Offering Yet More Proof

Mind is whirring. So many things going on, but I think the most important is the impending release of Room 3. Today I thought I’d share the outcome of last week’s proofing session and show you some of the issues that can crop up even if you’re familiar with the process and have done your level best to ensure a good first proof. These things happen; even with precise measurements sometimes things get changed and look different once you have it in hand. Let’s take a look.

First, a picture of the overall package:

Looks good, right? Well…I spotted a few issues right away on the cover, ones that weren’t so apparent on the online preview. Here’s what the online preview showed me:

Aside from my weird author picture (I don’t know what happened there but can’t be bothered to fix it since that’s a placeholder anyway), I can see that the title text is a little too close to the lines, but it didn’t become as readily apparent until I saw the actual printed version:

The title (and author name) bleed too close to the edge. This probably happened when the book doubled in size and is a fairly easy fix. You can see in the next photo and the digital proof above that I have some room to play with; the left edge of the back cover has a bit of slack and the right edge on the front cover has some room. Worst case scenario, I just take the font down a size, but that’s probably not necessary. Continue reading

What Makes an “Indie” Writer?

Okay, I admit, this entry is a bit later in the posting than I might have liked. I’ve been sitting on it since May 21st, when someone retweeted a comment from agent Sarah LaPolla. Other worthy topics kept coming up that required my attention; in particular, the posts about standards, and blah blah blah. Now I’m ready to climb up on the soapbox.

Let’s start with the tweet in question:

Indie writer = published w/ a small press who gave you a contract & had an editor & packager who wasn’t you or someone you hired separately.

I’ll own it: I saw some red when that came up in my feed. The whole thing smacked of the sort of dismissive attitude that does absolutely no-one in publishing any good, even those who work through the traditional system, though they don’t always realize that. Not having the greatest of days, I tapped out a scathing reply and hovered my finger over the trigger.

Nah, I thought, best to give yourself a second. No need to fly off the handle.

So I allowed myself a moment to calm down, and as I did so, I realized that she might be quoting a source, perhaps a writer. I didn’t agree, but I’d like to see the source  I asked her where it came from, and if this meant that writers like JA Konrath and/or John Locke were not “indie” – the idea seemed patently absurd, but what the hell, she might have been pulling it from somewhere.

Not so much. She sidestepped John Locke altogether, but replied about Konrath:

Both are used because people misuse “indie.” He’s self-pubbed & proud. Self-pubbers shouldn’t hide behind a mis-label.

Continue reading

An eBook Standards Carol Part 2: The Open Standard Phantom

Welcome to Part 2 of an eBook Standards Carol. You can find Part 1: Ghosts of Formats Past here. You can also find JW Manus’s post on the same topic here. Let’s pick up from where I left off yesterday. I saw a comment on Jaye’s blog that bears some repeating and ultimately drives to the point of this whole exercise for me: the last HTML specification that came out of the W3C came in 1999, with HTML 4.01 (created, in part, in reaction to what I discussed yesterday). This was right around the time that Cascading Style Sheets V2, or CSS V2, appeared on the scene and brought more flexibility to what you could do with your site.

HTML5 has been in development for quite some time, and still hasn’t been passed, and yet there has been considerable advances in standardizing HTML and you see a lot less divergence in sites. Though it’s still a concern, those little logos about your site being optimized for this browser or that has died out. Sure, now and again you find sites that work better in one browser or another, but in general the problem has gotten a lot better. Why? Because a concerned group of developers got together to start the Web Standards Project, which called for cross-platform solutions from the people making web sites, even if the companies weren’t going to support them natively. For awhile, we had relative peace, though mobile browsing is getting the whole thing going again. Our discussion of that ends here, though. If you’re interested in learning more, entire books have been written about the subject, and I urge you to check them out. By necessity, a lot of this is vastly simplified, but enough to get the job done. Continue reading

One Year and Counting

Wow, I just realized this morning that last Saturday, the 25th, was the one-year anniversary of this site. I had originally intended for some grand fanfare to accompany that mark, possibly with a contest, but the editing of Room 3 has consumed that possibility. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I do wish I had more time to devote to the site. I suppose it was inevitable that things would change once I started getting my actual stories out there.

