ebooks

The Opportunity of a Lifetime: Eh, Too Much Work

 

Today’s guest blog comes from the über talented Ania Ahlborn, author of the novel SEED, which is slated for a June 2011 release. To find out more about her upcoming novel, and to read samples, please stop by her official website. You can also find Ania on Twitter.

*

Just a handful of years ago, being an author meant something completely different from what it means today. Once upon a time, we were doomed to countless years of sweating over the perfect novel only to spend more countless years collecting crookedly scissored rejection slips that have been Xeroxed a dozen times over; a copy of a copy of a copy. To most NYC fat-cat agents, that’s all we were worth.

Those times have vanished like David Copperfield during a show-closing trick. Poof! And in a dramatic burst of smoke and glitter, writers have been handed the keys to the kingdom. Just like Alice, we’ve wanted to fit through that tiny publisher’s door, desperately trying to squeeze an arm through if only to say that we almost fit, we almost made it… hell, we fit our entire arm in there… if we had just pushed a little harder we could have broken down the wall. And then, a tiny miracle: a little cake with ‘eat me’ scrawled across it—though for us, it says e-me. E for ebook. E for e-publishing. E for everything we’ve ever wanted.

The Red Queen’s garden is a dangerous place. One misstep and it’s ‘off with your head’. The same goes for being an indie author. If you screw up once, and you screw up badly enough, you may never have a chance to recover. Sure, you won’t have a publisher breathing down your neck like an angry bull. You won’t have an agent yapping at you about deadlines and royalty fees. You won’t have any of that because, as an indie, you’re completely alone in this. That knowledge alone cripples many a writer. Because alone is just as scary as failure.

As an indie, I’m constantly on Twitter, and because I advertise my upcoming novel Seed on a perpetual rotation, I attract a lot of writers. It’s interesting to watch writers talk amongst themselves, forgetting that a million eyes could be watching their conversation. I constantly see writers talking about editing and revision—those topics are so commonplace they hardly catch my attention anymore. It’s the topic of queries and rejection letters that get me. Every once in a while I run into a traditionalist—a writer who’s still determined to be traditionally published despite the ebook boom. They still want that Big 6 contract. They still want the book signings, the almighty royalty advance. Once, I asked one of these writers if they’ve looked into e-publishing. The answer I received floored me.

“It’s so much research.”

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to grab that person by the shoulders and shake them. The idea of someone being afraid to do the research at the cost of making their dream of publishing come true, well, quite honestly it sickened me. How can someone be so passive? How can someone who says they want to be an author shrug their shoulders and say ‘eh, it’s way too hard’? Is it hard? Hell yes. Is it worth it? Well I don’t know… how bad do you want it? 

With ebooks outselling print books, a lot of authors are worried that the market will become saturated with writers who are painfully self-published. I’m talking bad covers, bad writing, bad stories. I used to wonder about that as well, but that agent-seeking writer put that worry to rest. Being self-published isn’t a big deal. Being successfully self-published is; and I’m not talking monetary success here either. In my belief, being successfully self-published is being so well put-together that people have no idea you did it yourself. I’ll be the first to tell you that takes some investment, and it also takes a hell of a lot of work. Once, I was convinced that everyone was putting in the same amount of effort as me. Now, I know that isn’t true; now, I know that some people give up before they even try.

You’ve been handed an opportunity of a lifetime, and you don’t need anyone’s approval to make your dream of being a published author come true. But as indies, we are not all created equal. We’re in this alone, and we have nobody to blame for our shortcomings but ourselves.

*

If you would like to write a guest blog post for my site, please contact me at nicole@nicoleireland.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

My Reaction to a Refunded Copy of A Second Chance

Up until the other day I didn’t realize readers could ask for a refund on eBooks they’ve purchased. I was quite surprised when I saw others mentioning it on the Kindle Boards. I then felt a sick sense of dread.

“Your day is coming,” my internal editor maliciously whispered in my ear.

