Showing posts with label hugh howey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hugh howey. Show all posts

Sunday, August 11

Hugh Howey, Liliana Hart and Matthew Mather: How To Write And Sell Books

Hugh Howey, Liliana Hart and Matthew Mather: How To Write And Sell Books

Usually I write about how to create the best book one possibly can. Today I want to talk about how to sell the most books one possibly can.

As I've mentioned in other posts, I write under pen names (and, no, +John Ward, I'm not telling you what they are ;) but am now getting to the point that I need to start thinking about how to market them most effectively.

Today I'd like to share with you some of my research. I found it inspirational and thought you might too. Most of what follows is a potluck of opinions from successful authors. I hope that, as I have, you find something in the following to help you in your own journey as an indie author.

(The first two authors I look at were featured on a terrific blog I've just begun following from the Alliance of Independent Authors.)

Hugh Howey

"Hugh Howey is an American author, known for his popular series WOOL, which he independently published through's Kindle Direct Publishing system. (Wikipedia)"
The following interview is from: How I Do It: Super Successful Indie Authors Share Their Secrets. This week: Hugh Howey.

Hugh Howey's advice: "Write as if nobody will read it; publish as if everyone will read it."
What was the single best thing you ever did?
"I published. I made each work available, and then I moved on to the next story. I also didn't fall into the trap of falling in love with my first world or first set of characters. It's easy to write sequels for the rest of your life, when no one has read the first book. That leaves you forever marketing your weakest material. Instead, I wrote in a variety of genres and styles and for all ages. When something took off, I concentrated on that."
.  .  .  .
How do you get/stay in creative mode?
I don't wait for inspiration to strike. I sit down every day and work on my story. The creativity comes after you've got a nice sweat beading up on your brow. If you wait until you're in the mood, you'll never get anything done.

How do you prioritise?
I set goals. I want to write 2,000 words a day when I'm starting a draft. When I'm revising, I try to get through three chapters a day. When I'm editing, I aim for fifteen chapters a day. I often exceed my goals, but having them is what gets me cranking in the morning.

Liliana Hart

"Liliana Hart is a USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author in both the mystery and romance genres. ...

"... Since self-publishing in June of 2011, she's sold more than a million ebooks all over the world. ...
The following interview is from: How I Do It: Super Successful Indie Authors Share Their Secrets. This week: Liliana Hart.
What's the secret of your success?
Hard work and having new books out on a consistent basis. I write all the time. Once you start self-publishing you have to constantly "feed the beast".

.  .  .  .

Did you get lucky? What happened?

… I honestly think if you keep putting out quality content with a professional package that you’re going to find success. Hard work pays off, and self-publishing is a lot of hard-work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being in control of my career and being able to make changes if I need to.

Matthew Mather

"Matthew Mather  is the best-selling author of CyberStorm, recently acquired for film by 20th Century Fox, and the six-part hit series Atopia Chronicles. He is also a leading member of the world’s cybersecurity community who started out his career working at the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines. ("
Matthew Mather has developed a system for marketing his books, one he shared with readers for the first time earlier this month in his post: SHAKESPEARE system for helping authors figure out self-publishing.

Matthew Mather's SHAKESPEARE system for self-publishing

Where Hugh Howey and Liliana Hart talked about the key to producing novels, Matthew Mather is focused on marketing the finished product. Rather than stepping through his points one by one I'll let you read his excellent article for yourself and, instead, pick out what I thought were the highlights.

1. Make your protagonist someone your readers can like

MM writes:
"It is critical to create a character that you introduce readers to right away that they can empathize with. People read still primarily because they want to feel an emotional involvement with a character they meet in your writing. Keep this front and center of your mind when writing."

2. Get feedback

MM writes:
"Craigslist and other free online classified ads are the secret weapon for a new authors. It is incredibly difficult to get outside feedback when you are a new writer. My solution? Post an ad saying you’ll pay someone $10 or $20 to read your book and give you honest feedback. Note that this is not for line editing, but for high level feedback to make your story more engaging in an iterative process.

"Bonus: Get 20 people to read your book like this; these people will probably become your biggest promoters and will be happy to write reviews and Facebook and tweet your book when released.