It’s rather amazing to look back at where I was on the first post; I saw this site as more of a burden and a way to track progress on my projects rather than a thing that might take on a life of its own. A year later, and here we are. I still use this site as a clearinghouse of sorts, though of ideas: I like to share the research that I’m doing for future story concepts, as well as random writing tips, status updates, and ways to connect with fans. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the way the site has shaped up. I wish I could be more active here, but unfortunately that is just the nature of a writer’s business. I have to spend more time on the fiction, and fit this in where I can. Continue reading

Are We In A Bubble?

Today will be another short entry – I will be back on my standard schedule on Monday, once I’ve gotten through the editing of The Corridors of the Dead.

Back in September, I started writing a blog detailing my questions about the then-current self-pubbed market. I never got around to writing it, but the central question was whether we are (or were) in a bubble, and whether that bubble was about to burst, along with some ideas of how authors could weather that bubble and come out even stronger on the other side, in a few years. As time passed, I felt that I just didn’t know enough about sales figures one way or the other, and would cover it more once I had actually self-published a full-length work.

Well, turns out I no longer need to, as JA Konrath’s guest post today adequately covers exactly what I wanted to say, especially his five points, as I think they’re really key to weathering what may be to come with self-publishing and the glut of ebooks. Check it out here: Guest Post by Stephen Leather.

See you all soon on the other side!

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The Great Battle: Traditional Vs Self-Published

A post by tribesmate Kirkus MacGowan yesterday fired my imagination. Kirkus detailed why he chose self-publishing over traditional publishing, which led to some fascinating comments on the subject, some of which challenged my notions on my chosen path. I urge you to check it out when you have the time, especially Kirkus’s response to Gina – that’s a great one. Here’s what I said in my response:

At the risk of sounding biased, as I chose the self-publishing path, I agree with all of the points that you present; for me, I chose the path because I wanted to control my own destiny, and I feel I have enough professional experience as a writer in other venues that I can recognize the necessary qualities in my own work.

I don’t think self-publishing is for everyone. Today it may well be the path of the impatient, but in the long-term, I think it should be the path of those who have a more stringent eye, or a vision for their careers. A self-published author needs to offer something even more unique than one can find in traditional publishing, whether it’s a different take that might not be translate well to the mass-market or a fresh approach to what fiction itself means.

To sum it up, I believe that self-publishers should embrace their outsider status and give the reader something they can’t find elsewhere. And it should go without saying that they offer a high-quality experience; I’m still dismayed by some of the unfortunate quality that I stumble across in indies.

Sooner or later I suspect a system will arise to determine which indies offer the best products, just as it always has evolved. Maybe at that point all the hand-wringing between proponents of the traditional versus the self-published path can come to some agreement, as I think the trad proponents have some good points when it comes to quality control.

I’ve spoken before of my admiration for outsider art. Wikipedia defines outsider art thus:

The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut (French: [aʁ bʁyt], “raw art” or “rough art”), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by insane-asylum inmates.

While Dubuffet’s term is quite specific, the English term “outsider art” is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or Naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds.

I suppose I should clarify something before I press on. When I speak of the “Indie Community”, I mean the thriving movement that I see popping up all over the Internet, banding together in places like the Kindle Boards, Twitter, Triberr, Book Blogs, and many other places. This largely seems to be a group of self-directed authors who have taken the reins on their publication, PR, and overall career direction. Most are either first-time writers or early on in their careers. In my mind, I separate a lot of this community from those who have either “made it” or who came from a traditional publishing background, as they have something of a different perspective, and more resources at their disposal. Not to say that they shouldn’t be welcome, but they represent a different slice of the market.

Of course, it’s folly to try to pin down such a group, so let’s just acknowledge this is likely a work of folly going in. Still, I want to chase the idea down the rabbit hole.

So, while the indie community itself doesn’t 100% qualify as an outsider art movement, the community does share some commonalities with outsider art, based on some of the responses that I received to yesterday’s post. Some of these include:

  • We create outside the boundaries of the “official” publishing and literary culture.
  • A great deal of us seem to be self-taught, at least when it comes to publishing.
  • Many of us speak of being compelled to write – this is common in outsider art, where it’s thought to be a means to validate and recreate comprehension of the world and existence.
  • Our goals are typically highly personal, though obviously exceptions exist.