I then told her to shut up. I wanted to believe when it happened to me, I would handle it well. HA! Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Today started out wonderfully. I managed to accomplish a lot, as well as spend some time with my brother, which is rare. When I got home I checked my stats on Amazon and found that another copy of A Second Chance had been purchased. YAY!A Second Chance cover

Then my eyes moved to the right and I saw Units Refunded – 1. And my head imploded. Well, not really. But it felt like it was going to. I felt like my entire body was about to collapse in on its self. My self-confidence was crushed.

And of course my bitchy ass internal editor couldn’t contain herself. She gleefully jumped up and started in on me because, you know, kicking someone while they’re down is just too much fun to pass up.

Her choice of words:

“You suck!”

“Give up while you’re ahead.”

“Keep your day job.”

“Did you honestly think you were any good?”

“What were you thinking? You shouldn’t be doing this.”

“Who are you trying to fool?”

“What made you think you’re talented enough to do something like this?”

“You’re a stupid bitch.”

And on.

And on.

And on.

Needless to say, she made me cry, which made me want to punch her in the face.

Let’s just hope next time I don’t get so worked up. I know there’s a strong possibility that someone bought it by mistake when they meant to sample it, but I can’t say for sure. And that’s what really bothers me…the not knowing. Did I do something wrong? Is it really bad and no one’s told me the truth? Is there issues with formatting? If at least knew the problem, I could try and fix it.

There’s nothing I can do now, though, other than find a way to deal with the next one that will inevitably pop up at some point.

Welcome to the Goblin Market: An Interview with Author Jennifer Hudock

After a crazy-filled week of sick kiddos and a sick momma (me), of which I’ll discuss more indepth in a later post, I’m back with a special treat for all of my readers.

My very good friend, author Jennifer Hudock was gracious enough to answer some questions that I sent her on her first full-length eBook, The Goblin Market. In the interview we also cover ePublishing and any advice she has for fellow writers considering the ePub route. (For those who don’t know, ePublishing, or ePub, refers to electronic publishing.)Author Jennifer Hudock

As always, I hope you enjoy this interview and will support Ms. Hudock’s dream and purchase a copy of The Goblin Market.

Q: It’s been awhile since your last interview here, so please take a moment to tell everyone what you’ve been up to since then?

J: Hi Nikki! I think the last time I was here we were talking about the Dark Journeys Short Story Collection. A lot’s been up in the meantime. I put out two anthologies for charity: Farrago: The Michael Bekemeyer Project and From the Dark Side: A Charity Anthology. I also just released my first full-length eBook, The Goblin Market.

Q: Just last week you released your first full-length eBook novel The Goblin Market. Can you tell us about it? How it came to be? What inspired it?

J: I was inspired years ago by the Christina Rossetti poem of the same name. I started tossing around an idea that crossed The Goblin Market with Labyrinth, and as I kept writing the idea grew wings and morphed into something original. Here is the full description:

Beyond the Goblin Market lies the remains of a lost and broken kingdom divided by war. The war has been over for centuries, but the kingdoms still stand apart, overrun by a creeping goblin darkness known as the Darknjan Wald. It has been written that only one holds the power to destroy that darkness and reunite the kingdoms, but she has no memory of her former life.

Meredith Drexler must save her sister, Christina, from the wicked goblin king, Kothar, who has kidnapped the girl in order to convince Meredith to uphold an ancient commitment Meredith doesn’t remember making. Sent Upland disguised as a human child, she has no recollection of her former faerie life, or her uncle’s promised marriage betrothal to Kothar.

When she ventures back Underground in search of Christina, every step Meredith takes brings memories of her forgotten past back to the surface. As the pressures of her former life entangle with her quest to save her kidnapped sister, Meredith’s predetermined fate is revealed. Will she embrace it, or walk away forever from a life she barely remembers as her own?

Q: What made you choose to go the eBook route?

J: I am a control freak. Self-publishing The Goblin Market gave me the opportunity to work hand in hand with my own editor, to choose my own cover art and it left marketing and promotion up to me as well. While the marketing and promotional aspect isn’t always easy, I would have had to do a lot of that anyway even if I had gone through a traditional publisher.

Q: Would you still consider publishing it through a publishing house if given the opportunity?

