Thursday, August 18, 2011

Joining The Crowd...

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Lately it seems that anytime two or more writers get together and talk about writing, the subjects of ebooks and indie publishing come up. With the sudden increase in e-readers and the subsequent demand for ebooks, self-publishing has lost most of its negative stigma and is now seen as a good way for writers to give readers more of what they want -- MORE STORIES!

After over a year of having doors constantly slammed in my face, the option of taking my stories directly to my readers has grown very darn appealing! A few of my writer-friends have been wildly successful with putting their stories directly onto Amazon and other ebook venues (by wildly successful, I mean earning six figures or close to it). Many others are achieving more moderate sales, but still better or equal to the money they've earned with traditional publishing (moderate sounds GREAT to me!).

Encouraged by these stories of success (including a couple of my Bandita-sisters), and by requests for more from my readers (truly music to my ears), I've decided to dip my toes into the big scary ocean of indie publishing.

Scary because the responsibility for everything now falls on lil ole me. The cover, the formatting, the editing, the promotion -- I get to do it all. ACK!

But everyone who has spent more than five minutes in the Lair knows that I'm not one to back down from a challenge. After all, SOMEONE must discipline all those cabana boys. But I digress...

Several months I started writing a story that was kind of a prequel to my first book, The Wild Sight. I say kind of because the main character is actually The Wild Sight hero's mother when she was a teen. I posted excerpts of this story as a special bonus for my newsletter group (and yes, you can join the group, just go here: http://yhoo.it/quNm8x ). So I've decided to make this story -- actually a novelette (between 7,500 and 17,499 words) my first foray into the big, scary ocean of indie publishing.

I'm still working on the editing phase, but here's the gorgeous cover I had designed by the lovely and talented Kim Van Meter (http://bit.ly/pbVV45)! And here is the blurb I've concocted:
In the rural Northern Ireland of the 1960s, sixteen-year-old Moira Mullins is newly released from her second stay in a mental institution. Her problem is that she can't seem to escape the notice of the other-wordly inhabitants of the wild lands bordering her family's farm. Creatures nobody else can see or hear.

When one of these beings, a fairy princess called the Maid of Ulster, offers to foretell the future, Moira jumps at the chance. But the Maid has ulterior motives that could have tragic results for Moira, who learns the future is sometimes better unknown.

I plan to have the novelette available on Amazon next month. Please wish me luck as the big, scary Indie ocean washes around my ankles!

Now for a few questions for my dear Bandita Buddies: Does the publisher of a book influence your buying? After the cover and the blurb, what do you notice next about a book? Have you read a good indie published book lately? Please share the details with Aunty!

51 comments:

jennifertanner said...

AC!

Congrats on your e-book debut!

The advent of e-pubs give readers a wider choice of books that straddle genres. Books that push the boundaries of what's considered acceptable by the Romance Gods.

Can't wait to read it!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

YAY Jen!

Put that chook to work. He has been lazing around on a tropical isle too much lately!

Thanx so much for your vote of confidence on my dip in the Indie ocean! Actually this story is NOT a romance, so I hope my readers won't be disappointed.

AC

jo robertson said...

Whooo hooo, Jen! Yay on getting the rooster.

AC, I'm so excited about your novelette. I've read some of it and am enthralled with it. I know your readers will love it.

I agree with Jennifer. Indie pubbing allows writers to offer new and interesting combinations of genres that a traditional publisher might not acquire. Also, it lets the readers decide what they want to purchase, which is really where the choice should be, right?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx Jo-Mama!

You are one of the people who inspired me to take this dip! ;-) And I appreciate all your help with the editing.

ABSOLUTELY readers should have the choice! They are the ones *I* want to please.

AC

Anna Campbell said...

Jen, it's been a while since you've had monsieur le roostaire! I hope he behaves.

