Monday, October 21, 2013

The Importance of Being Earnest

This post isn't about Oscar Wilde--I don't really like his work, though I love many of the quotes attributed to him. Truth be told, I just wanted to use the play title for the post title because I always thought it was cool--and wanted to throw the factoid out there that there were even more puns and subtext in that play then most realize; circumstantial evidence has come to light that "earnest" was likely a slang term for "homosexual" back in the day, the day being the late 19th century. (Wilde was arrested for same; people were a bit touchier about those things back then. No, that wasn't a pun.)

But, as Arlo Guthrie would say, "That's not what I came here to talk about today." What I really want to do is toss down a few stone tablets from the mount about a reader's obligation to the independent or self-published author.

"Obligation" is a strong word, and it's not even the correct one; but it's the closest term I could think of in the fifteen-minute publishing deadline I give myself for these blogs. But there is something we (Indie authors) need from you (the readers).

Indie authors don't have the marketing machine of the Big Six (five, whatever) publishing houses behind them. We don't get posters on trains trumpeting out new work. (You know who you are, Dean.) We don't get a stack of books in the front window of the few remaining brick-and-mortar bookstores. (You know who you are, Steve.) We don't get many reviews from the top review sources that the BS-backed authors do.  We don't get much of anything, although to be fair to traditionally-published mid-list authors, they have to do almost the same amount of self-promotion we do, but at least they get a spine-out volume or two of their work on a genre shelf somewhere in the store.

What we Indie authors need are reviews. Word of mouth. Help with growing our fanbase. BS authors, at least the bigger ones, get some of that from the publisher. Indie authors do too--because we publish ourselves. But bad books don't sell and books people want to read do, so after the initial push the ball starts to roll on its own. For the indie author, the push has to be a bit louder and more sustained. A good work will find an audience, as long as it finds fertile ground and gets some water until it takes root.

All we're asking is to help spread the word about us. If you read something from me or another Indie, go on Amazon or Goodreads or both, and write a review. Tell your friends. Trumpet it on Facebook and Twitter. Everyone knows when the new Stephen King book gets published, but only a small group on my FB and Twitter and blog followers know when mine does. We-I need your help to expand our audience. If the book fell short, we need to know about it so we can make the next one stronger. If you like it, your friends and others you know that may enjoy that topic or genre need to know, because they're not going to see the ad on the train. Throw a recommendation their way.

It's a mutually-beneficial thing. You can help grow and sustain the base of Indie authors in your genre, giving you more choices and more great stories to read, and we get to reach a wider audience and expand our success--some very good writers may even stay the course who may be sitting on the fence ready to drop out because of discouraging sales numbers. There are many Indie authors that are as good or better than those published by the BS, but they don't get advances on contracts to sustain themselves. They need early-and-often word of mouth, and a bit more help passing the word than Steve King or Dean Koontz.

If you read a work by an Indie, I ask you to please fire up your browser before you forget, and leave a review to guide others on the merits of the story. And if you liked it, help the author pimp it a bit.

We really could use your help. Dean and Steve are doing okay, as far as I can tell.

On the home front,  The Dark Paths of the World, the sequel to The Winds of Heaven and Earth, is north of 60,000 words and looks like it's going to be a monster of a tale. Still targeting an early spring release.

On the Winds: this week is a heavy promotional week. I'll be sponsoring a promotion on Goodreads for an autographed print version from 10/24 through 10/31 (US and Canada only; overseas package mailing rates are a bit too steep for me. At least until I reach Steve and Dean's success levels.)

On 10/25. an interview with me will be featured on author and book reviewer / blogger Louise Wise's "Wise Words" site. And on 10/26 through 10/31, I'll be dropping the Winds Kindle edition price to 99 cents. Good time to grab it.

Now back to work. (That was for you as well as me.)

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