Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Tidal Wave of Choice and a Deceptive Cover

One of the fears about the rise in ebooks and self-publishing is that the world will be buried in a tidal wave of crap writing. It’s a familiar argument—there will be so many bad Twilight knockoffs and other rubbish uploaded to Amazon no one will be able to find anything worth reading amongst the great steaming piles of ordure.

It’s one way of looking at it. Personally, I think it’s just as easy to turn it around and see the positive aspects.

The problem when creativity is commodified is that the bottom line suddenly becomes the number one consideration. It’s not enough to be good; if someone has stumped up cash in advance, they’ll want to see a return on their investment, which means the work needs to be both good and popular (or failing that, just popular, hey, Hollywood ;) ). I suspect more than a few writers have run into, “It’s good, but we don’t think there’s a big enough audience”, before the gate slammed down on their foot. As a result niche, interesting, challenging is often overlooked in favour of safe, bland, reliable (Hey, hello Hollywood! ;) ).

The beauty with ebooks and self-publishing is that the initial outlays are so small. Writers can take risks. Even if they only find a niche audience appreciative of their work, that’s still profit (providing you don’t think too hard about the time spent creating and polishing your work!). It’s also good for readers. Yes, there are going to be a lot of bad books that shouldn’t have seen the light of day (and these too might find fans—taste is subjective), but there are also going to be a lot of quirky, interesting books that might not have made it out of the slush pile under the old system. Personally, I think more choice is better than less choice.

Take short stories. I love short stories, especially horror stories. Mainstream publishing houses seldom publish short story collections. They don’t sell very well. There was even a recent tweetathon to save the short story.

I’ve put out three collections of short stories. They haven’t found a massive audience, but they have been found by readers who’ve enjoyed them a great deal. Publishers have to worry about the cost of print runs and marketing budgets. I don’t. I’m free to write what I want. It doesn’t take many sales to cover the initial costs and everything after that is gravy. That’s good for me, good for the readers who like my writing, and good for short stories, as there are plenty of bloody-minded fools like me that still enjoy writing them.

I suppose this would be the appropriate point for the blatant book plug:

I love the cover Selena and the people at eXcessica came up with. It’s totally inappropriate. This is either the darkest collection of erotica you’re likely to read this Halloween, or the most twisted, sexy-perverse collection of horror tales you’re likely to read this Halloween. Someone is going to pick up this book thinking it’s another cutesy paranormal romance with fashion-conscious demonesses, and get the shock of their lives.

I’m more in love with that idea than I should be. I can’t help it. I’m a horror writer. We want to scare people. It’s in the blood. While marketing-types would be aghast, I’m sitting here and grinning like a Cheshire Cat as I go, “open it… open it…”

It’s Halloween. I’m going to have fun. Bottom line be damned.

Enjoy the book. She’s as cute and adorable as her cover. Honest… ;)

M.E. Hydra

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dead Sensei

Am gearing up to do promos - on those yahoo sites and wherever else I can.  I hope people want to read a Halloween tale on Halloween.  It's my favorite holiday.  I have two parties to go to so far and I haven't decided what I want to be.  Usually I have my costume planned by summer's end.  I hope it isn't a cold Halloween.  I wish it wouldn't snow at all.  I'm not a fan. 

When Dr. Cockburn's Medicine comes out on, I hope you will help me tag it.  Tags are the keywords that help readers find books in their favorite categories.  The more tags a book has, the higher up the search engine it goes.  Cinderella Club has about five keywords tagged about three times each, which isn't many at all.  People tend to find it because it has six really good reviews.

But poor Doc Cock will be all alone out there in the BDSM world fending for itself without your help.  Excessica takes care of sending it out to get reviewed but I am not sure which review sites they use.  Am not that worried.  I'm confident people will love the story.

I feel like I'm giving birth to my second child and I actually have none of the anxiety as with the first.  CC didn't get reviewed for weeks and then the first review was scathing.  That was such a bleak time for me.  It was actually the only review like that and I'm still wondering if that woman actually read it or skimmed the first chapter.  Oh well, I don't really care.

It would be nice to have good reviews right out of the gate, but I will try not to stress about anything.  Can only do what I can do.  And I have to remember that it's about the fun of writing.  I cried this morning listening to that speech that Steve Jobs had given at a college graduation ceremony.  Something about feeling more free to live life once he'd discovered that he was going to die from cancer. 

I'm not a free spirit - I mean, as much as I'd like to be.  If I could be and be able to pay my bills, I would be.  But mama just bought another pair of shoes.  (I'm not a mother - what the hell is wrong with me?)  Help me sell this novel so I can make a dent in paying my debts.  Once I become sensible, I'm sure that will free me up to be that person Steve Jobs wants me to be.