Self-Publishing vs. Traditionally Publishing

Ok, here goes nothin’.

What exactly is self-publishing? What exactly is traditional publishing?

Self-Publishing = The act of publishing your own book. You keep all the rights to it and are the promoter behind it. No one is going to help you. (Unless you network/make friends which I highly suggest that you do.)

Traditional Publishing = The act of publishing under an actual publishing company. They will do a lot of the business work for you (if you’re lucky) so that you don’t have to (editing, formatting, book cover,). Of course, this depends on which publisher you get because each will be different.

Pros of Self-Publishing

1. You own all the rights to your book.
2. You get to make the final verdict on edits and book cover.
3. You get higher royalties! From 30% – 70% of each sale.
4. You could publish in a day! Just click a few buttons and you’re done! (I don’t recommend this.)
5. Be your own boss. The gatekeepers (Literary agents and publishers) are no longer present. (However, you are still left with your potential readers as gate keepers still).
6. This one can be both a con for some but a pro for others. You are now an AUTHORPRENEUR! Author + Entrepreneur (Everyone spells that differently) You get to be the reason your book either is a success or a failure! You’re gonna have to hustle!

Cons of Self-Publishing

1. No one is going to promote your book. It’s all up to you.
2. You have to learn the business side of writing books.
3. You have to handle: beta readers, proofing, editing, book cover, formatting, and self-promotion.
4. Number 3 can get really expensive.
5. You have to write A LOT in order to start seeing a return on investment.

Pros of Self-Publishing

1. You get money upfront! Usually around $5000 – $10,000 for new authors.
2. It will be a possibility to see your book in book stores!
3. The Publisher should do a lot of the editing, formatting, and book cover work for you!
4. They should have a marketing budget for your book.
5. They may sign a contract with you to write more books!

Cons of Traditional Publishing

1. Low royalties. (After literary agent and Publisher you could be left with 8% – 15% of royalties AFTER they make up your $5000 – $10,000 of upfront money they gave you)
2. You usually and most likely will need a literary agent to get your book in front of publishers. This is SUPER SUPER hard and takes A LOT of time and A LOT of rejection. Starting sending out query letters!
3. Now that you have a literary agent they will shop around your book to publishers. This can also take A LONG TIME. You have a large chance of your agent dropping you because your book didn’t pickup any publishers.
4. Now that you have an agent and publisher your book will go into print right away. NOT! The process of printing your book can take up to 1-2 years. My advice, keep writing and forget about it. It will be in print some day.
5. You lose ALL rights to your book for the duration of the contract. Each case differs. However, most likely you will have to argue with the editor about parts of the book he or she wants to get rid of or passages you really liked but he or she wants to zap away. You will also probably not have a say so in your book cover design.

These are the largest pros and cons of self-publishing! I didn’t go into full detail of each because they are pretty self explanatory.

Please watch the video to hear me speak about this subject in more depth. You can also always email me at stevie.fiction@gmail.com

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Why Dungeons and Dragons aids your Writing!

Dungeons and Dragons has been around for SOOOO long. Longer than I have been alive. I kick myself everyday knowing that I have wasted so many years not playing.

That’s right, I didn’t get into DnD until about a year ago. Let’s just say, as a natural storyteller, I fell in love…

DnD is the ultimate tool in my arsenal for aiding my craft. This is because DnD is a game unlike no other in that the Dungeon Master (Me) has a story in place before the game starts. HOWEVER, players will always always always do stuff you aren’t expecting and force you to think on your feet.

This could even mean changing your entire story altogether!

Actually, you will find many parts of my books that were created in one of my past DnD campaigns! The starter village of Ashvell in episode 1 of The Grind was created from a campaign as well as many of the character’s names.

DnD is a highly creative game and an excellent source of practice with storytelling. You constantly will be making things up as you go along. This is perfect for me who is a natural pantser (Someone who writes without an outline… And I hope I spelled panster right).

The improvisation of the game is something I do not take for granted. I use it often to overcome ‘writer’s block’ which I prefer to call lulls (I will discuss why this is in a later blog)

Moral of the story? GO PLAY DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS!

