Archive for February, 2014

BRB, Cornwall

Posted: February 24, 2014 in Non-Gaming, Other
Tags: , , , ,

So despite what I said the other day about blogging more, I’m actually spending a week in Cornwall. Apparently its a holiday, but i’m not convinced.

The fact that I have working (and decent) WiFi is in itself a small miracle, but i’m not really in the habit of blogging or anything while I’m away. I read, I walk, I play card games until I lose the will to live. Might work on my novel a bit, mind.

It’s ok, I’m sure you’ll get on fine without me.

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I sometimes feel I’m a man(child) of two worlds – born in ’88, I did most of my growing up in the 90’s before the internet and the digital space *really* took off. Because my Mum didn’t really see the point in the World Wide Web at the time (all I did was look up Porn), we didn’t get Broadband until the Phone companies had decided it was the future and aggressively priced separate broadband deals to be very attractive. Also, I begged a lot. Anyway, the point is I like to think I grew up with an appreciation of both ‘traditional’ media – books, CD’s DVD’s etc., as well as the emergence of digital/cloud/whatever content. Watching various industries deal with ‘teh interwebs’, even tech-grounded ones like videogames, is quite fascinating as a result.

I got distracted again today by a couple of tweets from John Scalzi – a sci-fi author whose work I really enjoy – and it got me looking at articles and posts about Author Salaries, Publishing vs. Self-Publishing and all that jazz. I’m trying not to do too much, as the more I read the more uncertain I become and I really need to get a first draft of Project Author finished before I even think about looking into how and where I’m going to sell it. Still, this one particular article interested me, mainly because of the parallels I can draw with the videogames industry.

In his ‘7K report‘, Hugh Howey tries to use what little data he has to draw some conclusions about Ebooks, their impact on the book industry, and what authors may or may not be earning through self-publishing as opposed to ‘traditional’ publishing houses. Obviously, the data he has access to is limited, and so he can only deduce so much. It’s not so much that bit of article that had me interested (even though it IS useful information to read), but it’s the fact that the Book Industry is also struggling with trying to fathom just how impactful the digital space really is. I’d like to think we’re over that particular hump now on the videogames side of things – everyone has realised that no, PC Gaming isn’t dying and Steam really is a force to be reckoned with, and even outlets like MCV have tried to provide concrete data on digital sales, to give a more accurate picture on how well our industry is doing.

Book publishing still seems to be struggling with this still, with no-one seeming to know what’s really going on. Obviously, the two industries are completely different, so there are certain things you could look too – there’s no equivalent of ‘Steam’, for example (as much as Amazon like to think they are, I guess), there’s been no break-out success like Minecraft or anything to point to how good self-publishing/digital can be, and then of course there’s the whole ‘DLC’ thing which has allowed traditional publishers to have the best of both worlds.

I can’t help but wonder why there seems to be resistance to digital ebooks – it’s well documented how much money is spent on publishing even a single book, an eliminating the physical book part of that would help a lot – it would also help authors get better deals.

As I mentioned last time, this is what is making me hesitate from going into traditional publishing. I know why the rates are what they are, I can respect it, but it doesn’t mean I like it. I’d rather go back to them later down the line with some stats and some gravitas behind me, so that I’ve earned a better deal.

I’m also going to make a vow (Again) to blog more, as if this author malarkey stuff is going to work, I need to develop a bigger audience and voice. We’ll see how well it goes this time.

As I mentioned in a previous post – I’m writing my first novel. Project Author is coming along alright, I think: I’m on 35,000 words, which while not even being close to half done yet (I hope), is still the longest single piece of work I’ve ever written. At the moment I’m working to three parts, with Part One being more or less finished. Working on Part Two now, which is proving a bit more difficult to write. When writing reviews etc…, if I get stuck I usually just go write another paragraph, like the conclusion or just a thought I had, and then jump around and slowly tie everything together, re-writing as needed. I’ve been doing that with my book as well, but the problem is everything is on such a larger scale that the tiniest change could mean I spend a couple of hours re-writing everything. It’s a bit of a drain on the enthusiasm tank, but I’m powering through.

The main thing I’m worried about at the moment though is what happens when I’ve finished. What happens when I reach the ‘summit’? Even before I started this, I’ve always followed one or two authors on twitter out of personal interest (John Scalzi, for one, is really interesting). From time to time these people will tweet, or re-tweet information and links about book publishing in all its forms. Sometimes friends of mine who happen to like reading as well will post some articles, like this post today about a fiction-author getting back at the people who fired her. Anyway – since starting Project Author for realz, I’ve been paying more attention to this kind of stuff, as obviously it’s going to be something I’ll have to deal with when I’ve finished my book. Honestly, I’m a little bit apprehensive about it all.

From what I can tell, self-publishing seems the way to go at the moment. For one, there’s a lower barrier for entry as there are many established platforms in existence now for selling your book online. Also, considering this is my first book, I’ll definitely appreciated the fact that A/ I’m in total control and B/ I get all the money. From what I’ve read, Publishing House Contracts haven’t gotten much better as the decline of print means these big behemoths have to fight harder to maintain their bottom line. I understand it, I can even appreciate it, but it doesn’t mean I like it. Also, it’s important I don’t get caught out by the fact that my favourite authors are also fairly successful, and they are barely a handful of people out of the multitude of authors – aspiring or not – out there right now. Not everyone makes it, so if I’m going to fail I’d rather fail on my own terms.

That’s not to say I’ll never go down the traditional publishing route – my book is only part one of a series that I can continue for an additional 3-4 books. The general plan, at the moment, is to start with EBooks, get a following, get some numbers and ‘PR’ behind me, and then at some point use that to go to a publishing house so that I can get a special paper edition made or something, and use my past success to leverage a better deal.

But then I don’t really know anything, so that probably won’t work. I’m trying not to waste too much time researching book publishing at the moment because, honestly, the more I read the more depressed I get about the industry. I want to write this book, and I want to get it out there. If I’m lucky, it’ll supplement or be a nice addition to my existing income. Whether I’ll write the rest of the series if it’s a financial flop is a bridge I’ll have to cross when I get to it. They always say get into book writing for the love of it, not the money, but my own personal circumstances mean I’m very much aware of how I spend my time, and how much money that brings in. Gots bills to pay, yo.

I’m already nervous because I don’t know the book is even going to be any good. Everyone I tell loves the idea, but having a great idea and then putting it to words are different things. But I plan to have some extensive ‘beta’ testing, so hopefully I’ll be able to work it into something majestic. I also plan to be smart about this – I’ll use my own money to hire proper copy-proofers, commission some nice cover art, and I may even approach an agent just to get their opinion on the book, possibly even sign up if they can help me with E-publishing.

Wish me luck.