Cindy, congratulations on the release of THE SIDHE PRINCESS. What a lovely title - and didn't Kim do a lovely job with your cover. I actually think a great cover's essential and you've definitely got that. I hope you sell a million!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Thanx Fo!
I'll settle for a couple hundred. ;-)

And I'll be having a release party next month... God willin and the crick don't rise! I'm really nervous about the formatting and uploading stuff.

Where are my water-wings?!?!

AC

Sheree said...

Congrats on your ebook! The cover is lovely!

I don't actually pay attention to the publisher that much; I pay more attention to the author, the plot, the blurb, and the cover (which, I suppose, woulde be where the publisher makes the most difference)-yes, I've bought books solely due to the covers. In ebooks though, the cover is important in terms of drawing the reader's eye (like paper books do), but since the cover doesn't really show up on my Kindle and I can't touch the cover anyway, I think an ebook cover is a different proposition. Still, yours is awesome!

Shirl5003 said...

Hi there, this is my first dip into commenting on this loop. At the request (aka shove) of my best friend Cindy and my new status as a retired person, I now have time to do so.

So, my take on the ebook controversy as a long time avid romance reader. The ebook is here to stay and it popularity can only grow. I always said I'd never give up my print books, but my son bought nme a kindle last Christmas and I've got to tell you it's a great little device. Not only do you have the literay world (at least Amazon's) at you immediate fingertips, but you can also get an ap for your smart phone so if you forget your Kindle, you can still read (I have an iPhone since my son is into all electronic devices known to man). One of the best things about the Kindle is that you can increase the font so it's comfortable for your bifocal needy eyes. It also holds and incredible # of books so they aren't laying all over the house. Doesn't need paper.

One of the few downsides I have found is that proof reading has fallen by the wayside by many authors and grammar and punctuation might as well be forgotten. Now I'm not an english teacher and a few typos/messups is no big deal, but there are some REAL whoppers out there.

So Cindy, go for the ebook world as fast as you can and cut those greedy publishers out of the mix (what costs go into a publisher charging $7.99 for an ebook??).

Kim in Hawaii said...

The GR just exhausted me after two days .... neither the publisher nor the cover influence my book purchases. It is the author (especially if I've read their book or blogs) and the subject matter.

We're routing for you, Auntie!

(Auntie is a term of endearment here in Hawaii ... so the GR met many aunties ready to feed him a plate lunch because he was so cute).

...

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Most of the time I am not even aware of the publisher of the books I read Aunty. Who writes the story is my interest.

Helen said...

Well done Jen have fun with him

Whoo Hoo Aunty Cindy I can't wait to download this one and read it.
I don't worry about the publisher of any book I read if I like the blurb I buy the book whether it be a paper one or an e book these days I am not even sure whether I have read a self published book (I probably have LOL) so to me yep if I want it I will get it and your book is one I want.

One problem we have here in Australia is that we often go thru all the stages to buy an e book and then at the end they tell us we can't buy it because we live in Australia I am not sure why we read like everyone else LOL but it happens. I have yet to get one from Amazon but I will try I find Smashwords very good.

Congrats again AC

Have Fun
Helen

flchen1 said...

OOH! AC, I have read some independently published stories, usually from authors I've already read; I love hearing about your new venture! Can't wait!

Louisa Cornell said...

Ha ha! The GR got booted off the island! Have fun with him, Jen!


WOOT, Aunty! Congrats on the new book! LOVE that cover! Gorgeous!

The name of the publisher doesn't influence me nearly as much as the name of the author. AND a great story. Aunty, I'd read a grocery list if you wrote it!

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey AC - Congrats on dipping your toe in the waters - wishing you great success. Anxious to hear of your progress as I've had an idea or two shot down by NY. Those stories just don't vacate the brain (grin), I'd love to set them free in the ether.

Unless I actually know the author, the publisher is important to me. Mainly because I've read some awful, awful books while judging the RITA contest that has left me casting aspersions on the publisher. Where were their editors? There's a certain level of quality that one can count on from the NY publishers - sort of like MacDonalds. It's not to say some of the books aren't great, but at least they are readable.

