Tag Archives: indie publishing

Publishing in 2013

If you’re an author, or writer (horses for courses, titles are vitals) and you put your work out there for the public to buy then you need to accept the reality that you’re not writing for YOU any more.  It may be a hobby for you, and a hobby it may stay, but even the most vehement hobbyist secretly wishes to be discovered.  Look at EL James.  She wrote arguably the worst book ever written and has become immensely successful off the back of it.  Well done love, you give us all hope.

And that brings us to the reality of publishing – traditional publishing:

“Publishers are in the business of selling books, not publishing books.

The dirty business of publishing is simply the means to the bookselling ends. The publishing industry has always been built around a model of scarcity and exclusivity. Publishers want to acquire and publish only those titles they think have the greatest commercial potential. They reject all the rest as riff raff, and then they carefully meter out their chosen books in seasonal catalogs.”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker/2013-book-publishing-indu_b_2352895.html

The publishers saw the buzz around Fiddy Shaves and that was enough.  They saw the Golden Goose and worked out it was ready to lay.  And boy did it lay!

So for those of you who are considering prostrating yourselves at the feet of the traditional publishing gods, I suggest you read the whole of Mark Coker’s 21 Publishing Predictions for 2013.  It’s informative and validates many of my preconceptions about publishing which I’ve previously written about (but obviously – what the hell do I know?).

2013 looks to be the real coming of age of ebooks, but it will also be a difficult time with many more established and new authors producing works, as well as out of print books getting a new lease of life via digital publication.  How the traditional publishers attempt to maintain their stranglehold on the business, or evolve to embrace it remains to be seen.

Whatever happens, 2013 will definitely be interesting times.  A year that I look forward to with the launch of my first book ‘Lament for the Living‘.

What about you?  How do you see the writing/publishing scene in 2013?

Visit me on Facebook: David Nicol – Author
Follow me on twitter: @davidxnicol
What about on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
And ofcourse, GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Indie Authors – Beware the Rip-Offs

Most indie authors are aware of the pitfalls of self publishing, especially those that offer “packages” to authors in return for exorbitant fees with little return.  There are many companies that are to be avoided, and shall remain nameless for two reasons: 1 – I live in the UK and mentioning names could be considered libellous, and 2 – it reduces their overall exposure if you just don’t mention them.

There are also more insidious and I’d say deceitful practices out there that indie authors and self publishers should be aware of.

Firstly you should realise that if you are an indie author, or self publisher then you are a business, and as such your decision making should be business led.  If you need help with a certain aspect of your work; cover design, proofreading/editing, marketing then you should be contracting that work out to a professional.  What you shouldn’t be doing is operating on vanity.  Many of the shysters out there operate on your vanity, your ego.  Business and ego are bad bed fellows.

I wrote this post after clicking on a link in my twitter feed about “being discovered in 2013”.  I clicked the link because I’d like to be discovered in 2013.  Maybe this was my way in…. I found myself on a professional looking website that extolled the virtues of their work in being a bastion for the indie reader.  Enter now, the blurb said to get your work in to the pool to be a “discovery of 2013”.  Each entry would be read by one of their panel of judges and by the look of it be given a 4 or 5 star review…. (hmmmm).  Okay, thought I.  Let’s see what they’re after.

It was all very straightforward, enter the title of your book, genre (but if you wanted to add extra genres it was an extra $50 (double hmmmm)).  Then just scroll down a bit and it asks about payment details.  Just so we’re clear, I hadn’t filled any of the form in, I was still in the looking phase.  When I saw ‘payment details’ I was intrigued.  Payment?  To enter a competition to be discovered?  Then I saw it.  Each entry was $150.  Sooo the site wanted to be paid $150 for each discovery it made… triple hmmmm.

Strip away the “awards” on this one and you’re paying at least $150 for someone to review your book.  No siree Bob!  To me, the moment you pay for an award you devalue your product and your integrity.  How can anyone take your work seriously if you’ve paid for a 5 star review of it?

What appeared to be a legitimate discovery opportunity became potentially sullying experience.  If only I could charge that site for the time I spent working out the catch.

