Archives for posts with tag: indie-author

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I recently received an promotional email (no personalized salutation) from an indie author saying she noticed I’d reviewed a book similar to one she had just written and if she sent me a free e-pub edition would I be interested in reviewing hers?

What interested me was how she went about selecting reviewers? It must be an onerous task to go through reviewers on Amazon, even after applying the appropriate filters in regards to genre, and extract their emails. And once you have them there is no guarantee they’re going to review your book, or for that matter give you a good review.

So I agreed to review her book on the condition she tell me how she got my email address and any other tips she might have on marketing. To sweeten the deal I even purchased her book, very uncharacteristic for me.

She responded favorably and has been very forthcoming. Here’s what she has undertaken so far in producing and marketing her novel.

She says she wrote this book, her second in a series, taking into consideration the requirements and preferences of traditional publishers because she thought she might approach agents and traditional publishers with it.

“In the end, after reading several articles and consulting with the other authors in my two writers’ groups, I decided that self-publishing is actually the better option. If you’re interested in my reasoning, let me know.”

I am interested and will be asking her why she’d turn down a traditional publisher to become a self-publisher? Her previous book was also self-published so it’s not like she switched.

So how did she come up with my name and email address and those of other reviewers?

The answer is she bought a Book Review Targeter app for $200 (lots are available on the internet).

It works like this – you choose as many books as you want that you feel are similar to yours and receive what’s essentially an excel list of all the people who reviewed those books. The vast majority don’t have an email address but there are plenty that do.

So what to do with those email addresses?

She down loaded an app called Group Mailer because it makes sending out group emails easy.

So how is she doing?

“In about three days I’ve had about forty-five people agree to read and review a free version of the book and an additional twenty who declined the free copy and purchased the book to review it.”

Now that’s impressive, not the forty-five who agreed to review it, but the twenty who declined a free review copy and bought one. Who are these people?

She says she has another three or four lists (from additional similar books) she has yet process.

She’ll be running a 99¢ campaign for the e-book edition for two days on Amazon and one day free book promotions on Pretty-Hot Books and Discountbookman, spending ten dollars for a featured promotion on bookreadermagazine and running a giveaway on Goodreads.

She also has had no problem asking friends, colleagues and clients to buy her book and she anticipates reviews from about twenty percent of them.

She’s asked the other writers in her writers’ groups to share information about her book on their Facebook pages and has started looking for blogs to ask bloggers to mention it.

If that isn’t enough, and it probably isn’t, she’s considering spending $720 to have BookBub promote her book. BookBub claims the campaign will sell 2700 books, and the members in her writers’ groups unanimously support these stats saying they’ve received three times the return on their investment with such a promotion.

There’s a caveat here – BookBub only accepts professionally produced, error free books. They seldom accept new releases, preferring you have a proven track record with reviews. If you qualify be prepared to cut your price to the bone. Even if you want to promote with BookBub you may not make the grade.

To produce her book she hired two beta readers at $50 each and got a book cover artist from her writers’ group to design her cover for $65. No editor was needed as she just happens to be one herself.

So far her hard costs have been $375. Results are pending.

A lot of what she’s doing I’ve done:
– I have an Advance Reading Team e-mail list of a little over 200 who receive my new books free to stimulate buzz and encourage reviews.
– I have offered giveaway promotions on Goodreads, LibraryThing and BookLikes.
– I send a press release to local media offering them a book in return for a review
– I blog, and promote on Facebook and Twitter
– I have three beta readers who read my books free and are recognized on the book’s Acknowledgement Page.
– I edit my own books and design my own covers

Some of what she’s doing I’ll never do.

I have never solicited family, friends, colleagues or clients to buy my books. In my opinion it’s unprofessional. Besides I want my books to be bought because they’re well written and entertaining, not out some misguided obligation or as as way for someone to ingratiate themselves to me.

My hard costs on my last book were zero.

And so have the results.

Of course, there’s always the elephant in the room – the quality of the book.

I’m watching how this book launch does and hoping I can learn something. Maybe you will as well.

Speaking of book marketing…

CreatorCollabs Boosted Tweets
So out of the blue I get a promotional tweet about CreatorCollabs (CC) Boosted Tweets. Basically, post a tweet and share it on CC. Other CC users see your Tweet and share it with their online audiences. In-turn, you need to share content created by others to ensure your points stay high to continue to get access for your tweets.

