A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Four

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

Presently, I’m still with Book Baby, although I haven’t added any recent novels. In fact what they have from me are the original four novels they published as EBooks, (since then I’ve released three as second editions) and eventually once I’ve published the final one as a second edition I will probably leave. Looking back, overall there was still a lot I didn’t understand about the process of preparing a novel for publication. Blurbs come to mind. And the importance of a blurb cannot be overstated. It is the second most critical aspect of your novel as far as gaining readership. The first, of course, is your cover. Then I can add keywords. Keywords – I didn’t have a clue to be honest. Yet each and every one of these things are critical to one’s success. Of course if your content sucks then it won’t go anywhere or mean anything in the end no matter how good your cover and blurb is.

Then with Book Baby I learned some of the restrictions that such a relationship entails. If one wanted to make changes, whether minor or major, and here I’m not referring to the manuscript, then one change a year is allowed. Anything beyond that would cost money. And other than putting your novels into their network, nothing would be done, (changes were coming). Of course advertising was and is your responsibility. Yes, if one of your EBooks sold, then your share or royalty would be placed into their accounting system.

In the years that followed very little happened with these novels. They basically sat there collecting electronic dust. It made me wonder what I was doing wrong. Was this, in the end, something that only family would enjoy? Would it simply be a family legacy to my future generations that one of their relatives from the past had written a number of novels? I truly hoped not.

Again with the lack of movement I began to wonder if they, (the novels) really were good enough. Still I felt the stories were strong, and the desire to continue writing was still there. In fact on the few reviews I’d gotten the ratings were almost always high. I felt that the key simply was to push towards that original goal and know that word of mouth, and the right story, the right novel could lead to a following, and the sale of those novels.

Yet it was necessary to continue to learn. During this time I had created a Facebook page, (not a fan, thank you) Began a blog, Words in the Wind, created a Webpage, fdbrant.com, and joined Goodreads as an author. Now I’m a long way from being rich, and money has always been tight, so this meant that I’d have to be responsible for that webpage creation. I don’t code or write HTML, so I looked over options for software that would allow me to create the webpage. (And this also meant that any place I might set up needed to be cheap and affordable.)

Eventually I settled on Serif Webplus. Then through a suggestion from a friend who dealt with the web all the time I went with Godaddy as the provider where my webpage would exist. (Since that original webpage creation I’ve since updated and am using Godaddy’s webpage builder.) For any who wanted to view the page it was simply typing in the address and there you are. Still this was additional funds out the door that I didn’t have. Yet without a presence on the net or web the chances of being discovered were just about zero.

I knew of blogs, but had never read any as they were of no interest. So I headed over to WordPress, their free side, and went through the process of setting up my blog and naming it Words in the Wind. If one went there, (or here) they’d see my icon as a windmill. In fact if one was to look at the full address to this blog “windmills” would be there. I looked at windmills as a metaphor for writing. The blades representing words and ideas, and because the windmill turned to face the wind meant, in my mind, that it faced in all directions just like the genres which go in all directions. And this then led to the title.

Now with all the social media in place, and the hard work to get it there, now what? I truthfully didn’t know. Next week I continue this journey. Have a great week and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

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Published in: on January 27, 2018 at 7:18 am  Leave a Comment  

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Three

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

So in this new “wild west” of publishing everything was changing at a rapid rate. And into this new world with the little knowledge I had I thought the smart thing to do was to take advantage of one of these companies, (companies that converted manuscripts into EBooks) and have them publish my novels. Still, at this point I had hope that somewhere during this process that I’d land or find an agent, and begin the process that led to traditional publishing.

Traditional publishing seemed to be the best way to get known, and maybe in the end produce enough income that I might be able to live off the proceeds. As time went on and as I learned more about this route, I found there was much I didn’t like. In a sense, after all that effort, hard work, time invested, and all that isolation as one worked on that particular manuscript or project, in the end you sold your rights to all of this hard personal work to a company that probably wouldn’t invest much time and effort on the project. And if there wasn’t an immediate return bury it, leaving the writer out in the cold with no recourse.

I didn’t like those odds, and add to it the fact that if I wanted those rights back, I’d had to purchase them. So while having your novel published by one of the big houses seemed to be the way to success, it wasn’t necessarily so. It was then I learned that in this modern world of publishing, much of the work, after the fact, would still fall to you the writer. They, (publishers) now require that the writer have a platform. The writer now had to be on social media, have a website, and in most cases have an active blog. The writer now would be responsible for all the correspondence with fans of his or her works, and in many ways be responsible for getting the word out.

As I thought about this, I began to wonder why I would need a publisher since they were requiring all of this from me. I mean if I was doing this as an independent then I’d be doing very much the same thing. Sure, I understand that with the budgets that publishers have, besides their reach, there is a better chance of becoming known through them. Yet, at the same time that chance overall would be really small.

