Tag Archives: indie publishing

The Stars Were Right is an entrant in #SPFBO 4!

I’m in SPFBO 4

I’m excited to announce that my first novel, The Stars Were Right, has been accepted into this year’s Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog-Off. This will be my first book award contest since I started writing and I’m excited to be a part.

Here’s how it works: each year 300 fantasy authors submit their books. Those books are then divided among ten bloggers—Stars will be reviewed this year by the good folks over at Booknest. In Phase One, the books are read, and each blogger chooses one book to advance to the next round. Then in Phase Two all the bloggers read the submitted ten, and score each of them. Out of those ten books only one will be selected as the winner! It’s fun and great for the indie fantasy community. Check out the past winners here.


300 Books. 10 Judges. 1 Winner.


Big thanks to author Mark Lawrence for championing all of this, organizing events like this can be a lot of work, and Mark has been a tireless supporter of indie authors. Be sure to check out Mark’s books, follow him on Twitter, and read his blog.)

Also, I want to thank my pal Mihir from Fantasy Book Critic for letting me know submissions were open. I’ve watched the SPFBO from the sidelines for a few years now, and for whatever reason, I never thought my books qualified. I’m happy I listened to him and took the opportunity to submit.

Win or lose, I’m excited to see how The Stars Were Right does. The contest skews heavily towards fantasy fiction, and while The Stars Were Right is very much urban fantasy, the weird world of the Territories has a lot in common with many other subgenres. As my readers know, I tend to eschew the standard fantasy trappings in exchange for something more… um, strange. So, we’ll see! Fingers crossed!

Phase One runs from August 1st – December 31st, 2018. If you want to read along, you can see the full list and bloggers participating over here. Follow along on Twitter by using the hashtag #SPFBO. Regardless of the outcome, I’m excited to join in, and I want to wish good luck to everyone who is competing. It should be a good year!

Friday Link Pack 11-20-2015

Friday Link Pack 11/20/2015

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for the Friday Link Pack, my weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

Five Years
Author M.S. Force reflects on the last five years of her career when she decided to take her rejected novel True North and step into indie publishing.

Alan Moore’s Advice To Unpublished Authors
“If you write every day, you’re a writer.” In this quick video recorded at St James Library, Northampton, UK, Alan Moore gives some advice to new and unpublished writers.

20 Misused English Words That Make Smart People Look Silly
Is it affect or effect, ironic or coincidental, do you get nauseous or nauseated? They are fair questions. Quartz sets the record straight on a few words people get wrong all the time.

Anne Frank’s Diary Gains ‘Co-Author’ In Copyright Move
Copyright laws are weird.

ART:

13 Miles Of Typography On Broadway, From A To Z
If you’re a writer, you should appreciate type. After all, typography is the communication channel to share your worlds with readers. In this piece for Hopes & Fears, Ksenya Samarskaya examines the type one finds along New York’s famous Broadway.

Meet The Designer Whose Collection Will Make You Scream
Costume or fashion? That is the question asked by designer Eda Yorulmazoglu in her latest, and wonderfully strange, collection.

Meet the Vendor: Saltstone Ceramics
My friend Sarah recently opened Saltstone Ceramics, a pottery studio here in Seattle. The work she has been creating is fantastic. (Kari-Lise and I own quite a few pieces now.) In this interview, Sarah discusses her journey, her work, and lots more. Find out more about her work at her website.

RANDOM:

The Return of #FeedCthulhu
Ross Lockheart, of the weird fiction press Word Horde, is giving away ebooks of their latest anthology, Cthulhu Fhtagn! All you have to do is donate to your local food bank and tweet about it. Three lucky winners will win personalized autographed copies as well. Details in the post!

Our Generation Ships Will Sink
Sci-fi great, Kim Stanley Robinson, dives into the complexity inherent in the ideas surrounding generation ships and why he thinks they are not only impractical but impossible outside the realm of fiction. Great article.

Is Tom Brady A Fancy Dog?
Deadspin asks the tough questions.

Your Jetpack Is Here
No, really. I’m serious. Check out this incredible video of the JB-9, the world’s only true jetpack. Find out more at Jetpack Aviation’s website. The future is now people. The future… is now.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Prostitution Among Animals
“A few studies have been used to promote the idea that prostitution exists among different species of animals such as Adélie penguins and chimpanzees. Penguins use stones for building their nests. Based on a 1998 study, media reports stated that a shortage of stones led female Adélie penguins to trade sex for stones. Some pair-bonded female penguins copulate with males who are not their mates and then take pebbles for their own nests.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Under The Pyramids/Imprisoned with the Pharaohs
Written with Harry Houdini in 1924, the story is a fictionalized account of an allegedly true experience of the escape artist. What mysteries does Houdini find? Well, you’ll just have to read to find out.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

Why... hello there.

