My first experience with piracy, thus far.

I’m trying to process my feelings right now, and I’ll admit . . . I’m struggling with it. I’m also trying to figure out whether it’s ironic that only yesterday I read an article about someone’s opinions on the piracy of books and thought, ‘Hey, chick. I’m totally in agreement with you on this.’ Then I disregarded it (mentally) and moved on. (I’d link to the post if I still had it up or remembered whose site I read it on.)

So yeah, if you haven’t guessed by the title of this post, Reave is being pirated. Every so often I do searches for it and I’ve never found anything like this. I altered the search slightly today and that popped right up.

I’m . . . upset. I try to keep my opinions to myself, especially with issues that are bound to get someone all riled up about something or other (which is pretty much anything), but yeah, I’m not going to do that right now. I am genuinely upset, and I’m going to explain why. When I explain why, it’s going to sound rather similar to what I read yesterday. It probably won’t sound as great because I’ll admit that my hands are shaking and being as upset as I am right now is like sticking a screwdriver in the cogs of my brain.

I could get into a massive spiel about how I have not yet made back the money I spent to release one book, let alone both of them. I could get into that. I could get into how unbelievably difficult it is to do this financially, and do it in the way that I feel is right (which is by not putting out crap, which takes a significant amount of money that is not easy to come by). Believe you me, I could get into that thoroughly. I could get into how unbelievably frustrating it is to have all these books essentially waiting to be released, and to be unable to do so DUE TO FINANCES. Let me tell you that one of the most amazing feelings in the world is when someone enjoyed one of your books and wants to read the next one badly enough that they ask you about it. What’s NOT so great is having to say, “I’m sorry. I don’t know when I can get that next one out. I’m trying as hard as I can.”

Yeah. I could get into that. Past what I’ve said just now? I’m not going to.

What I AM going to get into is this:

Did you know I’ll give out free e-books of Reave? Yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll give out free e-books in exchange for a review. Send me a message on GoodReads. Send me a message on Facebook. Send me an email. Comment on my blog. Believe me, I’d be more than happy for you to contact me directly and express genuine interest in my book, then I’ll send it to you so you can read it. You get a free e-book. I potentially get more exposure (which IS most important to me). You leave a review, and other people who might’ve been on the fence about my book(s) might be able to decide one way or another. You might love my book and tell all your friends and family about it. You might love my book and tell me, which is seriously one of the most fantastic things ever. When you’re struggling to follow your dreams and start your career? Yeah, hearing that helps. It keeps you fighting through all the struggles. It gives you validation for what you’re doing, and when you’re constantly struggling to feel like you’re good enough to do what you’re doing? You have no idea how much the one sentence of ‘I loved your book’ can do.

It can do a lot.

I actually wrote up a post about two weeks ago to tell everyone that I had every intention of taking Reave off Smashwords in order to enroll it in Select (on Amazon) SO THAT I COULD DO THE PROMOS TO MAKE IT FREE FOR CERTAIN DAYS. I didn’t end up posting it due to that adjustment I wrote about last week. I was thinking I’d wait a little while. I just got the first book in the trilogy back from the first beta-reader and I needed to get that ready to send off to the next. So I just needed a bit of time to fit it in.

Let me assure you that exposure has been my biggest goal from the get-go with this. I get it, people. I’m a new author. If you haven’t read my books, you might be hesitant to spend the money and take a chance on me. There’s a stigma with self-publishing and you know what? That stigma with self-publishing is often justified. How do you know if I had a professional editor? How do you know whether my book is going to be riddled with errors? YOU DON’T, AND I GET IT. Let me just add here that I did not self-publish due to an inability to land an agentI self-published so that I could keep all rights to my work, and to ensure that what was put out was what I wanted put out. Full stop.

But I’ve seen some self-published books that make me want to pull my hair out. I have. So please believe me when I say that I get it.

