Self-Publishing….is it a viable alternative to the traditional houses?

There is presently (and before…) a lot of controversy about this issue.  I have very little experience in publishing, and what I do have is mainly with self-publishing.

(“The Zar Tales” is now published on Lulu.com, ID: 8375775 though Bill Penrose and I are going through the proof copy right now.  How Lulu released the proof I still can’t figure,  but it’s already selling so I guess there is no bad news.)

A discussion on the website ERWA  sort of provoked this blog entry.  One writer posted a website of Jim Hines, a fantasy author, about self-publishing, traditional publishers and agents and, though this was more in the context of publishing a novel, it leaned heavily towards the agents and traditional publishing.

Well,   I think there are a number of issues to consider.  I had a lot of poetry, flashers, some short (not so short either) stories and a novella that seemed too eclectic a body of work to interest any traditional market.   I also have five unfinished novels.

Perhaps I should have not published the first book , “A Seasoning of Lust” so fast because I really had no idea what to do AFTER publishing. But funny thing: people, readers….find you.  Of course, this blog helped with that, and it was the first line of defense.

I think  continued work and PATIENCE  is the key.  And this publishing issue is more of building one book upon the other.  And finding a market YOU are interested in.  I know that my work will never be the mainstream stuff of Dan Brown or other popular authors, and I wouldn’t want it to be.  It’s a very different sort of market.  What some call a ‘niche’ market.

Whatever market it is, it’s not something that grows fast.  I have discerning readers and those who  correspond with me, on this blog and mostly off….are people who know what they like.  They are educated, intelligent people.  They know my work isn’t a fast, easy read.  I take comfort in that, knowing I grow as a write.  I become more discerning in my subject matter and writing style.

At least I hope so.

But a writer doesn’t do it all alone.  There are influences, critics and encouraging other writers.  There are some shits, too, but that is part of the mix.  These last two books wouldn’t have come to fruit without the hard work of Bill Penrose first of all.  He did a remarkable job with the books, and Lulu.com didn’t make it easy.  In fact, they progressively made it harder by changing a lot on their site.  Steve Isaak did an incredible review of “A Seasoning of Lust” and made me see the book through  other eyes.  There is also the friendship of Dr. RK Singh, in India, who is a marvelous author and poet, and very well published.  He is presently publishing his large “Collected Works”.  He has been very generous and helpful in my own work.  There were many people who read my first book before and after it was published who helped in the development of the second book, too. There were also invitations from other sites to post and publish there.  I am thankful for those opportunities.

“The Zar Tales” is a very different kettle of fish: more constrained to a theme (Zars and Zar rituals), and harder because of the novella:  “The Zar Tale”.  A short story is a very different work than a novel or novella.  I cut my teeth with this  novella.  I had to follow a plot and story line to the end.  It had to be complete.

But overall, this isn’t a fast track….this self-publishing.  It’s something that is wonderful, because you can hold your copies of your books in your hand in a timely fashion.  This certainly feeds you.  The royalties are nice, but they aren’t something that will support you.  If you think they should, you will starve.  But they feed you in a different way.

I have two more books planned to do the self-publishing tango.  “White Cranes of Heaven” a purely poetry collection, and “Lady Nyo’s Verse and other Whining”…..(no, that’s not the title:  I don’t know yet what it will be…but she is a whiner.) I will try to do more of this myself, but I hope Bill will not shudder and run.  I will need his help on some of the more important stuff….like page numbers and covers.  I think I can do some of the formatting myself, because he has been such an excellent example.  And he’s a really good writer.  That influence is most important.

I do have this novel:  “The Kimono”.  Bill thinks it’s time to look for an agent and hit up the traditional markets.  I think this is wise.  You can build a certain base for a while with self-publishing, and it’s been so far very good.  But spreading your wings and taking a lot of rejection and a lot of chances are important.

However, it is of most importance where you place your time and gather influences.  There are websites that spoke to your ‘condition’ at one time…and then perhaps you found you were changing.  Your writing wasn’t the same as before.  The influences you surrounded yourself  weren’t filling the needs or the growth that was necessary.