Another sharp practise to look out for are online directories.  There are sites out there that position themselves as independent author, or writer, networks.  Their blurb is that their goal to help indie authors and self publishers to gain visibility.  Then they want you pay a fee to be added to THEIR database.  Not a central entity, their website database.  Who are the majority visitors to those sites?  Other indie authors.  Readers, or your target audience, visit the store of their e-reader (where you’ll be listed as an author, along with your bibliography), not those sites.  So save your money and put it in to your writing, or use it to fund some marketing – it’ll be money much wiser spent.

Use online communities such as GoodReads to grow your exposure and interact with real readers.  And I can’t stress this one more:  Use Social Media properly.  facebook, twitter, whatever are for communicating, not a one way pipe for your marketing.  Build up a proper network of readers and other authors who complement your brand.  Stay away from the slush pile.  It smells.

What are your thoughts on the subject?  Tell me your experiences, good or bad of online author services.

Visit me on Facebook: David Nicol – Author
Follow me on twitter: @davidxnicol
What about on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
And ofcourse, GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

The Great ISBN Swindle

David NicolNevermind the shysters, here’s the monopolies.  Ooh check out all those pseudo-punk references there.  But that’s what it’s like being an independent author.  To self publish is to be counter to the establishment, just like punk did in the 1970’s.  Indie authors get similarly bad press to the punks of yesteryear not only from the big publishing houses, but also from some established authors.  They miss the point that, just like punk, there’s a market for it.  People are getting fed up with being told to what to buy, and independent authors produce works that readers want to read.  If they didn’t then there wouldn’t be any indie authors.

Not only do we have to watch out for dubious companies (and individuals) offering services that don’t necessarily live up to the marketing hype, but on top of that self publishers have to navigate the murky waters of business.  For those wanting project the most professional identity to readers, agents, publishers and distributors an ISBN is pretty essential.

What’s an ISBN?

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique number in a database.  Without it a book essentially doesn’t exist.  It’s not indexed and therefore not searchable on the standard database for libraries and book stores.  That’s not to say that getting an ISBN is difficult.  It’s not.  Anyone can get one.

So what’s the big deal?  I hear you cry.  Well my lovelies, the big deal is the big cost, or the little cost if you follow this train of thought to its conclusion.  ISBN’s can be expensive.  They are operated in some countries by a single company for profit.  For example, in Australia an ISBN costs $AUS 95 for a new publisher ($AUS 40 after that), or $AUS 2,750 per 1000.

In the US, Bowker are responsible for ISBN distribution, and they charge $US 125 per ISBN.  However, hop over the border to Canada and ISBNs are free in order to promote Canadian culture.

So where’s the swindle?

In the countries where you have to pay for an ISBN, in single numbers and even for less than ten, they are quite expensive.  Don’t forget that it’s just a number, an entry on a database, not a gold ingot.  ISBNs are like domain names back in the 1990’s.  They were expensive because they were only available from a small number of outlets.  ICANN charged a registration fee, but the registrars charged customers well over the odds in addition to those fees.  That’s the ISBN business model in many countries right now.

For example, in the US, one ISBN is $125.  1000 ISBNs are $1250.  That’s $1 each if you buy in bulk.  Surely it’s more labour intensive to administer 1000 of anything, than it is to administer a single iteration?  So why would an individual cost be so high?  To put people off maybe?

For those in countries where ISBNs are expensive, or only available in blocks (such as the UK where you have to purchase 10 ISBNs at a time) the alternative is to pay for an ISBN via a third party company.  If you do that then your book shows up as being published by the company you purchased the ISBN from.  That’s not much of an issue, and there’s nothing preventing you from purchasing an ISBN directly in the future to replace the phantom publisher.

If you do decide to buy an ISBN via a third party then make sure that part of the agreement is that they DO NOT have any commercial rights over your book, or that you have to record them as publisher for a certain amount of time.

Do I need an ISBN?

If you only intend to publish online then an ISBN may be superfluous to your requirements and an unnecessary expenditure.  Even if you do print your book you don’t need an ISBN on there.  However, if you want it to be available through any traditional avenue, including your local library, you’ll need that all important number.

