Essay–Content Hostages

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a new trend going on in the independent publishing community–the Kickstarter, Indie-Go-Go, GoFundMe phenomenon. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, let me explain how this is SUPPOSED to work.

A writer, like myself, wants to put out their book. They don’t have the cash to pay for an artist, layout, and etc, so they ask the community to fork out some cash to make all that happen. It’s like a pre-order with a set boundary for the work to be published. If the goal isn’t reached, then the project dies. The author(s) might try again and succeed, or perhaps their project simply dies.

If the writer in question believes in their story, then they will find a way to make it happen. But here’s the thing–the story is written.

That particular scenario is a good one. It’s the old patronage model, if you will, to bring art into the world so the artist is guaranteed not to go into debt. It can take a lot of cash to make a quality book happen. I know this all too well from personal experience.

As I said, that’s the way it used to work. Now, however, certain creators are, to a certain extent, holding their content hostage. In other words, “pay me and I’ll create this content, else it will go unwritten/unrecorded/unproduced.” In many cases, these projects are trying to recapture the glory of a previously popular series. There are examples out there if you go look for them.

A few podcasters whom I respect are working on this model to try and get their next few books out. The idea is that they only want to work on properties that will be profitable. Pure and simple.

This, I understand. I understand the need to work on something that brings in bucks. If you’re a pro-writer and creating content is your only income, then you have to choose which properties you want to work on, because any deviation from what makes money means you don’t eat.

But, there is a huge caveat to this. If the author hasn’t even begun to create the content, there’s no guarantee it will happen. If you haven’t written word one of the upcoming story, novel, etc, then how can I, as a consumer, be assured it WILL happen? Years ago, a certain person took their toys and went home because they were angry not enough people showed up to purchase their work when it was published. That sent a shock through the podcasting community and to this day, I think it has greatly hurt the credibility of the podcaster in question.

With no deadline, no samples, no nothing, consumers are being asked to pony up on faith. When I see kickstarters of this ilk, I have to wonder if we aren’t being asked to put up our hard earned cash to subsidize someone’s attempt to cash-in.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this idea doesn’t sit well with me. I’m not here to judge those who are doing it. I’m simply bringing up a fact–there are no guarantees. There’s no way to get your money back if said creator just decides to take their money and go home. Paying per episode is equally insane if the episodes for the arc haven’t yet been written nor released. It’s something I don’t feel comfortable with.

When I put up the pre-orders for Fiends and Garaaga’s Children: Ancients, the stories were done. They had been podcasted. They had been put out as ebooks. In other words, I’d written the content and NOW was trying to get paid for it.

Scott Sigler has said time and time again that podcast fiction is a market test. It’s not the final product. The final product has good artwork. The final product has been professionally vetted and edited. I try and do all these things now before I release anything. Why? I’ve learned over several attempts that doing a half-assed job only hurts my credibility as an author and publisher.

Shadowpublications.com is going to publish a number of books this year. Yes, they will be paperbacks and etc of previously published works. They will also be new works that have never been published in ebook or podcast form. They will be out there. And I’m taking the financial risk that it’s a worthwhile endeavor for both myself and my company. But the bottom line? I’m never going to to ask you to subsidize unfinished works. Others will, but I won’t.

Purchase the books if you want to support me. Donate if you want to support me. Write reviews. Spread the word. But I’m going to write what I want to write. And there’s plenty of stories I want to tell. Not for money. Not for fame. I’m writing them because they are stories I want to tell. And the moment I start writing just for money, it’s time for you to find someone else to support.

FOOTNOTE:

I was not accusing anyone of trying to dupe their supporters. There has been much hate for this post and my opinion, but I was not trying to depth-charge anyone’s attempt to get a book off the ground. See this for more info.

Essay–2014 Conundrums and Plans

Being a professional writer means making decisions. It also means you’re in business for yourself, regardless of whether or not you choose to sell your work to publishers or choose to be an independent. Businesses have start-up costs. For independents, this means investing in artwork, editing, formatting, layout, and etc. Basically an indie SHOULD follow the same process as a “traditional” publishing company.

The biggest problem I’ve faced as an independent is the “marketing” side of the equation. I can’t figure it out. I have folks helping me work on this, but it’s still a nightmare. Trying to stand out in a sea of other independents and traditionally published authors is tricky. Traditional publishers have faced the same problem since bookstores first existed.

Continue reading “Essay–2014 Conundrums and Plans”

New Website…

I have spent the last 12 months promising a new website. Due to the crazy work schedule, funding, and etc, I’m just now getting round to getting this up and running. So what does this mean?

In order to move way from my old hosting, I had to change the feed url. This means there may be some broken links in the podcast feed as well as on the site itself. I’m doing my best to find them and fix ’em. If you FIND a broken link on the site, please post the location in the comments. I really only need the file that it can’t find and the name of the post. But any help you can give me would be great.

In the meantime, y’all have a good one and be on the lookout for new essays, reviews, and etc in the near future.

Cheers.

GC: Ancients Dustjacket

It’s been a very long wait. Too damned long. But here it is: the dustjacket for your very own copy of Garaaga’s Children: Ancients.

We expect to send the book off for proof print the first week of September. If all goes right, we’ll start shipping in earnest come end of the same month or the beginning of October.

In the meantime, the audiobook should be hitting the backmybook.com store by the middle of September. The FiendMaster and crew have been working their collective asses off to bring this to you and my apologies for its tardiness. My only excuse? LIfe gets in the way when you’re working two jobs and trying to manage a publishing career.

Again, thank you for your patience and patronage. I hope to hell you love this book.

Cheers.

Reggie has some competition…

Many of you have accused me of being a sick bastard for what I’ve done to your memories of muppets and The Ice Cream Man. Between "The Street" series and "Closet Treats," I’ve destroyed much of your childhoods. And I’ll continue to do so. But dammit, no matter how hard I try someone keeps one-upping me. Don’t believe this? Then check this link out. I’ve NEVER seen creepier easter bunnies. *shiver* Be very very afraid.