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Sep 13, 2010

Speculative Fiction Anthology Announcement, With Cover



Here it is, my official announcement. I'm going to independently publish a novella-length anthology of my short stories. It will be called Conmergence, and you can see my design for the front cover above.

I've given a lot of thought to this. I have, in fact, been considering publishing my epic fantasy (Dindi) series independently, but I'm not sure yet, and I don't want to screw it up. Certainly, I don't want to do a shoddy job, so I decided I needed a trial run first. (I may have mentioned this before, here, on Facebook, on Twitter, in an email...I have basically been thinking in public for the past several days, a habit which is a disturbing by-product of imbibing social media too frequently. I apologize if I became boring or tiresome or tried to bully you into beta reading... I was drunk on a new idea.)

One reason I decided to try independent publishing is that several people I respect have tried it and done well with it. I don't necessarily mean financially, but even more importantly, they've created something lovely and worth reading, not just unreadable slush, such as one traditionally associates with self-publishing.

Here are some small, online presses that sell the backlists, and sometimes new works, of established, and, dare I say, utterly kickass authors.

Closed Circle --> Lynn Abbey, C.J. Cherryh and Jane Fancher.

Parsina Press --> Stephen Goldin

Yard Dog Press --> Selina Rosen

And I can't tell if Jeffrey Carver has an actual store, but you can buy books through links to Amazon on his blog.

Book View Cafe --> C.L. Anderson, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Chaz Brenchley, Jay Caselberg, Brenda Clough, Kate Daniel, Marissa Day, Lori Devoti, Chris Dolley, Laura Anne Gilman, Sylvia Kelso, Katharine Kerr, Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, Sue Lange, Ursula K. Le Guin, Rebecca Lickiss, Seanan McGuire, Vonda N. McIntyre, Nancy Jane Moore, Pati Nagle, Steven Harper Piziks, Steven Popkes, Phyllis Irene Radford, Patricia Rice, Madeleine Robins, Deborah J. Ross, Sarah Smith, Sherwood Smith, Amy Sterling Casil, Jennifer Stevenson, Judith Tarr, Gerald M. Weinberg, Susan Wright, Sarah Zettel.

Of course, all these authors had a platform, an audience, and the proven ability to write engagingly before they turned to epublishing and/or POD. Book View Cafe, for instance, is a cooperative only for previous published authors. Previously published in print, by royalty paying publishers. (It advertises things like Margaret Atwood in conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin, which, wow, makes me wish I lived in Portland.) It's not for those of us still trying to break in. (Piers Anthony's press, Mundania, does accept and publish new authors, although last I checked they were closed to submissions for a while).

How Publishing Really Works discusses the usual (and perfectly true) reasons most self-published books sell under 200 copies and also reports one agent who is not interested in a self-published book that sells less than 10,000 copies.

I don't expect to sell 10,000 copies; I'm not even sure I can sell 200. If response is favorable, I'll take it as a sign that selling my fantasy series myself is viable. This does not follow, logically, but... *shrug.* If sales are poor, I'll take it as evidence that my writing still needs improvement. Actually, one's writing always needs improvement. If you stop trying to better yourself, what's the point?

What I shall do is document each step of the way, as others have done, to my benefit. Michelle is still running her series on self-publishing on The Literary Lab, and I am following it closely. She was brave enough to post her numbers, and I will too. If they are small, so be it. So far, by the way, I've spent $15 on stock photos for the cover. It took me approximately 16 hours of work, about four hours a day for the last four days. If I were better at Photoshop, it might have been faster.

And guess what...

I also made my first book trailer!

I'm planning another one, but for this, I used Animoto. It couldn't have been simpler. I had one image, a few lines of text, and chose from their templates of movement and music. Voila.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.



What goes around comes around, so feel free to critique the book trailer. I guess you may consider this the book trailer of the day. I'll discuss the making of the book trailer/s in depth more later.

17 comments:

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Tara, I'm very excited for you!!! Very. :)

I think you're smart to take small steps like this. This is why I did my little novella first instead of some huge novel. I've recently looked into other POD publishers to go with for my other two novellas (Lightning Source, specifically), but I really do like the absolutely freedom and ease CreateSpace offers.

And I love your trailer. I'm going with them next time instead of One True Media which is extremely limited in music and transitions. It was the only one I really knew about at the time.

To be honest, I thought I'd sell 200 copies within the first 2 weeks. I was a bit delusional. When it took 6 weeks just to sell 150 copies, I finally got an idea of what it's like to sell a book - to sell anything - and how freaking hard it is! I think it's something an author has to build up to, so I hope you never, EVER think that sales on a self-published novel directly have to do with the quality of your writing. It is SIMPLY not true. Sometimes it has to do with your online presence, how you present yourself, and your budget and means for marketing.

Anyway, I will be following you closely on this if you give anymore info. I'm very excited. And guess what I'm starting today??? :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Oh, and I love your cover!

Tara Maya said...

Thanks, Michelle. For so many things. :)

Mayowa said...

Congratulations, Tara.

I'm with Michelle, that cover is amazing. Methinks it'll do well.

Let us know when it's available, so we can pick up a copy.

C. N. Nevets said...

Slick trailer, amazing cover. I'm looking forward to it already!

Tara Maya said...

Thanks Mayawa and Nevets! I'm hoping to have it out by October. I haven't set a exact release day yet, but when I do, I'll let you know.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Congratulations and good luck!

Are you planning to publish this as an e-book too? I have a Kindle (hint, hint).

Tara Maya said...

Oh, yes, definitely as an ebook. I will do both e and tree. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

That's cute. :)

C. N. Nevets said...

Also, if I like the book, I want a poster of that cover. If I don't like the book, I may still want a poster of that cover.

Tara Maya said...

Thanks, Nevets. I'm sure it could be arranged.

My husband has a book that he describes as " a crappy book, but worth buying just for the cover." I've always aspired to design a cover like that. I hope, however, that the book itself is not crap. At least not COMPLETE crap. I could probably live with a 18-34% crap level. Just sayin'.

C. N. Nevets said...

haha That's funny. In my fiction lit class we had to prepare an anthology for the end of the term, and I had what I called the "kick-a-quarter-to-the-curb" rule. If the reader only wanted to kick 25% out on the street, I was more than okay with it.

Elliot Grace said...

...I will say this much, the cover design is gripping!
It caught my eye the very second I scrolled down my dashboard.
I wish you the very best and congratulations on your decision:)

Tara Maya said...

Thanks, Elliot!

Damyanti said...

I love the cover. The design is eye-catching, and if it is anything to go by, the book will be, too!

I'll follow your experience with interest...thanks for deciding to share it with us.

Selling anything is hard, so do not make your sales a reflection of how well you write...I agree with Michelle Davidson there.

I hope the book does really well, and even if it does not exceed your expectations, the experience would teach you a lot about book-publishing that most authors would do well to know.

Congrats, and rooting for you :)

Donna Hole said...

Cool cover, and show.

An interesting idea. Good Luck.

........dhole

Domey Malasarn said...

Tara Maya,
Just wanted to say that I'm indeed excited about this and am looking forward to buy your book whenever you decide to publish it!