Self-Publishing News: 4.30.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Remember how we recently mentioned the Library Writers Project from the Multnomah County Library in Oregon? It looks as though the entire state of Minnesota is now on board and doing something similar as they launch their Indie Author Project. The IAP. One significant difference from the collaborations we’ve highlighted earlier is that the IAP is competitive, with winners receiving both financial and promotional rewards for their involvement. (Multnomah County Library, for comparison, partnered with Ooligan Press to help move certain leading lights of their Library Writers Project into print.) They do share some core DNA, however, in that the IAP’s “Winning authors will reach hundreds, if not thousands, of new readers via Minnesota’s libraries, and can also leverage being an award-winning author for additional marketing opportunities.” The barriers to entry are low, with the only requirements being that submitted works be:

• Indie-published
• Written by a Minnesota resident
• In an adult fiction or young adult fiction genre
• Available in either PDF or ePUB format

If you are a Minnesota author and are interested, there is more information on submissions in the original article, which you can access by clicking the link, above, and following the instructions and links provided there.

If you’re a science fiction and fantasy fan, you’ve likely heard about some of the many award-related controversies taking place in the world of SFF literature. Recently, the Nebula Awards had their own controversy. The Nebula’s parent organization opened their awards to considering indie and self-published books for their awards in 2013 (which was actually rather ahead of the trend, we’d note; many literary and book awards still to this day do not allow indie and self-published works for consideration). The upside of this has been that their ballots have become ever more inclusive and diverse, a fact of which the Nebula organizers are proud of. They’ve gone on the record to encourage voters to vote according to each book’s individual merit, not outside agendas: “The work that stays with you, that moves you, that work that you love the most should earn your vote,” the article quotes. Unfortunately, the downside of opening up the eligibility is that new legions of participants and supporters are now being asked to learn what might be termed “award-season etiquette.” Unfair promotional campaigns, of which there are many kinds, can sway voters in ways that ignore the merit of individual works. A “slate vote” is one such campaign, and often entails someone putting together a list (or “slate”) of books for others to vote for without having read the works themselves. (And yes, often these slates are put together based on ideologies, not the works’ merits.) So what was this most recent controversy? A very well-intentioned influencer put together a recommended reading list of indie publications up for the 2018 Nebula Awards, and the Internet went a little nuts, with widely-varying opinions all being expressed very strongly. The influencer, one Jonathan Brazee, has since written an apologetic explanation for the reading list, which has made clear his good intentions—which were not to sway voters to vote on books they hadn’t read, but rather to boost awareness of the awards’ growing diversity in nominated works.

It’s good to know that even in this age of polarized online debate, people can still come to understand each other better. And we agree with both parties involved—with Brazee, that indie and self-published authors are totally worth celebrating as we exit awards season, and with the Nebula organizers, who are understandably concerned that new audiences may not be aware of some of the inherent pitfalls to award voting processes. Each award has its own rules and recommendations.


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As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Self-Published Book Review: “TARA: The Goldilocks Planet”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

tara j g possum the goldilocks planet

2016 reader views reviewers choice award

TARA: The Goldilocks Planet

by J. G. Possum

ISBN: 9781478798842

 

Synopsis*:

Earth is on the brink of self-destruction. The fate of an entire planet rests on the shoulders of 212 people chosen to establish a colony on a recently discovered Goldilocks planet. Tests revealed the planet could sustain life…but they didn’t show that life already existed there. The crew from Earth is met by many hostile creatures, but it’s way too late to turn back. They must find a way to establish a colony…without making the same mistakes that destroyed Earth.

Drawing from thirty-five years as an engineer, J. G. Possum has written a believable science-fiction novel steeped in fact that is also a thrilling page-turner. Tara: The Goldilocks Planet will enthrall casual and lifelong sci-fi readers alike.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

“Tara” by J.G. Possum is a sci-fi novel following a group of men and women who have fled the planet Earth in the midst of an atomic war between nations. After traveling for fourteen months on their spaceship Aquarius, they reach a new planet they name Tara. Finding a new planet is not the end of their journey together though. Now they must build a new civilization and navigate new relationships with Tara’s current population.