That little barcode sitting on the back of your book makes all the difference between being a wannabe and bona fide author in the eyes of many people, so it’s something to consider, if not right now, but definitely in the future.

What do you think of the subject of ISBNs?  Do you have an ISBN that you sourced yourself?
Leave a comment below.

Visit me on Facebook: David Nicol – Author
Follow me on twitter: @davidxnicol
What about on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
And ofcourse, GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Why Do Indie Authors Abuse Twitter?

David NicolIn this post I urge Indie Authors to reclaim Twitter as a social media tool, as a platform to INTERACT with readers and other authors rather than use it as a one way sewer pipe full of “BUY MY BOOK” excrement.

I’m seeing more and more blog posts with headings along the lines of “The Indie Author’s Guide to Twitter”.  Although I think it’s great that people are sharing knowledge and information, the title should really be “How to Abuse Social Media” because that’s what most of these posts amount to.

The idea behind Twitter is to express yourself in 140 characters.  Yes, there are twitter accounts that are set up for no other reason than to spam out links.  They are bad.  But when an indie author does it it suddenly makes it okay?  No it doesn’t.  It just makes that indie author a spammer too.

SOCIAL media

Social Media: the clue is in the name.  Maybe I’m old fashioned, but to be social requires discourse.  I’m not seeing that with many indie authors.  The vast majority of their tweets are dedicated to promoting their wares.  If legitimate people follow you then they’ll do so because they are interested in you and your work to begin with.  You don’t have to spend every waking (and non-waking automated) minute blitzing their feed with how great you and your work is.

If someone wants to see adverts then they can turn off their adblocker or turn on their TV, radio, or read a newspaper or magazine.  What most of these “guides” encourage indie authors to do is to spam their followers with information that they already know.  Oh, you have a book available on Amazon?  I guess I missed that fact the first 500 times you posted it….

Until recently my Twitter feed was swamped by the same six or seven accounts.  They had nothing to say, but they were tweeting it out loud and clear.  So much so that I was missing tweets from people who actually had something to say.  My feed was full of Retweets, Retweets of Retweets, crowing about 5* reviews and quotes…. oh the endless quotes!  I’ve begun to remove those accounts and I now see a whole range of diverse tweets from many interesting people.

Here are the main culprits for the decline in Twitter interaction:

Follow as many people as possible

I’ve seen the advice that you should follow as many people as possible because that’s the ONLY way to gain followers!  Ahhhh no.  That’s the quickest way to end up in the circle-jerk of #TeamFollowback.  Like attracts like, it’s the nature of the universe.  You will gain followers if you have something interesting to say, are helpful and genuine.  Sure, it can be a slow process, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.  It makes more sense to me to grow from a small number of followers who are interested in what I have to say than thousands who will never read my tweets.  Crazy eh?

Unfollow those pesky non-followers…

I see the tip ‘unfollow anyone who doesn’t follow you back’ often, because apparently a 1:1 ratio of following to followers is a good thing.  No, it’s not.  That shows that you really don’t care about the content of the people you follow as long as they follow you back.  When I see an account that follows 30k+ accounts that says to me that that account has no interest in my tweets.  They just want my follow.  Really, are they going to be reading ANY of the thousands of tweets that hit their feeds every second.  No, no they’re not.

Automate Those Tweets

Why waste your time on tweeting out when you can simply automate it?  You’re out shopping.  Oh no, how will people know that you have a book out, or a promotion on?!  Don’t worry your pretty little head!  ACME generic tweet app will save the day.  What about when you sleep?  No problem!  Auto-tweet the hell out of that too because people in different timezones might have missed your spamming very important self promotion marketing tweets.  Champion!  That way there can be no escape from swamping your followers’ feeds.

Retweet EVERYTHING!

Another popular ‘top tip’ is to retweet the love.  See #RT #authorRT or any number of a dozen hashtags and you must mindlessly hit that Retweet button, regardless of whether you know, like, or have even read the contents.  It’s the law!  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Well no.  Not really.  You’re supposed to be building a brand.  Your brand should be built on trust and integrity.  Your readers should be able to trust that what you write is good, and what you promote is as good as, or better than your own work.  They should have faith that you have the integrity to be actually supporting what you’re sharing rather than clicking (or automating) the Retweet button without a second thought.  If you genuinely think some information is useful, or your followers might enjoy it then Retweet away.