"Free PR – When you release your book, create several press releases about different aspects of the book, what it is about, why people would like it. When you release each of the story segments, put these press releases up on the free press release websites. There are about a dozen high quality free release sites out there. Highlight that the short story that is free that week."

3. Focus on Amazon

MM writes:
"To start, focus only on Amazon. I’m not here to promote Amazon, but the first rule of entrepreneurism is to focus, focus, focus. The large majority of revenue in digital books comes from Amazon, with a small minority coming from all of the other players combined. So when you start, focus on Amazon by itself; getting reviews, getting up in the ranking. By only going on Amazon, you force people to buy from one place and thus drive up your rankings in this one spot. Once you have achieved some success there, expand to other platforms (FYI the easiest way to get on other platforms is just to use Smashwords)."

4. Use Amazon Select

MM writes:
"Use the Amazon Select Program: You can offer your book for $0 (free) for 5 days each 3 months. Used effectively, this is an extremely potent tool for reaching an audience. There are at least 40 websites I use to promote a “free weekend” for my books (email me for a list) – these sites are mostly specific to books that go free on Amazon Select and are mostly free to use for promotion.

"If you can plan it ahead of time, write out all of the parts of your serialized work ahead of time, and then each two weeks release one of them, promoting it on Amazon select for free and on the promotional websites. I can usually get 4000+ downloads of a free book when I do this."
The above is only a fraction of the advice Matthew Mather gives in his article. Worth the read.

All the best and happy writing! :-)

Photo credit: "Untitled" by Thomas Leuthard under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Monday, June 17

How To Survive And Thrive As An Indie Writer

How To Survive And Thrive As An Indie Writer
This post was finished then my word processor ate it! Yes, I know, I know, it's my fault for not saving. In any case, what follows is a shortened version.

Here's how to survive and thrive as an indie writer: Write good books, make sure they've been copyedited--either by a professional or a fellow writer--and publish.

I've just read two excellent posts on how to survive and thrive as an indie writer.

1. Kris Rusch: The Business Rusch: The Stages of An Indie Writer.

2. Hugh Howey: What do Self-Published Authors Need?

I'd like to add my own piece of advice: Read as many indie success stories as you can and examine what they did.

I'm not suggesting you do exactly what anyone else has done--Amanda Hocking once lived off of Red Bull and sweet-tarts for a week while she wrote Switched--but it shows you that the one thing they all had in common is that a) they published and b) they didn't give up in the face of criticism.

Here are a few stories I was inspired by:

Amanda Hocking: An epic tale of how it all happened.

Karen McQuestion: The Self-Publishing Bestseller On 'How I Did It'.

Joe Konrath: Independence; How To Sell Ebooks.

Hugh Howey: Hugh Howey: Self-publishing is the future — and great for writers; Author Hugh Howey gets richer by giving away his work;

The main thing is to do it! Don't edit your work forever. Put it out there and let readers give you feedback. I often publish stories on Smashwords first; I've found the feedback from readers there is excellent.

Whatever you do, all the best!

Photo credit: "cat daddy" by Robert Couse-Baker under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Friday, March 15

Hugh Howey's 3 Rules For Writing

Hugh Howey's 3 Rules For Writing
Because of the success of Wool, Hugh Howey has become a household name. Every self-published author has been inspired by his rocket ride to writing and publishing fame.

So when Hugh Howey gives advice to writers, especially writers interested in self publishing, my ears perk up. Below is my summary of what he had to say, but I'd encourage you to read his article in full: My Advice to Aspiring Authors.

Hugh Howey's Advice To Aspiring Authors

Hugh Howey advises writers: Don't write to become rich and famous, write because you love it.
And so my advice is geared toward helping authors get to the end of their manuscript, polish it to perfection, and then gain the widest readership possible. This is the best you can hope for. I think it’s possible for every writer who gives it their all.
Awesome! Let's get started.

1. Write

Write every single day.
To begin with, you need to write. This seems axiomatic because it is. The only way to amass a pile of words into a book is to shovel some every single day. No days off. You have to form this habit; without it you are screwed.
If you haven't already formed the habit of writing every day don't panic. Hugh Howey gives two tips on how to begin:

a. Spend quality time with your monitor 

Even if you don't write, even if you're blocked, get used to sitting in front of your monitor for however long you've set for yourself to write. If you want to write for an hour a day, then sit there, staring at the monitor for an hour. NO social media. NO email.