Sure, the community emulates some of the things that traditional publishing does. Why? Because it works! I don’t think that outsider art is about avoiding wholesale the traditions of the past – it’s about interpreting them in a manner best befitting you. Those original inmates didn’t paint with unusual materials – they worked in traditional media, using recognized practices that they had translated for what worked within the boundaries of their own visions.

It can’t be denied that self-publishing has quite a few drawbacks. Our distribution networks aren’t the same as the big publishers, and our marketing budgets are nowhere near as large. We don’t have the “label cachet” that comes with a big-name imprint. We face an uphill battle in convincing readers that our work is worthwhile.

But none of those matter. At least, long-term. Distribution issues can eventually be solved through creative group sourcing – and I have some ideas for this that I’ll eventually present as a group solution. Marketing budgets are rapidly evening out, and let’s face it, the marketing budget for a mid-lister was never that great. Label cachet can be solved through community initiatives to develop a gate-keeping system; I’ve spoken before about the concept of something like an indie guild, in which existing members vet new members and the quality of their work, leading to the mark of their guild(s) on a given author’s work representing a cut above normal indie quality.

Speaking of which, I challenge the concept of an “official” publishing and literary culture in and of itself. Gatekeepers are a good thing to ensure quality, but turning that gate-kept system into some sort of all-knowing, all-seeing official record of what is “official” and “matters” is another matter entirely. I would hope even the guild system would avoid that sort of fallacy and the arrogance that you see in some authors and publishers, that the traditional system is the only means of establishing what is real and exists, when in reality there is a vast world out there of which they only dimly seem to be aware.

But why do all this? Why go to all this trouble when their system is in place? The key is in that one sentence above: To sum it up, I believe that self-publishers should embrace their outsider status and give the reader something they can’t find elsewhere. Hey, if writing a Twilight-a-like is what your muse demands, more power to you. I can’t find it in myself to judge people who are honestly doing what they love and trying to make a go of it. I’m thrilled that Amanda Hocking has made it work – just one more example of how it can be done.

I just think the real power in this movement – what really makes the indie and kindle/eReader movement troubling to traditional publishing – is this ability to offer readers experiences that they can find nowhere else. To offer unique voices, rather than the more homogenized voices that we get out of the industry these days. To present alternative viewpoints. I question whether I could write a book featuring a black lesbian (for example) as a narrator and have it picked up by the big publishers. Agents and publishers have tried to change those characters to make them more “marketable”, as if people who look different or have different sexual orientations just don’t count.

That is where we come in. We don’t have to make the quarterly profit projection. We don’t have to report our gains and losses to stockholders. We’re trying to do this for the love of our work, and we can afford to take chances with both storytelling and price points.

This is why I’m going indie: I believe that the artist and his/her imagination can present more than what we’ve been given and told is possible. What are your reasons?

Handling Rejection and Facing Voldemort’s Hugs

Here we are. The last of the feelers for the initial version of the novel have been sent out and returned. It’s all come full circle in a sense, and I think I have a clean slate from which to push forward. What I’m trying to say is that the publisher rejected the previous version of the novel based on the full manuscript submission (which is cool, I can always at least lay claim to getting that far in the old process).  They didn’t tell me why they passed, but that’s okay. I know the reason – lack of emotional engagement.

It’s kind of funny, the email said:

Thank you for sending us your full manuscript. After careful consideration, we have decided not to take your submission to the next stage. I realise that this is not the news you were hoping for, but I hope you will take some comfort from the fact that yours was one of just a handful of novels we requested after reading the initial submission.

Funny because secretly, this was kind of the news I was hoping for. It seems perverse, I know, but as exciting as it would be to have a traditional publisher pick me up (and one that I really respect and enjoy), I understand why they and agents passed on it, and I would have been a little disappointed in the publisher if they decided to pick it up, not to mention the fact that I’ve essentially rewritten it into a completely new work. Agents told me that it was well-written and technically competent, but they were having trouble connecting to it, so it was easy enough to figure out that there was no soul to it. When this publisher requested the full manuscript, I kind of cringed. I’m a few thousand words away from completing the rewrite that addresses all those issues…well, I would have been due for a big rewrite on this one so that I could get it out in November. Frankly, the whole idea of that was getting me down. Well, now what? I thought.

