragons working as one. But other forces shift, movements of peoples and of pride. István ignores them, intent on his military duties and his forthcoming wedding. War waits for no man, and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand turns rumor into red war, setting Power against Power and House against House. And war is not what István imagined. How can he survive this new world and protect his new family and his House? He must find a way, even as he begins a delicate dance with the Powers, that of his House and some far older and much more dangerous. István’s world is changing. He will survive this new campaign, or die trying.

 

Jade Star

By Cedar Sanderson

Free from Sept 2-4

Jade is determined to die. She is old, and useless, when she points her tiny subspace craft at the cold stars. She wakes up in the care of others who refuse to grant her death, and instead give her a new mission in life.

Jade isn’t happy, and she only gets angrier when she learns that her mysterious new home hides a horrible secret. It’s time for this old lady to kick butt and take names. Aliens, death, destruction… nothing trumps the fierce old woman who is protecting her family.

 

Dragon Blood: A Collection of Short Stories

By Sarah Hoyt

From the trenches of WWI where the Red Baron just can’t help turning into a dragon, to the desert sands of a future world where humans have become something else, from a coffee shop between worlds where magicians gather, to a place where your worst nightmare can love you, let Dragon Blood take you on a series of fantastic adventures.

 

 

Lucky Number 7: A Rats, Bats, and Vats Story

By Dave Freer

John Norway is an alcoholic, a double amputee combat veteran, a street beggar with nothing much to live for. But once — before conscription – he’d been a rally driver. One of the best, at the wheel of Lucky Number 7. Now… Ariel the rat wants to have him drive in a desperate race against death, and the ‘magh.

 

 

The only question: does Norway want to win that race?

And will it solve Fat Fal’s inflatable rattess problem?

Directorate School

by Pam Uphoff

Free through Wednesday

First Book of The Directorate Series

Ebsa “Kitchen” Clostuone invades the sacred precincts of the High Oners! The School of Directorate Studies has a wide variety of students, including the president’s daughter Paer, this strange Ra’d fellow, and Nighthawk, the first foreign student from Comet Fall. Ebsa wants to explore across the dimensions. And all he has to do is keep his grades up, learn how to shoot every kind of gun imaginable, and not get pounded by the Action Team trainees.

 

And not to leave out our commentariat, if you are reading this and have a work you’d like to promote, feel free to share the link below. We don’t often open up comments for a promo, but why not? Let’s all have fun discovering Independent Authors who can write and amuse. Also, if you own all these books already (or even if you don’t) please share the love, and spread this post across social media everywhere. This is what keeps Mad Geniuses going, selling a book here and there when we aren’t trying to help out other aspiring writers. 

Prejudice among Gatekeepers

I often see plaints about sexism in publishing. There aren’t enough books written by women, there aren’t enough books that feature women in starring roles, and so forth. I’m more than a little inclined to shrug and say ‘eh, so what?” because in the modern era, it comes down to one of two things: either the readers are reading traditionally published books, or they are reading Indie.

If they are reading the top sellers, the most popular, and none of those ickie ‘self-published’ novels, and they complain about the dearth of female writers, they are trying to point a finger at the readers, and missing. If there is a prejudice against female authors, as the writer of an article I came across at the Passive Voice thinks, then it is not among the readers, but the gatekeepers. Catherine Nichols used a now well-worn ploy, “[she] has found that submitting her manuscript under a male pseudonym brought her more than eight times the number of responses she had received under her own name. In an essay for Jezebel, Nichols reveals how after she sent out her novel to 50 agents, she received just two manuscript requests. But when she set up a new email address under a male name, and submitted the same covering letter and pages to 50 agents, it was requested 17 times.” If this seems familiar, it’s because a scandal broke out last year when it was discovered that a white man had been publishing his poetry under an Asian pen name. I liked what Passive Guy had to say about the Catherine Nichols article: “PG doesn’t know of any formal studies, but he would bet the majority of agents are women. And the majority of editors working at publishers and acquiring books are women. There’s only one logical conclusion – female authors should avoid the sexist hellholes of traditional publishing and self-publish. Starve the biased beast. Male authors should do the same thing in a show of solidarity.”