Eventually either the boredom will force you to type something, anything, or you'll stop trying.
Get comfortable staring at a blank screen and not writing. This is a skill. If you can not write and avoid filling that time with distractions, you’ll get to the point where you start writing. Open your manuscript and just be with it.

b. Write rough

I always knew I liked Hugh Howey, both as a fine writer and a decent, likable, guy but when I read the following he went to a whole new level of cool. I do this too! Of course it takes a lot more than writing rough to be a success but, hey, I'll take my joy where I can get it. ;)
Stop caring about spelling and sentence fragments and plot holes and grammar. Get the story down. Listen to the dialog and try to keep up with your fingers. Get to the end of your manuscript and THEN worry about the quality. If you can master the art of powering through to the end of your story, you are on your way.

2.  Self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint

Write 10 books and don't promote them. Instead, spend your time writing more books. (This is going to sound very familiar to folks who read Dean Wesley Smith's blog! By the way, Dean's blog is great, I highly recommend it.)
My father ... wondered why I wasn’t spending all of my time promoting that first book. I told him I had my entire life to promote my works. I only had now to write. I stuck to that principle for years, writing and publishing several novels or short stories a year. I wrote a variety of genres and with a slew of styles and voices. 1st person, 3rd person, fiction, horror, sci-fi, novelettes, short stories. I also read a wide variety of works, but hardly ever in my genres. I read literary fiction and history, non-fiction and science. I try to read the newspaper every day.

My father now agrees with this approach and sees the value of having a dozen titles available. This is going to sound strange, but you are MUCH better off with your 10th work exploding than your 1st work. You’ll never have quiet time to crank out quality material ever again. And when your backlist matches the growth of your first breakout, you’ll do very well for yourself. Be patient. It’s been said by many others, but I’ll repeat it here: self-publishing is a marathon.

 3. Self publish at the beginning of your writing career

Hugh Howey advises new authors to avoid the traditional route to publication at the beginning of their careers. He writes: "every author should begin their writing career self-publishing, even if their dream is to be with a large publisher".

Here's why:

a. Your manuscript won't change

Your manuscript won't drop in quality just because you decided to publish your story yourself. It's the same book whether you publish it or whether Penguin does.
Querying an agent won’t make your manuscript better. Self-publishing won’t make it worse. It’s either a story that appeals to readers or it isn’t.

b. In self-publishing readers, not editors, not agents, are your gatekeepers

If readers had a choice between a good story or sparkling prose they'd take a good story every time.

Think about it. Think about the popularity of Twilight, The Da Vinci Code, the 50 Shades trilogy. Those aren't read, enjoyed and loved for the prose but for the story. Hugh Howey writes:
Appealing to readers is the endgame. They want story over prose, so concentrate on that (aim for both, but concentrate on story). Agents and slush-pile readers are often the opposite, which is why they bemoan the absence of literary fiction hits and cringe at the sale of Twilight, Dan Brown, and 50 Shades. You are writing for the reader, who is your ultimate gatekeeper. Get your work in front of them, even if it’s one at a time, one reader a month or year.

c. Self-published books are forever

If you self publish then your book will be available to readers for (potentially) forever. A traditionally published print book has, at most, a few months in the bookstores and then its time in the sun is over. It's gone. Unavailable. Remaindered.

Hugh Howey writes:
Working at a bookstore was a dream job but also a sad job. I saw how books sat spine-out on a shelf for six months, were returned, went out of print. That’s a narrow window in which to be discovered. If you self-publish, you will have the rest of your life (and your heirs’ lives) to make it.

d. When you self publish you can get 70% of the royalties versus 12.5%

The chances of a book blowing up like Wool are slim whether you self-publish or are published traditionally.

But IF you get lucky--and it happens--which would you rather make: 70% royalties or 12.5% royalties?

