Scott Sigler Sez It’s Good: Indie Publishing for Aspiring Authors

Greetings, my interwebby minions! How are things out in the intertubes? Sweet ass sweet, I hope.

So just recently I took the advice of a friend of mine and started subscribing to podcasts from the folks at Nerdist.com. What is this “Nerdist” I speak of? Well, friend, Nerdist is a sweet site created by Chris Hardwick, this dude who hosted some dating show on MTV. I’m not so stoked on MTV, but seeing as there’s twenty-thousand pounds of all-things-nerd packed into the site (twenty thousand is actually rounding down, FYI) I can forgive his music television shenanigans.

The bit from Nerdist I’m most stoked about is this super-duper dope interview of author and indie publishing master, Scott Sigler! Hardwick asks the tough questions, by which I mean the questions I’m interested in, about how Sigler got his start. Apparently Mr. Sigler went from unsuccessfully shopping his books around for about nine years before finally giving the publishing industry the finger and releasing his books as serialized podcasts. Since then the guy has become a NYT best seller and has had a story optioned to be a movie. Pretty successful so far, right?

Despite all these bitchin’ little facts about how he’s succeeded in the indie publishing world, I was way more stoked on his advice for aspiring authors. Here’s what he says in an interview from his website, which is pretty much the same thing that he said in the interview:

“There is no blueprint, things are changing too fast. The first piece of advice is get used to the fact that you are in the minor leagues, there is clearly a minor-league system, and in the minors you have to give your content away to build up a following. Be prepared to do that for three to five years before you have enough people to make a difference. It will not happen overnight for you, nor do you want it to, because audience feedback will help shape your storytelling style.

The second piece of advice is that the days of ‘just writing’ are gone. You may hear the old guard talk about how a writer should write, and how they ‘let other people handle those other things.’ Well, that was because these guys signed their publishing deals fifteen, twenty years ago, when there weren’t 500 channels, when there weren’t metroplexes, when video games were nothing like they are today and the internet was basically non-existent. People have so many entertainment choices now, you have to fight for your customers’ time. You have to market AND write, you have to be a businessperson AND an entertainer.

Third and final bit of advice, understand the fact that readers want to connect with the author. Embrace social media, reply to emails, to blog comments, interact with them whenever possible. Don’t be an arrogant douchebag. You are not important. Your work is not important. What’s important is giving people value for the time they spend with their works — write great stories, and be accessible. The days of the author’s ivory tower are long gone.”

Holy crap, I love this for so many reasons. Sometimes I think writers forget that in this age of social media, everyone is accessible. Got a Twitter account? Then you better get used to people directing questions and comments straight at you. Look at /r/ama and you’ll see tons of celebrities willingly answering direct questions from normal schmoes out here in the interwebs because they know that interacting with fans gives you, like, at least twenty-five XP for a fandom level-up.

So my question to all you webby minions is whether you’re down with the indie publishing scene or are you holding out for a “real” book deal? I’m a little on the fence about this thing, mostly because I don’t know which is going to be the best in the long run. I feel like legacy publishers would just as soon give me a kick in the ding-dong as give me some sweet publishing deal, so why not get out there and do this thing on my own?

Oh yeah, and here’s those links again for Nerdist and Scott Sigler. Both of them are wicked awesome and guaranteed to make you better looking.

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Sequels Are Good For Writers

The other day I read this post from a blogger who had a serious problem with book sequels in YA. The blogger claimed to hate waiting for the next book in a series and would rather see a bunch of stand alone books from now until the end of time.

To this, I call shenanigans.

Getting stories published is tough business. In the three years I’ve been submitting short stories (I’ve been writing for about six) I’ve managed to get just three picked up. It’s that experience with loads of rejection that makes me totally down with writers selling as many books as they can, even if that means I have to wait a while to read a sequel. Plus, it gives me an excuse to read lots of books so as to never feel like I’m waiting for anything.

What’s your spin on this thing? Are you down with a good series, or are you more the one-book-wonder sort?

Blog Tours: Shouting Your Name From Mount Internets

I’m like a lot of writers in that I alternate between confidence in my writing and total horror at how much I blow. The low points are a total bummer–“I honestly think my writing might cause more pain than polio.”–while the high points, like when I actually get something published, are the sweetest of sweet.

I’ve been on sort of a high point lately, plowing through good chunks of my book and getting some positive feedback from all of you wonderful people in the blogosphere. During times like this I tend to fantasize about publishing and all the amazing things I’ll get to do once someone buys my book. So it’s in the spirit of this high time that I want to show you writer folk a pretty cool blog post from Marie Lamba, a writer of YA awesomeness.

The post is all about doing a blog tour–a way to get your words onto more of the internets through guest blogging and the like. Before reading this post I didn’t have a clue what a blog tour was, but Marie breaks it down like amylase breaking down starch (Yes, that was a nerdy science joke. Don’t judge me.). What’s really cool is that the instructions are based on her own experience making the thing happen, and not just something she thinks might work. Very cool.

So that’s it for tonight. I want to say, “YOU RULE!” to Kelsey for following my bloggity blog. She’s got a bunch of sweet reviews of books and pics from libraries and bookstores all over the world so you should def check her out. That’s right, go on over yonder and give that link the clickeroo.

Dear Writer, Amazon Is Not Your Friend

I'm glad my wife bought me the regular Kindle, rather than the new Kindle Poison pictured above.

In lieu of a blog update on my novel’s progress (I spent too much time playing Star Wars pinball at the arcade down the street from my house) or an insight into the learning process that occurs in the course of writing (again, Star Wars pinball is to blame), I decided to show you all a link from a guest post by Cat Valente on Charles Stross’s blog. The post details her experience in the publishing industry and explains why she does not see Amazon as the messiah of publishing that so many people claim it is. Sure, she says that Amazon has forced the big publishing houses to rethink how they treat their writers, but Amazon is not the superhero that many people think it is. I mostly like the post because she touches on what so many seem to forget: Amazon, like all corporations, are bound by law to turn a profit. It doesn’t matter how friendly and hip companies like Amazon make themselves out to be, they still exist for the sole purpose of increasing shareholder wealth. That goal to increase shareholder wealth probably played a part in why they cut 5,000 independent titles from their Kindle store recently, and why they’ve opened their own publishing house. I could be wrong, but it’s something to think about.

That’s it for tonight. Be sure to check out Cat Valente’s website here. You can also follow me on twitter @ScottJClemons.

[image sourced from this lovely little blog]