Man review

a Goodreads review

His conclusions certainly follow along with what I’ve seen – the majority of editors and agents are women. Can women be biased against women? Why not? There’s a sort of reverse sexism springing up out there, if you hadn’t noticed. I have been caught in it myself a couple of times, with reviews on my most popular books stinging me for having dared to write a male POV character (Pixie Noir), and for having the audacity to make my main female character (in the second book, Trickster Noir) hand over her keys, to a secondary character who doesn’t let anyone else drive, ever – sex is not an object to him.

Male POV

So sure, I’ve seen bias against sexes in the books – by women (presumably) against male characters. I’ve also seen sexism by male readers against female writers – Amanda Green was bitten by this one, writing under an open pen name for her excellent Mil SF books. A highly-ranked Amazon reviewer just didn’t think a female could carry that off.

However, sexism and racism in the industry among the gatekeepers is inevitably going to have a more chilling effect on careers than a few negative reviews – particularly when the bias in the reviews is nakedly obvious and we can rely on intelligent readers to snort, shake their heads, and buy the books anyway (or perhaps because of). However, the bias of the gatekeepers is insidious, invisible, and the readers never get to make their own decisions. Larry Correia wrote an excellent fisking of a recent article lamenting the lack of diversity in Sci-Fi, and I urge you to read it. I’m going to put what I think is the money quote here, though, because he says it better (and saltier) than I could.

This is a fantastic time to be an author. In the olden days, if a handful of gatekeepers didn’t like you, you were boned. For a long time, unless you were a superstar, there was basically one mainstream publishing house that didn’t give a damn about their author’s personal politics. Luckily, Indy and self-pub have changed the market dramatically.

For a long time entertainment tried to lump as many customers as possible into one big box to provide dumb bland mushy product to. To make a living at this stuff you needed to sell to everybody, including the easily offended. Now, you just need to appeal to one group of fans, and what appeals to them might not appeal to everybody, but screw those guys. You can make what you want. Technology has evolved so that you can get your product right in front of your target audience. It isn’t just books either. Stranger Things got rejected by something like 15 networks for being too weird, and now it is a hit on Netflix.

And the crazy thing is that those gatekeepers who were enforcing the big box of bland dumb mushy product for the masses? Turns out they didn’t know dick about what people actually want anyway. My first novel got rejected by every publishing house and agent in Manhattan as being unsellable. I self-published, did great, wound up with Baen, and I think it is now on its 14th printing.

So if you get rejected by some biased editor, but you know your product is good, and you know there is a market? Go around the assholes and find your fan base yourself. And if it is good and entertaining enough, then it will have legs and grow beyond that one little market you targeted. I started out selling self-published print on demand novels on an internet gun forum.” 

We no longer have to suffer prejudice. On the internet, no one knows or cares what color the author is. They only know ‘this is a good story… I want more!’ and that’s enough. Personally, I don’t want people judging my work based on what’s between my legs. That bit of data is irrelevant to the point of what I’m doing – I’m writing. I don’t do that with my sex organs, or the color of my skin. Pixels on the screen become black ink on cream paper…

Once you go Indie, you escape the grasp of the gatekeepers. You may not leave all the prejudice behind, but the biased reviews of those readers may not have the impact they intended. Or, perhaps, they signal to people who want to keep their biases, and thus spare you the author from more negative reviews (kind of like vaccination, I suppose). But the prejudice out in the open light of the market shrinks into what it is, a tiny sniveling hobgoblin, compared to the hulking trolls of the gatekeepers who could smash a hopeful writer’s career with a single rejection note and a snide remark to their friends, the ‘right people’.