Hugh Howey writes:
If you blow up, do you want to own your rights or have someone else own them? Do you want to be making 12.5% or 70%? Remember, the chances are that you’ll never have a mega-hit. Traditional publishing will not increase those odds. With the 6-month window, I’d say the odds are 1/100th what your work might do in 50 years self-published.

e. Whichever way you go--traditional or indie--you are the publicist

Traditional publishing expects an author to have their own platform. Hugh Howey writes that he'd be shocked to learn that someone got a publishing deal "without already having a robust one":
Houses have too many authors to promote all of them. They choose a select handful based on the excitement around a debut manuscript (rare) or the perennial bestsellers (more likely, but still rare). If you want to earn a living as a writer, which I’m assuming the people asking for my advice are, you are going to have to be more than a writer. You will be an entrepreneur and a publicist. 

f. Hugh Howey is not the story

Hugh Howey is an outlier. He doesn't think we should pay attention to wild success stories like his own. Instead, we should look at how many thousands and thousands of writers are making $1,000 a month over at Amazon.

 g. Be professional

Being professional means studying grammar as well as reading critically and not just for enjoyment.

There's a saying, "It takes a village to raise a child," well, arguably, it takes a village to make a writer. We need to rub elbows with like-minded professionals, whether those elbows are real or virtual. Hugh Howey recommends becoming active over at places like Kindle Boards Writers Cafe.

#  #  #

Hugh Howey has a lot more to say about publishing, and it's all great stuff. I encourage you to read his article in full, here's the link again: My Advice To Aspiring Authors.

I'll leave you with these closing thoughts:
The key to making it as a writer is to write a lot, write great stories, publish them yourself, spend more time writing, study the industry, act like a pro, network, be nice, invest in yourself and your craft, and be patient. If you can do all of these things, you’ll earn some money.
Now that's inspiring!
Have you published any of your work? What do you think of Hugh Howey's advice? Did anything in particular stand out for you?

Other articles you might like:

- 7 Secrets To Writing A Story Your Readers Won't Be Able To Put Down
- Review Of Grammarly, Its Strength And Weaknesses
- Joe Konrath Makes $15k A Week Selling His Backlist

Photo credit: "sky on fire" by Robert Couse-Baker under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Wednesday, December 12

Hugh Howey's Awesome Deal With Simon & Schuster And The Importance Of Agents

Hugh Howey's Awesome Deal With Simon & Schuster And The Importance Of Agents

Today I was spoiled for choice concerning topics to write about.

Hugh Howey broke the news about his terrific deal with Simon & Schuster.

Also Dean Wesley Smith has been having some interesting discussions over on his blog about agents and--since Hugh's terrific deal was landed with the help of his agent--I thought, in an odd sort of way, the two stories go together.

Hugh Howey's Awesome Deal With Simon & Schuster

Hugh Howey, bestselling author of Wool, has landed a breathtakingly good deal with Simon & Schuster. The bones of the deal are as follows:

- Hugh Howey retains control over ebook pricing and will continue to sell ebooks online.
- Simon & Schuster publishes paper copies of Wool--both hardback and paperback--and (of course) distributes them to traditional brick and mortar bookstores.

Congratulations Hugh Howey!

Here is what Hugh wrote about it:
In March, Simon and Schuster is releasing a print edition of WOOL here in the United States, and I couldn’t be more excited. This deal is all about the new publishing paradigm. There are no clauses limiting what I can write and how quickly I can release. I keep control over the ebooks, which means the prices will stay where they are. ... You’ll finally get a print edition with the utmost in quality and design.
Simon and Schuster is also doing a simultaneous paperback and hardback release. This is just a whole bunch of firsts! I'd encourage you to read Hugh Howey's post in full: Luddites, Rejoice!

Hugh Howey also made a 13 minute video in which he talks more in depth about his publishing journey and how this deal came about. Fascinating and highly recommended.

Agents And The Independent Author

One of the things Hugh Howey mentions in his video (Announcement Time!) is the role his agent, Kristen Nelson, played in landing his deal with Simon & Schuster. And not only that deal, his movie deal with Ridley Scott as well. Hugh Howey said that these deals would never have happened without his agent's help (this is my own transcription):
[W]e're talking about a book that's only been out since January and in that time we've had some incredible things happen.