Have a Professional Presence

It’s right that Indie Authors should project a professional image, but by abusing the twitter platform with endless self promotion they’re doing themselves no favours.  Being indie – Independent – is about being in control of your own destiny, and to me, having the integrity that ‘Big Business’ doesn’t.  On twitter I follow those have something to say, not just continuous veiled “Buy my book” tweets.  And those that follow me, I’d like to think that they are interested in what I have to say.  You know, being social and all that.

Don’t try and emulate the ‘Big 6’ accounts.  Your readership is at a grass roots level, they want to interact with you, so don’t let them down by industrialising your social media platforms.

I now check out every account that follows me, and if they (a) are a real person (b) post real tweets and (c) don’t have feed full of RTs and automated crap then I’ll follow back.  Nine times out of ten, if I don’t follow back then after a couple of days they unfollow and I feel vindicated in my decision not to follow that account.  After a little while, some of those accounts will pop up as followers again.  Annoying.

That’s enough from me.  So don’t forget: BUY MY BOOK!

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David NicolLong after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

That Moment When….

That moment when…. you discover that the title you’ve taken ages to decide on is already in use.  You get the idea for a story, mould it in your mind, plot out the structure, then a title.  It needs a title, even if it’s just a working title.  A flash of inspiration, maybe a path along a number of different title avenues and then you have it: The Title.

Yes!  You start using it.  It sounds good, it flows, it describes your story, it’s already in use.  Wait!  What?  It’s a sad fact that nothing is original now, only the approach to it, and as time goes on the order of words will soon run out.

I’ve just discovered that the series title (rather than the story title) of my next work is already in use.  I can honestly say that I’ve never heard of the series, or games that the title is in use with, and I did wrack my brain when coming up with it.  My next book was titled ‘Dead Reign: Lament for the Living’.  ‘Dead Reign’ being the series title, ‘Lament for the Living’ the first book.  I had ‘Lament for the Living’ first (actually, the working title was ‘Sackcloth Versus the Undead’) and then went in search of the series title.

Zombie film titles are very familiar to me, and I know quite a lot of book titles too (despite not reading most of them) and so I was thinking of something that was different to them.  I wanted to avoid the use of Zombie, or Z, or ‘of the’ in there, so I got to thinking about what the story was about.  Set about three years after the zombie apocalypse when zombies rule the earth.  Rule. Rulers. Kings. Queens.  What do they do?  Reign.  They’re dead.  Dead Reign!  YES!  I’d done it.  Never heard of it, and it’s fairly cool.

Now today I idly Googled ‘Dead Reign’ which is something that I’d never done before as I was so convinced that it was mine, all mine.  And there it was: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Reign Dead Reign by Palladium Books, but not a book, an RPG.  But not any RPG, a zombie survival RPG add-on for something called Rifter.

I considered my options at this point.  The story is still in development and the last thing I want is to release it and then have copyright or trade mark issues rearing their ugly heads should it do well.  So there really is no option, I’m going to have to drop the ‘Dead Reign’ suffix.  Now for another round of series title brain storming combined with a more judicious use of google.

Interestingly, ‘The Deluge of Elias’ was going to be called ‘Deluge’, or ‘The Deluge’ until I searched those titles on Amazon and so decided to base the title on the name of the main character.  Meanwhile, ‘Hannibal House’ was so called because of the association with a strong, single-minded leader and it’s only one letter away from ‘cannibal’ (although there are no cannibals in the story, that was part of my naming convention).  After I wrote it I discovered a building in London that I’d seen many times while living there is also called Hannibal House.

Oh well.

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David NicolLong after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

 

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

I Rarely Buy What I’m Sold

David NicolIn this article I discuss the “marketing” tactics that some indie and self-published authors embark on and why they may be doing more harm than good.