Persevere! Write what you want, entertain us, and you will succeed against the hobgoblins and trolls of ‘Isms, O Indie Author. It’s not an easy path, but it’s a free one with no gatekeepers.

It’s Business

Although I am an Independent Author, I still think of myself as a publisher. Actually, I wear several hats: Publisher, Art Designer, Editor, and Author, among others. I don’t edit my own books, I edit others, including non-fiction. But it does help that have worn the editor’s hat, when it comes to judging how well the work is being done on my own books.

I’ll come back to that in a minute. I told a fellow writer recently that I had decided when I started out that I wasn’t self-publishing, I was opening a publishing house. It’s a tiny one, and only a handful of people will ever even be eligible to be published by it – one of them I am married to, and two of them gave me life, if that helps you understand my intentions, although to date none of those three have finished anything – but it is, nonetheless, a business. The goal of a business, as I see it, is to make money. Period, full stop. What it then does with the money is a different kettle of fishies.

Having established that part of my business mission, I then looked at how to go about making money. Well, in my books the only way for a publisher to make money and still respect themselves in the morning is to deliver a quality reading experience to the people who buy books. Here is where it veers from very simple – make money – to very complicated.

I realize that most people are not going to be inclined to wear all the hats that I do. I only attempted it because I had already been running a business for more than a decade, so I had a clue (or so I thought) about what I was getting into. I’d had some graphics design training, and rather a lot of sales & marketing. Most folks don’t. Which is fine. There is nothing wrong with knowing you need some help to put out the best possible product. It’s why I rely on a team of beta readers and editors to get my books in shape when I’m done writing them.

When it becomes a problem is when I see authors simply hand off their manuscript to someone else with no real idea of what’s happening behind the scenes. Even if you aren’t planning on doing all the things, you need to know all the things, so you know when they are FUBAR.

This post was brought on by my receiving an ARC from a friend and fellow author. The book in question is a sequel, I enjoyed the first one, and it’s put out by a small press. The story is a fun one, and I’ve been enjoying the chance to read it, knowing I can say kind words about it. However… it’s badly in need of editing, and I am sad because I know it’s not going to get it. The first book, which I read when it had already been out for some time, was also badly in need of editing. Actually, thinking about it, the second one has shown some improvement and I know that’s because my friend is becoming a better writer (you hear that? Yes, you are! I’ve edited some of your non-fiction and I know) not any outside interference. Also, I know that the cover for this book (I haven’t seen it yet) is likely to suck eggs, because, well, the first one did (although it was re-covered at some point with a marginally better design).

It’s not just that I feel like ranting over this, even though it’s a crying shame that my friend’s book will get out of the gate with two major handicaps. It’s that this is a good example of what can happen if you turn your work over to someone who isn’t going to handle it well and turn out a good product: readers won’t blame the publisher, they will blame the person with their name on the cover of the book. So before you let the publisher touch your work, you need to check them out.

No, I don’t want to hear that your options are limited, you have to take what they give you, and like it or leave it. We’ve talked before about how the publisher/author relationship is often parallel to an abusive marriage. The only way that is ever going to improve is for the authors to stop bending over and taking what’s given them with ‘please sir, may I have another?’ on their lips. The first step is to walk away from the abuse. The next step is to make sure you don’t tumble right into another abuser’s clutches.

Before you submit a manuscript, even, you need to do your research. You wouldn’t, for instance, send a romance novel to Baen. Baen treats their authors right, and it’s worth you looking at that relationship as a guide to what you want for your books. You want great editors – not just for piddly little typos, but content, structure, and that rarest of birds, a development editor who will help you grow. How can you tell if a publishing house has these? Easy… if you know something about editing. Which is where I come back to having worn the editing hat. If you know what you’re looking for, you can see by sampling the product if that publisher is actually editing. They don’t all. Some of them don’t even bother with typos, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant.