One of the first of which was hearing from Kristen Nelson in the middle of the night who ... I'd already told some agents I didn't think it made sense to go with an agent, I was happy doing things the way that I was and she convinced me, "Hey, let's explore foreign rights, let's amp up the Hollywood push," both of which have been ... I mean, Ridley Scott and 20 countries later she's proven herself, everything she said has come true.
It seems like Hugh Howey feels that Kristen Nelson more than earned her commission!

Let's think about that for a minute.

Dean Wesley Smith has published two (excellent!) articles in a row about agents (See: A Side Note About Agents and One More Agent Question). Dean and a number of authors have been vocal in their opinions that, these days, authors do not need agents.

In fact, Dean feels that, for most authors, agents hurt your writing career more than they help it. Dean writes:

Agents are no longer needed in this new world of publishing for most writers.

I don't disagree with Dean. How could I? He, Kris Rusch, Laura Resnick and a number of other full-time writers have horror story after horror story involving their former agents. Everything from fiscal mismanagement (author's money not remitted to him, incorrect amount of money remitted, etc.) to neglecting to pass along offers (offers from publishers, movie people, and so on) to the author.

On the other hand, there are some authors who praise their agents. Hugo award winner, Jim C. Hines for instance. Jim has stated publicly that he is happy with his agent. He writes:
[T]here seems to be an assumption ... that I’m blindly sticking with a system that’s screwing me over, that I haven’t seriously considered or researched other publishing options, and so on. I would like to reassure people that this is not the case. I read my contracts, both U.S. and foreign. I review my royalty checks and statements, and I ask my agent about anything that looks odd. (Often he beats me too it, sending me royalty spreadsheets with a note that he thinks some numbers look off, and he’s following up with the publisher.) (In Which Others Worry About the State of my Career)

Does An Indie Author Need An Agent?

It could be that while many, perhaps even most, agents are a hinderance to a writer's career, this is not always the case.

It seems that for certain things: offering one's book for auction, pursuing a movie deal, and so on, having an agent can make sense financially.

Could Hugh Howey have done, himself, everything his agent did for him? Possibly. But chances are he wouldn't have had as much time to write. And chances are he wouldn't have gotten the movie contract or the publishing contract with Simon & Schuster, as quickly.

Also, let's face it, some writers loath the business side of writing. If they could find an agent who was both skilled and honest they would gladly pay them to handle rustling up movie deals and the like.

Perhaps in the beginning, before the writer has hit it big, they don't need an agent. But, afterward, when things like movie rights and deals with large US publishers are being discussed, then having a savvy agent can be an asset.

But, still, the writer is left with the daunting task of finding an agent both skilled and honest.

Other articles you might like:

- Turning Off Your Inner Editor
- Guy Kawasaki Writes The Definitive Book On Self Publishing: APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How To Publish A Book
- The Dark Art of Critiquing, Part 2: Formulating A Critique

Photo credit: "My little ladybird" by jonespointfilm under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Sunday, November 11

Serial Fiction: Is It Profitable?

Serial Fiction: Is It Profitable?

For the past few months I've been thinking of experimenting with serial fiction. One thing I'm wondering is whether it's financially profitable.

You've heard, no doubt, that Charles Dickens was one of the first to serialize a story, The Pickwick Papers, in 1836 and that it was a great financial success, but the form seems to have fallen out of favor with readers ... although perhaps less so with listeners. (Serial, Wikipedia)

When I was a kid I spent summers at my parents' cabin, a ramshackle three bedroom tucked deep in the Dead Wood, listening to serializations over the radio. That was great fun. Years later a public broadcasting station re-broadcast episodes of The Shadow (The Shadow knows) along with the original commercials (Roma wine, that's R-O-M-A) from the 40s. The show broadcast every Saturday at 11:00 pm; I'd make popcorn and hunker down for an hour of campy goodness.

Serial Literature Today

Jane Friedman has written a fabulous article about serials for Publishing Perspectives called Experimenting With Serials for Fun and Profit. I would encourage anyone at all curious about the state of serial literature today to read her article.

Is Serial Fiction Profitable?