This is what. Oddly enough, while it’s bittersweet, this is for the best. I’m happy that the publishers are still seeing what works and doesn’t work. I know it was a flawed work, and that’s okay. But this does plant the little seed of an idea. Perhaps when I finish the next novel (the thriller), I should go back to the well of traditional publishers and agents. Not necessarily to get it picked up, but to try to get the same feedback and insight. It would work as a kind of litmus test for where I am with the work. I mean, who knows? Maybe I can continue to self-publish the rewritten works based on that feedback. Self-publishing isn’t what it used to be after all.

Ultimately, I think self-publishing the answer to me, but if I can get that level of feedback on what makes my book more marketable while retaining the core of what I want to talk about, why the hell not? Maybe in the process one or two of my books will get picked up by a traditional publisher, which of course does not rule out continuing to self-publish other works. I figure I’m good for at least two books a year for awhile, and maybe a diversified approach would work for me? We shall see.

On to other things. Saw the last Harry Potter movie yesterday and it was…interesting. Given how much analysis I’ve given to why things in stories work and why they don’t, it opened my eyes to some of the very real differences in media forms between books and movies. It’s the age-old conundrum: why is the movie so different from the book? I’ve understood it on an intellectual level for quite some time, but looking at the story from the same perspective that I’ve used on this site, I really got it for the first time yesterday. Some of the things I noticed are most likely questionable choices on the part of the producers and directors, but some are really commentaries on the differences between the forms.

The first thing that really bothered me was the battle at Hogwarts. It was…well, a mess. I know that these massive battles are difficult to handle both in books and on-screen, but this definitely could have been better handled. Not to get too spoileriffic, but some major characters die during the battle (this isn’t too shocking given that it’s Harry Potter). Okay, that happens, but the deaths are given less screentime than Dobby the house elf‘s death. Dobby hadn’t had a role in the movie series since the second movie, nine years ago. Okay, eight when the first part came out, to be fair. In the books it had more gravitas as there was an entire subplot about the liberation of house elves, but in the movie continuity, Dobby just sort of reappears, saves the day, and dies.

It felt a little odd and out of place, but that was nothing compared to how major characters from the last few movies are killed off with so little fanfare. I mean, one character died and I wasn’t even aware of it! I had forgotten that he died in the book, and so when one of the characters is delivering a speech about those who sacrificed their lives (again, tiptoeing around spoilers), I was utterly baffled. That character died? Did I just blink and miss it? Well, no, turns out that I had confused two of the mourning characters because they look so damn similar. That’s a major failure of storytelling right there. I remember in the book that the guy’s death was given quite a bit of treatment, as well, so seeing this pass in less than ten seconds was just breathtaking in its failure.

But I think all of that is a director’s choice, and a questionable one at that. More could have been given to those characters, even in a long movie. I can think of two minutes of footage that could have been trimmed to give them a little more than a perfunctory nod (and no, shoehorning in a ghost doesn’t count).

Where I really saw the difference between the visual form and the written word – and the advantages inherent in the former – is in the climax. Here are some spoilers that I think kind of dance around major stuff, but be on the lookout. It really bothered me that, in the end, Harry Potter wins out over Voldemort because of love. Because he can love and Voldemort can’t. Hm. It seemed cliche and didn’t feel right at all. It bothered me even more than the fanfic coda. But in this movie, with the way Raph Fiennes portrays Voldemort, you get more of a sense of why caring and love can defeat him, or at least exploit the blind spots in his character flows. Fiennes shows us how this guy is not a personification of evil but a stunted, awkward, vulnerable, frightened person.

This was a huge leap over Rowling’s method of telling us that Voldemort is that thing – it was really the difference between intellectually grasping it and really, emotionally, seeing it in play. I think that made the climax a lot more satisfying than in the book. I mean, that was 100% my issue with the climax of the novel in retrospect – not the cliche, that could have worked – but that Rowling tells us that Voldemort is a pathetic being rather than showing us that.

I’m running a little long, but the gist of what I’m saying here is that in the visual form, there are times when you have no choice but to show rather than tell. Anything that comes across as a data dump is going to be a lot more glaring in a movie than in a novel. This is making me think that I need to do another entry on showing rather than telling, with some more concrete examples. After all, it’s easier to talk about this than to really show it. Maybe Wednesday, we’ll see.

