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by
Sarah Hoyt and Charlie Martin

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December 27, 2013 - 2:00 pm
A sunset is just a sunrise looked at from the wrong location.  Sometimes you have to change your writing career location.

A sunset is just a sunrise looked at from the wrong location. Sometimes you have to change your writing career location.

[This is Sarah speaking]  Yeats said when the center could not hold mere anarchy was loosed upon the world.

He was right and wrong.  Sometimes the apocalypse is just the beginning looked at upside down.

So – when I first got into this writing thing, I was told, hold on fast, everything changes. But I don’t think any of my colleagues knew what change was.  Certainly I didn’t.

Yes, yes, the writing field was a permanently moving whirligig, with everything changing constantly, but squint a little and you’d see it was actually a fairly predictable merry go round.  Just like in a good merry go round, you’d have the impression of constant change, but it was only the same scenery viewing now from up, now from down: publishers came up; publishers failed. Light and shadows played differently depending to where you, personally, were in your career.  And things might change depending on new stores opening or consolidating.

Mind you, throughout all this real change was taking place. The publisher consolidation of the eighties, which left us with only six big houses which gave discounts to the big chains (because they were easier to deal with) led to the indie bookstore die-off of the early nineties and actually made possible the push model of the late nineties and early oughts, where the houses dictated what appeared on the shelves and what the consumer might want or not meant nothing.

But from the perspective of the writer-on-the-ground nothing much had changed since the seventies, not even the advances.  You wrote the book the same way (okay, you used a computer, but you still printed it in more or less the same format your mom would have done, if your mom were a writer), you submitted the same way, things moved in mysterious ways, you got accepted or rejected, and it sold or not, which dictated how your career went on or didn’t.

Writers that had broken in as many as twenty years before me were still reliable sources of advice on which conventions to attend, which editors to schmooze, and how to improve your standing…

And then came the indie revolution. Just like with learning punctuation, I sort of missed it.  I stayed home that day from school – for the punctuation I mean – yes, every day for every one of the seven languages I learned.  Deal.  It’s a curse.

For indie, I was busy writing novels, which is like staying home from school but with less Ovaltine and more swearing and typing.  So it took me a long long time to figure out something was different, and I might not have realized something was wrong, if I hadn’t needed to part with my agent and therefore contacted Kristine Kathryn Rusch and she told me what had been going on while I was furiously typing.

However, this was three (four?) years ago, and even with my level of novel-blindness, I think by now I’d have noticed something was different.

Here are the signs that something has fundamentally shifted in the writing profession. 2013 was the year that:

  • I know more people who self-publish and are making a living wage (or close to it) than I know people who traditionally publish and are making a living wage.
  • the standards expected of indie writers as to covers, etc. fully matches that expected of traditional publishing.
  • People who were previously traditionally published talk openly about publishing their old works.
  • Most of my professionally published friends are also indie publishing.
  • It used to be when professional writers got together we talked taxes.  Now we talk indie publishing, equipment, covers AND whatever the heck is the then current glitch with Amazon/Kobo/Barnes and Noble/Smashwords.  Then we talk how to get around it.
  • Writers are becoming more gregarious – this is slow.  The traditional model put us all in competition with each other for a half dozen slots. The indie model rewards vast, freely cooperative networks who voluntarily exchange information and expertise. As slow as the change is, 2013 was when I noticed that a lot of my colleagues were being a lot more friendly and a lot less concerned about what the big houses would think of their friendships/circle.
  • Fans acted like it was odd that I didn’t have a selling table for my indie works at a con.  They literally don’t know how to find you/what to do, if you don’t have a selling table as an author.

This is upside down from a few years ago, when people with tables were rank newbies.

The poet was wrong, when he talked about how “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”  Yes, everything is changing.  Yes, a lot of it is unpredictable.  But there is nothing “mere” about this anarchy.  It is, on the contrary, glorious!

[Charlie here:] A bigger crop this week, with one special deal: Michael Joseph’s books A New Dawn Rising and Death In July are available for free from today, 27th December, until 31st December.

Authors: in general, the deadline for book plugs is Tuesday of the PRECEDING week. Last week and this week were light, and I happened to notice this one had a promotion going, but don’t bet on this working every time.


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Elizabeth of Starland
By Alma T.C. Boykin 

Elizabeth von Sarmas – a woman almost as impossible as her white mule.

King Laurence V of Frankonia intends to consign his problem to a convent. But Elizabeth has a different calling, despite her minders’ best efforts. Determined to put her talents to use, she and Snowy the Mule flee to the Eastern Empire. All she has to do is survive crossing half the continent, persuade someone to believe in her, navigate the imperial court, and outwit holy warriors who kill any woman they capture.

But Elizabeth comes from tough and sturdy stock. The planetary colonization company that abandoned ColPlat XI assumed everyone had died. Four hundred years later, King Laurence assumes that a gently reared young woman will obey. They are both in for a surprise.