Check out my video to see my face and hear my voice as I talk about this subject!

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Why YOU should be reading in the genre you write in!

Here are my thoughts on why reading in the genre you write in is important.

Before I go any further, I want to say it is not a problem if you want to read books outside of your genre. In fact, I encourage you too! Why? Because you can ‘steal’ aspects of other genres to implement into your own writing (more on this in a future blog post).

Reasons why you should be reading in the genre you write in:

  1. By reading popular books in your genre you can figure out what makes them so special. I am not saying that you should steal ideas from other books but you will find that they will inspire original ideas in your head. Maybe a specific book has AWESOME fight scenes and you think that would be cool to add to your book. Go for it. Maybe the dialogue is spot on and you feel you should polish your own dialogue.
  2. You need to learn the rules of your genre. I, as a fantasy writer, have come to find that there are specific rules when it comes to writing fantasy. There are world building rules, lore rules, and even magic rules. Character development is different than, let’s say, a romantic comedy or Young adult book.
  3. It helps you to keep up with the times. Genres are always changing and if you enjoy writing to market than you will want to keep up with the pace of your genre and other authors.
  4. Keep up with authors and their books. If you want to make it in this fast paced and competitive writing industry, you don’t want to look stupid by not knowing the top selling books and the top selling authors in your genre. Enuff said!

Check out my other thoughts on why you should read in the genre you write in:

 

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Sword Art Online Episode 2 Review (Beater)

Today’s review is over episode two of Sword Art online. Beater.

As of yet, no one in Aincrad has been able to find the dungeon. However, we learn that a party of players accidentally stumbled upon the dungeon entrance.

The players make a smart decision by having an open meeting on how to go about defeating the dungeon. This is when things get heated.

We now learn that many players are upset that beta testers stormed off on their own in order to soak up all the best quests and hunting spots, leaving the newbies behind to fend for themselves.

However, one player suggests that the beta testers DID leave a whole guide book on what they learned in their first trial of the game.

I won’t go any further with the story, so no spoilers!… YET

Buuuutttttt, this episode does an awesome job at showing how the switch technique works. Kirito and Asana must pair up in order to take on stronger enemies. One knocks them off guard while the other attacks. This is called switching.

We also learn the term ‘Beater’ which is a mix of beta tester and cheater.

The action in this episode is long (IMO) and beautiful designed. I find it interesting the way the artists of SAO created a blood like effect without going too overboard. It isn’t blood persay, but blood red pixels and diamond like shards float out of the body when it has been hit or stabbed. Pretty interesting idea.

SPOILERS

Kirito, with the help of Asana, is able to defeat the dungeon monster… but at what cost? A player is killed in the midst of the action trying to greedily take the last killing blow for himself. Turns out he was also a beta tester.

Kirito is quickly blamed for this players death. Knowing he will mostly play solo, Kirito dawns his new black apparel (his won loot) and accepts the term as a BEATER.

I remember this episode really drawing me into the SAO world the first time I watched it. I wanted and NEEDED more action scenes! I also love the death penalty. You die in the game you die IRL. Death without punishment could get boring.

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Sword Art Online Episode 1 Review

Ahh yes, the great anime series of Sword Art Online! Many would say it’s the worst anime out there, but I will say it is the best!

This show is not only creative but it is beautifully drawn. I highly suggest this series to anyone who loves anime and to anyone who loves mmorpgs.

Episode 1 begins with our protagonist, Kirito, syncing into the world of Aincrad. This is the world he will be living in for a very long time. If you don’t play mmo’s then this is the part where you may start to get confused.

MMORPG’s (Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) are games in which thousands even millions of players log on to play in massive worlds in which they play alongside others to defeat monsters and gain loot. Players can make huge impacts on the world and can even influence the market of items!

Aincrad is no different. This episode does an excellent job of explaining the action combat system and even explains how hunger works. It is no spoiler to say that things go terribly wrong for the 10,000 players that logged on to SAO that day.