Here's what I think: It can be. I say that because for certain authors, authors like Hugh Howey and Sean Platt it has been. For other folks, not so much. As you can see from reading Jane's article, many people produce serial fiction simply for the love of it.

Since my question is whether serial fiction can be profitable and, if so, how to go about doing that, I'll concentrate on folks who seem like they've been able to make a nice go of it. Although please keep in mind that this is guess work on my part, I haven't seen their financials!

Hugh Howey - Wool

Jane wrote her article before the phenomenal success of Hugh Howey's Wool. Here's what Hugh Howey says about his ride to the top:
The first WOOL story came out in July of last year. At just over 12,000 words, it qualified as a novelette, and not much more. I forgot about the story until it began garnering a slew of positive reviews that could muster only a single complaint among them: Where was the rest? They wanted more.

So I began writing more. I released the rest of the story in installments, something I'd always wanted to try, and I enjoyed the quick turnaround and the immediate feedback from readers. The entries grew as the series went along, until the fifth and final WOOL story was the length of a short novel. Once the tale was complete, I collected the five books into an Omnibus, which was when it began to really take off.

The WOOL OMNIBUS is now roaring up the charts, and I like to think of the work as much as a collaboration as a singular effort. It was borne out of the call from reviewers for more and forged almost as it was being read. (How My Self-Published Book 'Wool' Became A Hot Movie Property)
Hugh Howey seems to have discontinued selling the first five serials and now just offers the omnibus version, but since that's currently at number 151 in the paid kindle store he's clearly made the right decision. Wow! That is very good, and the book was published in January 2012.

The question is: Would Wool have been such a great hit if Hugh Howey written it as a novel from the start? We'll never know, but clearly the serial form can be lucrative.

Roz Morris - Author, Editor and Ghostwriter

This is from Roz's site:
I’m a professional writer, editor and writing blogger living in London. You’ll have seen my books on the bestseller lists but not under my name because I ghostwrote them for other people. (Roz Morris)
Roz has come out into the daylight, as she puts it, with a 100,000 word literary novel she released in four parts. She published in September 2011 and appears to have done fairly well. One thing I find fascinating is that her first episode--the first serial--seems to be doing about as well as the completed book! Here, take a look for yourselves (keep in mind that I'm writing this on Nov 11th and things will likely change over time).

My Memories of a Future Life - Episode 1 of 4: The Red Season (Aug 23, 2011)
My Memories of a Future Life - Episode 2 of 4: Rachmaninov and Ruin (Sept 1, 2011)
My Memories of a Future Life - Episode 3 of 4: Like Ruby (Sept 9, 2011)
My Memories of a Future Life - Episode 4 of 4: The Storm (Sept 16, 2011)
My Memories of a Future Life - the complete novel (Sept 19, 2011)

Roz also has a great blog about writing: Nail Your Novel.

Sean Platt - The King of Serial Fiction

Together with co-author, David Wright, Sean has quickly become “King of the Serial,” as the father of the five series: Yesterday’s Gone, WhiteSpace, ForNevermore, Available Darkness, and Dark Crossings. Inspired as much by Stephen King’s serialized story, “The Green Mile,” as well as superbly scripted TV shows, such as LOST, Fringe, and The Walking Dead. Their first series, Yesterday’s Gone has received over 200 5-Star reviews, and has spent time on Amazon’s list of the Top 100 Best Reviewed Fiction Books of All Time. (Sean Platt)
Sean calls his omnibus works "seasons" and each contains six episodes. He models his serials after Lost and uses cliffhanger endings to keep his audience coming back for more. Jane wrote that the first episode was free and each after that each is $1.99 with the full season selling for $4.99. Apparently things have changed.

I just looked up Yesterday's Gone: Season One on Amazon and it's selling for $5.99 (#2038 in the Kindle store), the first episode is 99 cents and all other episodes are $2.99. Even though the first season is up on Amazon the first episode is still selling reasonably well (#29,490 in the Kindle store).

Keep in mind, too, that Yesterday's Gone is just one of the serials Sean and David are writing.  As I mention, above, they are also working on: WhiteSpace, ForNevermore, Available Darkness and Dark Crossings, all of which seem to be doing very well.