Of Tara’s two continents, one is already spoken for upon the arrival of the Aquarius. The more hospitable Southern Continent, eventually named Erona, is inhabited by the Eron, an alien species that fled their own planet long ago. They allow the humans to attempt settling on the dangerous Northern Continent, which they name Earthland. One of the most interesting parts of this novel is watching the two nations navigate a tentative alliance. The Eron are cautious, having been taken advantage of before, but the humans are desperate to rebuild their civilization on Tara and must find a way to live in peace with their new neighbors. Watching the new diplomatic ties being formed and negotiated is thrilling.

The real story begins after the Aquarius has landed on Earthland. Building a new country is no easy task, and readers are taken through the process step by step. From forming a new government, to creating a monetary system, to actually building Earthland’s first city, the audience gets to witness a new society being born.

As readers follow Earthland’s birth and watch the new country’s leaders attempt to cement their people’s place on Tara, they will perhaps notice a flaw within the story; there is a lack of conflict. Earthland’s leaders never disagree with each other and their constituents are willing to go along with every decision they make. Lack of conflict is a problem that permeates other areas of “Tara” as well but is most prevalent in scenes between members of Earthland’s first designated governing body. Disagreements and tension between the government leaders would add another layer to the novel’s plot as well as add a more realistic element. Every government has some faction of the constituency it represents that stands against it, no matter how popular it is with the majority. In “Tara,” resolution comes far too easily to the protagonists in every circumstance.

“Tara” by J.G. Possum is an interesting case. While it is presented as a science fiction story, more emphasis is placed on building civilizations and creating a history for a new society. I greatly enjoyed those aspects of the novel. I could definitely see it becoming favorite of nonfiction/culture buffs looking to get into the fiction scene.

– reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views

Other Reviews

Great story…and a must read.

– reviewed on Amazon by jf

Entertaining and Uplifting With a Powerful Message
[T]ARA is thought provoking, believable and holds more than a few surprises. Grab this book, settle into a comfy chair and dig right in to experience mankind at its finest! You won’t be sorry!

– reviewed on Amazon by Stephanie Dil

 


tuesday book review

Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Self-Publishing News: 6.25.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

june

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!

We’ve written occasionally about the happy synchronicity between self-publishing and genre fiction, but this article more or less proves it: while traditional sales in some of these genres, here specifically science fiction and fantasy, actual sales may have actually doubled when those crunching the numbers include information from indie and self-publishing sources. The difficulty, of course, is that many of these companies (here’s looking at your KDX service, Amazon!) refuse to give up information, or at least to do so reliably. Still, from the information available Adam Rowe of Forbes is able to speculate, drawing upon Nielson reports among others, that while “Indie-published authors may be just 48% of the SF&F market (and their unit prices average just $3.20 compared to traditional publishers’ ebook average of $8.04), but these authors are likely still earning the majority of the profits.” This is good news for self-publishing authors, Rowe writes, but may not be the kind of boost or reminder that traditional publishers need to invest in these genres in which authors are jumping ship. The authors are, in part, jumping ship because they weren’t being invested in; they have good reasons to leave the traditional route, just as much as they have good reasons to choose an indie route. At some point, are the Big Five going to reach a tipping point where they simply discontinue their science fiction and fantasy (as well as other genre fiction) imprints? Because that would be a loss to us all.

Speaking of science fiction, did you know that the history of zines is inextricably tied up with this genre? As Claire Williamson of the Japan Times Culture column writes,

“The Comet” is widely acknowledged to be the first zine — first published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago — and its release heralded the beginning of a decades-long trend of fan-produced science fiction zines. By the 1970s and ’80s, zine culture was decidedly punk; in the 1990s it centered on the feminist “riot grrrl” movement. Nowadays zines often combine elements of both text and design, running the gamut from in-depth, research-based publications to pocket-sized collections of personal doodles, and encompassing myriad topics.

Zines are also, of course, tied up with self-publishing. Writes Williamson, “From the modern ukiyo-e prints of the Edo Period (1603-1868) to contemporary dōjinshi (self-published) fan comics, there has always been an outlet in Japan for artistic self-publishing.” It may have begun in the Edo period, but “The mid-2000s, for instance, heralded the rise of keitai shōsetsu (cell phone novels), which were written in sparse, colloquial Japanese — ideal for drafting or reading on cramped cell phone screens — and appealed to the masses. Meanwhile, nijisōsaku (derivative works) that draw on copyrighted characters have historically been protected from lawsuits to allow the growth of the parent work’s fanbase and encourage budding artistic talent.” As Williamson points out, in such a historical context, self-publishing as we know it today makes for a natural fit. Williamson unpacks the rich story of zines and self-publishing in modern Japan, as well as several of its current players, making this a must-read article. The article may be of local interest, but its implications are global.