My willingness to give away free copies of my book is not because I think it isn’t worth being paid for. It’s because I understand. It’s also because I have the faith that my work can stand on its own feet. Given that I have QUITE A FEW BOOKS to release, I’m more than happy to throw one of them out there. Sure, some people will hate it. That’s inevitable because not everyone likes the same stuff. That’s just preference. But the thing is? If I give out a free copy of Reave, someone might love it. Someone might love it enough that they’ll want to read every book I put out. It’s insane to me, but it’s happened so I know it can happen. Am I losing there by giving out a free book? No, I don’t believe so.

So you might be wondering why this upsets me at all, right? If exposure is most important, if the readers are what matter, why would this upset me?

I’ve put literal blood (cut my hand open on a binder while editing), literal sweat (I write in a shed and an AC in the summer out here doesn’t work as well as one would hope, and that’s not even getting into what it’s like in the winter), and literal tears (I cry while writing/editing quite often) into my work. Just like so many other authors out there. I’ve worked my ass off for years now trying to fortify the foundation of something before starting to build it. My workaholic tendencies (if it/they could be called ‘tendencies’) have damaged more than one relationship in my life. What I’m saying is: The work is most important to me. I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile here, and the goal is to potentially make some sort of difference. I can’t accomplish that if I’m not focused on the work.

So seeing my work on some seedy, backwoods channel that set off the antivirus on my computer? Equate that to seeing your daughter standing on street corner doing I’m sure you can guess what. My books are like children to me. They are, and the street corner thing is how I’m feeling right now. (Along with feeling like there’s a line of people with their middle finger up in the air in my direction sounding off a chorus of, “F*** you, C.”)

Disregarding the ratio of pirated copies to legitimately bought copies . . . All you people who downloaded it?

Yeah, you could’ve just asked me for a copy. Just saying.

And so there’s no confusion?

Here is my Facebook account: C. Miller on Facebook

Here is my GoodReads account: C. Miller on GoodReads

Here is my email address: Email Address (Yes, that is a photo of my email address. Clicking on it will not send me an email. Call me crazy, but I’m just really not feeling like dealing with spam today.)

 

Here’s to hoping I can get this taken down swiftly and that any free copies of my work given out will be my choice, as it should be.

(Yes, I know this sort of thing happens. Knowing it happens does not make my feelings on it happening to me irrational or invalid in any way.)

** I’m coming back to this a bit after the fact to add a few things. (Along with taking out one somewhat passive-aggressive remark.) Some of the anger (and similar emotions) . . . it’s worn off a little. Now I’m mostly upset, like legitimately sad/down-upset. Here are the things I want to add:

  • Please, people, respect the hard work of authors and other artists. Some people put their work up for free on sites, or do free promos, or give out free copies. Some people don’t ever do any of that. Please respect their wishes for their work, whatever those wishes may be. I like to think that most people wouldn’t walk into a store and take something simply because they want it. This is the exact same thing. If someone doesn’t want to give out a free product, that is their decision.
  • This is a smidgen bigger than I initially thought. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Doesn’t help that my antivirus keeps getting set off. But I don’t have a clue what any of this stuff is or anything about any of the sites. Working on it.
  • I’m kind of internally warring with myself on this. (Though don’t get me wrong, that sucker is coming down off the sites if it’s the last thing I do. Because I did not put it there.) I guess some people wanted to read my book, right? And that’s good. It really is good, yeah. And you know what? If this was actually impacting anything in a positive way? I just might have left it where it was despite how gross I feel about it. (Not saying I would, only that I would’ve thought about it.) But the truth is that it isn’t. There hasn’t been an influx of reviews or ratings anywhere. There hasn’t been an influx of sales. I’d be totally happy with ratings/reviews (even a sentence, if that’s all someone had to say) and a bit of word of mouth. So if anyone who downloaded a copy of my book off some random site I didn’t put it on is actually reading this? I genuinely hope you enjoyed it. I do. If you did? Tell your friends/family. When/if you do so, it would be super great if you could direct them to one of the legal avenues of obtaining my book. If you seriously cannot afford to spend the $2.99 (less than an order at Starbucks, just saying) to obtain my book legally? LET ME KNOW.
  • I feel like I have a lot more I could say, but I’m seriously just upset and can’t decide if I want to go inside and get away from all this or bury myself in writing and get away from all this.

