Tag Archives: blogging

The Woes of Self-Publishing

“The best people that you can get to download your books are other authors.  Chances are, if you’re a self-published author, you’re going to need help with promoting your work.  And that means we need to stick together.   Self-publishing doesn’t always have to be a lonely endeavor.  Make relationships and get the train moving again.”

If you’re like me, you’ve probably written a book, or you’re currently working on one.  You are either an author, or an aspiring author.

the image is not mine

And, chances are, if you’re like me, you’ve researched and found out that self-publishing is the easier path for ensuring your written work will get some attention.  It’s the fastest choice, the choice that gives you the most control over your manuscript, and, if you don’t want to, you don’t even have to spend a penny.

However, if you’re like me, then you’ve most likely also discovered that self-publishing is VERY HARD.

To be a self-publishing author…for those of you that don’t know what this entails, allow me to explain.  If you SELF-PUBLISH a book, then you are the publisher.  Based upon this discovery, we can go further and ask the necessary question: what does a publisher do?

Publishers distribute written or graphic works of art to the public.  They are advertisers, promoters, business-people, sales-people.  That’s their job.  And, with every job that involves showing off and selling some sort of item, you had better be good at it!

Most likely, if you’re a self-published author, the revenue you receive from selling your books is NOT your only source of income.  Most self-published authors would be in a lot of trouble, if that were the case!  Publishing a book (meaning actively distributing and selling it to the public) is a lot of work, and very often, not too profitable.

WHAT ARE SOME GREAT WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK?

ebook tablet

My books tend to have much more success when (guess what?) I make them free for a short amount of time.  I’m talking about the eBook versions, of course.  People will wait for me to make them free (which, of course, is smart), or maybe they’re people that haven’t heard of my book, but they notice it while scrolling through Smashwords.com.  They see that the novella is free, and then decide to give it a chance.  I mean, they don’t have anything to lose.

This sounds like a poor way to build a following; if your book is worth something, then people will pay for it!  This is very true, and it’s why I don’t advise that you keep your book forever free.  BUT, there are also some advantages to making your book free:

  1. If you’re writing a series (like me), having at least the first book free can act as the “hook”.  Then, if you’re worried about making sure people understand the worth of your book, you can charge readers for the subsequent books of your series.
  2. Ripple effect: the people that download your book for free might start talking, or other people online will see what they’re reading.  Maybe they’ll be interested in buying a copy too.

Another great way to promote your book is finding other authors that write about the same things you do.  Wordpress.com is great for that, especially since you can search for specific tags.  Writing a historical fiction? Search for others writing about the same thing.  Strike up a relationship and find ways to help each other out.  The best people that you can get to download your books are other authors.  Chances are, if you’re a self-published author, you’re going to need help with promoting your work.  And that means we need to stick together.   Self-publishing doesn’t always have to be a lonely endeavor.  Make relationships and get the train moving again.

The last way to promote your book would be to keep on writing; blog on different sites.  Personally email people, comment on their blogs, and find nook in the internet where your audience is hiding.  Whatever your endeavor is, keeping working for it.  And even if you’re not sure where your going with your self-publishing career, keep moving forward.  Keep searching.  Keep writing.

For those that suffer the woes of self-publishing: Go create.  Go writers.


Your Author,

Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

Praise God 😉

P.S. Volume 1 is still free as an eBook at Smashwords!

Cover for Volume 2!!!!!

Perhaps you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been blogging so much.

….Or maybe you haven’t.  But that’s okay! 😛

What’s been keeping me so busy?  Well, there are a lot of things actually.  But I’d like to show you the main project that’s been hogging up a lot of my time.

Here it is, my dear followers.  The cover of The Golden Lands, Volume 2: WRATH!

© Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved
© Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved

The cover was drawn by my awesome sister Clare (who runs a blog over at https://lilyorphaned.wordpress.com/ ).  I colored the picture, but she was there to help me with that too (since I’m color-blind and I almost made the girl’s skin blue :S ).

