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A Dual Publishing Strategy for Crazy People

Book Plug Friday: Dancing on Thin Ice

by
Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin

Bio

November 8, 2013 - 12:00 pm
If you're going to walk on thin ice, you might as well learn to dance!

If you’re going to walk on thin ice, you might as well learn to dance!

Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a dual-mode writer. I write for both traditional (Baen books is publishing my Space Opera and my Shifters fantasy and maybe as soon as I find time to write it, some other stuff as well) and for indie. And I would try to quit but who has time for a twelve step program?

Okay — more seriously — I am writing a thirteen weeks series on how to market your writing both indie and traditional. In that series I mentioned the best thing to do is go dual, so that no matter how the market turns, you’re okay. This is important because we’re in a time of very fast change, and it could turn one way or another and give the advantage to a mode or another.

While this dual strategy might seem very logical and sensible — and is, in general — when you try to implement it, you need to be a little mad. My current endeavors involve finishing an overdue novel for Baen, finishing a novella for a friend’s indie anthology, editing a couple of old pieces for publication, researching for a mystery series that will definitely be indie, and looking at edits and page proofs for another half dozen projects. Oh, yeah, and supervising the cover art for a project nearing publication. Meanwhile last weekend was consumed on a workshop on how to do interior design for print books. (And if you wondered why I haven’t done the addenda to the thirteen week series — notably the one on covers and the one on how to write proposals, it’s because this week, for extreme-writer’s-life, I’ve also been dealing with repairs to our furnace during the first really cold week of the year. Yay.)

As for how things are going, in the indie and traditional side, this week brought me more reports of insane contracts (not by Baen) of course, on the traditional side, including no duty to report and no termination clauses and owning your copyright forever, and it brought innovations from Amazon for Indie: now you can do a count-down sale on your book (I wish they allowed it for things other than those in the select program) and the abolition of the price for premium distribution from Create Space.

So, do things look better on the indie side? To an extent. Or at least they keep improving.

Now if I could figure out what ibooks is saying about tables of contents and someone could start a middle-distributor site more clued in than smashwords, we’d be gold.

Coming soon, I’ll do my holiday sale, where I put up a new short story every five days and take it free, with links to for-sale stuff. Last year when I did this, it greatly boosted my earnings. I shall report on how it works this year.

Most of this at this point — my efforts and others, indie and traditional, are a matter of experimentation and trying new things. It’s a little scary. On the other hand, as the poster by my desk says “If you’re going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.” As in, it’s all new and unknown and scary, yes. Yes, it could all backfire and end up hurting you. But if you’re going to try it go for the gusto and do as much as you can as well as you can. Or as Robert A. Heinlein said “Surely the game is rigged; but don’t let that stop you. If you don’t bet, you can’t win.” Or “Everything in excess. To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.”

And now, I shall get out of the way and let Charlie introduce this week’s featured indie books.


I’m going to slip in a little administrivia here. Remember that our deadline for any Friday is the Tuesday of the preceding week, that is, the shortest span between submitting a plug and it getting published is 9 days, and it might be as much as 15 days. There are a couple of writers here who sent in plugs saying “this book will be free on Friday” or something similar… and that Friday is long gone by now.


cover

Wings
By Sarah A. Hoyt

From Elizabethan England to the Far Future, discover who really was Shakespeare and why Marlowe was called The Muses Darling.

Discover the horrifying secret that Leonardo DaVinci found beneath a cave in his home village. In the far future, find a new way to keep Traveling, Traveling. Use cold sleep to find your love again, and join the (high tech) Magical Legion.

Seventeen short stories from Prometheus Award Winning Author, Sarah A. Hoyt. This edition features an Introduction by Dave Freer and a Bonus Short Story “With Unconfined Wings.”


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Wizard’s Heir
By Michael A. Hooten

Gwydion ap Don is a talented harpist, and a known rogue. But his Uncle Math sees something more: a young man with the magical talent to succeed him as Lord Gwynedd. But to learn magic, Gwydion will also have to learn self-control, duty, honor, and the martial arts. He’s not sure which will be the hardest. And when his training in magic begins in earnest, his whole world will change, as well as how he sees himself.