(Coming back WELL after the fact to clear one thing up. Looking back at this post now and seeing the bit where I give out my email, I’m realizing that could potentially be taken the wrong way. I wasn’t saying that I don’t want to get emails from actual PEOPLE. I was talking about ACTUAL spam, which is much more likely to happen by just typing my email address out. Just wanted to be clear.)

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Updates and randomness.

I still haven’t been on here like I should. It took me . . . a very long time to get my sleep schedule back to the normal nocturnal (mission accomplished as of yesterday!). I’ve been startlingly busy, both with the appointments of last week and other things.

THE MODEL FOR MY COVER HAS BEEN FOUND! That is VERY exciting news, and it was very exciting news that came a week or so earlier than I was expecting it to. I received the shortlist of models from the photographer that works with the cover artist (have I mentioned that I love both of them yet??) Sunday night. I chose one (in a manner of speaking) and, as of Monday morning, a photo shoot has been scheduled for October 12th! Until then, it’s just preparations for that (on the photographer’s part) and waiting (on my part).

The model is lovely, seriously, and she looks so close to how I see the MC in my head that it baffled me. It STILL baffles me. I opened the first picture, my eyes went like this – O.O – and I thought, “There she is.”

It was an amazing thought to have.

It has been a remarkably fantastic, enjoyable, and ridiculously exciting experience thus far. It more than makes up for all the stress of everything else to do with preparation and the like (which is another thing I’ve been doing). I really can’t imagine going about this any other way than the way I’m doing it. Not that I haven’t imagined it; I’m just so glad.

I’m still unsure about the when, as there are so many separate moving pieces that it’s kind of hard to tell until those moving pieces all start coming together to form one cohesive moving piece. I’m still aiming for early December, but will update on here if that changes. I SO BADLY want to release it on November 12th (to get the date of 11/12/13 because I’m weird like that), but it’s highly unlikely. Possible, but I have to make sure everything is right.

I’m planning on catching up (or getting as close to that as I can) with reading on here tomorrow night. I actually tried to do that a few days ago, but for some reason WP wasn’t letting me leave comments which made me very angry.

I still haven’t got the pictures taken last week of me, but I got an email that they were to be sent in the mail on Monday so I’m expecting them either tomorrow or the following day.

It’s kind of weird and difficult to adjust to so many wheels turning when I’m so used to the only wheels being the singular one spinning in my head. It’s a definite adjustment and it will take me some time, but I’ll get it all figured out. Be patient with me while I do!

In other news – GEOGRAPHER IS FINALLY COMING CLOSER THAN SIX HOURS AWAY FROM MY LOCATION! I saw that a couple of hours ago and had a miniature freak-out. I missed them (AGAIN) when they were at that six-hour-away-place (due to circumstances at the time), but I WILL NOT miss them when they’re only two hours away. I wasn’t expecting that to happen any time soon, if ever. So that was an absolutely fantastic bit of news.

Next month, I will finally see them. It’s GOING to happen. I can’t justify missing them when they’re only two hours away. If circumstances try to get in the way again, I will borrow one of my cousin’s swords and slash those circumstances into ribbons. I don’t think I’d ever forgive myself if I didn’t go.

Now I’m imagining myself swinging a sword at nothing in the air and shouting curses at circumstances. Ha. Good little entertaining mental image.

Also, I have vowed to never touch a Zynga game ever again. I don’t care how fun they are. Zynga has killed something very dear to my heart (omgpop), and I shall never forgive them for it. I know it won’t make a difference to them, but a vow is a vow and I will hold to it.

That is all!

Self-publishing.

Yeah. I’m doing it.

I know, I know. I said I was going to attempt querying and do the whole shebang (get an agent and we all lived happily ever after with a picket fence and 2.4 dogs, er, kids).

Anyone who’s been following my blog for a little while knows I flopped back and forth about it (don’t we all?). I spent so much time weighing the pros and cons of each – carefully and meticulously – until all cons blurred with pros and pros were cons and cons were . . . um . . . what’s going on? That was basically how it went in my head for a very long time, so I told my husband to make a decision on it. I was content with that for about a day or two, and then the mental-flopping began again. I didn’t want to blog about it because I wanted to get it sorted in my head.

