Know Your Business: Indie eBook or Traditional Publishing

So I'm reading about the indie eBook publishing revolution till my brain is numb. But that's part of being a good author--being a solid business person. You have to know your business as well as your craft. After all, if I can't afford to stay in business, I won't produce much writing!

My advice to fellow authors is to do your research and think very carefully about which direction you should to go to be published: indie ePublishing, such as Amazon, or traditional, such as one of the Big 6 NY houses (which aren’t really six, but that's another conversation).

Did you know:
10-20% of Barnes & Noble's Top 100 come from PubIt?
Amazon owns around 80% of ebook marketand about 20% of print in the UK ?

Now there's a lot of information to wade through about ePublishing vs. traditional publishing, so I've got a few links to get you started.

1. First off, read the sales stats for eBooks. This is an industry that's doubling sales every few months. My two favorites are:
B) (these are last year’s stats, but shows the pattern)

2. Second, know how readers find eBooks so you understand where your audience could be:

3. Next, read how some compare the traditional model with the independent model. Warning: despite the rants, there's a lot of logic to their cases. Mostly, writers have been getting the worst of the profit margins for a long time and the new model offers them a way to greater financial success and personal control.
A) Kris Rusch: (wade through the 1st half to get to the meat of the article)
B) And her husband, Dean Wesley Smith, on thinking like a publisher:

4. Now you need to understand whether YOU should indie publish or not. Whether you have a backlist (many books already written and published and the rights have reverted back to you) or you are new and therefore a frontlist author. Bob Mayer gives one of the most frank observations of this topic at

5. And if you need examples of some agents eliminating the traditional NY publisher middleman from the model...

These articles should be enough to get you started understanding the basis for this revolution and why you need to think for yourself so you don't fall into the same old pitfalls authors have been experiencing for years.

Frankly, I'd like to believe my readers and my students have the strength of self-esteem to NEVER work for free as an author (don't make me have to hunt you down and smack you upside the head!)

But I think the real lesson here is that it's important to stay open to change. And not to be afraid to take your career into your own hands. We're the only ones who are responsible for our success and failures.

Personally, I have submissions with several agents as we speak. And I have a couple publishing houses in mind that I'd like to target. (Berkeley, are you out there?) But I can't afford to be a fool either. Even if I get offers, I have to weigh the financial benefits and risks to my career. That and I have to answer to my partner and most patient husband.

So I'm keeping that indie eBook door open for now... And that's the best way to manifest the future: to believe that I'm going to publish means I WILL be published. Either way, traditional or indie, it's true.

In the meantime, our job remains the same: write amazing stories that capture your readers. And love every moment of being an author, both the craft and the business.

Cheers to all our successes! And please share this to your fellow authors and tell me your favorite sites/articles for info on these subjects...
Your Editor Devil

Change Your Flat Tire Verbs

If you're struggling with creating more active verbs in your novel, one way to make it easier is to do an edit pass where you switch out verbs based on which sensory experiences you want to highlight, either on behalf of character development or setting or tone of the book.

Where to start? To be verbs are the obvious choices when hunting and eliminating. Then there are weak or everyday verbs, like walk, run, see, hear, talk, breathe, eat, smell, yell.

If I want to create a fog and gaslight London, I'm going to use moody verbs. Instead of "walk" I might choose "slink" or "glide" or "trudge" depending on the character. If it's a bubbly YA novel, I might use more upbeat tone in the verb, like "bop along" or "skip" or "bounce". My husband tells me I don't walk, I bounce. And since I often wear a ponytail, that bounces too. He thinks it's cute and adorable. Great. So much for ever looking hot and sultry!

Back to changing out your flat tire verbs.... Let's look at a more intricate example, let's change verbs based on character development. Say I'm introducing my photographer character, Jules, so in those first few pages there might be more visually-oriented verbs. To balance these out, I'm going to add that she is a very tactically-oriented person. And because she used to be a war photographer and now has PTSD, the world easily ramps up a few notches on the tension scale for her.

So, using this example profile, Jules doesn't “run” she “sprints/bolts/flies”. She doesn't "see" skyscrapers in NY she "fixates on the masses of glass and steel cutting the sky and dominating over her space." Okay, dramatic, but you get the idea.

When in doubt, choose a more dramatic verb than you intended, and then scale down. It's easier to find the right word and balance this way. And if you are using Word, you can test your Passive Voice percentage (i.e. the use of to be verbs) by selecting the "Show Readability Statistics" option embedded in the Spelling- and Grammar –check. This post’s content earned a 0% passive voice.

Go forth and edit, lads and lasses.
Your Editor Devil