Even before the editing, the covers will tell you how much the publisher cares. If the covers suck, run. If the editing sucks, run. If you google the company and find that they have a reputation as a scam, or authors are suing them for royalties, run. Ask around discreetly of your fellow writers and see what sort of reputation this publisher has. Do your homework. Don’t do the equivalent of a three-day bender in Vegas, Elvis was involved, and now you don’t know your own last name.

I hate to break it to you, but you’ll never just be able to write. If you want to be a full-fledged author, you have to treat it like a business.

Indie Author Christmas Sale!

Just in time for Christmas giving, here’s a list of books, stories, and other readables. Who doesn’t love to get a book in their virtual stocking? Bonus is that this gift won’t sit around collecting dust or taking up space. And you don’t have to go out and fight the traffic to buy it, or worry about shipping on time, and it’s as easy as a few clicks and knowing an email address.

1.      Dragon Noir

dragon noirBy Cedar Sanderson

On sale for the first time from Dec 17-23rd

The pixie with the gun has come home to see his princess crowned a queen and live in peace. But nothing is ever easy for Lom. A gruesome discovery on his doorstep interrupts their plans and sends Lom off on a mission to save not one, but two worlds. It’s personal this time and the stakes are higher than ever before. With friends falling and the enemy gathering, Bella and Lom must conquer the worst fears and monsters Underhill can conjure. Failure is not on the agenda.

Or if you would rather give the whole trilogy, Pixie for Hire is now available in ebook form only.

 

young warriors2.      Young Warriors

by Pam Uphoff
Free for five days!
It’s traditional for young lords in the Kingdom of Ash to spend two years in the army. Xen Wolfson is a young wizard, and Garit Negue a young prince. And the world is filled with adventures and danger . . . and learning experiences.

Their world has been in sporadic contact with two different cross-dimensional worlds–generally as a target for conquest. When the Empire of the One returns, the young warriors are standing foursquare in their path.

nocturnal challenge3.      Nocturnal Challege

By Amanda Green

Brand New Release!

The one thing Lt. Mackenzie Santos had always been able to count on was the law. But that was before she started turning furry. Now she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy to keep the truth from the public-at-large. She knows they aren’t ready to learn that monsters are real and they might be living next door.

If that isn’t enough, trouble is brewing among the shapeshifters. The power struggle has already resulted in the kidnapping and near fatal injury of several of Mac’s closest friends. She is now in the middle of what could quickly turn into a civil war, one that would be disastrous for all of them.

What she wouldn’t give to have a simple murder case to investigate and a life that didn’t include people who wanted nothing more than to add her death to the many they were already responsible for.

 

hilda's inn4.      Hilda’s Inn for Retired Mercenaries

By Cyn Bagley

In Delhaven, there is an Inn run by a retired mercenary. If you are a down-on-your-luck mercenary or men-at-arms, come to the public rooms and Hilda Brant, the owner, will give you a bowl of stew. If you want ale, hand over the coins. Hilda may give you floor space, but she expects you to pay in favors or coins.

Hilda isn’t prepared for the damage and chaos caused by a dragon, black mage, and elementals. And a very angry Lord Barton.

 

highT5.      The High T Shebang

By Mark Alger

Dolly was reborn into a new body just last week. Right out of the birthing chamber, she was tumbled into a conflict that goes back to the stone age. Her creator, the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite, has disappeared, and the God in charge of her institution — the Babylonian Marduk — has called for her death. Her lover and Geppetto, Mitchell Drummond, is threading his way through political minefields to keep Dolly safe.