Sometimes it’s very hard to detach.  You can grow emotionally bound to things, to people and to influences.  If you are a writer, you have to reconsider these things.  I have been on a couple of sites where I realized I was really out of step with what was being presented.  My cultural background, my life experiences, other things made for a certain discomfort and isolation.  Others felt it too, and wondered why they stayed.  It’s a waste of time to stay where you don’t believe you can ‘breathe’.  As a writer, we take in deeply a lot of diverse influences.  That’s fine as long as it doesn’t derail our work.  But when you realize it’s time to go….you need to go and not look back.  Perhaps that is maturity.  Of course, there are some people you carry with you…in your heart.  They are the influences you want to keep.

Lady Nyo

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4 Responses to “Self-Publishing….is it a viable alternative to the traditional houses?”

  1. Berowne Says:

    I think the question of ‘viable’ depends a lot on the author’s goals. If they include best-sellerdom, probably not; for the satisfaction of putting one’s work out and perhaps developing a readership, probably so. For other purposes, somewhere in between?

    And the concept of ‘publishing’ is in flux today with the growing variety of electronic forms. I don’t see chat rooms and Twitter in that category because of the severe length restrictions, but a blog like this oneis publishing in a sense. And besides the medium of bound paper pages, e-readers and PCs offer alternatives unavailable a few years ago.

    So much depends on the individual case that it seems hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer. But I’m glad you find it satisfying.

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Berowne!

    Yes, there are many new things that weren’t around just a very short few years ago.

    Best seller dom! Haha. I don’t see much of that happening…unless my name was Dan Brown but then again….it’s not!

    And we do create our own ‘markets’ in a way. There just ISN’T a one-size-fits-all. The connection I make with readers and other authors is much more important to me. After all…that connection, that communication is what is satisfying.

    Perhaps my aims will change later, but right now?? Yes, it’s just good to have your own (printed) book in your mitts.

    This is such a kick! Like holding your babies…which they are!

    And who knows what the future will bring? Publishing is so changing and I think self is a viable alternative to the nothing for most of us with the traditional giants.

    Thanks for reading and your comment. Deeply appreciated.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  3. shia1 Says:

    Hi Jane,

    I wan to congratulate you on your new book. I hope it does well. You have been working so hard on it.

    Congratulations and you are a wonderful, expressive, visual and passionate writer

    shia

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Ah shia!

    That is so sweet of you! And something I learned further …..You have to remove yourself from people or groups who are not a good ‘fit’. When we write, it’s a very personal venture, and we have to grow in confidence. Some groups are going one way, and perhaps you are going in a different direction. To expect support or even advice can be a dead end, and after talking to others who have left, I understand so much more.

    My writing has ‘blossomed’ into something else…away from erotica, etc, and people here ….and out there,…tell me that is good. I realized last year my writing was no longer straight erotica (IF it ever was) and I just handled these issues differently. It’s not that I wanted to become more “mainstream” but perhaps I always was. A SEASONING of Lust was how I saw it….not the whole soupbowl! LOL!

    So, ERWA and other sites I was on were helpful and valuable…..to a point. Then it’s time to realize that there is little left for you there. So I left. And I have met some great people there: Bill Penrose, Nick Nicholson, Katie Troutman, and a few others, but these three have impacted heavily upon my own works. They have seen the changes and they have seen the growth and frustration trying to fit into a mold I have outgrown.

    As for the Zar Tales…there are some problems: The first two stories have the characters named “Ahmed”….LOL!…and that might lead to some confusion, but! The first story “Ahmed is Dying of Love” is a TRUE story, and done in memory of Ahmed who died back in Morocco in an accident….and the second story “A Turkish Tale” has this young Ahmed who figures in strongly in the beginning of “The Zar Tale”….the novella.

    I’m going to let it fly. What the hell. Readers are intelligent and can work it out for themselves.

    Thank you, shia….for walking these paths with me over these years. You are a comfort and a friend and you got a lot of wisdom.

    Hugs,
    Jane

    Like

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