I realized, after speaking with so many people, that this was a decision only I could make.

I started looking into cover artists just for curiosities sake and found one that I LOVED.

For about four days, I did nothing but flop around mentally afterward. I mulled over the word author. I’ve said it before that I will NOT call myself one unless the word aspiring is in front of it. Not yet.

One night, I looked up the definition of it. I kind of had a moment. There was no ‘traditionally published’ in the definition, of course. For one of those days, I contemplated over the word – what it meant, what it meant to other people, and what it meant to me.

Rather than focus on pros and cons, I started focusing on why. Why did I want to be published traditionally? What was drawing me to self-publishing despite the stars and rainbows and glitter of the P and the T together?

When thinking about the why . . . it fell into place.

I don’t need a publishing contract to accomplish what I’ve wanted to accomplish with this. All I want is for ONE person out there to love my books – to make an impact on a person the way that some books have impacted me. I don’t need a P and a T together for that. I don’t.

So I made the decision about a week and a half ago and I haven’t looked back since.

There hasn’t been one single flop from me, or even one second of doubting the choice I’ve made.

I don’t like posting things on here unless they’re set in stone. I’m feeling comfortable with sharing now.

I’ve been arranging things with that love-inducing cover artist and the photographer. I love them both. Seriously. Details are being figured out and things are being put in motion.

My editor had to extend the date of finishing my novel, so I won’t have it back until early to mid-October. I’m trying to get everything done that can be done until that point.

As of now, I’m shooting for early December. That’s going to depend on how everything works out, but now . . . I’ll be able to keep you all updated.

It’s so freaking weird having things moving. I spent such a long time feeling like my entire world was at a standstill.

Anyway. No more waiting. It’s time to start letting them go. I’m worried, of course, but . . . I’m feeling good. I’m excited. I never thought I’d be more excited than stressed/nervous, but . . . I am.

Wish me luck. I’m definitely going to need it.

O.O

I’ve done it . . .

I have actually let another person impact a decision, past what to eat for dinner.

Many of you who actually read my entries on here know that I’ve had a very difficult time trying to figure out if I wanted to attempt to publish traditionally, or if I wanted to self-publish.

None of you know how many times I’ve flopped back and forth about it. Seriously – I kid you not – every other day it will be the one, then the other. Throw small presses into the mix and you’ve got a very not-fun mix of things to flop over (and over and over and OVER) with. I’m sure many of you have been in that boat before. But I’m sure most of you – after doing the research – have been able to make the decision that was best for you. I couldn’t. I’m not kidding. There are pros and cons to all sides, which anybody who does a Google search will know. All those pros and cons evened themselves out with me.

When talking to people (especially my husband) about it, they tend to just go along with whatever you say. That’s not bad. Most people understand that a person will do whatever they want in any given situation, and trust that a person is capable of making the best decision for themselves. So when I call you at two in the morning almost screaming my lungs out about how I’m GOING TO SELF-PUBLISH, of COURSE you’re going to think, “That’s the best thing for her to do.”

I’ve done it. Yes. I have made those calls.

I have made those calls, slept on it, then woke up with a different outlook.

And if you read my post Balance, then you know (where I’m talking about my hair) that my husband is THE ULTIMATE agreer. Yes, I know agreer is not a word, but it should be.

So (after going through this for months on end) while laying in bed yesterday morning before sleep (yes, I said that correctly – I am nocturnal), I caved. I said, “Husband, I NEED your input here. All of these pros and cons are even. HELP ME, FOR GOD’S SAKE!” That is not verbatim, but it’s close enough to pass.

He thought on it. Just now, we had a conversation about it.

He wants me to try to get an agent. And he wants me to do that so I don’t lose my mind. Getting an agent . . . well . . . it’s damn near impossible to do, I know. I don’t think I REALLY realized how damn near impossible it actually WAS until recently. I’ve realized. The likelihood is . . . not good. I’ve accepted it.

I’ve accepted it and am backup-planning in my head.

But you know what?

