June 18, 2012

Blog: Why I'm so glad I self published my book

It's now almost five months since I launched Semper, my YA sci-fi/dystopian book. You may know of the summer contests I'm holding. If not, check them out. Don't worry, I'll wait for you.

Back? Cool.

Writing a book is hard. It's the intellectual equivalent of walking into a forest with a box full of hand tools, clearing a spot of land, and building a house. (Extend that metaphor to its limits. Go ahead, I dare you.)

I've built five houses that way, plus a bunch of sheds. (Intellectually, of course. I would probably cut off my arm if I tried to build an actual house.) Each was better than the previous, and Semper was the first that felt really good. Like I-would-be-proud-to-have-my-name-on-it good. So, I wanted to show it to the world, right? You do all this work, you want it to be something.

So I decided to self-publish it. I say that like it was an easy decision. It wasn't. It was way harder than, say, deciding between clapboards or aluminum siding. This was a very, very difficult decision... right up until the moment I made it. Since that instant, it's been one of the best decisions of my life.*

For the record, I'm not here to take sides in the self- versus traditional-publishing debate. I'm one of those people who hopes one day to live in both places--the handcrafted cottage in the woods, and the industrial high-rise condo in the city.

I promise, I'll stop extending that metaphor now.

I don't know what would have happened if I'd really pursued "traditional" publishing. I did send out a few queries, got a few rejections. I figure that if I'd managed to get a contract, my twitter profile would say something like "debut novel due out in 2014." Instead, because I self-published, I can already say things like this:

  • Semper has been downloaded on Kindle over 5,000 times and sold over 100 print copies.
  • I've spoken on a publishing panel and held an author reading, each drawing about 30 people.
  • Someone else's kid climbed 30 feet up a redwood tree to spend the afternoon reading my book.
  • Someone I've never even heard of in another country I've never been to wrote a 5-star review of my book.
  • I was stopped at a wine and art show by a friend-of-friend I hadn't seen in years who gushed about how much she loved Semper (ok, coulda been the wine).
  • At least two adults who are very well read and have high standards have recommended Semper to their book groups.
And the most recent thing:
  • The daughter of a friend wrote her 10th grade book report for English class on my book because she liked it so much.
Is that the coolest thing or what?

* your mileage may vary

June 9, 2012

Free #YA #ebook plus #contests and #prizes!

It's June 9th. The first day of our local library's summer reading festival.

Today, SEMPER is a free kindle download. It's supposed to be, anyway. It's just after midnight Pacific time as I type this, and I see it's still $2.99 at Amazon. So check the price before you click "buy".

Better yet, I am donating all my royalties from the sale of Semper between June 9 and August 18. I am doing this in two fun contests and one donation. The donation will go to my local library to say "thank you" for all the years my boys have enjoyed their summer reading program.

The contests give you something, and your favorite teacher something. For full details, hop on over to my Semper page on my web site or go straight to the page that describes the contests.

I hope you'll get the free download, read the book, enter the contests, and tell all your friends about the contests, too. I think you won't be disappointed. Better yet, buy the book when it's not free so I can donate more to the library at the end of the summer.

Thank you!

What's on your summer reading list? Let me know in the comments.

June 1, 2012

#Summer #Reading programs! Contests! Prizes! Books in a tree!

Our local library has a summer reading festival from June 9 through August 18. Everyone seems to be talking about summer reading lists. Of course, I expect all of you who haven't read Semper yet to add it to your own list. It's a great read for the beach or the pool, but it's even better in a tree. Proof:

My book. Not my kid. Not my tree.

If you don't have a redwood handy, or if you're afraid of heights, try something less challenging to start such as sitting in a chair, or lying on a couch. Consumer warning: feedback from actual readers indicates that opening Semper before bed may result in a serious loss of sleep.

June 9 through August 18 is also the Semper Summer Contest! More details coming June 9 (watch the blog). There will be two ways to win fabulous prizes. Both involve actually reading the book (or doing enough to fake it). Fortunately, since the book will be free on Kindle on June 9 and other days during the summer, you won't have to pay.

On the other hand, I'll be donating my royalties* from ebook and print sales between June 9 and August 18. The winners of the two contests will each receive a $50 Donors Choose gift card to spend on an educational project (among other prizes). I just searched their site and found 817 projects tagged as creative writing and 9,516 for reading.

What's not to like? Read a great book this summer and earn support for your favorite teacher's classroom. (Psst: Tell all the teachers you know about this so they can get the $50 donation when you win!)

Tell everyone you know about this. Heck, tell everyone you don't know, too. Teachers and libraries need money, and I'd love your help in giving them some.

* Up to a total of $1,000 in donations. I'm not made of money, you know. But if I get a ton more sales than I expect, I'll up that limit to something that a reasonable person would be okay with. If you find a reasonable person, call me. No, wait. Just let them be. It is an election year, after all, and reasonable people are very rare and would like a little peace.