J: It would depend on how well The Goblin Market was doing on its own. I know a lot of authors who are making far more than a traditional publishing house would ever dream of offering them for their work, so giving over their freedom doesn’t seem beneficial. On the other hand, I think as writers there is still a certain stigma attached to the notion of seeing your book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble.

Q: What are the benefits of choosing ePub over traditional publishing?

J: As I said above, when you ePub yourself, all of the responsibility for producing quality work that readers will actually want to pay for falls into your hands. While that might seem like an overwhelming amount of work, you also have more say over some of the little details a publishing house might try to control. You also get higher royalties for your sales, which is a nice bonus, especially if you’re selling as many eBooks as someone like Amanda Hocking.

Q: What advice do you have for others interested in ePub?

J: Take your time and hire an editor. An editor can help you get your work in the absolute best shape before you present it to the world. In a competitive industry, the poorly written sludge will eventually sink to the bottom of the pool.

Q: Now that you’ve released The Goblin Market, what’s next? Do you have any other projects coming out in the near future?

J: I am working on the sequel to The Goblin Market right now. It’s title Jack in the Green, and I’m about 1/3 of the way through the first draft. I also have a few other projects I am working on, but they’re still in the very early stages of development so I’m not quite ready to share details on them yet.

Q: And though I’ve asked it before, please let everyone know where to go to find out more information about you?

J: You can visit me on The Inner Bean, my official website. You can also follow me on Twitter, where I spend far more time than I probably should.

Q: And where can everyone go to purchase a copy of The Goblin Market?

J: You can get a copy of The Goblin Market for just $2.99 on Amazon and Smashwords. (Side Note: Earlier today Ms. Hudock posted tweeted that she has dropped the price of The Goblin Market to $.99 at Smashwords in honor of the Super Bowl, so head on over and purchase yourself a copy.)

*If you’re interested in having me interview you, please feel free to send me an email at nicole@nicoleireland.com. Thanks!

Giveaway News: Goblin Market PRINT EDITION

Goblin Market cover

Goblin Market was written by Jennifer Hudock

I have some very exciting news for those of you who love to read fantasy novels. My very good friend, author  Jennifer Hudock is holding one freaking awesome giveaway right now. And you can be a part of it.

If any of you are followers of Ms. Hudock, then you may have listened to her Podcast version of Goblin Market. This week she released the eBook edition and has set a goal of 50 sales by tomorrow night. Once she hits 50, she will be giving away five  print editions of Goblin Market — the only five print copies available. No one else will have them.

Now, I wouldn’t tell all of you to buy this book if I didn’t know how awesome it is. Jennifer is an amazing writer who creates worlds that are magical. Her words have the ability to transport you to another place and time, something not all writers are capable of. I’ve read many of her stories and love them all.

In order for the giveaway to happen, Ms. Hudock needs help from all of you. Once you purchase a copy of Goblin Market, please pass on the link to friends and family you know who would be interested in reading it. Also, please feel free to Tweet about it or post the link on your Facebook page. MySpace works too.

Goblin Market is currently available for purchase at Smashwords and Amazon for $2.99. Honestly, you can’t beat the price. And don’t worry, if you live in the UK, you can still purchase a copy through Amazon UK.

Here’s the great thing about purchasing it through Amazon, you can download a sample of the story. I guarantee that once you start reading it, you’ll want to buy it.

Once you’ve purchased the book, you’ll need to email Ms. Hudock a copy of your receipt at jennybeanses@gmail.com. You will then be entered to win one of the five print edition copies of Goblin Market. The receipt needs to say that it was purchased on 1/27, 1/28 or 1/29 in order to be eligible for entry. If the goal of 50 eBooks sold is NOT reached by the end of tomorrow night at 11:59pm ET, there will be no winners. So please, spread the word.

Goblin Market Description:

Beyond the Goblin Market lies the remains of a lost and broken kingdom divided by war. The war has been over for centuries, but the kingdoms still stand apart, overrun by a creeping goblin darkness known as the Darknjan Wald. It has been written that only one holds the power to destroy that darkness and reunite the kingdoms, but she has no memory of her former life.

eBook Update #1

Good evening, everyone!

As I mentioned in my resolution/goals post for 2011, I would like to complete my first ebook before the end of the year. This ebook would hopefully help my fellow Mainers, which is important to me.