The first novel in the four book series, The Chronicles of Colplatschki.


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Tri-Time
By Hailey Monacko 

Tri-Time is a sci-fi adventure with elements of suspense. Atliy, short for Atlanta, is a; highly intelligent, wise, and quick-thinking eleven yr old girl. Atliy befriends Augey who is; comedic, loyal, and a bit cowardly. Towards the beginning of the book, weird weather occurrences begin to happen. Thresholds start appearing all over the earth and weird-looking shades of lighting cover the sky. Atliy and Augey set out to figure out what is happening. Soon enough they are greeted by a strange, quirky girl named Zinky, who seems to know more about the situation than she is letting on. It becomes increasingly evident that the cosmos could be in immense danger. Atliy, Augey, and Zinky are thrown into an adventure where they must save the cosmos from what Atliy determines is a Tri-Time. A Tri-Time is when three times begin elapsing over themselves. Will these brave girls save the cosmos? Or will all life get sucked up into a super black hole, dense beyond imagination?


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The Awesome Adventures of Pickle Boy
By Jack Bee 

The Adventure Begins! A mysterious Uncle relates to his young nephew the amazing tale of Danny Green. Danny is an otherwise ordinary eleven year old boy from Brooklyn who discovers a long-lost secret formula that grants him incredible superhuman abilities. To Danny, this is the most awesome thing that has ever happened to anybody. But this ultimate dream-come-true begins to turn into a nightmare, as Danny must contend with well-connected class bullies, hostile media, and the sinister organization that is attempting to seize the formula for its own nefarious purposes. All this, while keeping his identity safe from his annoying and nosy little sister! Will Danny have what it takes to overcome these challenges, as well as a terrorist threat that threatens to flatten Manhattan? Or will the forces arrayed against him prove too much for his inexperience to overcome?


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Armageddon Girl
By C.J. Carella 

An engaging protagonist, interesting characters, lots of conspiracies and super-powered people with all the foibles and character flaws of non-super-powered people. The book is a page-turner, which is good because it’s almost 500 pages long! Be prepared to sacrifice at least one day to it. You won’t regret it!


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The Erl King’s Children
By Jordan Leah Hunter 

Lyllith, the last of the royal line of Érainn, has become the prisoner of Riv Orrsa, the ruthless man who conquered her kingdom and murdered her father. The choice she faces—becoming Riv Orrsa’s wife or death—is no choice at all.

But when a strange young boy appears in her barren cell one night, Lyllith is offered a chance at the only thing still worth living for: revenge. Accepting that chance plunges her into the middle of a contest thousands of years in the making, for the young boy is not what he seems, her new freedom is illusory, and she is the unwitting heir to an ancient legacy will the power to destroy the World.


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Eyes of Osiris (Architects of Lore Series)
By Anita C. Young 

Just when Dr. Kayara Ingham thinks she has finally escaped her dark past, a mysterious figure who calls himself an Architect of Lore enters her life. The renowned immunologist’s ordered world is thrown into chaos as she finds out not only are the things that go bump in the night real, but they want her. Kayara must learn to cope with this new reality while hoping her darkest secret does not come to light: she dreams of the future.


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An Unproven Concept (The Vergassy Chronicles)
By James Young 

Since its inception, the Confederation Fleet has been divided between the Line and Carrier factions. In the year 3050, the battlecruiser Constitution has been designed to merge the best of both worlds. With an experienced captain but untested crew, the vessel is unexpectedly called upon to save the passenger liner Titanic from a new and pressing threat.

An Unproven Concept is based upon the short story “On Their Behalf,” a quarterfinalist (3 / 2004) in the “L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future” Science Fiction Contest.”


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A New Dawn Rising
By Michael Joseph 

Haunted by the loss of his wife and young daughter, reclusive ex-cop Sam Carlisle is offered a job working for wealthy businessman Carl Renshaw. An opportunity to move on and make a fresh start. But when Carl is murdered, the police suspect Sam is responsible, forcing him to hunt down the real killer himself.

Only someone doesn’t want Sam Carlisle finding out the truth…


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Death In July
By Michael Joseph 

Blurb: When retired war veteran Geoffrey Compton is found dead in his home, all the evidence points to suicide. However, his son Benjamin suspects there was more to the death and hires maverick ex-cop Sam Carlisle to investigate. Sam discovers a number of Geoffrey’s old acquaintances have also passed away recently in suspicious circumstances, leading him to believe somebody is exacting revenge on these people, snuffing out their lives in the most calculating manner. To prevent more fatalities, Sam must trawl the past and find the cause of this twisted retribution, putting himself on collision course with the elusive figure responsible.


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Periphery
By Alexx Bollen 

There is an old Victorian house posing as an office in “The Burned-Over District.” In that office, a giant, a waif, and a child wait for someone who can be shown the true nature of the world.

John is a man with a talent to see what is not there, or, at least, what was not there until that fateful day when a want-ad caught his eye and sent him into the depths of the woods… into the periphery.

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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