Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Blog Tour: A Modern Day Book Signing

When I mention I've arranged a blog tour, most people ask what that is. I explain it's a social-media-based opportunity for indie-authors to go on tour the way traditionally published authors sometimes appear in local bookstores to give readings and sign books. However, this way, I don't leave the comfort of my own home, nor do those interested in my dystopian novel, Isolation

So what does happen in a blog tour? There are reviews of the novel, written interviews, guest blog posts by me on others' websites, and giveaways. Who doesn't love a chance at a free copy of a great read.  

Sometimes people coordinate this themselves. In my case, this is one of the many gifts of having run a Kickstarter. (Many thanks to those who sponsored me!) I used some of the money raised to hire someone to set up a set number of tour sites. However, I had no idea the variety of sites that would sign on for my novel, nor the wonderful diversity of ways in which they would promote it. Thanks to each and every blogger listed below! I'm very excited to go on tour.

Here's the list of days and types of activity if you want to follow the tour, or just sign up to win an eBook or print copy of Isolation:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 16 Excerpt & Giveaway
Library Educated June 17 Review
Creating Serenity June 18 Review
Room With Books June 18 Interview & Giveaway
Reviews From The Heart June 19 Review & Giveaway
Always a Book Lover June 25 Review & Guest Post
Lightning Chronicles June 27 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt July 2 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt July 3 Interview  & Giveaway
Books & Quilts July 9 Review
Mary’s Cup of Tea July 10 Review & Giveaway
TreeHouse July 12 Giveaway
Book Talk With Alana July 14 Review & Interview
Nerdophiles July 15 Review
Nerdophiles July 16 Interview & Giveaway
She Treads Softly July 17 Review
Kritters Ramblings July 18 Review
fuonlyknew July 21 Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway
Open Book Society July 23 Review & Giveaway
Cassandra M’s Place July 24 Review & Giveaway
Giveaways and Glitter July 25 Review
Two Children & a Migraine July 28 Review, Guest Post  & Giveaway
JeanzBookReadNReview July 30 Interview

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Naming a Press; Becoming a Business

If you self-publish, you need a name for your press. Kind of obvious, right? But what you don’t realize is that like most naming decisions (excluding children, perhaps), the need for the name happens suddenly.

It’s not like you weren’t aware you’d need it. It’s not like you hadn’t been thinking about it. Well, perhaps not concretely, but abstractly, like, I’ll need a name as the publisher. And I need more yogurt and a nice pen and a new car lease.

For me, the moment of decision happened like this. I was working through my Kickstarter layout. I’d drafted the basics, the rewards, the story. And then suddenly I was at the account portion. Account? Oh, sure, yeah, they’ll have to have a way to funnel the money to me that all my friends, and even people I don’t know, are spending to sponsor my novel publication.

I fill out all the easy stuff—name, address, etc. Then there’s a section for the business name, address, etc. I skip that and continue down the page. I hit "save" and a long list of red sentences pop up across half the screen. Turns out even though I don’t own a business, currently have no business license, was using Kickstarter because business makes me uncomfortable, even though all of that is true, I must fill out the business section of the form. And there it was, I had to have a business, to own one, to be an entrepreneur. 

See how I can’t even decide on business language, let alone make the decisions. No business, no account. No account, no Kickstarter. It had to be done.

I sat there befuddled. Then it hit me. I’d needed a press name when I created my letterpress triangle book. I wasn’t sure what I’d chosen. I’d done it when I was laying out the lead and needed to put in a press name, much as I did now. But the point was, I’d done it then and could reuse it now. Thus, DRS Press, was solidified. 
logo designed by rayane sholy
It was born at Penland in North Carolina. But it became my Press Name, my business name, the day I drafted my Kickstarter. That meant that when I filled out a business license, ordered checks, contracted with a printer—I knew who I was. Or is that what I was? Is that why business makes me uncomfortable? Does it turn me from a person to an entity? A thing? A what rather than a who?

Let’s hope not and move on.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Self-Publish?

In 2013 when I finished my novel, I searched for an agent who would then find me a publisher. I didn’t want to deal with the business end. And I think I wanted the glamour. I researched agents, wrote varied lengths of synopses, wrote and sent query letters. Waited. Tried to keep track of when I might hear from which agent.

But every time I talked to anyone, whether it was a class of students I was reading for or a friend who was asking how the novel was coming, I was always asked if I was going to self-publish. In the old days, and still today if you’re a traditionalist, it wasn’t called self-publishing. Self-published was said to come from a Vanity Press, as if the person was so vain he decided to publish himself after being rejected by legitimate publishers.

Now we all call it self-publishing, but it’s quickly becoming indie-publishing, moving more and more away from the pejorative to the attractive. The “real” publishers are starting to pick up self-published books that have made a big splash, like Hugh Howey. Why take a risk? They can capitalize on the success demonstrated by strong sales among the self-published. 

The paradigm has already shifted, but not everyone knows it yet. Paradigm shifts are like that; the majority don’t see the shift for awhile. Publishing is a huge industry, and it won’t go away over night. It’s a bit like what happened to music when Napster made song downloads available free or iTunes began selling individual songs—the music industry changed, not overnight, but quickly. Lots of other changes interceded as well, but in the process, new artists gained more access to the marketplace. 

Nonetheless, I still don’t want to deal with the business end of it all. I have to as a self-publisher and self-marketer. I’m wondering when I get to step away from the business of self-publishing so I can write again, especially as reviewers begin calling for my next work. (That's a treat, self-published or not!) In the midst of a full-time job, I rarely take the time to write. 

And yet, in a way, this is forcing me to write—if not fiction, blog posts and marketing materials and interview responses, especially as my blog tour nears. It’s a lot of writing. It keeps my hand in.

Indie-publishing has also meant a tremendous amount of learning. If I ever thought I wasn’t an autodidact, I was wrong. I keep propelling myself through the next area I need to learn about to get my book in print, in electrons, in the social media eye. It’s not all fun and games, but it’s all engaging and most of it is rewarding.