There’s a free and paid plan. Of course, I used the free one.

For a week I loaded Tweets about my plays, Harry’s Truth and End of the Rope, available free on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin until December 31, 2017. In return I retweeted content about the books of other authors.

They have a stats bar so you can check how many people you’re apparently reaching. Here’s the results of one of my tweets.
– The number of retweets my tweet received from my own twitter followers = 0.
– The number of retweets my tweet received through CreatorCollabs Community = 7
(increase 700%)
– Number of my followers my tweet reached = 50
– Number of followers my tweet reached through CreatorCollabs Community = 10,131
(Increase 20,262%)

Increase in books sales in response to this enormous increase in reach = 0
Increase in activity on my website and book sales platforms = negligible.

Just another case of nobody being interested in anyone (or their books) but themselves – including me.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

Web addresses associated with this article:

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/home/overview.php
Book Reader Magazine http://bookreadermagazine.com/
Discount Book Man http://discountbookman.com/
Pretty-Hot.Com http://pretty-hot.com/
Groupmail http://group-mail.com/

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Author Amazon Page
https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486

 

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So how was your year in writing? Mine was, as always, interesting though not commercially successful.

I’ll list my publishing credits for 2016 at the end of this blog that way you can skip them if you like.

I’d rather talk about what worked and more often what didn’t. I want to tell you what I learned and how I feel about it. Perhaps by the end of this accounting a way to move forward will become evident – a more positive, less frustrating one.

To complete and self publish two novels, as well as resurrecting and self-publishing two plays means, if nothing else, that I’ve been busy. I’ve also tried to keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry including the new publishing platforms and book marketing techniques.

After the launch of The Local Rag in October, I once again revisited that dark place, the one where I feel the only way I’ll achieve publishing success is by divine intervention and how likely is that for someone as undeserving as me?

I had used every iota of publishing savvy I had gleaned from a myriad of sources and, though more successful than previous launches, it came up short – way short.

To continue what I was doing and expecting a different result, well, that’s a definition of insanity, or at least severe delusion.

The only thing I had yet to attempt that is highly touted by the book marketing gurus is the internet connection – becoming chummy with groups of writers and readers online. The theory is if you’re sincere and share something of yourself a relationship will bloom and from relationships evolve all good things, right? Anyhow,  you get the picture.

What did I have to lose? Say again, what did I have to lose?

Nothing. All, right maybe dignity, but how bad could it be?

Goodreads is a big proponent of the benefit of participating in groups. I joined three; two were dead and the few active members of the one that was functioning were so ostentatious I couldn’t stand it.

Internet group snobs – who’d have known.

I registered with Amazon’s Write on, “a place for all the people who make great writing happen. Here, you can get support and provide feedback at every stage of the creative process.

Very quickly it becomes apparent this site is populated primarily by new writers – very new writers, many whom have no desire to go further. They write their stories, post them on the site and receive positive, if specious, comments that feed their delusion.

Go deeper into the site and there are some very toxic groups – interesting but not illuminating.

Then there’s Wattpad and Inkitt.

Both these sites are primarily populated by teenagers – seriously. However, moving forward with the “what have I got to lose” attitude I decided to participate.

I began writing a story for the target audience just to see what kind of response I’d get. It’s actually been fun, submitting chapters and seeing how many hits you get – not many. Here’s the link to The Rocker and the Bird Girl.

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/romance/85760?ref=a_f0008a76-bbb3-4b9e-b291-bd01bbc0e8ce&utm_source=share_author_reminder

I also contributed mini reviews for a number of works posted on Inkitt. It’s safe to say very few writers on this site understand the basic structure of a story – though some have been less hostile than others in regards to learning about it.

This sojourn into internet socialization has been exhausting and fruitless. My time is better spent trying to sustain my Advance Reading Team e-mail list which seems to diminish with every campaign I send out – a disturbing trend.

You can help bolster it by signing up if you like and get free e-books, discounts and interesting links to other writing stuff from time to time. Click here to sign up.

http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

In 2017 I’ll focus on East Van Saturday Night – four short stories and a novella, currently being considered by a traditional publisher, and re-releasing under my own name Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients, the third book in the Eco-Warrior Series, when my publisher finally relinquishes the rights.

