Wednesday, 3 December 2014

IWSG: Guide To Publishing and Beyond



It's the first Wednesday of the month, and time for members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share their writerly insecurities. The group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and those interested in joining in can visit www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com for more information.

This year's NaNoWriMo has come and gone. I knew from the very beginning that I might not find the free time to commit to taking part in the challenge. But I also didn't want to skip out on the challenge completely, which was why I'd decided to write without trying to hit any particular sort of word-count goal.

For those wondering just how many words I did manage to write though, I haven't exactly tallied up an exact word count, but I would say I managed to write somewhere around 10,000 words. That is nowhere near the 50,000-word goal, I know, but hey, those are 10,000 words I probably wouldn't have written otherwise.



In other IWSG-related news, the IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond ebook, a guidebook for veteran and aspiring writers alike, is out now and available for download. You can pick it up from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashword. I just snagged my copy from Smashword, and can't wait to read contributions by other members of the IWSG.

Have you snagged your free copy yet? And if not, then what are you waiting for!?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

IWSG: NaNoWriMo 2014



It's the first Wednesday of the month, and time for members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share their writerly insecurities. The group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and those interested in joining in can visit www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com for more information.

NaNoWriMo is here again, the annual writing challenge where participants attempt to write 50,000 words of a new novel in 30 days. Last year, I took part in the challenge, but fell (WAY) short of the 50,000-word goal. This was due to work and life in general getting in the way. So this year, I've decided to take a pass on the challenge. Well, sorta...

I am presently taking a leaf from Tony Laplume's book; I am channeling the spirit of NaNoWriMo by writing along with other participants, but doing so from the sidelines, and without following any of the rules. I don't have any particular word count goal in mind. My only goal is to write as many words as I comfortably can, and to bring my book that much closer to completion.

This approach proved successful for Tony last year, so I am hoping to replicate that success somewhat, without aiming to do so, if that makes any sense. By my estimate, I would say I have put down a few thousand words, which is already more words than I'd written in the past couple of months put together.

Is there anyone else out there doing NaNo from the sidelines?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

IWSG: Staying Up-to-Date



It's the first Wednesday of the month, and time for members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share their writerly insecurities. The group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and those interested in joining in can visit www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com for more information.

Last month, the IWSG celebrated its three-year anniversary, and members were asked to contribute between 200 and 1000 words to The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, a guidebook for writers. At the time, I wasn't too sure I had anything worth contributing. But following some comments stating otherwise, I have decided to put down a few words.

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Title: List of websites with information on Digital Publishing
Category: Publishing
Bio: Michael Abayomi, author of the epic fantasy series, Guardians & The Lost Paradise
Permission: I hereby give permission for this post to be used in the IWSG guidebook.

Since the advent of the ebook revolution, the publishing industry has faced more challenges than at any other time in its history. The big publishing houses and small presses alike have been forced to reevaluate their place in the supply chain between readers and writers.

Writers can now choose to bypass the so-called gatekeepers of traditional publishing, by self-publishing their books through platforms like Amazon’s KDP, or by having those books distributed to several platforms at a time by an e-distributor like Smashwords.

But there is a tradeoff; choosing to self-publish your book means that its success rests upon your shoulders alone. You would not only need to write the book, but ensure that it is properly edited, proofread and marketed too. Some of these activities, like editing and book cover design, can be outsourced to skilled professionals, but the chance remains that you would need to address the issue of marketing, to ensure that your book reaches its audience.

The digital publishing marketplace is constantly evolving. What might seem like a surefire way for you to reach readers today might not be so sure tomorrow. As a result, there is a need to keep informed about the latest developments and marketing strategies. What follows is a list of my favorite blogs and forums for staying up-to-date about such changes:

A Newbies Guide to Publishing
http://jakonrath.blogspot.com

Let’s Get Digital
http://davidgaughran.wordpress.com

Kboards Writers’ CafĂ©
http://www.kboards.com/index.php?board=60.0

Nathan Bransford
http://blog.nathanbransford.com

Dean Wesley Smith
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com

These websites cover more than just marketing strategies; they include information on just about everything you need to know about writing and publishing. They also serve as great places to connect with fellow writers, much like the IWSG. And although writing can be considered a solitary affair, it is these writers’ communities that make us feel less alone.

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So, there you have it, my contribution for The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond, and just shy of the 300 word limit too. I hope it makes the cut and that, most importantly, it proves helpful to those that read it. Now, to the rest of you, have you visited any of the sites on my list? Also, what other sites would you include if you were making a list of your own?

Monday, 22 September 2014

Underrated Treasures Blogfest



I was making my way through the blog feeds on my reading list earlier today, when I spotted the ongoing Underrated Treasures Blogfest. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the blogfest serves as an opportunity to highlight any book, movie, TV series or musician/band you feel hasn't gotten nearly enough recognition. So without further ado, I present one of my favorite, underrated movies.

Mimic


I have chosen to highlight Guillermo Del Toro's 1997 sci-fi/horror film, Mimic. Why? Well, for starters, the movie was met with mixed reviews from critics at the time of its release. Not only that, but it also failed to recoup its $30 million budget during its box office run. But most importantly, it was here that I was first introduced to Del Toro's dark visual style.