Welcome back to Lovat

It’s Red Litten World Day—Welcome Back To Lovat

Red Litten World is out now! The misadventures of Waldo Bell continue. (Links to purchase below.) I’m so excited to be taking everyone from the high deserts of the Territories and back into the claustrophobic corridors and grungy warrens of Lovat. I think longtime readers will find a lot to enjoy Red Litten World, and new readers will have a blast learning about the megalopolis and its strange inhabitants and cultures. Setting out, the goal was to write something that felt both familiar but kept things fascinating. Thankfully, Lovat is a rich enough setting that I could write a book every year for a lifetime and still not explore every corner of the city.

For those who prefer paperbacks, you can pick up Red Litten World from any of the links below. If you’re looking for signed copies, I sell them through my online store for $15 (plus shipping). They look awesome.

Amazon  •  My Store  •  Barnes & Noble  •  CreateSpace

For those eBook readers, you can pick up an eBook of Red Litten World from any of the following platforms. (Nook always trails a bit, but the book should be up there in the next few days.) [Update: Nook is live!] Is there a platform you prefer that I don’t currently support? Feel free to email me and let me know, I’d love to get my books onto your favorite.

Kindle  •  Kobo  •  iBooks  •  GooglePlay  •  My Store  •  Nook

Make sure you add Red Litten World to your currently-reading list on Goodreads, and please when you’re finished, leave a review. I can blog and tweet and shout from my roof, but it’s my readers that make all the difference when it comes to spreading the word.

I hope you enjoy Red Litten World, everyone. Welcome back to Lovat.

Red Litten World arrives October 6th, 2015

First Look: Red Litten World Trade Paperback

Well, well, well, look what arrived in the mail last Friday… behold, the first look at the Red Litten World trade paperback! (Okay, technically, it’s the second look, since subscribers to my newsletter got the first look on Tuesday. You can join their illustrious ranks and get access to content early, just sign up here.)

Watch the Periscope capture above (apologies for the quiet-ish sound) or just check out the images with my commentary below. I’m so excited for everyone to see this. I couldn’t be more pleased with how well the trade paperback turned out. It feels so good in hand.

Red Litten World - Trade Paperback
Red Litten World trade paperback

I’m super proud how well this turned out. Every time I start the arduous process of laying out a novel, I feel like I get better and better. Red Litten World is my biggest book yet, each tome is 400 pages on the dot. (For a comparison, Old Broken Road (the smallest) is 356 pages long and The Stars Were Right comes in at 364 pages.)

The Bell Forging Cycle series
The three books in the Bell Forging Cycle

The series is looking incredible, and I really have Jon Contino to thank for that. The consistency between covers is stunning, and as you can tell the three look absolutely wonderful sitting next to one another on the shelf. Jon’s lettering has a lot to do with that. As always the work is fabulous.

Just like in the interior of Old Broken Road there are stars illustrations breaking up paragraph breaks. These are the same hand-drawn stars done by Illustrator Sean Cumiskey for the Bell Caravans patch. They look great in the book, I love seeing them in print. Returning to form, the glyph atop the chapter titles was drawn by Lovecraft himself, just like the elder sign we saw on The Stars Were Right. Like the titles themselves, this will be a motif that will continue through the rest of the series.

Red Litten World interior
Left – title page, Right Top – chapter titles, Right Bottom – paragraph breaks

There’s a special surprise inside for paperback owners only, but I’m not going to go into details about it here. I’m going to keep that under wrap for now, that said, I’m sure it’ll leak eventually. As with everything in the Bell Forging Cycle it’s always layers upon layers, often the biggest secrets are hidden in the background.

I can’t wait for this to get into everyone’s hands! Red Litten World arrives Tuesday, October 6th, 2015. EBook readers, you can pre-order it today for Kindle, Kobo, or Apple iBooks and have it delivered on launch day!

Hold onto your butts. We’re getting close!

Friday Link Pack 09/18/2015

Friday Link Pack 09/18/2015

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it’s back! It’s time for the Friday Link Pack. Some of these links I’ve mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

RED LITTEN WORLD:

[Note: As we draw closer and closer to the October 6th release date I will have new Red Litten World news every week, fitting we give it its own category.]