Going independent meant that I’d be the one in control of everything. Of course this meant that I’d be in control of everything, including the costs involved, the decisions for content, release dates, distribution, announcements, and so many other small details that it might become overwhelming. Especially since I really knew nothing about this industry.

So back to Writers Digest and a webinar on self-publishing I went. After this I did some research and decided that the company I would go with to create my EBooks, followed by the fact they had a great distribution network, was Book Baby. With them you paid for the production costs, and they would then distribute your EBook throughout their network, collect the royalties, handle the accounting, and once your royalties hit a certain threshold transfer the funds into you account.

For me this seemed to be a good solution or compromise. It appeared they had the experience, distribution network, and a system that would allow one to track their books. So my first four novels were originally converted and published by them. Still, as time moved on their prices continued to climb, and with the last one I sent them to convert the costs had risen to well over $400. This was rapidly heading in the direction of unaffordable. And while they did distribute, I really wasn’t seeing much results. Again, POD (Print on Demand) was still in the future, and the small independent print shops where one might get a manuscript printed was well beyond most indie authors as far as costs. This still left the issue of distribution. and how one would get their printed books out to the retailers.

So for me it was time to do some additional research and continue to learn and understand the industry I found myself in. And, of course, this industry was now very fluid and big changes were in the wind and happening almost overnight.

Next week I continue my journey to becoming and indie writer, and publisher. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part Two

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

As I’ve stated in an earlier post, I thought that once a manuscript was written then it’s done. I guess that was one of the first hard lessons learned. Without editing there is no story. And in a sense even though I hadn’t thought about editing, when I had written book two in the Discovery trilogy, I had no choice but to return to the first one and make corrections. In other words edit the darn thing.

So now what? How was I to get these manuscripts in front of publishers and editors? Well I had returned to subscribing to Writers Digest, and ended up purchasing one of their books that gave lists of agents, and such. So I picked out a few that I thought would work with the genre I wrote, submitted queries, and waited. Every one came back as rejections. And what made it worse was the fact the rejections were form letter rejections, which meant no interest at all.

During this time I became a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA). Every year they host conferences, and also have a contest tied in with their conferences allowing authors to submit manuscripts, (for a price of course) to be judged. Then at the conference the winner would be announced. Then this winner would have the opportunity to talk to publishers and agents who would be specifically interested in their manuscript.

This was a no brainer. I had to submit to this contest and hope I was good enough to at least reach the finals. Of course the winner wouldn’t be announced until the end of the conference. So I attended the writer’s conference, and I have to admit that it was worth the price of admission. The only issue for me was the price of admission only allowed me to do this once.

The classes I attended added to the knowledge that I lacked, and as far as my manuscript, it didn’t go anywhere. Still, by this time I had written another novel and had brought a query with me, hoping to get the opportunity to give it to either an agent, or publisher. I was fortunate enough to find one who accepted the query. Still, I never heard back. So in the end another failed query and opportunity.

I guess, in many ways what you see here is pretty standard for any unknown. It has been stated that one could paper their walls with rejection letters before finally landing a deal somewhere. Still I continued to learn. And eventually, after taking one of many webinars I learned a little about self-publishing, and the beginnings of the revolution in electronic books. Whether you have a love or hate relationship, it is Amazon that drove this, forcing the other publishers to come along for the ride, kicking and screaming, and fighting this trend.

POD (Print on Demand) hadn’t arrived as of yet. So a few internet companies began to offer services for converting manuscripts into the EBook formats – Epub, and Mobi. Some would do the work for free taking a percentage of the sales as their share for the work performed. Others would require payment up front, and then any sales belonged to you.

In the beginning of all of this one was responsible for the cover designs, and obviously the content, and formatting of that content. It was later that many of these specialty houses began offering services that would  do this work for you, again for a price. Still, if we were to look at some of my early covers that I created verses the ones presently on my novels then it becomes painfully obvious where the talent is.

Next week I move onto my first foray into this new world of self-publishing. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

A Personal Journey to Self-Publishing, Part One

Available now, three new novelsThe Ones Before, Discovery, and An Ancient Fire. All part of the Discovery Trilogy (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction). An adventure dealing with a time where mankind is finally recovering from a major apocalyptic event, and in the first two novels deal with a myth of a great people known as The Ones Before. Yet there is no proof they ever lived. It will be up to the present Head Keeper of the Past to either prove or disprove those myths.

Of Gods Strangers and Messengers, Science Fiction Adventure, ISBN: 978-1-946179-12-8 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction), and Unexpected Unplanned and into the Unknown, a Post-Apocalyptic episodic novel, ISBN: 978-1-946179-15-9 Paperback, (and the link to the webpage for this book: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Both are available as paperback and in the EBook format. They were released on July 14,2017.

The Harsh Lands, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) is available as a paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-00-5, for Kindle, ASIN: B01N69YCCW, or in the EPub format ISBN: 978-1-946179-02-9. This novel is the complete Survival trilogy in a single book with a length of over 1150 pages.