But if something is indie-pubbed or direct-pubbed, I don't have that fall back. If I know them - then I have no problem purchasing the book...but if I don't... Covers are important. Blurbs become really, really important because chances are I'll base my decision based on how well that is written. Plus, of course, if the idea is intriguing.

Must say your blurb is definitely intriguing (grin). Good Luck with this AC. Anxious to hear you whooping and hollering in the lair with your great success.

BJ said...

Of all days to pop in....
This just made my day!!!!!
Although I totally forgot the question....But OMG....I am doing the BIGGEST FREAKIN HAPPY DANCE EVER!!!!
I LOVED The Wild Sight and now I get a prequel...!!!!!
Sooooooo HAPPY :0)

Oh...after the cover and the blurb...I notice the Price....then I decide is it going to the wish list or is it going right to "Bob" (My Kindle).

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Sheree,
Thanx for the cover LURVE! I'm pretty excited about it myself. ;-) Glad to hear that you've bought books based on the cover, and that the publisher is probably the least important thing in a purchase. I know it is for me, too.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Shirl!
CONGRATS on entering the blog-o-sphere! I told you it wasn't difficult. ;-)

And folks, I gotta tell ya that after Shirl got her kindle, I was TOTALLY SHOCKED at how much she liked it. This woman is a book FANATIC! I never thought she'd go for an ereader, but she did, so that's how I know what a HUGE success they are.

I gotta agree about pricing being another of the HUGE pluses about Indie publishing. I'd much rather have my book at a lower price and gain more readers than a higher royalty. But that's just coz I LURVE my readers!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Kim!

Yes, I knew that about women of a certain age *AHEM* being called "Auntie." I rather like that. ;-) However, I am wise to the GR's ways and he is NOT getting a free lunch from ME.

Glad to hear the publisher doesn't weigh in with your book purchases. And hope you can get a bit of a rest after entertaining that chook for a couple of days.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Dianna!

Thanks for chiming in! So glad to hear that it is the author rather than the publisher who gets your vote of confidence. :-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Helen!

You are probably the only person I know who reads more than Shirl! And now that she is retired, she may pass you up, so we need you to join the retired ranks SOON! ;-)

I love that you pay so little attention to the publisher you don't even know if you've read a self-pubbed book! You are a reader after my own heart!

And LOL about reading different in Australia! What the HECK is THAT ABOUT?!?! I'll be sure to have Sidhe Princess on Smashwords too, just for you and my other readers DownUnder.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

BIG THANX for you vote of confidence, Fedora!

I'm so thrilled that you and the other Bandita Buddies are so supportive of this new venture.

AC

jo robertson said...

I agree with Anna that a cover is critical to the sale of a book. That's the first thing the reader sees and the impression lasts a long time. A cheesy cover says cheesy book to that.

That said, however, what really sells me on buying a book is the first 3 pages. If I'm not engaged by then, I probably won't be, although I'll give a book a few more pages if it comes highly recommended by someone whose judgment I trust.

jo robertson said...

You'll get through the formatting and the style, AC. Everyone says it's a piece of cake!

jo robertson said...

Sheree said, "since the cover doesn't really show up on my Kindle"

That's true about the Kindle, Sheree, which is why I'm so glad you can still see the color version on the Amazon-Kindle page.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Shirl5003! Welcome to the Lair! We're especially gentle with blog-virgins LOL.

You said, "One of the best things about the Kindle is that you can increase the font so it's comfortable for your bifocal needy eyes."

That was the MAJOR selling point for me with the Kindle, Shirley. I love, love, love my Kindle.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

"Aunty, I'd read a grocery list if you wrote it!"

AWWWW, Louisa, that's one of the nicest things anyone ever said to me! :-) I promise this story will be a bit more interesting than my grocery list (hmmm, that reminds me, I need to add salt).

I'm also LOL about the GR getting booted off the island! Though I happen to know the weather is LOVELY in Jen's neck o' the woods today, so it is not like he is suffering -- wicked little rogue!