I have to tell you, though, that it hasn’t been easy finding the time to work on it. I try to fit in at least 15 mins. per night, more when possible, but sometimes, even 15 mins. is too much.

While I haven’t completed as much as I would like, I am almost finished the first chapter, which is no small feat, at least not for me since I have so many different things that I’m working on.

As for a release date, I don’t have one set yet. Although, I would love to see it published by my birthday in July. Of course, that will all depend on how busy I am with other areas of my life. Again, this is when a clone would come in handy.

One idea that I’ve also been playing around with is finally launching the second domain that I purchased several months back. Again, my time is limited, but if I use it specifically to promote my ebook and any others in the series, than it shouldn’t be too bad. I hope.

If any of you have tips on writing an ebook, please feel free to leave them below. I’m open to all suggestions.
*Photo courtesy of lusi.

A Review of Alexandra Bullen’s Wish

Ever since I got my Novel for Christmas, I’ve been devouring books like they’re a plate of fried calamari from Ronaldo’s in Hampton, New Hampshire.

One of the things that I love about my Novel is that I can sample books before purchasing them because, let’s face it, there are some really bad books out there that aren’t worth my money. However, I’ve been lucky and have come across a few gems over the past two weeks.

The other night I downloaded the teen book Wish by Alexandra Bullen. Yes, I do read books geared towards teenagers because I feel a good portion of them are far more interesting and well-written than their adult counterparts.

Anyway, Wish revolves around teenager Olivia Larsen who is struggling with life and her identity following the untimely and tragic death of her twin sister, Violet.

Olivia, along with her parents, move to San Francisco from Massachusetts to to start life anew in Olivia’s mother’s childhood home. But the move does not solve the family’s problems. Anger, resentment and sadness still permeate the air around them as they adjust to their new life — a life without Violet.

As if Olivia’s family life wasn’t hard enough, she also feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and that no one notices her. But everything changes for Olivia when she  is granted three wishes by a local seamstress.

I don’t want to give the entire book away or what Olivia’s three wishes were, but I will say this. Wish captured my attention from the very first chapter and by the end of it, I was in tears. Olivia’s struggles with fitting in at school were easy for me to identify with because of my own experiences during my teenage years. I still remember how I felt back then, so it was very easy for me to slip into Olivia’s shoes and picture myself as her.

While some may feel letdown by Olivia’s last wish, I’m not one of them. (Although, it seems the general consensus is that this book is a definite winner based on customer reviews at Barnes & Noble.) I think Ms. Bullen ended the book exactly as she should have. It was beautiful and sad, all at the same time. And it’s a story that I will remember for a long time to come.

I can honestly say that I cannot wait to read the sequel Wishful Thinking. It’s sure to be great!

Before I close, I would like to encourage you to post what you would wish for if you had three wishes. There is one rule, you can’t wish for more wishes. So think about it. I can’t wait to see what you all would wish for.

*

*If you would like me to review your book, please feel free to email me at nicole@nicoleireland.com.

My First Blog Award: Unexpected but Appreciated

One of my fellow WPLHers, Crystal, from The Self-Employed Writer, so graciously awarded me and 14 others with the Stylish Blog Award yesterday, which was really, really sweet. It’s nice to know she thinks my blog is worthy enough to be included alongside such other great reads.

I’m continuing the trend here at my blog by including a list of my 15 favorite blogs that YOU MUST check out. Some of these people are good friends of mine that I’ve known for quite some time. Others are people from WPLH who I consider to be my co-workers and people I can vent to when I’m frustrated about the direction my writing or goals are taking, among other things.

So here are the rules to getting this award.

1- Thank and Link back to the person who awarded you the award.

2- Share 7 things about yourself.

3- Award 15 other Bloggers.

4- Contact these Bloggers and tell them about the award.