Late Start

There were plans for a big push over the weekend, but ultimately I realized that I was completely and utterly exhausted, pushed to the brink by insomnia last week. Saturday was a lost day, as concentration was impossible and I napped for hours even after coffee and multiple cups of Mountain Dew. There are times when exhaustion cannot be denied. Saturday was just such a day, and given that today was going to be such a big day (starting a new job), it seemed appropriate to rest yesterday as well. So now my batteries are recharged, it’s just a matter of finding the time. Easier said than done, however, with all that entails starting a new job and editing a podcast AND AND AND. It’s driving me a little crazy, but what else can I do other than carry on and do the best possible with these contraints?

I’m also experiencing some…I don’t know if it’s frustration. Perhaps looking into the state of the publishing industry, specifically the publishers and agents, is overwhelming. Things are moving so quickly that it’s hard to know what “accepted wisdom” is anymore. That’s good in some ways – there’s a lot more room for trailblazing, but it also has left me wondering if the idea of trying to forge my own path rather than going through the old system is a way of avoiding going through the time-honored grinder that most writers have to face. I think that the answer here is to just accept what I want to do and not allow the idea of comfort to drive me.

The source of my discomfort, actually, is hearing about how much publishers expect writers to self-market these days, and how little backing one can expect from both publisher and agent, has driven me to make a decision. As much as I would like to have the “name recognition” of a publisher behind me to lend some legitimacy, I’m coming to the conclusion that publishers really do only offer a “label” anymore. I know graphic designers for cover work, I can find a competent copy editor fairly easily, and I’m learning marketing lessons every day in running a podcast.

May as well just call it now – short of some miraculous offer, once this novel is finished, edited, and packaged, it’s going straight to self-publishing. I want to start with an ebook, then branch out to a limited print run; I’ve been examining options on how to do that, and will continue to research.

I am, however, well aware of the stigma involved in self-publishing, so the following commitments must hold true:

  1. My works will be of the utmost quality as I see fit. I’m a professional technical writer, and I expect my works to live up to the level of quality that my employer expects of me. This means proper formatting and proper editing.
  2. This is a business, which means there will be a business plan.
  3. Review copies will be copious. Especially digital copies. Why hold back on something that’s essentially free?
  4. Responsiveness. Customers will come first, with perhaps fans whenever they may come along.
I’m sure more will come along as I think about this, but just making the decision and laying these out is so freeing. It’s clear now that some of my depression of late has stemmed from reading about the state of the industry and despairing of where I fit into it. It’s clear now, however, that I have always been the kind of person to follow their own path, and it should apply here as well.
In that vein, today’s link is Publishing Basics. Really, it’s almost a one-stop shop that helps authors to understand the basics of self-publishing, and I’m pretty stoked about reading their eBook. Once I’ve completed it, I’ll report back here on what I think. Definitely check them out if you plan on following down the self-publishing path!

Word Counts and Ambition

Today’s entry is a mishmash of concepts and ideas that have been banging around in my skull for the last few days. The first issue is the question of success and ambition, one that struck me when reading another piece in the great book Write Good or Die. The author of this particular piece, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, spoke about how a writer may achieve what looks like success to someone from the outside, and yet internally feels nothing like success. You can read the piece, by the way, on her site – right here. Read it. There are a lot of other important points that won’t be a part of what I’m talking about but that writers need to understand and which will eventually be addressed here as well.

What concerns us today, however, is that hollow victory feeling. This struck a nerve because it’s something that has been present in my own writing for quite some time. I’m quite aware of the good fortune in my life – after all, even though I work as a technical writer, every day is spent doing some form of writing, and getting paid to do so. Yet it’s always felt a little hollow. Lack of gratitude? No…I apparently enjoy my “day job” more than most others. But no matter what accolades, there is always this lingering feeling that there should be something more. That something more is success in fiction writing.

Now, however, I am working toward something better in fiction writing, and the question arises again: what is success? Is it winning an award? Is it making the New York Times Bestseller List? It’s a tormenting question, but it’s important to examine it. Let’s look at this categorically:

