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Re: Say Hi, I'm new thread Hi!

I'm new on the forum. I'm a fantasy author, but I have nothing published yet. I'm working to change that.

A little bit about myself:

I grew up in Georgia, USA. My love affair with creativity began at a very young age. I began playing piano at around 8 years old and branched into vocal performance and guitar. I penned (penciled, actually) my first sci-fi novel during 5th grade. Looking back, this book was terrible (and really not long enough to be a novel. Probably a Novella at best). But I'm proud to site it as my first big literary accomplishment.

I successfully left the state without an accent when I was 18 to tackle the world on my own in New England. After attending Berklee Collage of Music for a grand 4 semesters, I left and spent the better part of the last 10 years gigging, touring, recording albums, and producing/engineering albums in the metal and hard rock circuit.

Despite my efforts to sabotage myself at every turn, I ended up with a wonderful wife and a three year old son. I still live in Massachusetts and I still work as an audio engineer, but I've put aside touring so that I can spend the critical development years with my family.

I'd always planned to return to writing. And a few years back, I hit the books. Hard. I read dozens of books on writing, listened to all the popular podcasts, and read many a blog post on the subject. I read and re-read and re-read and re-read my favorite books, dissecting them and figuring out how and why they work. I read new books with a whole new perspective. And I wrote. A lot.

I'm at the point where I feel like I can tell a half-decent story.

I hope to be able to positively contribute to this forum and connect with other fantasy authors and fans.

You can find me on twitter if you want to connect there too: @jimwilbourne
And you can also check out my website jimwilbourne.com where I write weekly articles on creativity and my developing novel.

I really hope to make some friends here.
I can't wait to get to know some of you.

January 14, 2016, 01:49:58 AM
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Kingdom of Ghaya artwork Here's some artwork from my Fantasy Series.

It depicts some environmental artwork of a place called Ghaya.

I hope you like it!

http://www.jimwilbourne.com/stuff/2015/3/29/development-diary-3

February 05, 2016, 01:59:18 AM
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Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing. About 5 years ago, the general recommendation would be this:
Don't self-publish unless you don't care if anyone reads it.

Today, we live in a very different world.

But first, let's start by saying this: self-publishing isn't new. It's a business model, not a shortcut.

You can open a Dunkin Donuts franchise.
Or you can open your own small Coffee shop.

You don't look down at the small coffee shop owner and say: "You should have applied for that general manager job. You would have had all your infrastructure built. You're a sucker."

When it comes down to it, it's about knowing your "why."
Why are you self-publishing?

If it's because you're looking for a quick buck, it's likely a terrible decision. There's often nothing quick about publishing a book and often few books ever turn a profit. And this isn't exclusive to self-publishing. Traditionally published books often flop even ones that should do well.


Quote
In a sense you're right, but there's also another big difference: if you're traditionally published people will assume that your work is of at least acceptable quality, whereas if you're self-publishing people will need more persuasion to give it a go.

Excellent point. A self published author has to find a way to market their books in a way that proves their worth first. Then with that trust build an audience. A traditionally published book has the publishing house vouch for the work, but the author still has to build the audience from there. More risk for the self published author, but potentially more reward if they can build an audience of loyal readers.
Yeah definitely - and that's another thing, as self-pub you have to start building your audience from nothing, whereas the traditional publishers can get their new authors' names out there to their existing audience.  :-\

Let's work our way through this the way that self-published authors see it:

Does a Traditional deal mean "people" will trust that you are acceptable quality?
Yes and no. It depends who these "people" are and which people are most important to you.

If by "people," you mean "critics," "literary award foundations," and many "professional review mediums," then yes. It definitely makes a difference. And if those are the people you feel are most important for you to gain respect from, by all means DO NOT self-publish.

If by "people" you mean "average readers," then not so much. I doubt that most readers know who publishes the books they read. And why would they? Apart from a few smaller presses who specialize in a very narrow niche of books or styles, the publisher is completely irrelevant. The reader will remember an author's name, however. That is the brand that insures quality, not the publisher's name.

A self-published author may need a bit more persuasion in order to get a reader to try them out. I agree. But, as a self-published author you have the control to persuade. Traditional published authors are tasked to market their own books with their hands tied behind their backs.

