Magicians Don't, But Writers Should
This fortnight’s blog will be a short one, as by now I’ve covered the material I wanted to in the lead up to my book’s release. I’ve talked about the other sources of information you can go to, the different ways of publishing, in depth about independent publishing, the importance of editing, and an overview about content and marketing. So this post will be about what I plan to do for this blog, and a bit about what I’ve learned post-release.
I firmly believe that you lose nothing by helping others, even in an industry that can be so competitive, however that is one benefit of Independant Publishing is that it needn’t be the case for those that take that path. Traditional publishing, on the other hand, can be quite cut-throat. No matter how good your book is, they won’t even look at it if it’s not a trending theme or genre. Not to mention I’ve heard ex-publishing house agents talk about how authors and agents would undermine and misdirect each other to get their books on top. And so, authors, editors, and agents horde their various secrets and tricks of the trade. As independent writers, I don’t feel that’s the case within our community, as I’ve seen nothing but solidarity and comradery, and that’s the way I wish to be. One thing to mention on that note, however, is don’t expect it from everyone. Buying someone’s book to help them, and writing reviews is a great way to help each other, but don’t expect everyone to return the favour. But don’t let a few bad apples spoil the bunch.
So for the next blog posts I’ll be talking about the craft of writing itself and what I’ve learned over the past six years, and what I continue to learn now. I’ll be talking about genre, conventions, story structure, character development, and much more, including the very foundation of storytelling and why it’s important to know these things. Structure and formula may be ‘icky’ to a lot new authors who believe their writing is above cliches and following the rules of genre. I know because I once believed the same thing, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned so far is that no one is above learning the mould which has consistently created amazing storytelling throughout history. You can’t innovate something without first mastering the basics.
As for my book release, well the silver lining of the otherwise anti-climactic launch is that I have some wisdom to impart unto you, especially for my fellow Australian indies; don’t rely on Amazon. That’s not to say don’t use them, because they are still the best avenue for distribution we have available, but learn from my experience regarding what to expect. Amazon advertises itself as a “print-on-demand” service, and so you would expect that to mean they print as needed, however none of the pre-orders were fulfilled, and no one in Australia has received their copies almost a month later. My publisher sent an e-mail asking them to please explain, to which their response was basically that they do not have a printing service within Australia to fulfill the orders, and so there’s about a month’s wait before they can stock the book in Australia. Now this is despite the pre-orders being available to people within the Amazon Aus store, and at the time of writing the store saying it is available. However, people who have purchased the book via Amazon Au have received emails saying the order can’t be fulfilled yet and giving them the option to refund the order, or wait until they can receive more from their supplier, even though they are their own supplier, more-or-less. So there is clearly a logistics issue within the Australian store for Amazon, and what I’ve learned from this experience is that if you are in Australia, you should push people to purchase through stores which are local who can fulfill the order, such as Book Depository, who have so far been the only ones to send out copies of my book successfully. At least for the first couple of months while Amazon sorts itself out. That being said, I did have one person who pre-ordered via BD who had their order cancelled, so apparently it will be messy no matter what.
But we must press on and learn from these things. I have not let it slow me down as far as writing the next book goes, which is currently about a quarter of the way through the first draft and picking up speed again. So watch this space and check out the next post in a couple of weeks.
"A candle is not diminished by giving another candle light." - Earl Nightingale