AC

jo robertson said...

Kim said, "(Auntie is a term of endearment here in Hawaii ... so the GR met many aunties ready to feed him a plate lunch because he was so cute)."

How darling. Sounds like the aunties took good care of him. Not that the chook needs MORE food.

jo robertson said...

Dianna said,"Most of the time I am not even aware of the publisher of the books I read"

Me, too. Before I began writing, I didn't even know who the publishers were, let alone choose a book by that criterion. Since writing, however, I do notice that certain published do "look alike" covers (they all look alike) and some are equisite and lovely.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Donna,
You make a very valid point about traditional publishers. You ARE assured a certain quality in the editing and production of the book... Usually. I say that because I've had some STINKERS to judge in the Rita contest and some of them were BIG publishers. :-P You've probably heard me yelling "WHERE was the editor? WHERE was the copy editor?" But those are rare books, not the norm. But it is VERY important for Indie authors to make sure their stories are properly edited!

Thanx a BUNCH for saying my blurb is intriquing, and that is your basis for deciding to buy. I hope LOTS of folks agree with you. ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

"I am doing the BIGGEST FREAKIN HAPPY DANCE EVER!!!! I LOVED The Wild Sight and now I get a prequel...!!!! Sooooooo HAPPY :0)"

AWWW! THANX BJ! You just totally made Aunty's day! ;-) I hope you enjoy it, even though this story is not a romance.

I agree on the price! Most of what I'm hearing about indie publishing is that you want your book/story priced at $5 or less. I will definitely be in that "or less" category.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL about the first 3 pages, Jo.

You are WAAAY more lenient than most editors and agents, and ME! You now me, I read the last page first. If I don't like the ending, NO WAY I'm buying that book!

I guess you can't read the end before you buy on Kindle. :-P But I DO know you can read a sample. I think that's a VERY GOOD thing!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Jo,
I was the same way about publishers (same as Dianna and Helen). BEFORE I started seriously writing, I didn't pay any attention to publishers. AFTER I started writing, I paid close attention in an attempt to figure out what the different houses were looking for.

I lost count of how many times Shirl would tell me she just finished a really good book and I'd immediately ask, "Who published it."

She'd roll her eyes and say, "I don't know! And I don't CARE!" LOL!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You know I wish you the best of luck, Auntie Cindy. I agree that it does seem daunting to self publish, but what satisfaction you can take for doing it and then watching the sales go up and up. You're a favorite of mine and friend Elaine.

Hugs!

Patricia said...

Aunty Cindy you go girl!!

I know your book is going to be wildly successful. Personally, I don't buy a book based on its cove. Back cover blurb - yes. Author - yes. Publisher - not really.

By the way Missy, I know you're ignoring me. My Monday check in is still in your inbox I'm sure, but I know it's because you've been working hard on the book and this blog post. (Yeah, that's it.)

Best of luck to you. I wanna be at the launch party.

Patricia

Theresa Ragan said...

Loucinda, this book cover is amazing! Wow, Kim Van Meter!

And you book/novelette sounds so great. I can't wait to read it. I am so excited for you. I know you will do well and you will love this self-publishing journey!

You are in my top ten list of encouraging, sweet, helpful writers. I wish you all the best.

Oh, and I usually buy a book based on word of mouth and then based on Book Blurb.

Cindy Sample said...

Hi Aunty C. I'm so glad you're pursuing this. If I'm not familiar with an author then the blurb, reviews and price are important. If it's someone I know and love like you, then I'll buy the book no matter how it was published. I don't care about the cover that much but yours is stunning. Great for promotions too. Tell Kim, great job.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

AWWW, THANX Paisley!

You and Elaine are TOPS with me too! I hope you both enjoy this story, and thanks again for your encouraging words about sales. If I "break even" on this endeavor, I'll be happy.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Patricia!
(Aunty waves madly at her lovely chapter mate and loyal supporter!)