Not familiar with The Kissing Booth? That’s alright; until two weeks ago, no one else had either. This made-for-and-by-Netflix teenage drama has risen to through the ranks of most-watched films online in its brief time in the world, and is forcing entertainment companies to re-evaluate where they find their source material. Because The Kissing Booth? Yeah, that was self-published. We’ve written about Wattpad, the blogging and self-publishing site so popular with teens, before on this blog–but it’s worth point out again that self-publishing doesn’t ever look like any one thing. It’s microbloggers like Rupi Kaur who use Instagram to find an audience. It’s fanfiction and lengthier bloggers like those who use Wattpad, LinkedIn, and Tumblr to find their audiences. It’s authors writing full-length novels and publishing them through companies like Amazon and Outskirts Press. It’s zine makers making and distributing their work by hand or through the Internet. It’s indie comic creators and game designers pushing the envelope of what’s considered self-publishable material, as well as musicians and artists and so, so many more. Now that companies like Netflix are literally banking on self-publishing authors and other creators, it’s only a matter of time before we see an explosion and diversification of the base definition of self-publishing, and before that list is multiplied by a factor of ten. If you’re a self-publishing author or creator reading this blog, you’re in the right place at the right time. We can’t wait to see what happens next.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

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Weekly Self-Published Book Review: “Escape from Eternity”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of the Genre Go Round Reviews blog:

Escape from Eternity

Escape from Eternity

Nate Scholze

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781432789060

Synopsis:

Set in the modern era, a humanoid alien entity, Adrian Antagon, arrives on Earth with a specific mission in mind. He must locate his long lost brother and cohort Menonan Antagon, who disappeared 60,000 years ago on Earth after trying to put down a rebellion of creative aliens who were supposed to be the stewards of the world, of which he was Supreme Commander at the time. Adrian assimilates the body of the first person who comes upon his tiny cylinder-shaped spacecraft and journeys from London, England to the beautiful water-front resort area of Door County, Wisconsin.

In Ephraim he meets up with an old man who recognizes but is not happy to see him. Emil Bitterman says that Adrian has never brought anything but heartache to him and he should leave immediately, but Adrian tells Bitterman he has other plans and requests that he assist him because of a former commitment. The old man refuses, but refers him to a young woman with a messed up life. Laura Whitmore is dealing with an overbearing father, a restaurant employer who’s paying too much attention to her, and the recent death of her cherished boyfriend.

She is not happy when Adrian asks for her help. Tired and depressed, Laura just wants to be left alone, but Adrian is determined to win her over and relays information about strange creative endeavors that changed our world. He explains that all humans are eternal and Earth is simply a place to escape the boredom of eternity and to forget about the problems associated with living forever for a while. Laura is rattled by his bizarre commentary and decides to try to avoid him, so she seeks out her sister Michelle, and her best friend, Colin Benton, a burned-out druggy.

Meantime, the family of the man whose body Adrian had assimilated has discovered he is missing, and to their horror determines their beloved family member now resides in Wisconsin, U.S.A. Bewildered and hurt, Katherine Nolan and friend, John Barrington, make the trip from the U.K. to recover him, but realize when they arrive that the man they think they know is now very different. Adrian kills Laura’s boss for assaulting her, and he is arrested and jailed, but then discloses what he has really come for: To reveal a mysterious truth that will change Laura’s life forever, and send her scurrying for safety. But Adrian needs her, and discloses that she has been chosen to play the central role in his plan whether she wants it or not, and as far as he is concerned, her involvement is not optional.

Laura’s father vows to see Adrian dead and in a bizarre turn of events Adrian is fatally shot by the sister of the now deceased Emil Bitterman. As Adrian is dying at Laura’s feet she discovers, to her horror, the strange and unnatural connection she has to the lost Menonan Antagon, and realizes that the information she receives could cost her more than her sanity, it could cost her her life.

