Getting ready for the New Year

Hello fantasy readers. I’ve been on a blogging hiatus since late September for a variety of reason unrelated to writing, but highly effected it. I updated pennerstories.com with some photos, short story, and poetry sections for your enjoyment.

I am hopeful to at least begin Tears soon, and more insightful fantasy blogging. I am also looking forward to author Terry Brooks series on MTV. Lots to talk about this coming year.

Have a safe and happy New Years my fantasy reading friends.

Also, get Dark Moon Shadow at its low price of nearly free before it price normals back to $3.99. Please visit my website’s bookstore for the free and low pay options.

Rob

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Do you really need a book agent?

Do you really need an agent to get published? That is an assumption I thought for a long time, especially before e-books came on the scene. When I researched what traditional publishing required to submit a manuscript I would often run into the (agent-only guidelines). This was a momentum stopper for me. If you are a writer and think you need an agent here is a excellent blog of advice by Dean Wesley Smith The New World of Publishing: The Assumption of Agents . I recommend all aspiring writers to read Mr. Smiths blog, as it is full of practical advice from someone who has the knowledge and experience in the world of publishing. Here he explains, in steps, why you really don’t need an agent in the new world of electronic media and the “do-it yourself” Indie publishing. He also explains what to look for in an agent if you are still bent on using one. One of the most important bits of advice I came away with was to obtain an IP Lawyer to look over your contract if you are ever offered one… by anyone. There is so much more on Smith’s blog…so jump on over and have a browse. 

I must be honest, Dean makes it look easy. I can only say that, it is for him, because he has spent so much time learning his craft and the business side of things that makes it look so simple. I personally, still struggle with the daunting thoughts of the business side, and am still trying to grasp the trade as I embark with my writing aspirations.  We Indie authors MUST take time to learn the business in order to succeed, as well as pen a good story. I appreciate authors like Dean Wesley Smith who share their experience and knowledge to those of us who are swimming with the sharks of the business. 

Pennerstories update: Art work for Dark Moon Shadows is in production. I look forward to sharing that with you all very soon. As I mentioned before in an earlier post, I will be migrating this wordpress blog into a hosted website that will enhance the reader experience and will focus-central into a fantasy theme. If you look in the bookstore tab and the side bar I have already begun preparation by removing the non-fantasy related ebooks/ books and have kept the two ebooks that will make it on the new website. Hang with me and keep checking back for the upcoming announcements and changes. 

As for Dark Moon…It is going through multiple edits to fine tune the reading experience once it is launched.

Once again I am looking for reviewers…if you are interested please reply and I will contact you. I will blog more in detail when the book is ready.

Have a great day.

Traditional or Indie?

Following on the heels of my previous blog post about self publishing and traditional publishing I want to take a different angle; the angle of the first time Indie author/writer who is now chosen to be publisher. Sure the great royalty rate from Amazon is superb, and I get to keep more of my money than if I went the traditional route, but maybe the traditional route is what I need?

For several years at the least, I have been listening and reading thoughts from established authors and writers about this ebook revolution we are witnessing. I have taken careful notes, followed sound advice, and watched as they pounded the drums of Indie Power. So true, there is a ton of power doing it yourself, and much reward as the traditional houses fall one by one. These writers often report on the faults of trad publishing and keep us all informed of the new world of Indie publishing. I for one, happen to agree with almost everything these successful authors have said. I have learned a great deal from them.

Now from the view of an un-established Indie author and writer: As I listen to the financial talk from some of these writers I ask “How did they get such great sales numbers by self publishing their ebooks?” The obvious answer is they are great writers and have years of experience developing a fan base. Another answer to go along with the previous is they built their fan base through the help of traditional publishers. Sure their great writing skills speaks for the fan base, but I’m sure they didn’t have to work double time on the twitterverse, facebook, and whatever trying to direct readers to their product. Of course social media was probably not around in the beginning for these writers, but my point is they had help. Sure, once readers became hooked and spread the word based on their great stories they gained their edge. For us, however, getting that edge does not have the advantage of a group; marketing, editing, cover work, etc. that a publishing house is supposed to provide. I only say “supposed to” because what I hear is they don’t even do much of that anymore. But, let’s say for the sake of argument, that they did provide all that. Sure beats doing it all yourself. The one thing you are giving up is the financial aspect which is huge. Because of that, aside from how hard it is to get discovered, I chose to go solo and drive my ebook train all by my lonesome.

It’s because of all the hard work in marketing that many of us choose to still believe that traditional publishing is the way to go. I completely understand those who think this way, even until the traditional dying end. No matter what, if your writing is good enough it will draw attention if it can get into the hands of the readers. That is the tricky part that I don’t hear the established authors blog, talk, or give advice about (much). Some try, but because they already have an established audience I think it is much easier for them. I didn’t say they don’t have to work at it on a daily basis, I just said easier.

In the social media world every Indie writer/author is trying to direct people to their work, and that’s o.k… Really. However, because everyone is doing so, the consumer is bogged down with everyone friending each other just for promotion and the desired use of social media is tainted, thus causing sales to suffer. I don’t see any other way though, and this promotion problem remains to be the biggest hurdle for the Indie author. I don’t blame those who choose to stick with traditional means.

Why do you write?

Why do you write? Why do I write? That is a question every writer must ask him/herself at some point in their writing career. Even if it is not a career for you or me, I think it is an important question that deserves an answer. Why we do this can help form how we go about our business and ultimately determine our credibility as writers. So take a moment and give an honest answer as to why you do. Here is why I do. (This is the start of looking into my brain and personality blog) A lot of us have a story to tell, and I am no different. For years my imagination ran wild, movies playing in my head as a child never stopping through adulthood. I dabbled in poetry for a time, many are posted here on this blog site, and that solved some of my creative drive, but telling a story is what I wanted to do. For years and years my fear of grammar and spelling woes, along with atrocious hand writing kept me from actually putting story to page. As the world changed and the personal computer became affordable aided with easy access to writing advice on the net there was nothing to hold me back from getting my stories out. That drive is not enough though. For me, I don’t want to write a story and then put it in a drawer, or on a disc that just sits with a pile of other discs. NO WAY! I want people to enjoy my imagination (Feed my story ego if you will). I want my creations to be enjoyed by people of all ages. It makes me happy. Making money at it would be nice and a great reward, but if that never happens the fact that people enjoy my worlds is good enough. But, let’s not get too crazy here; making money at our craft is one reason we do this and that should not be ignored. What writer doesn’t dream about earning his/her living at writing. After all that is a great measure of success and skill. However, if making money is the only drive for you and why you write I think your writing will suffer some. The readers will figure that out and will not want to be a pawn on your chess board. Passion and content is what the readers want and hopefully what satisfies our writing desire. My story dominates my thoughts most of the day and when I get a chance to put type to page I get excited and as the movie plays in  my mind I am entertained. It’s almost like I popped in a DVD and pressed play. You can’t get much better than that. When I wrote The Fifth Gospel (Deception Rising) it all started with a movie that played in my mind about my faith and was inspired by how I answered a question of “What if?” As I finished my first novel the ebook revolution started up and took off allowing me to realize my dream on my own without the hardship of traditional publishing. Although I still dream of being published traditionally. Then followed my short stories, and I haven’t looked back. The only greater high is when someone reads your creation and ends up with a smile on their face. That is why I write, why do you?