I currently have two works in progress that are introducing me to fascinating characters including an asexual politician, a passionate ornithology student and a ass-kicking rock guitarist who studied at Juilliard. I’m learning new things and visiting exotic places.

And they say a writer’s life is lonely.

Achievements (?) in 2016

Self-published Abandoned Dreams (March 22)

Resurrected and self-published two plays, Harry’s Truth (July 15) and End of The Rope (August 16)

Self-published The Local Rag (October 8)

Read and reviewed 12 books

Wrote and posted 34 blogs

 

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs

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Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

abandoneddreamstwittercover

How I came to write my sixth novel, Abandoned Dreams

Son or daughter, sibling, spouse, parent, employee, employer – these are just some of the roles we have either been born into, had bestowed upon by us by others or have even sought out for ourselves.

But do these roles, these facades really represent the person we are – our hopes, dreams, fears, and insecurities. In accepting these roles are we masking our real personalities – intentionally or otherwise.

Sometimes roles are thrust upon us because of circumstances or our own mistaken actions.

When I was eighteen my best friend got his girlfriend pregnant. Today you would say my best friend and his girlfriend got pregnant, but back then it was different. Quickly, and not necessarily of his own choosing he took on the roles of husband and father.

This is a theme that has haunted me for a long time and one I took on in my sixth novel Abandoned Dreams. Here’s the story:

At twenty-seven years-old, George Fairweather is “the voice of his generation”, a poet whose talent has garnered him accolades from the literary establishment and homage from the disenfranchised “hippie” youth of the late 1960’s.

George is the embodiment of the times with his long hair, rebellious attitude and regular use of mind-expanding psychedelic drugs.

Then the sudden and tragic death of Fallon, his friend, his muse and his lover shatters his world, his sanity and nearly ends his life.

Katherine is the one person who stands between George and destruction. A hanger-on, a groupie, a go-for, she’s a woman George never considered – for anything. Katherine idolizes George and makes it her personal mission to keep him alive, doing whatever it takes, twenty-four seven.

Because of Katherine’s sacrifice and devotion George slowly begins to mend his soul and rebuild a life. But guilt and gratitude make it a much different life then he’d previously led.

Thirty-seven years later, George Fairweather is a husband, father and grandfather and a successful copywriter at an advertising agency. Another death, his wife Katherine’s, is about to change his life again.

Can dreams be resurrected? Can a life abandoned be taken up again?

Will they let him? Is it worth it?

I wanted a challenge with novel. I wanted to stretch myself as a writer. Because of the nature of plot I decided that the narrative would almost entirely be told by people other than the protagonist, George Fairweather. I wanted George to be an enigma. Different characters would see him differently depending on the role they cast him in – father, grandfather, lover, friend.

In the end, his true personality would emerge – or not. I wasn’t sure.

I wanted to present a scene and then have different characters interact and reflect on it in their own voice. To achieve this I needed to develop deep character profiles apart from the novel.

The characters I created were complex and multi-dimensional as well as being different ages and genders and having different motivations.

Then I outlined the plot, dropped them in and hung on.

Abandoned Dreams apparently didn’t wake anyone up. It has garnered less response than any of my previous books – and that’s saying something.

 Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

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Visit my Amazon Author Page for a list of my complete works, reviews and buy links at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Layout 1

This is my seventh novel, you’d think I should know something about launching one by now. Right?

Because I write this blog and facilitate creative writing circles I continue to read books and participate in webinars on book marketing hoping there’ll be something new I can pass on.

There isn’t.

There’s stats, graphs, media mixes and the occasional ridiculous suggestions like:

– include the title of all your books in the header photo of your various social media sites, and

– post photos of five covers of your books on your Facebook opening page – bottom left column below your intro.

As if this preaching to the converted (since they’re already on your site) will make a difference.

Currently, the Holy Grail of social media marketeers is “the e-mail list”.

Building the email list should be the primary objective of authors and this is done through giveaways, signups for your newsletter and any other way you can get a person to divulge their email address.

Then, if done right – right timing, content and frequency, these lists can apparently be mined for gold.

Without exception these social media marketeers, authors and webinar presenters all have their own marketing company and will be happy to further enlighten you with an online course or program (for a fee).

Armed with the experience of six previous launches and now buoyed with all this new(?) marketing information I set forth on October 1, 2016 to launch my seventh novel, The LOCAL RAG.

