Big News and Little


I know I haven’t been blogging much. I haven’t been very active anywhere, and I’ve been basically in my hidey-hole all the time. I’m going to come out a little more often, I promise.

A few pieces of news for my readers:

  1. The Menyoral series is coming back, better than ever. I still don’t have release dates, but look forward to four (that’s right) full-length books in the future. All the past books will relaunch with new content: more of the things you came for in the first place. I’m going to see how I can get the new versions to readers who have downloaded already, too — I appreciate your patronage and don’t want to take advantage. All that, and the fourth book in the series too. I’m working on Hard Luck right now.
  2. Around the relaunch will come a few new stories and standalone novels, all set in Rothganar, all revolving around characters from Saga of Menyoral. There’s going to be a ton of stuff to read!
  3. Steel for the Prince will continue. The series will run to four books: The High King’s Will, which is already published; The Witch under Mountain, which has another round of revision and beta-readers to get through; The Heart of Stone, which I am drafting; and The Endless Night, which I am outlining.
  4. I’m working on a new freebie, a mailing list incentive, called Crossbow Wedding. It’s the story of Dingus’s parents, and I’m hoping people will sign up to a new mailing list to receive the novella. I’ll let you know more about that when it gets closer.

That was a lot of stuff, so I won’t exhaust your eyeballs. Thanks for reading my nonsense!

Blood and Bone: Why People Don’t Like Indie Books

It’s hard work, this writing thing. If you want to improve, if you want to write better each time, even if you’re only writing for yourself.

Publishing, though. That’s a whole different animal. There are certain standards, you know? Or there should be. And for self-publishers, the standards are …well, nonexistent, and a good book is hard to find. Even the very basics, fundamentals of grammar, spelling, and usage, don’t matter anymore—anyone can finger-paint.

If you slap your finger-paintings on KDP, you’ve lost my respect. The cover doesn’t matter as much to me as the “Look Inside.” If I find even one error on your first page, I look at the rest of your sample with a jaundiced eye. More than one? Forget it. You know what that says to me? It tells me that YOU ARE NOT COMMITTED TO YOUR WORK. I’m not talking about creative choices here. I’m talking about plain, simple laziness. Shallowness. Greed.

Is this how you act at your day job? Do you expect to be paid for sitting around on your hind end, making mistakes from the moment you walk in the door? Do you seriously expect me to pay for an artistic product in which you have invested no work whatsoever? I could find better on, people. To produce something worth your readers’ time, worth my time, and you’re not a total genius (psst—you’re not), you’re going to have to bust your ass. Even if you are a genius (I know a couple, and they’re not me or you), having hit Ctrl+S on your first draft doesn’t count.

Get an editor—at the very bare minimum, get some readers—who know better than you. Make sure they actually do know better than you, and be willing to admit that they do. MAKE A COMMITMENT. Bleed into it! Weep into it! I don’t care how many five-star reviews you have, or how pretty your cover is, or how high your sales ranking is, or anything else. I care about your writing. If your sample is punk, I’m not going to buy, and you’re going to disgust any smart person who does.

Listen to me. It’s not just your reputation on the line here. It’s everyone’s. All of us who self-publish. “Oh, I never read indie books. They’re so full of mistakes.” Are you part of the problem? Are you not committed? To make good art, you must construct it from your own blood and bone, and you don’t get that in something smashed together in a week. Carve it. Cut it. Put in the work, and then you can complain about bad reviews or slow sales. Until then, I don’t want to hear it.

Please don’t mistake me. I’m not anti-self-publishing. I do it myself. I’m anti-lazy.

Oh, and yes—I am a snob. But if this pissed you off, maybe you should take a look at your latest. Kisses, Em

Why I Chose Self-Publishing

Today, I want to talk a little about why I decided to self-publish Saga of Menyoral. I don’t want to tell you anything about what you ought to do with your creative work, because I’m not qualified, and I’m not you—but these days we have choices, and maybe you’d like to hear why I made the choice I did.

Menyoral is a big story. I’m only just beginning to tell it to the people who are willing to listen, and Dingus has a long way to go before he’s through. I have a great love for superhero comics: the continuing nature of the stories, the colorful heroes, the characters so many people have come to know and love over the years. I also love classic fantasy, especially set in alternate worlds, where anything can happen as long as it’s according to the rules the author’s set out, and where titanic forces clash over the fate of the world. The book I want to read has all those things—but I also love, love, love deep characters, love developing characters, and in so many comic books and fantasy epics, the characters either don’t change much over the years (remaining the same age throughout, for example, no matter how many stories are told). Who they are takes a back seat to what they can do.

I wanted more. I didn’t want to exchange Real People for Epic Awesome, or the other way around. I wanted both, but if I wrote Menyoral as a traditional-style novel series, I’d be writing ridiculous doorstops, for which the market is punk unless you happen to have a name already. If I wrote it the way I wanted to, I didn’t think the world of legacy publishing would be interested, since I’m still not sure how many books it’s going to be (my best guess is upwards of twenty). But oh, I wanted to share what I had, and I kept working on it without much hope of anyone seeing it, or much thought to anyone enjoying it but me and my husband, and eventually a very good friend (Casey Matthews, I’m looking at you). Years I worked on it, and I never thought anyone else would be interested.

Then I bought a Kindle.

Two years ago, I didn’t know self-publishing online existed, but the more I read and the more I studied, the more I came to think it was the best option for what I wanted to do with my work. It was hardly a year ago that I decided to take the plunge; and last December, I got all my ducks in a row, from cover art to editing, finalized the draft, and clicked the “Publish” button.

My other friends, less close, but still blazingly awesome, were interested. People were interested. I sold more than I thought I would, and I wrote another. People wanted that one, too—and when I ran a free promotion through Amazon, I gave a lot away. I expected sales would slack off, but they’re steady and growing.

It’s nice. It’s really nice. But even if people drift away, even if I never sell another book, I won’t be bound by a contract, I won’t be dropped if I don’t earn. My stuff won’t go out of print, and I can tell the story to the end, the way I want to tell it.

So that’s why I chose to self-publish. What about you? What choice did you make, or what are you considering, and why? Let me know in the comments, if you’re so inclined.