  • Getting an agent? Maybe. There are still some feelings to be worked through here. Sometimes feels like a necessary evil.
  • Publication? Absolutely. Even self-publication. This feels like an inevitability at some point, but it represents crossing a new barrier.
  • Winning an award? Yes. That would feel like success.
  • New York Times (or Amazon) Besteller List? Hardly. Sales figures are nice, but being a big music nerd, I’ve never viewed them as any sort of artistic validation. They’re simply a measure of whom is reached by a work, and some work is not meant to sell to anyone. That’s more than valid, it’s pretty damned wonderful.
  • Other? Honestly, it comes down to intent versus results. Does this book have potential for mass appeal? If so, does it attain some measure of that? Then it’s a success. Having said that, it occurs to me that I define success not by career milestones but by the milestones of a given story. For example, I don’t believe my current work would ever attain mainstream success; it’s far too niche. Gaining a modest audience and modest sales would be an astounding success. The next planned novel, however, will have a wider appeal, and I would hope it would gain more readers. Perspective, then, seems to be key.
So there we have it. I suppose the accusation of one of my college writing teachers remains true: I’m one of those “artistic types” for whom expression is more important than commercial viability. It was an affectionate accusation, by the way, and no reason to get offended over it. Guilty as charged.
The other issue is the question of daily writing goals and metrics to measure those goals. I had been maintaining writing hours in a spreadsheet, but ran into a problem yesterday when it became apparent that my writing time is becoming more efficient. Feeling drained but having written for a shorter period than usual, it was time to figure out what was going on – it dawned on me that I had burned through an entire chapter, not to mention writing a somewhat lengthy blog entry. Time to check word count – close to 3,000 words! According to this blog entry, that’s a more than reasonable daily goal.
So we run into the issue of improving skills and efficiency versus the old metrics. If I’m working fewer hours but the net effect is the same – exhaustion – then perhaps it’s time to start measuring by word count as well as time spent. Perhaps this is the other side of the word count coin, the tyranny that I’ve complained of in the past. We will see how this experiment plays out.
Tomorrow, I want to talk about the perils of First Person, as I’m trying to learn more about it.

End of April Status Check

Just wanted to write up a little bit about how the month of April has proceeded. I’ve found that setting some end-of-month goals has become very handy to drive me forward through the month. I seem to be a deadline-driven creature; when I have too much time on my hands and no concrete goal towards which I can work, I drift and works begin to drag out. I think it’s a consequence of having ADHD, honestly. I’ve learned enough about myself to figure out that I need a semblance of structure and organization while still allowing some breathing room for inspiration or drift.

It’s really no wonder I’ve struggled with this all my life – it has to be a finely tuned machine, one that I’m constantly adjusting, and my methods have to change all the time. Sitting at the computer and writing might work for a few weeks, then I have to switch over to dictating the story, then handwriting, then typing on my iPad. The constant flux and cycle keeps my mind engaged. I build my stories in much the same manner – start with a loose association of ideas, turn them into a tighter, more focused structure of a plot outline, then allow myself to blur that vision again as I build the first and second draft. More structure comes in with the third and fourth draft, etc. Working on several drafts at once affords me the luxury of working in several of these “media” at once.

I suppose the point of this entry, though, rather than the equivalent of stretching out my vocal cords, is to take a look at what came during the month previous. Obviously, I completed Torat Book 1, and am working on finishing up the outline of Lily. I’ve submitted to nine agents, one publisher, and one contest so far, and plan to submit to at least three more agents today. Considering I came into this year having never done a proper submission to a publisher or agent (despite having finished something like three or four novels), I’m proud of my progress.

I read something last night about how persistence was the only difference between writers who got published and those who did not, and it’s advice that I plan to take heart; even if this book doesn’t make it, I’ll just keep it up with the next book, and the next. Sooner or later, something has to hit. In the meantime, I can self-publish this novel if nothing else, though I’d really rather avoid that path if I can.

Let me just say, though, that I have respect and admiration for those that follow the self-publishing route, even if their books aren’t that great. There’s something to be said for having the bravery to keep pursuing that goal no matter what, and hell I’ve read some damned good self-published works. I think it’s clear that we no longer have to follow the old system if we don’t want to – quality works can still get into the hands of readers. I love that culture and literature are being democratized, and hope it continues.

I might as well also say that I’ll never be one of those authors that’s angry about piracy. I don’t think less of authors who do care about it – your work, your feelings, your decisions, but I’d actually be rather flattered if someone pirated my work, and I think the circle of karma is kind of at work there; if you’re friendly to readers and continue to produce quality work, the success you want will be there.

Anyway, I want to avoid the self-publishing path for now simply because I want more people to read my works. It may sound arrogant, but I do feel like I have somewhat unique ideas and concepts to share with the world, and I’d like more people to see them. That’s pretty much it.