There is a misconception that landing a traditional deal means you get a five or six-figure marketing plan, guaranteed. In reality, most authors have to do basically the exact same things that self-published authors have to do. Authors still have to promote their books. They have to build their own fan base. They have to interact with their fans. You don't typically get a team of people to do these things for you. Traditional publishing is not a red carpet.

And to top it all off: you can lose control of your work for life. So if the publisher decides to take it off the market or not promote it at all for years on end, the AUTHOR gets screwed, not the publisher. They have a million other books pulling in revenue.

Again, let's go back to your "why." Before you can decide, you have to decide what success looks like to you.

Why self-publish?
Why traditionally publish?
What will self-publishing give you?
What will traditional publishing give you?

Are you a control freak? Or do you like to hand off work to other people?
Do you like doing multiple parts of a business? Or do you want to keep your hands out of some of the administrative details?
Are you entrepreneurial? Or are you someone who likes to work for a large business?
Do you need to make money as a writer? Or is this purely a hobby? Is it somewhere in between?
Do you need the approval of an organization to feel success? Or do you need the approval of fans to feel success?
Is your book lead gen for a bigger business move or service? Or is your book the primary product?
Are you flexible enough to role with the punches of a changing industry? Or do you want to ignore it all and focus only on craft?
Are you a risk-taker? Or are you extremely risk-adverse?
Are you willing to pay for professional collaborators (editors, cover designers)? Or can you not afford invest in yourself?
Are you an extremely slow writer? Or are you fast enough to meet demand pressures and don't want a larger company slowing you down?
Can you self manage? Or do you need someone to manage you?
Do you have a lifestyle that requires you to have a large income? Or is your lifestyle modest with a low overhead?
Can you make big business decisions and have the wits to pivot when something goes wrong? Or do you need something more straight-forward?

I could go on and on.

Know yourself.
Know your goals.
Know what success looks like to you.
Know and understand the business and be willing to spend months putting in the time to learn how to run a business.

Do what feels right to you.

You can always try it another way.

April 24, 2016, 12:45:23 AM
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Re: Why I don't generally recommend self-publishing. Over the past few years since this was originally made, I've met so many authors absolutely killing it by self-publishing. I even make extra income by working with some of them (Sterling & Stone - sterlingandstone.net).

So many authors don't understand how to sell a book, how to market a book, and what their key conversion elements are. You have to write an excellent book, and then put on your publisher hat and then think like a publisher.

From the six and seven figure authors that I know personally, their best advice is:

1. Build a mailing list (using best practices and a good cookie), and understand how to build a proper sales funnel.

2. Write in a series. It's much easier to get a reader to pick up your next book if it's in a series because they're already invested in the characters. Writing standalones makes it much more difficult.

3. Don't cheap out on your cover. Covers sell books. It's the number one conversion element, followed by product description and reviews. Also, make sure your description is actually a product description, not a book report. You're writing sales copy, not art.

4. If you can, write multiple books in your series, but don't release them until you have at least three written, then start releasing them in relatively quick secession. On Amazon there are 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day cliffs where the algorithm stops selling your book as much and the novel will need to float or sink. Staying ahead of these cliffs will give you a huge boost.

Lindsay Buroker has been killing it and has been for years, but wondered whether or not her success was more or less a fluke. So a few years later, she started a pen name and used the best practices that she learned over the years (and didn't tell her fans about it). Here are her results one month after launching and 10 weeks after launching.

http://lindsayburoker.com/amazon-kindle-sales/pen-name-launch-first-month-earnings-marketing/
http://lindsayburoker.com/amazon-kindle-sales/pen-name-update-at-10-weeks/

Doing well as an independent author is not only possible, but you can do it. Lindsay proves it here because she did it twice. And the second time (being smarter than she was when she first started), she earned more in one month than most writers earn in a few years.

It's never been a better time to be a writer. Your options are wide open compared to what it used to be. Learn your craft. Pay for quality editing. Pay for a quality book cover. Make smart marketing decisions. Be patient, and focus on building up multiple streams of income. You can do it. It's not an overnight success career, but neither is traditional publishing.

Fantasy-Faction didn't ask for permission from a corporation to build this website write. Authors don't have to ask either.

April 15, 2018, 12:56:14 AM
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