Until my editor (WOOO) gets done with my book in . . . let’s see . . . my brain is NOT working right now. A little over two months. Yes. She’s starting it August 1st and will get done at the end of the month. So until she gets done with it, I will get to focus on my writing rather than stressing to the high heavens. I’ll take that.

So when I fail with getting an agent (I’m not being negative – only realistic) . . . I will cross that bridge when I get there. The good thing about being realistic is that you ALWAYS have a backup plan. But now, I’ve got a plan BEFORE the backup plan is necessary.

Thanks Husband.

How strange it was to just say, “Alright. If that’s what you think I should do . . . it’s what I’ll do.”

If you know me at all, then you will know that DOES NOT HAPPEN. Just saying.

Sorry. Figured I should get all that out there. It’s off to bed for me.

Hope everyone is having a lovely day.

🙂

Publishing: Which Way Do You Go?

I attempted to write this entry a week or two ago.  When I say attempted, what I really mean is that I actually did write the entry in its entirety, but then decided not to hit the Publish button because I wasn’t satisfied with the feel of it.  Despite making all of the points I wanted to make, I’m extremely glad that I was unhappy with it at the time.  Now, I have a few new things to add.  And now, I intend to leave out all of the nonsense…or most of it, anyway.

Given how close the first book in my series is to absolute completion (and what I mean by that is readiness to be published, not finished with writing), I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about publication.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s something I’ve thought about a lot over the past several years – even before this second series started working itself out in my head.  Of course, when you finish writing one – or even sometimes before that – it starts crossing your mind.  And those thoughts begin slowly as, “Maybe I should try to get this published.”  They soon transform into, “Yeah, I should definitely try to get this published.”  Then, once you’ve discovered a magical gem that was hidden somewhere in the depths of your being, it is finally, “This NEEDS to be published.”

When you reach the point where you’re either serious enough, or curious enough about publication, you begin doing research.  The very first thing you learn about?  Agents.  Agents are the heart of the publishing industry, pumping the blood – a story – through all of the appropriate avenues.  Agents help you get your book completely ready.  They handle the contracts you couldn’t begin to understand.  They support you.  They do everything.  They get you published.  That’s what you learn.

For a long time, I thought that was the only way.  Self-publishing was only for people who COULDN’T get published otherwise, or so I believed.  And I will go ahead and say that I’m more than aware that a lot of people who self-publish do it because they CAN’T get an agent, for whatever reason.

When you begin to dig deeper into everything – the way it all works, all of the options…everything – you realize that there are options.  There are pros and cons to both sides.  I’m not knowledgeable enough about the industry to list all of them as fact; I can only list off the big issues that are currently swirling around in my own head, where they pertain to my own work.

I will tackle the self-publishing first because, to me, it’s the easiest to tackle.

You pay for everything, right?  You pay for your cover art.  You pay for this, you pay for that.  It ends up being quite a lot of money, unless a couple thousand dollars is pocket change to you, or unless you’re extremely gifted at formatting and design (I am not gifted at either of those things).  There’s the – absolutely legitimate – concern that you won’t even make enough money back to cover the initial expense of it.  To me?  The money it would take is nowhere near pocket change.  It’s a big investment.

At the same time, in order to get people to buy your books – because how could they even know who you were? – you have to self-promote shamelessly.

Do I like the idea of that?  Uhm, yes, in a sense.  I like it that people are passionate about what they do.  Do I want to do it?  I am bashful and backwards.  You take a guess.  Am I passionate about what I do?  You have no idea how much.

Would I get over my bashfulness and backwardness to help my books?  No, but I would do what I needed to anyway.  I yam who I yam.  I don’t want to change who I am; I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t.  I like being introverted; I like sitting alone in a shed with as little human interaction as possible.  When I don’t talk, I don’t over-analyze every word that I said.  I don’t get nervous and sweat profusely.  Don’t we all like being comfortable?  Again, I would still do whatever I had to…it’s all just a matter of how happy I would be with it.

Alright…So NOW, the big question is…

Would my books ever reach their full potential if I chose to self-publish?  I don’t know very many people to be like, “HEY!  READ MY BOOKS!”

