Why I like Self-Publishing

Ten years ago, I learned how easy it was to self-publish. Not only was it "free," but I was able to hold a physical copy of the largest thing I had ever written. I have since written larger books and expanded into eBooks and hardcovers (and maybe audiobooks in the future). I did try to get into traditional publishing to see if I could do it, but I found the systems in place too bizarre for me to continue pursuing it. This meant I was left with the first choice I went with when I published First Name Basis: self-publishing. Since I don't make a living off my writing, I consider it a fun hobby to do in my spare time. After a few weeks of therapy to get over imposter syndrome and my unhealthy focus on sales, I've come to love what self-publishing allows me to do: hold a physical copy of a story I created. Granted, I still want...
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Why self-publishing isn’t “free”

I have always said that one of the main benefits of self-publishing is that there is no financial barrier to entry. Anyone can write a book and have it published without paying a cent to anyone. Granted, this is also the reason why many people look down on self-publishing. With the costs of self-publishing being non-existent, there are no quality checks to ensure the content being published is good enough for readers to spend their money to buy it. Sometimes, this can result in backlash with angry readers leaving negative reviews. Often, not investing in a written work doesn't produce the sales an author would like to make (and is the main reason I don't make a living with my writing). Over the years, I've learned that self-publishing isn't just writing a book. Instead, self-publishing is editing, formatting, cover design, marketing, and any number of other tasks that combine to create a polished product. Depending on an author's skill level, some...
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Traditional Publishing is Bizarre

The dream of many writers is to be traditionally published. There is a certain amount of clout that comes with having a manuscript printed by a company that is in the business of publishing books. There is a validation when an author’s book is distributed to brick and mortar bookstores like Barnes and Noble. I understand the appeal, but the more I learn about modern traditional publishing, the more I find it antiquated and bizarre. Is traditional publishing behind the times? For personal reasons, I have decided to exclusively pursue self-publishing as my venue for distributing my stories. While this is in part due to my realization that I can’t make a living off my writing—and thus why I pursue it as a hobby—I’ve dipped my toe in enough of the process and discussed it with other lesser-known authors who have successfully done it to realize that it’s somewhat stuck in the past. Here are three things about traditional publishing that I...
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2021 Has All the Fun

2021 Has All the Fun

Another year, another set of writing goals. 2021 will be a bit different in that I've already been hard at work getting things prepared for publication—or merely fixing up the project that I delayed from last year. Either way, I do plan to continue my goal of self-publishing at least one book each year. With most conventions postponed or canceled this year, I'll certainly have time to sit down and work on these projects. Buried Colony Despite the setback I had last year, I still plan on self-publishing Buried Colony as soon as possible (before it becomes a reality). I'll be re-working the parts that need attention in January and will get a few beta readers to check my work before proceeding with the advanced reader copies again. Fortunately, a lot of formatting and design has already been completed, so it's really just the content that needs some polishing before publication. I also hope to release this as one of the first...
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The Hindsight of 2020

As the saying goes, "hindsight is 20/20." This year has been a bit challenging and different from past years due to the pandemic. I didn't have nearly as many opportunities to go to conventions since they were all canceled or delayed to future years. While staying at home would have provided me with plenty of opportunities to write, I have also learned that having an infant daughter is a challenge that I had not accounted for in my plans. Regardless of these challenges, I managed to complete at least a few things in 2020, based on the goals I set forth at the beginning of the year. Let's see how I did in this year's... 2020 YEAR IN REVIEW The Ascent of the Writer (Ironed Man / The Last Immortal) In part due to the "hindsight" saying, I decided this year to go back and collect together all the little bits of writing I had written over the last 20 years. The result...
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How to pivot as a writer

If 2020 has taught me anything, it's how to be flexible. It's quite difficult to predict what will happen in a year, let alone one with such a massive global event like COVID-19. Fortunately, writing is a solitary activity, so writing new stories isn't terribly difficult when I'm forced to stay home. Unfortunately, this pandemic has been such a historical moment that it's difficult to ignore it in anything written in the present day. While I had plans to write a rather dramatic story set in the real world and in present times, I'm now considering moving it out a few years to gain some distance from COVID. Hopefully, this whole mess will be done by the time I start writing this book, and I'll have a bit of hindsight to help mold the characters and plot. So far, I've already gained a few key points that I want to integrate into the story that will certainly be familiar to anyone...
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Why I don’t make a living on my writing

Why I don’t make a living on my writing

Writing is my hobby. I have a full-time job, so there is no need for me to make a living on my writing. Since I do it mostly for fun, I’m not too concerned about making money. Most importantly, for tax purposes, writing is my hobby. Sure, I try to run it like a business by keeping track of expenses and sales, but overall I’m not doing much more than breaking even. This is fine. After all, a hobby is usually considered a “money pit” where you don’t expect to get a return on investment other than the pure enjoyment it brings you (think about other hobbies like restoring cars, reading books, or gardening as examples). A few years ago, I received a review request from someone who had written a book. They were self-publishing and admitted that they were currently homeless and that this book (that they had taken over a decade to write) was their only ticket out of...
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Answers to a new writer’s FAQ

Nobody is born proficient in anything. We all have to start somewhere when it comes to learning new skills. Sure, there might be a prodigy or two out there, but instances of individuals with extreme natural talent are rare. Writing is just like any other skill. Nobody starts out knowing everything about it or how to do it. Consequently, I’ve seen a lot of the same questions pop up in online forums from new writers who are just trying to get a handle on this skill. Some are trying to improve, but many don’t know what they don’t know and seem to ask some fairly basic questions. Since I’ve recently realized I’ve been a published writer for over a decade, I thought I could shed some light on some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that I’ve seen from numerous new writers. Q: I want to write X. Should I write it? The addendum to this question is usually, “It’s already been done before.”...
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2020, Looking Forward

It’s always nice to see everything I accomplished, and December was a good time for that. However, with resolutions hot in my mind, here’s what I have planned for 2020. There are plenty of projects that I want to see coming to fruition, so this post is to help keep me accountable this year. Buried Colony Despite no agents having an interest in the hard science fiction manuscript I wrote for 2017’s NaNoWriMo, I still plan to self-publish this book in the coming months. As I see the advancements in technology happening right now, I know I need to get this book out as soon as possible. I need to show how viable it can be to get humans out of our solar system with current technology (and slightly refined advanced technology) in the next 15 years or so. Since there are some final edits that need to take place, I haven’t picked a release date quite yet. Just know that it...
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2019 Year in Review

At the beginning of 2019, I set forth all the goals I had for this year, so now it’s time to reflect and see if I did everything I wanted to. If you’re following any of the posts I’ve made over the year, this might look familiar. If you’ve missed some of these announcements, this post is a handy recap of the content I released in 2019. So, without further ado, here’s the . . . 2019 YEAR IN REVIEW Cinema Connections Having re-released my first trilogy in 2017 and my memoir in 2018, I kept the streak alive this year by publishing my fifth book, Cinema Connections: a never-ending “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” at the end of September. Here’s an unboxing video for the paperback and hardcover versions: A passion project of mine that’s lasted almost seven whole years, Cinema Connections is the collection of the 400 posts I wrote for my blog of the same name that finished at the end...
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