The premise of the movie itself was fairly ludicrous. In a not-too-distant (not to mention roach-infested) future, humanity's children are being plagued by a deadly disease. To counter this threat, a group of scientists genetically engineer a new specie of insects called the Judas Breed, which are meant to curb the spread of the disease by feeding on its hosts.

But like most B-grade horror movies, things don't exactly go according to plan. In this case, the Judas Breed live up to their name when they eventually turn on their creators, after evolving into something far more sinister, with an uncanny ability to "mimic" their latest prey, us.

Don't let any of that deter you though. Mimic was packed with some pretty impressive 90s-era special effects, not to mention enough edge-of-your-seat suspense to make the trip seem worthwhile. Plus this is Guillermo Del Toro we're talking about here, a director best known for his ability to make the bizarre and otherworldly look beautiful. So you owe it to yourself to see this movie, if you haven't already.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

IWSG: Three-year Anniversary



It's the first Wednesday of the month, and time for members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share their writerly insecurities. The group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and those interested in joining in can visit www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com for more information.

And as fate would have it, today just happens to be the group's three-year anniversary. Hard to believe its been that long already. I've only been posting as part of the group for two of those three years, but even that feels just like yesterday. How time flies, huh?

Anyways, to commemorate three years of providing support to one another, all members of the IWSG are being asked to contribute writing, publishing or marketing advice to a writer's guidebook. The book is to be published by the end of the year, and made freely available on online retailers like Amazon.

I have never contributed or taken part in any crowd-sourced projects like this before, which is probably why I am a little bit on the fence at the moment. Plus I've never really considered myself a fountain of knowledge when it comes to writing or marketing. But those that wish to contribute can do so by posting their contribution during next month's round of IWSG posts.

Have you decided to contribute? If so, have you decided exactly what you'd be contributing?

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

IWSG: Expanding My Reach



It's the first Wednesday of the month, and time for members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share their writerly insecurities. The group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and those interested in joining in can visit www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com for more information.

This month, my post does not center upon an insecurity per say, or writing for that matter, but rather on something closer to the business side of self-publishing. Okay, so I've been talking about expanding my reach for quite some time now. And by expanding my reach, I'm referring to making my books available on other channels and retail outlets outside of Amazon (who owns more than half of the ebook market by the way).

Unlike Amazon, many of the prominent online retailers out there do not accept direct ebook submissions from self-published writers. And those that do usually have restrictions that prevent international writers from submitting, which is where a company like Smashwords comes into play; they help distribute ebooks to several sales channels like Barnes & Noble, and are in fact the only point of entry, for self-publishers, into the stores of newer subscription-based services like Scribd and Oyster.

So I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't take the Smashwords route to those channels sooner. That, my friend, was due to another bump I encountered along this long and winding road called self-publishing. Smashwords requires a PayPal account in order for you to receive payments from them. But as fate would have it, Nigeria was one of perhaps three countries excluded from using PayPal.

Thankfully, that restriction was lifted recently when PayPal decided to deem us worthy of inclusion. Ah, yes, happy times. The result? My books are now available on B&N, iTunes and others. All that is left now is for me to sort out my tax information, pending which a sizable percentage of my combined earnings would be retained by Smashwords. Hopefully the process won't turn out to be as time-consuming as I already fear it might be.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Kindle Unlimited



On Friday, Amazon launched a new subscription-based service for ebooks called Kindle Unlimited. Subscribers to the program can read as many books as they can from a pool of over 600,000 titles, for just $9.99 a month. This sounds like a pretty sweet deal for readers, especially those that tend to make their way through several books in any given month.

So how exactly do self-published authors get their books into this program, and how do those authors get compensated? Well, to understand how, we first need to understand how KDP Select works, since that is the only way to get your books into the program.

KDP Select was introduced in December 2011, and it gave self-published authors the ability to set their books free for a total of 5 days within a three-month exclusivity period, during which said books could not be listed for sale outside Amazon. At the time, it was considered a powerful promotional tool, granting those books that took advantage of it some much needed visibility.

In addition to these free promotions, those books that were a part of the program were also included in the Kindle Owners Lending Library, which allowed Amazon Prime members to borrow one book a month, completely free of charge. Authors were compensated for each borrow by earning a share of a global fund that was to be raised by Amazon on a monthly basis. Over the years, this has averaged about $2 a borrow.

Compensation for books borrowed under Kindle Unlimited would be calculated using the same system, with one important difference: the reader would need to read at least 10% of the book before the author earns his or her share of the fund. This is a requirement that is similar to that put in place by other ebook subscription-based services like Scribd and Oyster.

All that said, the big question is this: is the introduction of Kindle Unlimited enough reason to embrace KDP Select? Sadly, there is no definite answer to that question. It is something that must be assessed on a book-by-book basis. The good news though, for those already enrolled in KDP Select at least, is that your books have automatically been included in that pool of 600,000 titles.

I have a total of five books presently enrolled in KDP Select, none of which had been doing particularly well before now, so it would be interesting to see how their inclusion in Kindle Unlimited would affect their visibility and ranking. It is still too early to tell for now, but I'll be keeping a close eye on them from now on.