I don’t like being sold to.  When I go in to a shop, I’m there because I know what I want.  If they don’t have it, I’ll find it somewhere else.  What won’t happen is this: a ‘sales assistant’ will saunter up and ask me if they can help, they then listen to what I’m after, ignore the specificity of my request and instead offer me what they have in stock, regardless of comparability.  Here’s the thing: I’m very specific.  I do my research before setting foot in a shop so I’ve already disregarded any alternatives.

Sometimes the sales assistant will offer to order in the item.  That type of sales person is getting rarer and rarer each day, and unless they can sell me the product cheaper than I can order it online myself it’s going to be a No Sale.  I’ve worked in sales myself, or retail as it was called many moons ago.  I didn’t enjoy it, but it was a job and my sales/commission were good because I employed a mysterious and occult talent that many of the other sales people lacked:  I listened to the customer.  I never told a customer what THEY wanted.  They know what they want and building rapport and trust with them wasn’t going to happen if I railroaded them in to buying the item that I made the most commission on, especially if it wasn’t what they were actually looking for.

Building trust enabled me to provide my customers with what they actually wanted, and when I recommended other items to compliment their purchase they would have more confidence in my suggestion.  It also meant that I had more repeat business (although at the time I didn’t realise any of this!).

So let’s fast forward to now, and social media, and online marketing, and self promotion….

I read with interest this article by Kristen Lamb entitled ‘How Can We Brag Without it KILLING Our On-Line Credibility?‘ which discussed the issue of Obnoxious Ollies and Super Secret Susans.  Obnoxious Ollie being the continual self plugger, while Super Secret Susan told no-one what she did and the importance of finding a balance between the two.

The reason for my interest is that recently I got fed up with the Obnoxious Ollies (and Olliettas) whose incessant self promotion was swamping my twitter feed.  I have already started pruning my twitter following list and already I’ve noticed a difference.   I can now see posts from people who have something to say, not just posts saying how wonderful their book is and why I should buy it.

What does this have to do with sales?  I think what’s happening in the independent author world is that people are finding their feet in unknown areas.  The issue I believe stems from all the “how to market” type sites and books out there, and in particular one gem of (mis)information.  According to marketing “law”, it takes eight impressions before someone will take action.  It’s possible that that information is from a very credible source, but like many quotes without the original context it can easily be misconstrued.

For many they seem to think that if someone sees their blurb eight times then they will buy their book, so they keep spouting it out.  Sooner or later their message will scroll through your feed, you’ll see it eight times and be powerless but to click on that link.  Except for one glaring problem.  Is what they’re selling actually what you want?  It could be that their book turns out to be finest thing you’ve ever read, completely life changing and you find a new muse for life.  But what if it’s not.  What if it doesn’t live up to the self produced hype?

I actually find it quite offensive to be constantly sold to, the use of social media becoming a one way hosepipe.  It’s meant to be social, to allow interaction.  But as more authors turn to auto-tweeting platforms they slowly destroy the platform.  Now that I’m weeding out the one-way tweeters I’m spending more time on twitter rather than facebook and enjoying the interaction.

Having a feed full of adverts, retweets and 5* review links was not my idea of fun.

 

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

 

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Visiting Hannibal House Country

The idea for Hannibal House was born out of seeing this particular house in New Quay, Ceridigion on the West Wales coast.

The Real Hannibal House
(c) David Nicol 2012

When I saw the house I had a similar reaction to it that Troy in the story had: “Now that’s a nice house”. The people I was with all agreed that the real house we were looking at was ‘nice’, but they didn’t seem to be as enthusiastic about it as I was. From there I got to thinking about the nature of why we find some spaces attractive, and others not. I thought of the tales of Sirens from mythology luring sailors to their doom, and via a fairly random set of processes to the Angler Fish (or Monkfish) Melanocetus johnsonii which lures prey to its mouth by the promise of a free meal.

Although the name ‘Hannibal House’ may conjure up images of a noble warrior, determined to battle against the odds (or a Carthaginian elephant abuser, depending on your perspective), the first name that came to me was ‘Cannibal House’. The concept that houses being human in origin, and this one wanting humans to consume in some way would make it technically a cannibal. But without literal cannibals, the title was a fanciful reach and so it became ‘Hannibal House’ (presenting an impressive edifice).