The first thing I did was to enroll my book in Kindle Scout, Amazon’s “reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com

There’s a forty-five day exclusive agreement stating you’re not selling your book while it’s part of the contest.

In essence this is an electronic slush pile, but it’s free and easy though it provides little indication if your book is popular since, like most internet polls, it can be easily skewed by nominees who rabidly recruit votes from everyone they’ve ever come in contact with.

Then I sent an email with a free Advance Reading Copy e-book.

For the first time I used MailChimp. They offer a free service for lists less than two thousand subscribers. I have two hundred and thirty-five emails from people who at one time or another expressed and interest in my writing. MailChimp is worth investigating and certainly beats sending individual emails.

https://www.mailchimp.com

I enrolled the e-book edition of The LOCAL RAG in Kindle Select. For a ninety day exclusive Kindle Select offers me greater royalties, wider distribution, participation in Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and the opportunity to offer my book free on Amazon for five days during that period. I chose five individual free days more or less spaced equally apart.

I’ve used this program for some launches and not for others. The results have been the same – zero.

https://kdp.amazon.com/select?ref_=kdp_BS_TN_se

By the end of the month I had sent out two follow-up emails urging people to vote for The LOCAL RAG on Kindle Scout and read and review my book.

Once the Kindle Scout promotion had expired (results pending but not holding my breath) I scheduled a giveaway from November 7th to December 4th on Goodreads for two paperback books, and on BookLikes and LibraryThing for the same duration for one hundred ebooks each.

http://goodreads.com/

http://booklikes.com/

http://librarything.com/

I set up a pre-order on Smashwords for January 7, 2017, ninety days out and once my commitment to Kindle Select is over. I’ll likely offer it for free for a couple of weeks just for exposure. Smashwords is another non-starter, but what the hell.

https://www.smashwords.com/

I’ve joined four Goodreads groups and will endeavor to engage in meaningful and civil discussions during the next three months as well. Social media gurus insist joining and participating in online groups will increase sales – at least indirectly. This by far is the most difficult and time consuming part of the launch.

My goal is to get at least ten reviews and sell at least fifty books within six months of the launch.

With about one month down I’ve so far received three reviews (all five stars) and no sales.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

Stay calm, be brave watch for the signs.

 

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Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When it comes to my writing and friends and family I’ve established clear boundaries. Here they are:

– I don’t talk about my writing even if asked. Those enquiring are usually only doing so to be polite and aren’t really interested. In any case, listening to someone talk about their writing is profoundly boring – even for me and I’m a writer.

– I don’t solicit reviews or ratings from them. I try to avoid even the faintest hint of conflict of interest in the support and criticisms I get.

– I very rarely give them my books. If they’re interested they can buy one.

I once went to a birthday party  where a friend’s partner had rented a gallery and had a show professionally mounted of her paintings. Needless to say, most of those attending bought some of her art. She was thrilled.

This to me is not a measure of artistic merit. I didn’t buy anything,  in fact, I was surprised and not a little offended. This was hardly better than  a Tupperware party.

I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to take advantage of my friends and family. I don’t want to demean myself and my work.

The independent publishing industry is rife with nepotism, gimmicks, and chicanery – all geared toward reaching bestseller status. I don’t care if I’m a bestseller, but I do want to become a better writer. I think these practices prevent that from happening by creating a false sense of accomplishment.

You think you’re good, but your not. You’re delusional.

I don’t know if this stand has hurt my sales or not. If it has it hasn’t been significant because I’m just not that popular – with friends or family.

I’ve also developed guidelines for social media.

I don’t solicit followers on Twitter, don’t “friend” people on Facebook, and don’t appeal to viewers to “like” or “subscribe” to my YouTube channel.

I do encourage comments and criticisms which I faithfully respond to and hopefully learn something from.

Amazingly, some people chose to follow me which is gratifying because it definitely is not reciprocated.

I had one expert tell me “social media is not for you”. Really? Maybe just not her kind of social media, the kind where friends and followers are little more than meaningless numbers and bare no resemblance of reality.

I still believe a social media following can be built by someone who has something interesting and original to say regardless of whether he’s a friend, follower or subscriber.

Later this month I’ll be waiting with Linus in the pumpkin patch.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

Layout 1The Big Picture – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic, was the first novel I knew I would publish independently.

I wanted to explore a number issues and without the constrains of genre I had no idea where they would take me. I was excited.