Now in case you haven’t noticed, this cover is waaaaay better than the cover of Volume 1: Shadows in the Sunlight.  Why?  Well, this cover was colored using a graphic tablet; the other was not.  While we were making the first cover, the tablet hadn’t been working properly, so we didn’t use it.  It turns out that all it needed was a software update, which I was very glad to discover!  But I discovered this after making the cover for Volume 1.  So that’s why this one is so much better.  I’m very pleased with the cover, which is more than I could have hoped for!  Of course, we still need to use the tablet to redo the cover for Volume 1.

Now, you may be wondering why I’ve shown you the cover for Volume 2, when the first volume hasn’t even come out.   Well, I noticed that in a lot of manga novels (which The Golden Lands resembles in many ways) that at the end of the novel, they’ll have pictures of the next book in the series, acting as a sort of preview or a “coming up next!” sort of thing.  I thought it would be cool if I did the same thing too.  Therefore, you can expect to see this picture at the back of Volume 1 in order to get you excited for the upcoming book.

I hope you like it!

Your AA,

Aul

The Death of an Outline—Off-roading, Freedom, and Expansion

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

So yesterday afternoon I found myself writing an outline for The Golden Lands.   All the future volumes, their names, maybe different books of the series—I was planning all that out.  I finished the outline, my brain having that “burnt out” feeling, and then I stopped for a moment.  All at once, I felt a pang of regret.  The outline suddenly seemed evil, and for some reason, I almost felt guilty.

Why?

Because TGL is not meant to be limited by the barriers erected by an outline.  That’s right.  I don’t like outlines.  In fact, when it comes to creative writing, I think they don’t even make sense.  What about “creative writing” makes you think you should write out a blueprint for your “creativity”?  Here’s the thing about outlines: when you make one, you intend to stick to it.  That’s not what TGL is supposed to be.  And I don’t think that’s what any form of creative writing is supposed to be.  A set path is good, but not one that holds you back.

I immediately crossed out the outline.  An outline would hold me back.   It would limit expansion.  It would cause me to stick to one path; a path I set up for myself.  Sure, you can make outlines bigger, and I’m sure they can be useful.  But when it comes to freedom, to expansion of the mind and of the story in all of its characters, plot-twists, and subtle, moral glory, a blueprint doesn’t make sense.   It doesn’t work.  It impedes.

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

So I’m going to do some off-roading.  I’m going to ride in the freedom of my mind, allowing my own creativity to lead my story wherever I (and God) deem it wander.  This is writing.  This is art.  This is creativity.

Outlines?  Not for me.

(***NO OFFENSE TO THOSE OF YOU WHO USE OUTLINES!!!***)

Your AA,

Aul

The Light

My Friday thoughts bellow:

Maybe we would argue that we’re living for our husbands or wives.  Maybe our mom or dad, or a grandparent.  Maybe it’s a little brother or sister.  Maybe it’s our children.  Or a friend.  Who do you live for?

Whether we like it or not, it’s hard not to live for ourselves.  Selfishness is an unfortunate characteristic that tends to permeate the human race.  We all act selfish sometimes.  Maybe we think that’s okay; sometimes we need a little “me” time.  But then, that’s not necessarily selfishness.

Are we called to live selflessly?  Or are we called just to make ourselves feel happy, and we can help others whenever we feel like it, or when we feel that it’s right to?

Is life meant to be lived based off of our feelings, or principles?

Who do you live for?

The answer might be able to be found by answering “who” you live for, but maybe you should ask “why?”.  Why are you alive?  Why are you here?  Have you ever wondered that?   Do you honestly think you exist just because you exist?  Or do we all have a purpose?  Are we all meant to behave in a certain way?

I’m a deeply religious person.  All these questions have answers for me.  I may not always understand the answers, but they’re there.  I have a light.  My light is God, and the lantern that bears this light is the Church.

If you’re in the dark when it comes to these questions, maybe you should join the light, and be a part of the lantern.

Who do you live for?  Do you love for you?  And if you give of yourself to others, what part?  How much?

I believe—no, I know—that we are all alive in order to become a gift to another person.  Or a gift to many people.  We are alive, we are “why”, in order to live and die for each other.  The world’s about love.  I think everyone knows that.  I think most religions preach that.  You don’t have to be a Christian to believe that.