[ courtesy of Amazon ]

Critique:

University of London math Professor William Nolan investigates an object that fell from the sky near his home. He returns to the house ordering his wife Katherine to give him his passport before leaving. Shocked by his out of character behavior she calls family friend John Barrington.

Calling himself Adrian, William flies to Chicago and from there goes to Ephraim, Wisconsin to see Teddy Bitterman. Adrian tells Teddy that Caleb lives in the Cycle and demands he help him rescue him. Teddy refuses as he lost his beloved wife Audrey and his sibling Caleb when he tried to assist Adrian years ago rescue the alien’s missing brother Menonan. Pleading for his sister and him to be left alone, Teddy tells his visitor to look for the oldest Whitmore sister. Adrian locates depressed Laura Whitmore and asks for her assistance, but she refuses as her dreams died in a car accident. He explains why he needs her to find Menonan who vanished after putting down a coup attempt by creative aliens on planet earth many millennia ago. While she turns to her younger sister Michelle and her BFF Colin Benton, her father Howard vows to kill the alien and Katherine and John follow William’s trail to Door County only to learn he killed Laura’s abusive Adam Blake.

Escape from Eternity is a gripping science fiction thriller starring a strong cast with diverse tsuris in a Close Encounters of the Third Kind scenario adding to their woes. The complex twisting storyline built on an eternal cosmological premise is character driven starting with Adrian’s possession of William’s body and never slows down as the audience anticipates a confrontations in Wisconsin and beyond.

reviewed by Harriet Klausner ]

Here’s what some other reviewers are saying:

I believe this will become a cult classic because this book brings a new scape to answer the “why am I here?” question that everyone has.
This book has a plot line that leaves you guessing and the way he has written his characters makes you understand the choices they have made without the normal “I know where this is going” being correct.
Every time I guessed wrong it pulled me further into the story, or is it a story? it makes you wonder,”did this guy figure it out?”
I think it should be read even by people who aren’t the normal sci-fi readers,it has a story that can make anyone ask questions they haven’t asked before. I can’t wait until its picked up by someone for a movie.
The way he paints the landscapes and surroundings of his characters makes you use your imagination knowing that he was trying to portray exactly what you are thinking.

I am a person who keeps books on a shelf that I love so I can read them again, this is a definite re-read. Pick it up with an open mind and you wont be disappointed!

Amazon Reviewer callmetim

In this read we meet Laura Whitmore, her sister and parents. They appear to be a normal family yet a secret circles their lives, one that only the father fully knows, but never told his family. In a strange visit from a space craft a man runs to see what it is only to be taken over by something or is that someone, with a mission. This now possessed man, who calls himself, Adrian, seeks out Laura who holds the key to the future. Who really is this creature and what secrets does he hold for mankind, and why is Laura so important to him?

I have to say this was a different read with twists and turns I did not expect. The author kept you running forward with the desire to know who Adrian really was and why was he so intent on finding Laura. The characters in this story were interesting and well developed and tied together nicely as the read progressed. I think a little more information should have been given on who this character, Adrain, was a little sooner in the story. Perhaps a few more hints dropped here and there. As I said this was a different twist on ‘earth visiting’ characters and I feel our author plans to take this into another book, or so I assume from the ending of this one. The ending was a surprise in so many ways, I really did not see this ending coming, and it appears Laura is in for other visitations. If you enjoy a read that is a little different than the norm, this one is for you. The foundation is laid and ready to be built upon. I will be watching to see how our author continues this story.

Amazon Reviewer Shirley Priscilla Johnson


Thanks for reading!  Keep up with the latest in the world of indie and self-published books by watching this space every Saturday!

Self Publishing Advisor

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Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 7/25/14

IT’S IN THE STARS-II

Can you imagine it?  Can you see it?  Do you perceive the conundrums associated with futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel and the eventual contact with other sentient beings?  If you are a Science Fiction reader/writer, these concepts (and many others) race through your mind all the time.  That’s exciting!  Very exciting!  And we know it is exciting because of NPR’s 2011 list of Top 100 Sci-Fi-Fantasy books, the first eleven books of them being written and published between 1917 and 1964—way before authors had the option to self-publishHurray for today’s technological advances!  The field is wide open!