I wanted to examine the creative process – and how the art and the artist are influenced by the marketplace.

I wanted to delve into the intensity of family dynamics – how wonderful it is when it works and how damaging it can be when it doesn’t.

I wanted complex characters and authentic relationships.

As a journalist, I’d covered stories that couldn’t be reported. I knew what was going on but I couldn’t get someone to go on (or off) the record to admit it. It was frustrating, but what could you do?

Well, you could use it in fiction. The plot of The Big Picture is comprised of some of those unsubstantiated stories and also my investigation into the influence of drug money on our lives .

To get at my protagonist’s inner journey I went deep inside myself, rooted around, and came forth with not so much the truth about a life I’ve experienced, but one I’d hoped (still hope) to live.

Nigerian writer, Chinua Achebe said, “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” I wanted Freyja, my heroine, to be that person. I wanted to see where her blunt refusal to compromise and her intolerant attitude toward those who did would lead her.

Here’s what I came up with:

Young, talented, ambitious, Freyja Brynjarrson’s a photographer struggling to crash the art establishment, the challenges presented by her family, and still keep true to her uncompromising ethic.

Fate places her on the front line of a political demonstration where soldiers open fire on civilians. She photographs death for the first time and likes it.

Because of the sensitive nature of her pictures the current government, facing an imminent election, tries to suppress them. But someone far more unscrupulous than government spin-doctors also wants those images destroyed.

Gunnar Brynjarrson, Freyja’s eldest brother is the head of an illegal narcotics empire. He’s concerned about the opposition party’s platform to decriminalize drugs. His sister’s photographs could influence the outcome of a close election and put his business in jeopardy.

As events unfold, Freyja slowly becomes aware of the far-reaching impact the billions of narco dollars have on the government, the economy, friends, family and even herself. Something insidious has infected society and like a super bug it’s resilient, opportunistic and appears as a mutation in the most unexpected places.

Freyja refuses to compromise and is intolerant and unforgiving of those who succumb to this evil or are complicit in their acceptance of it. If she stays at home she’s afraid she’ll be infected and never attain success on her own terms.

She takes an assignment with an international agency photographing the chaos and casualties of Mexico’s drug war. Freyja soon discovers she’s shot only one frame of ‘the big picture’.

The Big Picture focuses on dramatic action, zooms in on political intrigue, and takes a candid snap shot of modern romance. The plot also reveals how narco dollars, overtly and covertly, influence every level of our lives; the wars we fight, the governments we elect, the impact on healthcare, and most importantly and tragically, our personal relationships.

When The Big Picture was finished I set about self-publishing it. I used Kindle Direct for the e-book and Createspace for the paperback, both Amazon platforms.

I know a little about publishing having been (and still am) a community newspaper publisher for nearly four decades. Mind you, with the speed technology is evolving past experience doesn’t count for much, if anything. In any case, I didn’t find the process that difficult. The most difficult part was, and still is, making sure my original manuscript is error free.

I loved this book. I did everything I could to promote it – used social media, sent out advance copies, ran giveaways, sent forth positive thoughts.

I allowed myself to hope. It was a mistake. The Big Picture was self-published without acclaim, reviews or sales. I was disappointed. I felt bad, not so much for myself as for the book. I felt I had let everyone down – meaning my characters.

I regrouped and focused on why I write – because I love to, to learn new things, and to pass my view of the world on to others. Two out of three – not too bad.

Upon reflection I realized The Big Picture had done no worse than the first three books I had published with a publisher. I enjoyed the independence of self-publishing – and the responsibility. So when it became time to renew the contracts with my publisher I said I would if they would publish all the books as paperbacks. We compromised – they published Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients and I yanked the other two books, Spirit Bear and Eagleridge Bluffs.

I subsequently self-published and released Spirit Bear as Saving Spirit Bear – What Price Success, and Eagleridge Bluffs as Loving the Terrorists – Beyond Eagleridge Bluffs. My re-released books have fared no worse than the one remaining on the publisher’s list, all have done terrible.

Next month I’ll retain the rights of my last book under contract and plan to re-release it as a self-published book as well.

The next novel I wrote, Forest – Love, Loss, Legend came out of the residuals of the previous one – war, drugs, and murder combined with my love of the wilderness – it’s splendor and it’s mystery.