Trapped in a MMORPG where death is real, players must reach and defeat the hundredth level in order to be allowed out of the game. This is were the great journey begins!

I highly highly recommend you at least try this anime… if you haven’t already… and if you haven’t… where have you been?

Until next time!

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My Thoughts on Alterworld (LitRPG)


First off, I have to say that I had an absolute wonderful time reading Alterworld by D. Rus. It gave me a mix of satisfaction that I’ve gotten from playing World of Warcraft and watching Sword Art Online. I would have loved to email him and say so but sadly he is Russian and… well… I don’t speak Russian.

Without giving away any spoilers, this LitRPG is just what you would expect from the best of this genre. (Some even say D. Rus was the creator of the LitRPG genre) A character is stuck or has chosen to get stuck in an artificial world in the form of a MMORPG. In this case, the protagonist chooses to go ‘Perma’ meaning that he will be stuck in the game forever. However, this is a good choice given that he only had a month to live.

Things that I liked:
I found the choice of the main character’s class to be an interesting choice. (I don’t want to give it away). This choice wasn’t my first choice in class preference but that is was intrigued me.

The amount of gaming detail in this book is phenomenal. You will find details such as DPS percentages all the way to reputation points. Weapons have their own stats and death sends you to the graveyard. I am a HUGE fan of this kind of stuff.

In my opinion, I am not sure there was a definite plot which I believe is unique to the LitRPG genre (given that it is usually quest driven and leveling driven). We basically are behind the eyes of a man stuck in a mmorpg world. That’s it. Now, that isn’t to say big things don’t happen. They do. In fact, it was interesting how Rus implemented the idea that what you did in the game world could affect the people in the outside world.

What you can expect:
You can expect gaming lingo, stats, tons and TONS of options that the character can make, interesting quest lines, awesome battles, fulfilling leveling, and even romance!

My rating: 8/10

It’s been a while that a book has been able to grab my attention like Alterworld has. I will for sure be reading his second book in the series.

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What I’ve been doing wrong with my writing…

I’ve had many beta readers for The Four Territories. I instructed each person who read my manuscript to do two things: 1. Critique the hell out of it. 2. Give me positive feedback on what I’m doing right.

The positive feedback I’ve received from beta readers always revolves around the action scenes and character development. It’s very reassuring that my characters are believable and actually relate-able because, to many authors, character development is the most important aspect to many authors. (Myself included).

However, without fail, I always seem to get the same critique. “I can’t picture where the characters are…” This one hurts. You know why? Because neither could I.

This shouldn’t be a big deal but I am an author who HATES to rewrite.

I know, I know, rewriting is part of the writing process. Doesn’t mean I still can’t hate it.

To my credit, the setting does get better as the manuscript goes on. I believe I noticed this early and started to implement more imagery in order for the reader to picture where the characters were.

 

For example: No Setting: The character walks into the old tavern and sits down at the back table to have a drink.

Better setting: The character walks into a hustling and bustling tavern. His boots creak along the old wooden planks as he makes his way past cheering patrons. The walls are made of stone that had long since been stained a deep purple from past throne mugs of ale.

So why did I have setting issues? I believe part of it was from reading too many novels in which there was TOO much detail. This probably infected my mind and told me, “Hey! Don’t do what they did. Give the readers some room for imagination.” It is apparent I went too far with this, lol.

The series I am writing now, The Grind, features much better setting development ALONG with character development.

So, the moral of this story is to always listen to your beta readers. ESPECIALLY if most of them are saying they can’t picture your world in their head. The truth hurts, but we writers have to keep improving our craft and one of the ways to do this is to listen to the beta readers and to not pretend your first draft is a masterpiece.

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The Rule of Cool

So here are my thoughts on an old DnD concept called the Rule of Cool and how I apply it to my writing. (I’m not sure who first came up with this term but I heard it from Mathew Mercer).

The basic rule of the Rule of Cool is that if a character says something that is super awesome then the Dungeon Master should let it happen even though it is against the rules.