It is important, however, to honor the legacy that previous Sci-Fi authors left for us, which demonstrates that good writing never “dies.”  JRR Tolkien’s books are currently being made into amazing films, motivating millions to re-read the original books.  Edgar Rice Burroughs’ books have tweaked the imaginations of such visionaries as Ray Bradbury who admired the element of Burroughs’ stimulating “relationship” tales and incorporated many of those concepts in his Star Trek TV series and later films.  James Cameron (Avatar) and George Lucas (Star Wars) were also influenced by Mr. Burroughs’ books.  Yes, indeed, excellent writing combined with out-of-this-world imagination lives “into the future.”  That alone encourages today’s Sci-Fi authors.

Now, let me add more information to “boost” you off the couch and into your writing room!  Do you remember the film 2001: A Space Odyssey?  Way back in 1968, author Arthur C. Clarke developed this science fiction novel concurrently with Stanley Kubrick’s film version.  The novel was actually published after the release of the film.  Some might call this a conspiracy between Clarke and Kubrick.  If so, it was a brilliant conspiracy, indeed.  Both novel and film were/are big successes—and Arthur C. Clarke became the “official” author of the novel because the lion’s share of it was based on numerous short stories he’d written between 1948 and 1968.  By end-of-the-year 1992, the novel had sold 3 million copies!

Today a new novel associated with that novel/film has come on the scene (July, 2014)—The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’  It is a four-volume set that explores (in great depth) every aspect of the film and its making from the use of groundbreaking technical effects, extraordinary set designs, plus the fascinating collaboration between Kubrick and Clarke.  Now that is what I call longevity in the writer’s world!  When the magic of imaginative/futuristic science and technology blend with well-developed writing techniques and inspiration, amazing things DO happen.

SO, if your thoughts are filled with a plethora of possibilities for life and living in the next decades and/or millennia please, write them out for all of us to enjoy.  The publishing industry has moved forward “into the future” too, and offers multiple self-publishing options for your every need.  Go boldly my friends!  GO BOLDLY!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 7/18/14

IT’S IN THE STARS

WHERE oh where are today’s true Science Fiction writers?  In my youthful days, I cut my reading-teeth on such marvelous other-world adventures as 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (by Jules Verne), War of the Worlds (by H.G. Wells) and John Carter the mysterious traveler to Mars/Barsoom.  With each impossible John Carter action and invention created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, my wonderment increased.  Yet, the present-day genre of “science fiction” now includes other facets that (in my opinion) detract from the legacy left to us by these great authors.

The specific definition of the genre of Science Fiction is “…imaginative content such as futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, faster-than-light travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life.  It often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations and has been called a literature of ideas.  Authors commonly use science fiction as a framework to explore identity, morality, social structure, politics and other literary themes.”  And there you have it!  That is what I’m looking for in my Science Fiction books today.

Did you know that NPR (National Public Radio) did a survey back in 2011 to discover what people were reading in the “science fiction genre?”  This created their list of the Top 100 Science Fiction/Fantasy books (even though I’m not enthused about the addition of the “fantasy” piece).  Out of their Top Ten, only three are still alive and writing—Orson Scott Card, George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman.  Of course, I love seeing the work of many of my favorite writers remaining on top: JRR Tolkien, Frank Herbert, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov to name a few.  However, where are the new writing explorers?

Self-published author, J.M. Erickson has come upon the scene in recent years with some excellent writings.  His most recent, Future Prometheus: Emergence and Evolution, is an excellent beginning to a series that explores the edge of the familiar and the unknown terrain of possibility—a world where the science of today has warped into something totally unexpected.  This is visionary, futuristic, science/technology-based writing that compels the reader to turn the page and think about the possibilities.  Happily, this author has the understanding and background that allows his imagination to explore these “what if” scenarios.  I applaud Mr. Erickson in his writing career, in his choice to self-publish and in his willingness to think and write “outside the box.”

It is my hope that more true Science Fiction writers will step out and accept the legacy to explore human identity, national and world politics, social and cultural paradoxes within this literary framework.  Our lives are changing (evolving) by the minute and we need writers to offer other choices than the ones currently being made.  As Frank Herbert (The Dune series) said, “The gift of words is the gift of deception and illusion.”  That concept needs to be deeply explored allowing us to picture an illusion that exposes deceptions and just might show us the way to better possibilities.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.