Within the story, Troy’s journey is documented across Wales and one section is particularly entrenched in reality. Troy sits and eats his lunch on Cefn Bryn, at a place called Arthur’s Stone. He sits on the flat portion of the ancient megalith. And here it is:

Arthur's Stone from Hannibal House by David Nicol
(c) David Nicol 1995

I took that photograph in 1995. It’s facing East. If you sat on the flat stone, like Troy in the story you look North over the Loughour Estuary towards Burry Port and Llanelli. At that point he meets a man called Ivor the Caravan…

Ivor James the Caravan from Hannibal House by David Nicol
(c) David Nicol 1995

I haven’t actually met Ivor James the Caravan. I’m sure that he is/was (it’s 17 years since I took the photo) a wonderful fellow, a well meaning character like his namesake in Hannibal House.

When I wrote the story I based the majority of the settings on places that I had actually been to, and that comes across in the story. However, as Donncha pointed out, it’s unlikely that the Welsh Tourist Board will be asking me to write a review for them any time soon.

Should you be in the mood to visit Hannibal House, or the places mentioned in the story then here is where you’ll find them by clicking here to view them via Google Maps (Opens link in a new window).

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Self-publishing Ponderings

David Nicol I’ve read many posts by authors defending their decision to self publish.  This isn’t one of those posts.  I don’t see the need to defend that decision, rather I think people should consider why they would want to go down the traditional publishing route.

I’m proud to stand up and say “Yes, I’m an independent author, yes, I self publish.”  Why wouldn’t I be?

Historically there’s been a stigma attached to self publishing due to vanity presses.  If you’re not familiar with the term, in a nutshell, vanity publishing allowed people to publish their books, for a fee.  However, the costs involved meant that a book published via a vanity press had a higher unit cost than a traditionally published book.  If an author wanted to make any money, or break even after using a vanity press, they would need to charge more for their tome than a mainstream, established book (plus they also had to source their own outlets for their books).

Chances are, if you’re an aspiring author, when you see the likes of Twilight, The Hunger Games, or *shudder* Fifty Shades of Grey getting the top spots, and featured everywhere you think “that could be me”.  It could be, and why shouldn’t it be?  After all, your work is probably more original, less cliched and better written than those titles that languish in the popular consciousness.

The traditional wisdom is that to be successful you can’t be a good author, you have to be a great author.  You have to live and breathe your passion and then, once you’ve emotionally exhausted yourself you have to lie prostrate at the feet of a publisher/agent and beg for a chance to be heard.

What a load of crap.

Excuse my French, but Fifty Shades of Grey has shown that any old shit can be a best seller.  Reading parts of that book makes me feel like a Nobel Laureate.  And maybe that’s the problem that many new authors have.  They create works of literature rather than pulp fiction.

Publishers want to sell units.  Publishing houses are businesses, they want authors who write profit making commodities, not literature.  Publishing is going the way of the music and film industries where it’s the smaller indie providers who produce the majority of the works of value, the works that touch you, that live with you, that make you think.  At the same time, the large powerhouses try to beat down and pour scorn on the indies while pushing their own watered down insipid rubbish to the masses.

Now this seems like I’m being a big fat Negative Nancy about publishing.  That’s not where I’m going with this.  To be honest, if a publisher offered me a deal that was agreeable then I’d probably take it.  Publishers allow a minority of authors to break in to the mainstream, and if that’s your goal, then good luck to you.

What I’m saying is that if you choose to be an independent author, to self publish, then you shouldn’t spend your time justifying your decision. Instead, spend your time writing, honing your craft.  Build your following, create the best work you can and be a success on your own terms.

In the event that a publisher does come knocking, remember that you’re doing them a favour by allowing them to exploit your work.  It’s not the other way around, and YOU should be the one benefiting from YOUR work.

My indie writer manifesto

I will –

  1. Produce the most professional work I can
  2. Fully develop my characters and plot
  3. Ensure that my work is proofread, spellchecked and edited
  4. Not compromise my vision to please a specific market

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK
 
 
 
 
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