This is another one of those things that sends this horrendous sinking feeling into my stomach, worrying that something I do will be the reason my books fail.  Before, it was a concern about the crappy way that I write.  I’ve come to accept the fact that, while my blogging (and texting, and messaging) is horrible – my book writing?  Well…it’s really not SO bad.  It’s not great.  It could be better.

It could be a LOT worse.

Which gets me to the gigantic flashing neon sign in my head right now, when it comes to going the traditional route.  This was already the source of The Big Question Mark (and has been for the past few weeks when the realization actually struck me [and yes, it gets its own name]), but I can thank one of my friends for unintentionally solidifying it for me.

Editing.

I woke up and laid there on that day a week or two ago, resisting the urge to groan about being awake – as I do every morning (or afternoon, depending on the day) – and had one of those eye-twitch-inducing revelations that woke me right up.

What if I get an agent, then they send my book off to an editor that changes things without asking me?  What if they ruin everything?

That was the, “Oh fdhc,” moment that day.  The solidification changed the way I thought about it.

There were no expletives running around in my head, which is a feat in and of itself, as there are almost constantly expletives floating around in my head (even when I’m in a good mood).  There were no simpleminded, one-sided thoughts.

Not everyone is going to like my books (I’d realized that a LONG time ago), and that’s fine.  More importantly…not everyone is going to appreciate them, understand what I was going for, the feel I want them to have, etc.

A good, solid editing is important.  I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to get a ‘professional’ editor to do it.  What makes them professional anyway?  As long as you have someone who understands the written word – the way words are used, the way sentences flow, so on and so forth – what does it matter?  You can’t do that yourself.  You can do a damn good job editing your own work, but you still need other people to help in some way.  They see things that you won’t.  They’ll catch your too instead of who.  They’ll find the places where you thought you were being descriptive as all get-out (you can see it in your head…never mind the fact that you left those little details out), and really weren’t.  Editing is important.  It’s key to releasing a good book.

But.

There comes a point in time when you’re editing yourself where, if you touch it one more time, you’ll be doing more harm than good.

There also comes a point in time where anyone else touching it will absolutely destroy what you’ve done.  You have to know when that point is.

I’ll compare it to a beautiful, antique cabinet.  There is a difference between refinishing and slopping a bunch of paint over something.  There is a BIG difference between those two things.

This is where I’m torn, you see.

I want my character’s story to be told as well as it possibly can be.  Don’t we all want that for the characters that we nurture (sometimes torture), and love?

You have to know where that line is located.  You have to respect that line.  You have to respect yourself.

You have to know what you want out of the thing that you love so dearly and completely.

The most important thing is that I have to stay true to myself, and to my writing.  I want the story told as well as it can be told, but – above that – the story has to be the one that I wrote.

I can’t – and will not – change the way that I write, or the focus of my stories to satisfy anyone.  What in the world would be the point of doing this if I was that quick to say, “Of course you’re right,” without giving it a second thought and asking THE most important question you can ask yourself when another person has looked at your work.  Are they right?

More often than not, yes.  Yes they are.

To me, there is such a difference between adding a word, taking out a useless sentence, or moving things around and then completely twisting and distorting who I am as a writer.

I can sit there and drive myself insane all day long, worrying that I will be the cause of my book’s failure.

But the fact of the matter is…I would rather be the cause of that by staying true to myself as a person, and as a writer, than throwing every bit of myself out of the window because someone else suggested it.  I can’t do it.  I won’t do it.  If it’s a sinking ship, I will ride that baby down to the bottom of the ocean.  Do you want to know why?  Because someone out there will get what I was trying to do.  Someone out there will appreciate the characters that I love.  Someone out there will GET IT.  I would rather them get me than get some painted up, antique cabinet.

And that, my friends, is why I don’t know if I want to publish traditionally.  Could I?  Yes.  I believe wholeheartedly that I could.

WILL I?

I’m not sure.  But I can tell you right now that, if that happens…I will not let anyone destroy the integrity of my work.  Not to make it more marketable.  Not to make it easier to stomach.  Not to make it easier to understand.  Not for ANY reason in the entire world.

That’s just the way it is.

And now I’m hearing Bruce Hornsby in my head.

Could be worse.