New in love, they soon find they can’t keep their hands off each other. Their sexual fever comes to worry them. They suspect there’s more to the situation than mere new love. Meanwhile, they have a job to do. Keeping up the pretense that all’s well and nothing’s going on is wearing thin. But in Upothesa, you’re not allowed to talk about secrets. Dolly is a secret. Trying to keep it together, Dolly and Drummond go on a mission to New Zealand to protect the Dolly’s secret and the life of a major TV drama star.

collisions6.      Collisions of the Damned

By James Young

My God, we are losing this war.—Lt. Nicholas Cobb, USN

March 1943. The Usurper’s War has resumed, with disastrous results for the Allies. In Hawaii, the U.S. Pacific Fleet lies shattered after the Battle of Hawaii. Across the Pacific the Imperial Japanese Navy, flush with their recent victory, turns its gimlet eye towards the south and the ultimate prize for their Emperor: The Dutch East Indies.

For Commander Jacob Morton and the other members of the Asiatic Fleet, the oncoming Japanese storm means that the U.S.S. Houston and her Allied companions must learn to fight against overwhelming odds against an enemy who claims the night as their own. In the skies above Houston and the other old, tired vessels of the ACDA Fleet , Flight Lieutenant Russell Wolford and his men attempt to employ the Allies’ newest technology to even the odds. With full might of the Japanese Empire falling on them, the ACDA’s soldiers, sailors, and marines must fight to hold the line long enough for reinforcements to come.

 

blackbird7.      Blackbird

By Alma Boykin

$.99 Dec 21-24, 1.99 Dec 25-28

One man becomes all that the Turkowi fear – and respect. Matthew Charles Malatesta, second son and rumored bastard of a mercenary, grandson of Duke Edmund “Ironhand” von Sarmas.  One man, who will fight to the last breath to carve a place for himself, who will create a court of learning and civilization, who stands alone between the might of the Turkowi Empire and all of Godown’s people.

one infinity8.      One in Infinity

By Amie Gibbons

On sale for $0.99 from 12/19 to Christmas

Turns out coincidences do happen, and it sucks when it leads killers from an alternate reality to your door…

Rose plans on partying her last weekend of freedom before her residency starts, but fate has different plans. When men straight out of a fantasy novel attack, she gets pulled into a blood feud between magical beings thanks to a random stroke of luck. Now she has to adjust to her new world view and help one of the men to save herself from a fate worse than death.

tick of clock9.      Tick of the Clock

By Travis Clemons and Michael Z Williamson

A man awakens in a 21st century Illinois hospital, holding very distinct memories of being shot in Switzerland decades earlier. The nurse calls him Detective Crabtree and says the DuPage County Sheriff will be by to check on him shortly. Yet he remembers his name being Sherlock Holmes.

When Sabrina Worthington is killed during a home invasion, her billionaire husband has an ironclad alibi. But Adam Worthington does not appear to be the grieving widower people would expect to see. Meanwhile, their former girlfriend keeps tugging on every possible string to convince the authorities to indict the man for murder.

By the tick of the clock, it would seem impossible for a man to be shot in the 19th century and wake up more than one hundred years later. It would also seem impossible for a man to shoot his wife while she’s at home and he’s at a theater thirty miles away. But when the seemingly impossible is properly analyzed, will Holmes determine the improbable truth behind her death and his life?

  1. spaewifeThe Spaewife

    by David L. Burkhead

Pricing will be $0.99 the 19th through the 26th.

A young mother hears the Norns. They tell her of terrible things to come. When Ulfarr wants her gift of prophesy to serve him, he takes her, murders her husband, and steals away her children. Can the young mother escape from Ulfarr’s clutches and save her children from him? Only the Norns know.

via serica11. Via Serica

by Tom Rogneby

on sale from the 19th to the 26th for $1.99

Marcus Aemelius Paullus has a problem – he is playing with fire and falling in love with the wrong woman. Appius Plinius also has a problem – he has a unit full of warriors who continually get themselves, and him, in trouble. Caesar Augustus has a solution to their problems, but it may cost them their lives. Eastward lies fame, fortune, and the key to returning home. Deserts, mountains, marsh, and ocean lie between, occupied by barbarian cultures and hostile rulers. On this grueling journey, Marcus and Appius will find their courage tested to the limits. But before they’re done, the world will know the unconquerable spirit of Rome!