Indie Publishing Links for the Day of German Unity

October 3 is the Day of German Unity, which commemorates the German reunification on October 3, 1990.

Since it’s a fairly new holiday and one that never really had an emotional connection for many people (I explain why here), there is not much of a celebration culture apart from the rotating official celebration which is held in a different state capital every year.

However, if you want to celebrate this day and are looking for a suitable read, then I have something for you: My novelette The Other Side of the Curtain is a spy story set in East Germany in 1966.

Bob Mayer compares how various writers’ organizations determine who is and isn’t a professional writer and how even the most successful of self-published writers are still excluded.

Indeed, I remember that when Amanda Hocking’s success was making waves this spring, someone called out John Scalzi, currently president of the Science Fiction Writers of America, on whether the SFWA would accept Amanda Hocking as a member. Scalzi’s response was something defensive along the lines of no, because that’s against the SFWA guidelines. However, considering how successful many indies are on their own, I wonder how useful a traditional writers organization like SFWA or RWA or MWA will be for them anyway.

At the romance site Dear Author, Jane Litte asks whether readers who buy an indie-published book at 99 cents then go on to buy the author’s other books.

I find it interesting that one of Jane’s complaints with the indie books she tried is that the author may have multiple books out, but since the books are in different genres, she doesn’t want to try them. The advice she offers is the old chestnut not to change genres and to use a pen name, if you have to. Ah, but the beauty of indie publishing is that we can write whatever genre catches our fancy and don’t have to bother with pen names except in very extreme cases.

Dean Wesley Smith wonders why some writers would not spend the time to learn about indie publishing. I wonder the same thing, when I see how many writers just let their out of print backlist languish, when it could be earning them money and gaining them new fans.

Because while there is a bit of a learning curve and the first few e-books take time, it’s not all that difficult. Not to mention fun. Never mind that there are plenty of great free resources out there for anybody who wants to give indie publishing a try. Actually that’s a subject for a future post.

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7 Responses to Indie Publishing Links for the Day of German Unity

  1. Pingback: Day of German Unity Linkdump | Cora Buhlert

  2. Using a pen name can have some value for a self-published author, but it also means abandoning any name recognition you have, and that’s much harder choice for someone not working with a publishing house.

    I can understand where Jane Litte’s coming from since she reads in the romance area where distinct lines of books have extremely distinct sets of tropes, so you can with confidence pick up one of those books and know you’re going to get x and y and not z, while another line with give you y and z but not x.

    Me, I just set an expectation of “your expectations, I will subvert them”.

    • Cora says:

      I decided very early on that I wouldn’t use a pen name, unless I did not want to be associated with a particular story/book (and if so, why did I write it in the first place).

      Romance is a bit of a distinct breed and some romance readers (though by no means all) feel very strongly even about minor subgenre shifts. Nonetheless, you have plenty of bestselling romance authors such as Nora Roberts or Linda Howard who have written all over the subgenre list without a pen name and it hasn’t hurt their sales.

      I like your motto BTW.

  3. Estara says:

    From things I have read on Judith Tarr’s blog, it is often the pre-order by the book store spiral, unless you become a huge seller – they will always order less books than your previous one and at some point if you sell a book your publisher will ask you to come out with it under a new pen name, so that the spiral can start profitably again.

    I think the authors who let their backlist languish often have problems with finding the time in real life to get the whole thing into e-shape, especially if they haven’t got money set aside to pay for the services of some of the reputably format people out there, or a professional cover. I remember Sartorias sometimes talking about how difficult it was to get her paper-only backlist into e-format, as she hadn’t written them on any computer at the time (I think some fans even helped type in various books).

    Fans of her series are trying to get Moira J. Moore to e-publish her last Taro & Lee book so she’ll get SOME return out of the fact that she is planning to release it on LJ for free eventually.

    • Cora says:

      Yes, I’ve heard of the pre-order death spiral, though not on Judith Tarr’s blog. It’s what’s cost me several favourite series, including one where the final book that should have explained everything never came out.

      I agree about the time requirements, because making e-books takes time, while hiring someone to format them for you or create a cover costs money. I’m lucky in one respect, because all of my books and stories were written on a computer, though there are some early files that are still in Wordstar format and have to be converted into a readable file format first before I can determine whether they are salvagable. And of course someone who’s been around as long as Sherwood will have novels from the pre-computer era.

      I try to divide my time between putting up backlist stories and things that have never been published and writing new stuff, let alone school and translations and family and all those other things that eat up your time and your brain.

      • Estara says:

        And keeping up interesting web sites… yes I can see that.
        You do have to have time management to not run yourself frazzled – I’m still working on that at 45 years of age ^^.

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