Read A Free Sample Chapter Of Red Litten World Today
You can read an excerpt from my next novel for free over on its official site. I hope you enjoy it, help spread the word and please tell your friends!

Red Litten World Is Available For Preorder
Preorders are open! You can order the eBook of Red Litten World and have it delivered to your reader the morning of October 6th. Simple and efficient. (There ares a few platforms that don’t allow for preordering, for those Red Litten World will still arrive October 6th, but you’ll have to purchase it the old fashioned way.)

WRITING:

The Most Banned And Challenged Books Of 2014
File under books you should read. Some of these are surprising, some aren’t. Some have been there a while. (It’s no secret I am a huge fan of #6, as a matter of fact, I just got the recent trade of Saga in the mail a few days ago! Yay!)

H. P. Lovecraft & H. R. Giger: How Their Dreams Became Our Nightmares
A great guest post by John A. DeLaughter over on Lovecraft eZine focusing on Lovecraft and Giger and how the visions of these two quiet and nondescript men entered the collective consciousness and pop culture.

5 Lessons Learned From Writing 10 Fiction Books
Mystery author Joanna Penn can easily be called an industry veteran, and with the release of her latest book, Deviance, she has offered to share advice she’s learned after writing ten novels. It’s good stuff, and worth a read. Also, if you’re a mystery fan grab one of her books.

China Miéville’s 6 Favorite Books
My favorite weird fiction author shares his top six books. As you’d expect they’re not mainstream darlings, a really unique selection. (Miéville has a new collection of short stories out as well, I just started Three Moments of an Explosion and I’m really enjoying it.)

Crunch Time: The Realities Of Indie Publishing
What does it take to launch a book as an indie publisher? Quite a bit actually and doing it right takes a lot of effort. In this post, I go into details on my book launching process and even include my list for the launch of Red Litten World.

ART:

A Lovelorn Theft
My amazing wife and partner, Kari-Lise, latest series is now on view at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco and it’s amazing. (There’s only a handful of pieces left so if something catches your eye make sure you contact Kim at Modern Eden.) We went down to SF last weekend for the opening. It was great meeting everyone, big thank-you to those who came out and said “hello!”

New Cubist Tattoos By Peter Aurisch
I love it when tattoos break the conventional idea of what a tattoo should be, instead of another pretend sailor icon the owner chooses something fresh and unique that stands out. This work from Peter Aurisch fits that latter group.

RANDOM:

What The Hell Are These?? (WARNING: Not For The Faint Of Heart)
You’ll never guess what these weird looking appendages belong to. I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but yeah… creepy and disturbing. Nature is wacky. [Thanks to my editor, Lola Landekic for sharing this with me. I think.]

Don’t Ignore The Background [Video]
One of my absolute favorite YouTube shows, Nerdwriter, explores the visual stories told in the background of one of my absolute favorite movies, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men. There are a lot of great lessons about subtle storytelling and worldbuilding here, stuff I use myself when I write my books. This video is very much worth your eight minutes.

Iconic Book Covers Come To Life In Beautiful, Subtle GIFs
Classic book covers animated. The result is as the title suggests often beautiful. Would be cool to see this sort of thing become “a thing” it’s a fun way to draw attention to books. That said, if you’re an author and you want to do something similar for your own book, consider contacting Albinson Design, their work is fantastic. (They do book trailers as well.)

A Mysterious Package
So far this has been my most popular blog post of the year. Last Tuesday, I got a strange  and creepy little parcel in the mail. Inside… well, wouldn’t want to spoil the fun, but in this blog post, I document what I found.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Shadow Person
“A shadow person (also known as a shadow figure, shadow being or black mass) is the perception of a patch of shadow as a living, humanoid figure, particularly as interpreted by believers in the paranormal or supernatural as the presence of a spirit or other entity. Many methamphetamine addicts report hallucinations of “shadow people”, as a result of sleep deprivation.”

[FUN & RANDOM FACT: The umbra species from my Lovecraftian urban fantasy series, The Bell Forging Cycle, is partially inspired by shadow people.]

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Very Old Folk
Found in a 1927 letter addressed to Donald Wandrei, this story is: the roman legion meets The Hills Have Eyes with a dash of Dallas.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

a clown

Crunch Time: The Realities of Indie Publishing

Crunch Time: The Realities Of Indie Publishing

This is not a pity post. I say that because I know some folks will read emotion into blog posts like this and I’m not looking to garner sympathy. My intention is to share my own experiences and inform people about the work it takes to launch an indie title. It’s no secret that indie publishing is hard work. It requires a lot of time and intense dedication, the cliche “blood, sweat, and tears” applies. I want to help in that regard, I want to let you know what the book-launching part of indie publishing entails so when you face your own launch you are better equipped.

