Monday, 25 April 2011

In fairness...

J.A. Konrath, the godfather of self-publishing, recently posted an impressive number: 276,112. Believe it or not, this is the total number of books he has self-published, with the last 176,000 or so coming since last October.

I've only been self-publishing for a few weeks now, but I thought that it might be fun to share my number, and what it means to me.


Now, you might notice a bit of a discrepancy between my numbers and those of Mr. Konrath. I'm still pleased by my results.

First of all, I have done literally no advertising. I put Awakened up as an exercise to get familiar with Amazon's system.

Second, the fact that 15 people have read the book--and one person has taken the time to write a glowing review--is pretty fantastic for a book that I figured would never see the light of day.

I put a lot of effort into editing Awakened over the last few years, but I still feel a little self conscious about it. I wrote it before I really knew how to write a marketable book, so I often wonder how big the potential audience actually is. Ultimately I wrote it because it was the kind of book I wanted to read--any readers I acquire are gravy!

(And at $0.99 for over 400 pages, I must say, you could do far worse for an impulse buy!)

Just wait until the current project I'm working on comes out. I'm learning the Kindle ropes with Awakened, but I'm going to launch a full promotional blitz for the next one.

Enjoy the last precious day of Easter weekend. Don't forget to hit up the stores for cheap chocolate!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Inauspicious beginnings

They say it's important to have a web presence. I'm going to go out on a limb and trust "them," who I believe consist of J.A. Konrath and his inner circle of guest-blogging indie dreamboats.

I'm not sure who is going to read this yet. It is seprate from my real blog and my real-life contacts, mainly because I'm not sure that I want my friends and family knowing that my true goal in life is to write irreverent novels about vampires. Eight years of brutal university education and this is what I wanted to do all along?

It is though--cross my heart and hope to un-die. It's been my dream ever since I read Bram Stoker's Dracula the summer before the third grade (the same summer, coincidentally enough, that I formed a posse of neighbourhood children to stalk the woods in search of bloodsucking fiends). Before that, actually, if the shocking three page thriller "Vampire Vacation" that I penned in the first grade is any indication.

So here I am. I have plenty of ideas worth blogging about, but this is my introduction post, and I feel like I should keep it simple. A quick sketch of who I am is in order, perhaps:

- I am 25 years old. For the next month anyway. I plan to claw onto every last second remaining before crossing the bridge into the second half of my twenties though.

- I am at a massive crossroads in my life. I've spent years in school. The first few went swimmingly. I had a scholarship, I completed my B.A. with Honours in History. I won a huge scholarship to do my masters, but about ten seconds into the year I realized that it was absolutely not for me. Being an immensely stubborn jackass though, I dug in and resolved to complete it anyway. I pounded my way through the course load, but fell into a WWI era trench warfare campaign with the thesis itself. Starting in 2008, I have rewritten the ~160 page document every summer, dedicating the rest of the school year to working full time and feeling guilty about not being done my degree. I hate it, it will serve no purpose in pursuing my dreams, yet still I torture myself over it. I'm thinking about throwing in the towel and just devoting 100% of my energy into writing.

- I've always wanted to be a writer. Always. I convinced myself that this was an impossible dream, but a part of me never gave up, even as I pursued more realistic goals. The summer of my first year of university, I wrote Awakened, my first full length novel. When I say full length, I mean full length--the original manuscript was 720 pages long. 720 pages of writing that is quite embarassing by my current standards, but still one of my proudest moments as a writer. I spent the next few years editing and writing, trimming Awakened down to a more readable 402 pages and writing several additional novels. I'm sure I'll blog all about the various hurdles that popped up along the way, but to make a long story short, I eventually conned my way into getting approval to take the upper-level undergraduate creative writing classes at my university, despite being a graduate student in a different department. I did surprizingly well, and started thinking anew about what it might take to pursue a career as a writer.

- I've made the decision to try self-publishing. The market seems inviting. For years I tortured myself over the dismal odds of landing a good agent, but now I see an opportunity to get my work out to the intended audience and let them judge for themselves whether it is worth reading. This is thrilling in ways you can only understand if you've given serious thought to the idea of becoming a writer. I currently have Awakened on sale in the Kindle store, and am  fighting away to finish a novel I started in my honours creative writing class. I know in my gut that the current project is going to be the best thing I've written to date, which makes me feel like I'm moving in the right direction.

So that is the cheat sheet version of my life. Still a little long, I know, but if you skimmed over it I'm sure you didn't miss anything crucial to understanding the rest of this blog.

(Hmm, long winded and low on action--this is actually terrible introductory chapter to my blog. Perhaps I should edit in a decapitation scene to hook you early.)

I should leave on a cliff-hanger.

John yawned, and slid the cursor towards the 'publish post' button. The long day of family visits and story scrawling on the bus had left him tired and in no mood for the creeping green bar at the bottom of the screen. Connecting to website. Waiting for reply.  So caught up was he in cursing the damnably weak kitchen signal strength that he didn't even notice the dark, hungry stranger watching him silently from the other side of the patio sliding doors behind him.

(Yes, that'll do nicely. Who is the misterious stranger? Will John perish, or escape in the nick of time? Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter!)