What’s love?

Doing what’s best for each other.  Putting the good of others first.  Giving.  Living.  Dying.  Fighting.  And most importantly, sacrificing.

Do you agree with that definition?  Good, then you agree with me when I say that love isn’t all about feeling.

Why love?  Take the words of my man SJP2: “The only kind of treatment that human beings deserve is love”

That’s right.  All humans deserve love.  And that’s the only thing they deserve.  Why?  Just ’cause they’re human and they can be loved.

image is not mine
image is not mine

Your AA,

Aul

All Art is Theft

Really?  That seems to be a pretty bold statement.

the image is not mine
the image is not mine

These words, “all art is theft”, are frequently used by my dad.  I don’t know if he got the phrase from someone.  He isn’t sure if he did.  But anyway, what’s the occasion for such a phrase?  Whenever my sister and I feel like an idea or event in one of our stories sounds too similar to somebody else’s.  You might just be thinking, “Well, your dad is probably just saying that to make you feel better.”  Maybe.  That could be a part of why he says it.  But I think that’s only a very small part of it.

The phrase “all art is theft” is definitely not untrue (yes, that’s a double negative for emphasis).  Most generally speaking, we all get our ideas from somewhere.  We are always inspired by something, and these things fuel our imagination, and our imagination fuels our will, and from our will we produce our writing.  “An obvious statement, but no less true because of it” to quote Glaedr from Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle.  So, in a sense, all art is theft…or “borrowing”, if you like that term better.  I can’t try to describe a forest without first seeing one for myself, and thereafter, from the forest’s own beauty, depict a forest entirely of my creation with it’s own kind of beauty, separate from that which it was inspired, but still inspired by the original forest all the same (#mouthful#wordy).

How many times have you based the appearance of a character off of someone in your life, or a movie actor/actress?  How many times has a specific, epic fight scene in your own story contained choreography that resembles that of a movie you recently watched?

Something else my dad has said about all art being theft is that, as time progresses, it will become harder to create new story ideas that haven’t already been thought of.  Think about it.  Two thousand years from now, two thousand years’ worth of story ideas will have been taken, and add that to the millions of years that have already passed….it will get harder to think up truly original ideas.

So what’s the good news?  It’s okay for all art to be theft.

Sometimes the most impressive stories are that which combine the ideas of others into something even better.  That’s what we can do now as writers of the 21st century.  Using the ideas of someone else, tweaking them a bit, and applying them to your own work, isn’t even necessarily stealing.  It’s a talent to be able to recognize the good and beauty in the work of others and being able to see it’s potential in regards to applying it to your work.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Be original, if you can be.  But if you happen to realize that your ideas resemble that of someone else, don’t get too discouraged.  Make it your own.  But be content with sharing.  And maybe that’s what we should call this; not stealing, not copying, not using: sharing.

Your AA,

Aul

Quality, Not Quantity

Sooo over at my first blog, http://montairyus23.wordpress.com/, the goal was to get as many followers as I could.  I’ll be honest, I wanted followers just for the sake of being able to say to a publisher, “Hey!  Look at how many people are interested in my book!”  However, when it really came down to it, when I would blog about my trilogy (TSOM), not too many people seemed interested.  I had/have over two hundred followers, and a post about my trilogy would only generate a few likes, and rarely a new follower or a comment.  I wasn’t sure what I was doing wrong…and I’m still not 🙂

But experiencing this has made me realize something; when it comes to blogging, it’s quality, not quantity that matters.  If you want to get a book out there, if you want to be and feel heard, just remember it’s all about the quality.  You can have 2,000 followers, but if only fifteen are interested in what you’re writing about, then you really only have fifteen true followers.

I must say, I truly feel blessed to have such an engaged audience already here at The Golden Lands.  You guys are totally awesome and it’s your support that keeps me going and gives me hope.  This is what every writer needs, whether he knows it or not.  And it’s what every writer wants, whether he wants it or not.

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved
Copyright 2015 All rights reserved

Stay awesome,

Aul