 

For more information on all my books and plays visit my Amazon Author Page at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

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notwondermorecover-copy-2

Next Question: Did your third novel Not Wonder More, Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients resolve the issue of whether to write genre or literary fiction? And what about your publisher?

 

I had a list of topics I wanted to research for my next novel including mental illness, magic, natural healing, global warming and old growth forests as well as naked ambition, Nietzsche’s philosophy of “the Will to Power” and principle of cause and effect.

One of the reasons I write is to learn new things. I task my characters with personality traits, careers and philosophies I want to learn more about. How was I to achieve this in the context of my third and final romance novel, the last in the Eco-Warrior series?

How about having two people from very disparate backgrounds, with conflicting personalities, on the opposite sides of a seemingly irreconcilable issue fall in love?

Not too original, you say? Anyhow, here’s a snapshot of the story behind Not Wonder More, Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

Magic, mystery and madness versus logic, cause and effect. Can love find a middle ground?

Maggie talks to trees. Dieter talks to corporations.
Maggie embraces mystery and flirts with magic. Dieter adheres to logic and the doctrine of Nietzsche.
Dieter’s client wants to destroy the trees. The trees want Maggie to protect them.
Dieter has terminal cancer. Maggie is schizophrenic.
Maggie says she can save him, if he’ll save the trees. Dieter thinks she’s crazy, but what choice does he have?
A week together alone on Deadman’s Island changes everything for both of them.
Is it madness? Is it magic? Or is it love?

This novel was an adventure. Almost immediately the characters took on lives of their own. As a conduit I was channeled in the quest to learn more about schizophrenia and the stigma of mental illness, the logic behind Nietzsche’s doctrine of the Will to Power – the main driving force in humans – achievement, ambition, and the striving to reach the highest possible position in life. There was also an exploration of natural healing remedies and medicinal plants and the ecology of ancient forests.

As my characters developed so did their bond to one another – tentatively, intuitively and finally passionately.

But these characters were flawed. There is no cure for Maggie’s schizophrenia. Happily Ever After wasn’t possible. The best that can be hoped for was an uneasy truce with the illness.

Did I care? Not one bit.

I’d been taken on an adventure without maps with no clear destination and accompanying me were these fascinating characters. It truly was a life within a life. If you’ve had this experience you know what I mean. If you haven’t I sincerely hope you do.

My entire perspective changed. I no longer was frustrated by my lack of success. It seemed almost irrelevant. I shutdown my Facebook page and quit my time consuming, unproductive writer chat/critique groups. The key to this other world was to become a better writer. I wanted go there and bring others with me.

To think that I could set parameters for my writing now seemed ridiculous. I would simply go where it took me or as Norman Mailer put it, “Until you see where your ideas lead to, you know nothing.”

My next book was already taking shape in my mind and it wouldn’t be a romance, more likely it would fall into the category of literary/commercial. That made it unlikely my publisher would want to take it on.

I didn’t care.

What had my publisher given me so far – slick, cheesy covers that didn’t represent the story, no editing, no proof reading (readers said they liked the stories but not the typos) and they were reluctant to publish them in paperback which Amazon would do for free.

It wasn’t like they’d mislead me or provided more or better services for other authors, but my books deserved better than what they were getting.

I resolved to do two things – not renew my publishing contracts and self-publish my next book.

Besides, it now seemed untenable to abandon the fate of my books to someone else. I wanted to control their destiny – to set their prices or for that matter to give them away, to promote or not without restriction.

I understood self-publishing would mean doing my own promotionl. I began researching book marketing techniques and was astounded and disturbed. Most “marketing experts” encouraged you to pander to friends, family – anyone and everyone to get them to post flattering reviews and ratings. There were sites that would write positive reviews for money and authors who would “swap” positive reviews.

It was then I decided to make writing my one true thing. If I was going to fail I’d at least do it with my integrity intact. It wasn’t that I’d lived an immoral life up until then, but I’d cut a few corners.

Full disclosure seemed the best way to do this. I began to write my blog, “Writing – the experience” https://rodraglin.wordpress.com/ , chronicling my progress, or lack of it, and sharing what I discovered along the way and how I felt about it in regards to writing, publishing and marketing.

I felt relieved and renewed. I was not going to be a best selling author. The pressure was off.

 

Question #4: So how did your new direction – writing and self-publishing literary commercial fiction, work for you?

 

 

 

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