Do I allow the rule of cool to break the rules of the world I’ve built? The short answer, no. I believe following the rules for the world you created is extremely important. The reader will start to distrust the story if the author decides he/she can just break the rules in order to save the skin of a character.

That isn’t why I bring up this DnD rule.

I believe the Rule of Cool is an excellent idea to bring to the genres of Fantasy and Science Fiction because it can A) Destroy Writer’s Block and B) Create some really cool scenes.

A) I personally do not believe in Writer’s block but I do believe in momentarily not knowing where to take the story. That is when I came up with the idea of using the Rule of Cool for my stories!

B) This rule helps your story from going stale and your reader from becoming bored.

The Rule of Cool could be related to the Writing tools such as the “Yes, but” or the “No, and” (You can find this tool explained by Brandon Sanderson on youtube)

How do I use the Rule of Cool?

Let’s say that our characters just pulled themselves out of a hole in the ground and I am unsure where to go from here. (I’m a discovery writer, btw). I use the Rule of Cool! What would be cool in this scene? What would I want to see if I were a writer?

For example, I would love to see some sort of beast waiting to snatch them up as soon as their heads pop out of the ground. BOOM! Exciting fight scene.

Comment below if you think the Rule of Cool could spice up your stories!

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My thoughts on how to succeed… in anything

I’m 24 (Almost 25) years old, which to most is pretty young. However, I’ve done a shiz ton of stuff and have been very fortunate to accomplish many things.

Was it because I have money? Pshhh, no. I’m a student, I have no money.

Was it because I’m handsome? Well, both myself and my mom think i’m handsome but I am not sure that made me more privileged.

If it’s not because you’re rich and handsome, than what is it???

1. I work very hard.

2. I fail… A lot…

3. I don’t Quit.

4. I keep learning.

Each of these could be their own blog post, but for now let’s cover these one by one.

1. (I work very hard)

That’s just it! I choose something I want to do and I stick to it. However, I am like a lot of those people who like to start up stuff but quit shortly after the newness wears off. This has always been a struggle of mine. I’ve resolved this by not allowing myself to move onto a new project without finishing the first.

By working hard I mean that I do anything and everything I can to become better with that one thing. Whether it be writing or marketing or anything else I’m interested in, I make it my full time job researching it and getting better at it.

2. (I fail)

That’s right! I fail so much that it’s mind blowing. I fail at everything I do. But you know what? I think that’s great!

But why do I think that’s great? Well… because I learn so much from failing. You’ve heard it before and it is oh so true. You can’t learn anything without experience and you can’t get experience without failing. So go out there and fail ya loser! (jk).

3. (I don’t Quit)

Remember when I said I would start something then quit shortly after? Well I don’t do that anymore. However, don’t be like a pothead who’s really high telling you about his/her next project venture (because we all know that pothead will never bring it to fruition, that’s the reefer talking) but actually get out there and start!

Moral of the story, start something you’re passionate about and don’t quit.

4. (I keep learning)

So, I’ve always been a big fan of non-fiction books and audio books. A day doesn’t pass that I haven’t listened or read for 1-2 hours on something i’m interested in or learning about. I also listen to a lot of informational podcasts.

You have to have a drive to keep learning! That’s all this world is good for. (Well, God and Love are important too FYI)

That’s all for now. I need to get back to Fantasy Novel writing! Please, stop distracting me.

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Here are my initial thoughts…

Firstly, I am really not a blogger and never really got into blogs of others.

However, I am an indie author with lots of opinions of lots of different things.

“What sorts of things do you have opinions on?” you may ask.

Well, lots of things! Movies, books, anime, tv shows, products, fantasy stuff, and even weight lifting supplements.

I am creating this blog to both:

A) Add value to your life in some way.

B) Journal what exactly is going on in my life. What have I see? (Movies) What have a read? Did I like those things? If so, why? If not, why?

I also believe I will be able to show more of my voice that can’t be seen in my books. Therefore, through you reading my blogs based on B you will get A!

I will most likely come back to this post and edit it a bit because I am sure, just like my novels, this will probably form into something I was expecting.

Au Revoir

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