Based on the ancient Welsh myths from the Mabinogion, but set in the world of Cricket’s Song, this new series looks at one of the three great bards of Glencairck, Gwydion. But long before he became a great bard, he had to learn how to be a good man. This is the story of how his uncle tries to temper him into a leader, and a suitable heir.


cover

Down to Earth
By Mackey Chandler

April seems to make a habit of rescues. Now two lieutenants from the recent war appeal to her for help to reach Home. The secret they hold makes their escape doubtful. North America, the United States of North America, has been cheating on their treaty obligations and a public figure like April taking a very visible vacation there would be a good way to remind them of their obligations. Wouldn’t it? Her family and business associates all think it is a great idea. She can serve a public purpose and do her rescue on the sly too. But things get difficult enough, just getting back Home alive is going to be a challenge. It’s a good thing she has some help. Why does everything have to be so complicated?


cover

Nine Inch Bride: Conundrum
By Anonym

Dangerous Curves Ahead

Working at many levels to recast today’s big political questions in a fresh lens, Conundrum grows from the psychological study of Ken, a Wall St. analyst cut down in a market crash, into a kind of meta-democratic polemic led in riotous dialog by the uniquely eloquent Sa.

The conversation, continued in A Stone of Conscience, is sharply revealing of our times and all the more disturbing behind its gossamer veil of the future. Their uncanny story will enchant you and leave you smiling with an enriched sense of the achievable. Go ahead, give these books your best read.


cover

Larry and the Mascots
By Frederick Key

Larry gets thrown from the roof of his dormitory—but his troubles are just beginning.

Larry survives with the help of an advertising character—Whitewall, a pitchman actually made of tires—and discovers that a group of advertising mascots have come to life. There’s Mitts, an oven mitt; Sweety, a fairy who glazes children’s cereal; and others—some of whom are up to something sinister.

Where did they come from? What do they want? Larry discovers a conspiracy that springs from the actions of one of his college’s patrons—one that threatens his campus, and perhaps even the entire nation.

Larry and the Mascots is an intriguing adventure, full of action and heart, and is part of a complete breakfast.


cover

Faster & Closer
By Frederick Key

How did I get to this point?

That’s the question asked by John, a real-estate entrepreneur facing ruin; by Doug, a young man whose broken heart is the least of his problems; and Jennifer, an obese girl who is forced to live with her estranged father. The fates of these characters are entwined with a piece of property that becomes political dynamite in their small town—and leads to an act of arson that could send innocent men to prison.

Complex, funny, and powerful, Faster & Closer is a story of hope, sacrifice, and redemption, a story that reminds us that life is coming at us faster than we think, and that love and loss are closer than we know.


cover

The Book of Thoth (Vatican Vampire Hunters, Volume 2)
By Paul Leone

Since the dawn of time, war has raged between man and the undead. From the valleys of the antediluvian world to the skyscrapers of the 21st century, the battlegrounds change but the crusade goes on. And Manhattan socialite Nicole Van Wyck has just joined the battle.

Nicole’s life of fancy parties, expensive restaurants and easy luxury is over. As an elder vampire’s search for the most powerful grimoire in the world — the Book of Thoth — nears the end, only Nicole and her fellow vampire hunters stand between the undead and the ruin of the greatest city on Earth.


cover

Rocket Science Made Easy
By Rodney A. Blaukat

Have you ever wondered, why things get so complicated? Are you tired of how even the simplest of tasks often become a huge undertaking? Well wonder no more. Rocket Science Made Easy is all about “Bringing Simple Back.” Rodney’s laid-back, humorous outlook on life gives us new hope to get rid of the complicated and simplify our lives. The short stories and quick reads allow us to take a step back and look with new eyes on how we can get back to the basics. Rodney is a great speaker and has a way of communicating to get the point across in a fun and heartfelt approach. We hope this book will leave you laughing, crying or scratching your head. But most of all, we hope you’ll say, “It’s Not Rocket Science… It’s Rocket Science Made Easy.”

Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin write and blog on science, science fiction, self-improvement, culture, and politics for PJ Lifestyle. Send an email to book.plug.friday@gmail.com for submission guidelines for Book Plug Friday, a weekly listing of independently published e-books.

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Times are tough for SFF writers. Gutenberg provides large catalogs of Burroughs, Lovecraft, Howard and others for free that is competition previous generations didn't have to deal with. On top of that, people can simply steal books online and entire families are now SFF writers.

Few can afford typographers and designers that might help sell a book and those that can keep showcasing well-painted but statically boring figures that make the old horror and detective pulps look like a lost technology from Atlantis.

People always know what they like but without the means to be provided with a quality buffet, discrimination filters for SFF are arguably at an all-time low. If "The Mote In God's Eye" were published today, I wonder if anyone would even notice. On the other hand, considering the work out there, it might be a smash sensation.

Sadly, the lack of a steampunk/zombie flavor and gay, female and non-white characters might make TMIGE as anachronistic as steampunk tech itself is. That might be a selling-point: a new genre - social steampunk - all white and male characters sans vomit zombies.

And if someone today could write such a novel as the original draft of TMIGE, is there even a Heinlein around who could polish the diamond?
37 weeks ago
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