Don't Use Serial Fiction As A Gimmick

Jane warns against using serial fiction as a marketing gimmick. If it just so happens that each chapter of your novel stands on its own as a self-contained unit, then fine, but if it it doesn't you may find yourself with disgruntled readers--or, worse, board ones--rather than fans.

Serial Fiction: Try It!

It seems the most successful attempts at serial fiction have been when novel length works are serialized in 5 or 6 novelette sized chunks and released about a week, or a month, apart.

In the end, the only way you'll know if serial fiction would be right for you is to jump into the deep end and try it. Write some serial fiction, publish it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, WattPad, or what have you.

If you're a bit shy you can use a pen name so if no one buys it you don't have to worry about anyone knowing. I think that's unlikely though, especially if you give your first serial away for free. :)

Whatever you decide to do, best of luck!

#  #  #

My NaNoWriMo update: Yesterday was a good day for me, I'm at 19,921 words, I'm hoping to reach 22,000 today. Coming up to the midpoint.

Other articles you might like:

- What's The Difference Between Paranormal Romance And Urban Fantasy?
- A NaNoWriMo Pep Talk From Neil Gaiman
- David Mamet On How To Write A Great Story

Photo credit: "My forest dream is still a dream..." by Vinoth Chandar under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Thursday, August 16

Sue Grafton: I Did A Bad Bad Thing

Yesterday Sue Grafton backpedaled on her claim that self-publishers were "too lazy to do the hard work". Ms. Grafton writes:
The responses to that quote ranged from irate to savage to the downright nasty.  Indie writers felt I was discounting their efforts and that I was tarring too many with the same brush.  It wasn’t my intention to tar anyone, if the truth be known.  Several writers took the time to educate me on the state of e-publishing and the nature of self-publishing as it now stands.  I am uninitiated when it comes to this new format.  I had no idea how wide-spread it was, nor did I see it as developing as a response to the current state of traditional publishing, which is sales driven and therefore limited in its scope.  I understand that e-publishing has stepped into the gap, allowing a greater number of authors to enter the marketplace.  This, I applaud.  I don’t mean to sound defensive here…though of course I do.

I don’t understand the mechanics of e-publishing and I still don’t understand how you can earn money thereby but I realize now that many indie writers are doing well financially and netting themselves greater visibility than I had any reason to believe. 
Read the rest over at The Pulse of the City: More from Sue Grafton on Publishing & Indie Writers.

Hugh Howey wasn't impressed. Here's his response to Sue's clarification of her thoughts on indie publishing:
Here is my favorite part of her disingenuous backpedaling:
When I’m asked for advice I warn many writers about the charlatans lurking out there.  I warn about the risk of being taken in by those who promise more than they actually deliver and do so at a writers expense. 
Sue? If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were talking about traditional publishers. Promise more than they deliver? Self-publishing makes no promises. You work your butt off with nothing but your own hopes and dreams. Every success startles. The empty promises I’ve seen made have come from major publishers, who have graciously offered to take my hard work and pay me less money and less frequently while they profit handily. Who are the charlatans? Look around, Sue. They’ve been milking you for years.
You can read Hugh's entire response here: An Explanation from Sue Grafton

Personally I think there's something to the adage: By their fruits you will know them. Are indie authors making money? Is indie publishing advancing writers' careers allowing them another option for advancement? The answer: Heck ya! But one thing indie publishing is not is easy.

Related reading:
- Hugh Howey, Bestselling Author Of Wool, On The Key To Writing Success
- Seth Godin: When To Go With A Traditional Publisher
- Amanda Hocking's Unusual Writing Schedule (Amanda Hocking writes between 6 and 12 hours a day! Anyone who calls that lazy has a different definition than I do.)

Wednesday, August 15

Hugh Howey, Bestselling Author Of Wool, On The Key To Writing Success

Hugh Howey, bestselling author of Wool, on the key to writing success

Hugh Howey, the bestselling author of Wool, writes this reply to Sue Graften's allegation that self-publishers are "too lazy to do the hard work". I'm not going to put in a link to Graften's article, Hugh Howey did, so you can get to her article through his if you really want to read it.

