Writing Update

Nothing. I haven’t written new words on a first draft of anything at all this year. But I did finish the first edit of The Rising, Book 2. Now I’m onto the first edit for The Blood Empress. At this rate, I might be able to start my next novel sometime in the summer. I was a bit ambivalent about the likability of the story in The Rising but my Beta’s all enjoyed it, so maybe it will do okay. I’m liking The Blood Empress much better. Great criticism from the Betas on that one are helping me sharpen that novel to a much finer edge.

I did want to mention that I’m using a new productivity tool for keeping track of my novel’s progress. Indie publishing usually involves working with two or more people to get a book out. Following the advice of the guys over at The Self Publishing Podcast, I’ve started using Asana, a web based task organizer for groups of people working on one or more projects. Right now I have my Editor and my Cover/Art Designer involved and soon I’ll rope a copy editor into the group. If your publishing team needs organizing, Asana is a good collaboration tool to try.

We still don’t have a cover artist for The Blood Empress. Both artists on Deviant Art that I tried to contact, have blown me off and not responded. Too bad. So now I have to see what Byron and I can come up with on the fly. That novel looks to be done by summer, too late in the process to hire an artist to work from scratch. Hopefully we can come up with something interesting in the next month.

Meanwhile, the cover for The Rising is pretty much set, just have to wait for Byron to put the elements together. That one’s going to scream Space Opera for sure. All the rest of the Star Series books will have awesome space scenes on the cover so they should do well and be easy enough to execute. But the little novels in between the numbered series books should have more character based covers to set them apart.

I will be attending the first Indie ReCon Live! in Utah this October. If you attend, look for me in the book sellers area!


Write. Publish. Repeat.

If you are a writer, be you unpublished, published in the traditional manner, an ardent Indie publisher or even a mix of Indie and Traditional, you will learn something from this book. I rarely do book recommendation posts but sometimes I run across something that I think every writer can use and this book on the craft and business of writing is such a book.


I’m a big fan of the Self Publishing Podcast and I think this book condenses the best advice Sean and Johnny and Dave have from that show. So if you don’t have time to go back and listen to their entire podcast back list, then get this book and read it. Even as a loyal listener, I value having all the advice in one easy package. It’s a great reference book and I believe the advice inside will hold up over time.

Many successful writers have been saying the same thing about writing today: Write, Publish and Repeat is a very common mantra that everyone seems to agree on. Writers like Bob Mayer, Hugh Howey, Joanna Penn, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch have all basically been saying the same thing. Focus on your craft and turning out quality novels.

This book does a great job in laying out the outline for how to do this in a smart way. You could find this information in a number of other books out there, many of which I have read, but this is a great place to start. These guys tell you what has worked for them and also what has not. They make the material interesting and fun. Now go get it!

CreateSpace VS Lightning Source


I’ve been looking into moving my paperbacks over to Lightning Source. The reason has to do with getting them into local Indie bookstores. As amazingly easy as CreateSpace is to use, they are still an Amazon company and Indie book sellers hate dealing with Amazon. Most store owners I know won’t carry your book if they have to order it from Amazon. So what’s an Indie writer to do then?

You have to use both CreateSpace and Lightning Source. First, establish a CS account and get your paperback looking awesome through them. The software for setting up your interior and exterior PDFs is far superior on CS. Caveat, use your own ISBN numbers for your books. This will get your paperbacks on Amazon and available to a national audience. Don’t purchase the Expanded Distribution option. This makes your books available in the Ingram catalogs for stores and libraries.

Next, take your book PDFs to LS and set up an account there. Again, use your own ISBN numbers so that the publisher of record is you or your LLC. In my case, I use GB Press. You may need to complete a Doing Business As or LLC in your state to protect yourself and establish your imprint as a legitimate business.

LS is owned by Ingram, so you get their “expanded distribution” built in. But the real reason you go this route is to get your books into the Ingram catalog as not being published by CreateSpace. Now when your local Indie bookstore owner goes to order your book, she sees your imprint as the owner and not Amazon. Provided your book is professional looking and edited, they are usually happy to support local authors.

If you only did the LS version, when your book appeared on Amazon, it is likely to always say out of print. As Amazon won’t order any to have on hand. But if you have also gone through CS, this out of print never happens. Again, CS is owned by Amazon so they tend to work better with each other.

Both CS and LS use POD or Print on Demand, so your book will never go out of print and only be printed when someone orders it. I’ve already messed up in all this by using CS’s ISBNs for books. So I’ll be using my own ISBNs for LS and risk the confusion that will surely happen on Amazon later. This is because in something like six years of Self Publishing, I’ve never sold more than a dozen paperbacks on Amazon.

Getting your books into local Indie stores should be your prime directive as an author. First of all, you should be supporting local businesses in general and second of all, when it comes to marketing, act local and think global. Get into your local bookstores and do signings. Do signings with other local authors. Network with them. Go out of town to do signings in other parts of your state. If you happen to border other states with bigger cities, go regional. This is where I’ve fallen down in the past.

I started out doing signings at local stores and then stopped. But now that I have four books out, it’s time to start getting out there and meeting the public. Shake hands, talk to customers and show off my books. Just like I have links to my local Indie store for my ebooks on Kobo, I will eventually have all my paperbacks in their stores. This is just good business as a publisher and a writer.

Useful Links:




Ingram Color Chart and Trim Sizes




What Publishing Services I Use and Why

eBook Readers GaloreMichael Porter via Compfight

Ebook Book Publishing Platforms

Kindle: Because they are the number one ebook market right now, and they understand my needs as an indie publisher. When it comes to letting authors do their own thing, Amazon is still the leader. Like it or lump it. I continue to dislike their proprietary formatting.

Nook: Because epub, and a monopoly is not a good thing. I’ve seen sales gradually improving for my books on the Nook. Their PubIt! service for indie publishers is second only to Amazon’s KDP.

Kobo: Because as an indie author, I like to support my local indie bookstores. Also – epub. I have just started to use Kobo and my books as of this post are not live there yet. But as soon as they are, I will link to my local indie bookstore – Rediscovered Books, so they get credit for as many ebook sales as possible.

Smashwords: I have some of my books available on Smashwords. I use them primarily to get my work into smaller markets that don’t have decent, author friendly services like the above three publishers. Please let me upload epubs!

I don’t own or use Apple operating systems so I can’t use iBookstore, and Google Books has no good plan for indie publishers to use their service. I tried using Gumroad and selling directly off this site with them, but only one person used the service in over six months. I still use Gumroad, but the links are now on the individual book pages on this site.

Paper Book Publishing Platforms

Lulu: I use Lulu, a North Carolina based company to print my ARCs. I usually print two copies of my unedited final draft for use by beta readers and myself. They are not for sale to the public. They have simple, white covers and are marked as ARC NOT FOR SALE.

Createspace:  I use Createspace to print the paper versions of my novels. I don’t have a large paper footprint right now, but in 2013 I will be making at least three if not four of my novels available in paperback. I use Createspace because they are easy to use and offer the formats and control that I need as an indie publisher.