LOL! You know me too well... I AM trying to avoid "mean" Patricia by not answering my email. Also Jo is giving me the Stink Eye, so I better get my arse back to work! ;-)

Thanks for popping by and OF COURSE you must come to the launch party! It will be a virtual one, right here in the Lair.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Theresa!
I'm so happy you stopped by! Your fantastic success in the Big Scary Indie Ocean was instrumental in me deciding to dip my toes in.

You have worked so hard and really deserve all your current success! Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many of us.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Cindy!
(Aunty waves madly at her lovely chaptermate!)

Thanks so much for stopping by! And glad to hear that blurbs, reviews and price are most important to you. I really appreciate your support!

As for covers, I am THRILLED with mine. Kim (another chaptermate) does fabulous work! Cut and paste the link in the post to see more of her work. ;-)

AC

Janga said...

Yay, AC, for your courage to try the new and for your readers having more of your books available!

Since I buy almost solely by author or by recommendations from a handful of trusted friends who know my tastes, I pay little attention to publishers. I can appreciate a great cover, but I don't buy books based on the cover. Your name is all I need on the cover for me to know a book is a must-read for me--but your cover is great.

Nancy said...

Jennifer, congrats on tne bird!

Cindy, I'm so looking forward to reading your novella. What a great cover!

As to your question abput whether a book's publisher influences my decision about buying, the answer is yes. I'm much more likely to try a new author if that author is published by someone who is not him/herself. There are some great indie books out there, but figuring out which ones are great and didn't sell elsewhere because they don't fit a niche, as opposed to the ones that didn't sell because they're just not very good, is a lot of work.

Even reading a few pages doesn't necessarily tell me, because those are sometimes way better, due to frequent critiques or contest feedback and resulting polishing, than the rest of the book.

However, if I read an excerpt--a long excerpt, not just a paragraph or two--and like it, I may take the plunge. I know yours will be great, so I have no qualms about buying this one!

Dee Brice said...

Yo Cindy,
As you know, I love the cover and the blurb really intrigues me. I'm crossing all my crossable parts and wishing you the best of luck with this new endeavor. I predict great success!
Dee Brice

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Janga!

Thanks for dropping by today! We've all heard how word-of-mouth is the best publicity a book can get, and like you, I know it to be true. If Shirl or Jo recommend a book to me, I buy it no matter what. ;-)

I appreciate your cover love too! Even if that is not what makes you buy a book.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Nancy,

You make a very good point, and I do worry about how readers will find the 'gold' among all the dross out there. But, I know that's where word-of-mouth and reviews come in.

I know I can count on my Banditas and BBs to spread the word about ALL our books, and I appreciate that sooo much!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Dee!
(Aunty waves at yet another of her fabulous chaptermates!)

Thanx a BUNCH for dropping by the Lair today and I appreciate you crossing all your parts! ;-) Here's hoping your prediction of success comes true. I'm wishing the same for YOU!

AC

Christie Kelley said...

Love the blog, AC. I'm also thinking about self-publishing a contemporary paranormal that my agent didn't love but did extremely well in contests. It's the reformatting that's stopping me right now. I just don't have the time to do it myself. I may have to pay someone to do it for me.

I love the cover of your book. It's beautiful! Good luck with the book and please let me know when it's out.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Christie!

I definitely think you should join me here in the Big Scary Indie ocean! :-) If you'd like some names of people/places that do formatting, email me and I'll share.

You and everyone here in the Lair will know when Sidhe Princess is available, don't worry! ;-)

AC

Beth Andrews said...

Just popping my head out of the writing cave to say Whoo Hoo! Congrats on your new venture, AC! Love the cover and the blurb - can't wait to read it :-)

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Beth!
Nice to see one of the 'caving' Banditas coming out for a little breath of air. ;-)

Thanx for the cover LURVE and for all your support!

AC

marybelle said...

The publisher has no influence in my book buying at all. I never notice really!!