Hugh writes:
There is no better way to break into traditional publishing than self publishing. Period. End of story. Hell, write fan fiction. Another piece of Twilight fan-fic just got a seven-figure advance on the heels of the success of 50 Shades of Grey. Does this mean it’s the new norm? No. But it does mean that publishers no longer care how you sell books. They don’t care if you self-publish. They don’t even care if you write porn based on YA vampire novels. They just want to give readers whatever the hell they want! And readers don’t want query letters. They don’t want books in slush piles. They want good stories, decently edited, available right now, and as cheap as you please.
Read the rest of Hugh Howey's article here: My Favorite Four Sue Grafton Novels.

And he would know. His runaway bestseller, Wool, has been picked up by Random House in the UK and Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator) will be directing an upcoming blockbuster movie made by 20th Century Fox. You can read all about it here: Hugh Howey Writes About The Phenomenal Success Of Wool.

Thanks to The Passive Voice Blog for the link to Hugh Howey's article, provocatively titled Sue Grafton Thinks I'm Lazy.

Other articles you might like:
- Rasana Atreya's Self-Publishing Journey
- Contracts: Deadly Agent Clauses
- The Bourne Legacy: The Story Is Fiction, The Rest Is Real

Friday, May 25

Nathan Bransford On Self Publishing

Nathan Bransford writes:
There is no "us" vs. "them." Traditional vs. self-publishing is a false dichotomy. It's an illusion created by people who either have let their frustrations get the best of them or are trying to sell you something. We're all writers trying to figure out the best way to get our books to readers. We're all on the same team.

No, the traditional publishing industry is not a hive of retrograde monsters out to steal and eat your newborn children. No, self-publishing is not a gang of unwashed crap artists trying to poison the literary well forever.

Publishing is a spectrum of choice, from traditional publishers who pay you, will handle most things for you and assume all risk in exchange for certain rights to your book, to self-publishing where you handle everything yourself, pay your own way, and adopt your own risk. And there's a whole lot more choice in between those two poles.

What's the right way? There is no right way.
Read the rest of Mr. Bransford's post here: Traditional vs. Self-publishing is a False Dichotomy

I woke this morning, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and trundled over to Dean Wesley Smith's blog where he raved about the fantastic post former agent Nathan Bransford wrote (Holy Smokes, Batman. I Agree With Nathan Bransford). And (as always!) he was right, it was a fantastic post.

In the past couple of months the flood gates have burst and record numbers of traditionally published writers have self-published their work. We're also seeing indie authors, even wildly successful indie authors, choosing NOT to go with one of the Big-6 publishers.

For instance, Hugh Howey, author of the runaway bestseller Wool, chose to continue to self-publish in the US and only sold Random House UK his overseas writes. Howey writes:
Now, this is still new enough to me to leave me in a daze simply from typing the words, but it gets even better: The same book--self-published, mind you--has been picked up by Random House in the UK for a major hardback release. And while domestic publishers have made offers that would have had me swooning mere months ago, I have chosen to remain independent here in the States.

I currently enjoy the best of both worlds: The ability to write what I want and enjoy the generous royalties inherent with self-publishing domestically, while also working with a major publisher overseas to hone my craft and produce the best physical books possible. Because of this avalanche of good news, I've been blessed by IndieReader to come here today and thank you all for turning what once was a fanciful dream into a mind-numbing reality. Yeah, I'm thanking you.
Hopefully Hugh Howey's success is only the tip of a very large iceberg.

Related articles:
- Hugh Howey Writes About The Phenomenal Success Of Wool

"Nathan Bransford On Self Publishing," copyright© 2012 by Karen Woodward.

Monday, May 14

Wool: Indie bestseller to be made into blockbuster movie.

Wool by Hugh Howey, a self-published title and current bestseller, was purchased by Century after a bidding war. Twentieth Century Fox will be making the movie.
Wool is described as "a high-concept novel set in a stark future; the air outside is no longer breathable, so the last community on Earth lives underground in an enormous silo". Since the author self-published Wool on, it has sold 140,000 copies through e-book within six months, and attracted 600 five-star reviews on the site, according to Century. The self-published edition is currently on sale on for $4.97, and on for £3.08. Century's own e-book edition of Wool will beavailable from June.
Read the rest here: Century wins latest self-publishing sensation