7 Things About Me

  1. I love to cook but hate the cleanup. Maid, please!
  2. My favorite place to visit is the White Mountains in New Hampshire. The land in that area is beautiful. The air is crisp. And when I’m there, I feel like I’m home.
  3. I’m currently working on my first ebook. I can’t wait to see the end result.
  4. I’m secretly, or not so secretly, crushing on Josh Gates of Destination Truth. (But that’s okay because he’s probably seen my blog posts over at The Superficial Gallery that say as much.)
  5. I’m the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family.
  6. I’m the Reality TV Curator for MySpace.
  7. I’m a book junkie. And since I got my Pandigital Novel, I’ve become an ebook junkie.

Now onto my 15 blog choices for the Stylish Blog Award

  1. Jennifer Hudock at Jennybeans.net – She and her fiance, James Melzer are two extremely talented authors and bloggers.
  2. James Melzer at Jamesmelzer.net
  3. Acadia and Vange at Superficialgallery.com – Acadia and Vange are two of the funniest people I know. If you need a laugh, their site is one to visit.
  4. Patrick Pillars at Paddy’s Wanderings
  5. Momspective
  6. Calissa at Calissaleigh.com
  7. Sardonic Sibyl
  8. Open Space Productions
  9. Craft Attic Resources
  10. Freelance Scribes
  11. Optimized Scribes
  12. Big Grey Horse Media
  13. Crazy Simple Life
  14. Mom Gets Fit
  15. Tomica at Love Of Books

Until tomorrow my friends, have a good one and happy reading!

Pandigital Novel – Worth the Buy

This past Christmas was one of the best I’ve had for several reasons.

The first reason is because of the FlyLady Holiday Control Journal. While I didn’t follow it exactly, though I did try my best, what I did do made a huge difference in my overall experience this holiday season. For once, I felt relaxed, which was a definite change of pace. I have high hopes that next Christmas will be even better.

The second reason this was one of the best holidays to date was because of my children. My son is at an age (3), where he’s full of enthusiasm and ready to go, go, go. His sister, though she is almost 9, still believes in Santa Clause and magic elves, which, to me, is fantastic. Kids are forced to grow up so quickly these days, so it’s nice to see my daughter still filled with innocence. I know there’s a good possibility that next year she won’t believe, and that makes me sad. I want to keep her young and innocent forever. Because I knew that next year may not hold the same magic for her, I appreciated this year more.

The third reason I was so blessed this Christmas is because my mom and dad bought me a Pandigital Novel. I had mentioned in passing to my mom that I would like an eReader but that it would be awhile since there were other things we needed to take care of before I could splurge on something like that. Imagine my surprise when I opened one of the presents from my parents to find my very own eReader.

To top if all off, my brother gave me a Barnes & Noble gift certificate, which meant I was able to go hog wild and buy a bunch of books, as well as download free ones. For those that don’t know me well, a bookstore, whether it be online or in person, is like a candystore to me. So many treats to choose from. Oh my! (Yes, I’m a book junkie.)

Aside from being able to read on my Novel, I also love that I can access my email, and Facebook, as well as the internet. In addition, if I’m so inclined, I can even do my TQA work on it.

For the most part, my Novel has worked well. There have been issues, though, when updating My Library. After the first two updates, I started receiving the message “Sorry, something wrong has happened”. Nice, huh? Does that message bug anyone else as much as it does me? It doesn’t sound like the most professional of messages. But what do I know?

The problem that occurs  following that message is that I can’t see any of the covers to the books/short stories that I’ve downloaded. It’s just the title, which is a bit of a pain and definitely not pleasing to the eye. Sure, I could restore my Novel to its factory settings, but then I’d have to redownload everything. And well, I’m too damn lazy to. Maybe I will at some point, though. Just not today.

Another minor inconvenience that I’ve  experienced is the speed that the pages turn. Occasionally, the pages are a bit sluggish and take several swipes of the finger or stylus before they’ll advance to the next page. But that’s a small issue that I can live with. It certainly doesn’t deter me from using it.

Other than those issues, I really like my Novel. And I can’t wait to read more on it. If you have any suggestions for books to download, please feel free to leave me a comment. I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to my taste in books, so I’m open to any suggestions that you may have.

If you are looking for books suggestions, stay tuned. I will FINALLY be adding my GoodReads widget soon so you can peruse the books that I recommend.

Also, make sure to stop back here within the next couple of days to read a review of two short stories that I read the other day on my handy dandy Novel.