First, a little bit of background. For those unaware, I work two full-time jobs. There’s my day job (UX designer) which I have been doing for a long time and I love. It helps support my second job… which is being this writer here, the guy who writes books, blogs blog posts, tweets tweets, etc. It’s another job that I absolutely adore. Both are incredibly fulfilling, and every day they take me down different paths creatively. I have mentioned before that I chose indie publishing because I didn’t want to give up control. I wanted to be responsible for my books from start to finish from the moment a reader hears about it on the web, to the moment they crack open the paperback. I wanted to curate the reader’s experience by making the story of The Bell Forging Cycle to be as cohesive as possible. To achieve that I felt I needed nuanced control over everything. I wanted to have control over the design of my web presence, the covers of my books, even the interiors of the paperbacks. Many of those elements are involved in a book launch, and as the series has grown, so has each consecutive launch.

It’s easy to write, but in reality it’s tough. It makes for a lot of work. September for me has become crunch time. Right now, here’s my typical day: I wake up around 7:30 a.m., pour coffee down my throat, run to work, spend eight to nine hours at my day job, run home, eat a quick dinner with Kari-Lise, and then it’s into my office where I work until at least 12:00 a.m. (recently it’s been closer to 1 or 2:00 a.m.). Then when the day ends, I crash out. The following morning, I am back at it. While I enjoy the work, it has made most of September a weird routine of cycles. I also haven’t done much writing (or reading for that matter). Life right now is the launch.

To put it in perspective, here’s my list of things that I need to get done before Red Litten World’s launch. Some of these take more time than others, some less, but I feel each of them are an important part in making the launch of Book III as successful as it can be.

  • Finalize edits & copy edits (Yay!)
  • Finalize paperback interior (I think I’m real close)
  • Finalize paperback cover (Again, real close)
  • Finalize ebook interior (Close, if not done)
  • Finalize ebook cover (Aww yiss)
  • Deal with Nook layout (Yeah, it gets its own line item)
  • Finalize bookmarks
  • Finalize stickers
  • Product photos
  • Finalize buttons (Yay, done!)
  • Prep redlittenworld.com for launch
  • Prep bellforgingcycle.com for launch
  • Prep kmalexander.com for launch
  • Prep updates for store.kmalexander.com
  • Prep [REDACTED] (Got to keep some things secret)
  • Finalize [REDACTED]
  • Work on [REDACTED]
  • Prep launch blog posts (I usually write posts in advance)
  • Prep advertising (For the sake of brevity I am listing this as one line item, on my real list it’s four or five due to the various ad networks and their various requirements)
  • Finalize new contests
  • Set up Goodreads page (Done! Add RLW to your To-Read list)

It’s a formidable list, an it’s just the start, my to-do list continues to grow and deadlines approach. There’s a misconception out there (one I have spoken about before) that indie publishing is easy and cheap. But it’s not. To do it right takes time, money, and will. All those things have a cost. Not everyone wants to spend the effort, and that’s okay. Thankfully there are other alternatives for people who aren’t as insane as folks like me. (Traditional publishing, while stressful in its own way, removes a lot of this labor.)

As I said at the start, I’m not looking for sympathy. I love this. I love the thrill. I love being able to insert little secrets and details, not just in the books themselves, but throughout the experience as a whole. For me, it’s a rush. I’m lucky I have an understanding partner and I’m blessed (#Blessed) that I am able to carve out time to do all of this. (Usually this comes at the expense of time-sinks like games, movies, and television. Try cutting back yourself, you’ll be amazing at how much time you have.) I share this because I like transparency, I enjoy telling of my journey to publication. It’s why I started this blog in the first place. I hope my experiences can help others learn and grow in their own lives. I also hope others are able to understand what it takes to “do it right” as it were. I think some of the usual shade thrown at indie publishing comes because there is a group who dive into the deep end and don’t fully understand the work involved with launching a quality product. Our collective reputation grows the better we all strive to become.

The best part about all of this: it’s all totally worth it. Whenever I hear from a reader, talk with a fan, meet someone at a convention, or see a new review, all the effort fades away. I tell stories to entertain, to enrich, to challenge, and to thrill. If I can do any of those for even one person, I’m a pretty happy writer.

Now, back to it, Lovat awaits and the launch is near.