Somehting to think about . . .

Hunger and the fear of failure . . . when you hit the wall, the only way left is up.

~Lorelei Bell

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fear of Failure

I once read an excellent book by James N. Frey called The Mother of all Attitudes. I highly recommend it to all of you out there who are unpublished writers. The most important paragraph in the whole book was about developing an attitude. Frey says you must become "by God possessed,maniacally determined to make it as a writer", that it was when the writer became "afraid they would fail" the fear lead them to develop an attitude.

The approach to publication is exactly that. Your fear of failure. And there's also the fear of achievement as well. I sometimes wonder if I might have a bit of this as well. "What if I do publish this book? Then what?" A slue of things come to mind. Things I would have to do to promote it. You get a book out there, it's not going to magically have some beacon on it to lure readers to it.

I've got my first self-published book, Spell of the Black Unicorn in several so-called publisher's sites, none of which have helped the sales. Author's Den proved to be a hoax, as far as I'm concerned. And a few others didn't help at all. It might be that people aren't aware of it, or that the cover makes them wonder what is this? A children's book? I'm not sure what the problem is. It's an adult light fantasy about a sorceress, Zofia, who is originally from another planet, stuck on Earth trying to hide out from a deranged sorcerer, Vesselvod Blood, who wants the Stone of Irdisi. With the stone he will gain back his powers. Zofia is the keeper of this stone and can't let him have it.

The elements of the book sound typical of most fantasies, but the difference is it's quite zany. I took elements from one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Bewitched and created something that is entertaining, has plenty of witchcraft in it, as well as a bit of sci-fi, and I've a mystery to unravel. And, of course, there is the romance angle of her husband returning to her--not as a sorcerer, but a vampire. This gave me lots of opportunity for the danger, as well as humor to add to this book.

So, the fear factor, what if I fail, is still with me. I've failed with the first book, barely made back the amount I spent of self-publishing, but I guess I didn't know how to promote it.

Maybe I'll do better with this next one, Vampire Ascending, which will also be an eBook.

I recommend Frey's book "The Mother of All Attitudes", for those of you out there struggling, feeling depressed, or wondering if you have a chance at success. You need the attitude that you will, by God, be published. If you don't know my story, keep on hunting around. You'll find in on any of my blogs here at blogspot.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vampire Ascending To Be Published

I began writing when I was 17. I wrote constantly. Many of my stories were fantasy, some romance. But I wrote my first vampire novel in 1982-83. That book never saw light. I don't know how many rejections I suffered before I decided to just hang it up.

I tried to rewrite it in the 1990's, and the same thing happened. One agent nearly took it, but somehow I just wasn't good enough for her.

Then came POD. Self-publishing is a wonderful thing for those of us who, for some reason or another, just can't get past the gate keepers. I'm sorry, but I'm sick of that. You've done everything you can think of, and still an agent won't pick you up. Or, an agent picks you up, and the book just isn't appealing enough for the publishers.

I've been through the rejections for 30 or more years. I just don't have time for them any more.

The funny fact is, even those authors who have published with a traditional publisher, they are not likely to make money until their fifth book. I know that I'd read that Kim Harrison couldn't quit her part-time job until her third book sold. There are a few acceptions, of course, and we all know who they are.

And it's not safe out there, folks. Vanity publishers abound, trying to peddle themselves off as a traditional publisher, when all they are are vanities, hoping to rope you into hundreds of dollars leaving your pocket, to fill up theirs. Always check the warning sites for writers on publishers before you go with any of them. and then when you do, read the contract very carefully. If there is no contract, you'd be better off to move on. If they want more than a few hundred dollars, move on.

If you loose your rights. Move on. If you have to buy your own ISBN code, this will cost you, and unless you want to go through all of this, move on. Also, make sure to either send the mss. off to the copyrights office, or do the poorman's copyright, and at least send a copy to yourself. Then you have proof you wrote the thing. Copyright costs only $35, last I checked.

Most POD's do charge up-front fees. There are some that do add-ons, too--those nasy hidden costs that they don't tell you up front. I happen to know that Xlibris is like this. They're still calling me after 3 years of my not choosing them after seeing what they "offer". I'm sorry, I don't think I want to sink $1,000 into a self-published book.

Get a clue, Xlibris. Already got the book published and don't want your services. EVER!

I went with a POD on my first book Spell of the Black Unicorn because the fee was not very much and it was the same, no matter how long my book was. At $400, it was an investment, but I just barely got it all back from sales. Infinity offered editing at a price, so I didn't use it,and probably should have, but that's water under the bridge. They allowed 40 corrections at no extra cost, but anything over that I'd have to pay $50--although they allowed one more correction, just because they liked me, or something.

I'm about to publish Vampire Ascending, a novel I've worked on for 3 years, maybe longer, and I'm going with a publisher I don't know well, but have found nothing in the contract that frightened me, and I'm not paying them anything for this service. Which is scary, because I don't know what I'm going to wind up with. Will it turn out at least half-way decent? I don't know. They offer editing, for free, but may not do so down the road. I'm doing the cover, since it sounds like their service will cost me something, and in the contract it said I didn't need to use it. So, that was good.

I'm finding it difficult to get excited at this point, because I really don't know how good this will turn out. I mean, if they want to make a profit, I'd think that they would do their damnedest to get it right, not screw anything up too badly. Because we both stand to make money on this joint-venture, and they are doing this for free. Which, to me, is what I think a POD should do. I mean, if they want to make profit from you, they should just make sure that they offer everything they can to put you out there, give you a great-looking book and offer you a website by which to promote it. Which is what this POD company is offering to authors.

In the coming weeks, I'll post my progress either here, or most likely at my main blog Lorelei's Muse, which you can pick up right here at this blog.