Time of Isolation: (link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction)  Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-06-1, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-07-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-08-1. Desperate to Survive: (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-946179-09-8, Kindle, ISBN: 978-1-946179-10-4, and Epub, ISBN: 978-1-946179-11-1, are available for purchase as of April 21, 2017. These releases are second editions with the novels revised and updated. At this time A Taste of History Past, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/science-fiction) will remain as a first edition and EBook only with this being the final book in the Survival trilogy.

The Woman in the Snow 2nd edition, (Link to webpage: https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/christian-fiction). Contemporary Christian Fiction available now: Paperback, ISBN 978-1-946179-03-6, Kindle, ISBN 978-1-946179-04-3, and Epub, 978-1-946179-05-0)

* * *

Yes, I’m an Indie publisher, and as such I’m responsible for all of it. And what I mean is, from the writing, to the editing, to contracting for covers, and submitting all materials to a print house, to the final product you find at your favorite book outlet, literally everything. This is a journey that has taken years to accomplish. There were a lot of mistakes made along the way, and a really steep learning curve. Still at this time my novels are available in paperback, and EBook. I haven’t attacked the audio market as of yet, but sometime in the future it may be a direction that I will take. (Also remember that everybody’s path is different, and this is mine.)

And now that I’m looking at reaching an end to most of what I’ve done, I thought it was time to look back and trace the pathways to now. So with this first post in the new series I will go back to the beginnings which began eleven years ago. 2006 was the year I retired, and then moved from where we were living to the great northwest, and all the work that happens when you not only move into to a new home, but add to that a new state, meaning the changing of all your vehicle licenses, driver’s license, and address changes and such. Add to it not knowing anything about anything meant more learning.

So this early time was simply spent on becoming familiar with the area, and the changes that one faces. Still, after this what was I planning to do? I knew, from statistics, that if one didn’t occupy oneself with something productive that life expectancy after retirement would be short. And I wanted time to spend with my wife, who is still working at this time, once she retired, and finally after all the years together to actually have it be just the two of us. That will finally happen in the second half of 2019.

So I thought maybe I should try to write. While I’ve written a short story or two, and when we’d do Halloween haunted walks, create stories to heighten the suspense, I had never tried to write a complete novel. At the time in the past where I’d attempt to write, life got in the way, so it was something that had to be placed on the backburner until such time where I might be able to devote more time to the craft. Decades went by, and between family and job it reached a point where I had to give up recreational reading totally. So for the last years of my career, it was work, home life, no real vacations, and a wildfire close to the end of my career that once again changed our direction, and lives forever.

I’ve never claimed to be anything but a country hick. I lived most of my life on family property that was forty-one acres in size. A two mile dirt road to get there, we are on wells for water, and then in the seventies we finally got electricity and a telephone. Yet, when we made this move from there to where we are living presently it was in a city. The original plan was to only be here a short time while we recovered, sell, and return to the country. Then came the housing crash, and so here we are still living in the city, and that same house twelve years later.

Back when I had begun this journey, decades in the past, the publishing industry was completely different. There were no agents, and in reality there were no classes, internet, webinars and such, to teach one how to create a query, and one dealt with publishers and editors directly. It meant when I decided to pursue a writing career as a second occupation that what we see today was completely unknown to me. Meaning that I went into this as I remembered, not knowing the reality of today and the massive changes that had taken place. Let alone the ones that I didn’t see coming in the future, which is now the past. Even though what is happening today is still changing and growing.

In a sense what we see has led to a revolution in the publishing world. Now anybody who has thoughts of publishing can do it. So this has led to the massive amounts of published material out there making it even more difficult for a writer to become known. And is usually the case there’s lots of this new material that’s really not worth reading. In many ways this is like the old west, it is the frontier, a revolution, and a freedom for any to get one’s book out and into the hands of readers.

So late in 2006 I began my first novel. Still I knew that it was important to set a goal. I mean, was this novel going to be my only attempt, or did I have aspirations to go further? At first I didn’t know, but eventually set a goal of eight novels. Was it realistic? There was no way to know, and if it wasn’t I could always adjust it later. So off into the darkness of the unknown future I went. And the obstacles that was ahead of me were all unknown – which was probably a good thing. I really thought, in my mind that it would be simple. Write the novel, submit it, and see it published.

For any who have tried, they know that this isn’t reality, and this road is a long and hard one. Yes there are always a few who seem to hit everything just right and go to the best seller’s list. But for most of us we end in obscurity and what we’ve produced ends up on our personal shelves to collect dust. Still even to have accomplished this is far greater then ninety nine percent of the ones who have attempted to write only to fail.

Next week I’ll be continuing this final series of posts. Have a great week, and God Bless! (https://fdbrant.godaddysites.com/)

Published in: on January 6, 2018 at 7:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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