Monday, February 22, 2016

The Dilemma of Indie Publishing #writerprobs #editing

Have you noticed the glaring Catch 22 in Indie publishing? I have, and it's starting to get on my nerves.

Indie writers have a tough career. One made harder by certain pervasive stereotypes. While I understand what drives those opinions, only two of the issues make sense. The third is frustrating and unfair.

photo credit: Another Morning in Town (1907) via photopin (license)

The first is based on antiquated thinking from the era when traditional publishing was the only option. People on the outside assumed if you weren't contracted it was because you didn't write well enough. We all know that's not true. Think of the dozens of editors kicking themselves for rejecting JK Rowling. As more Indie titles pile on the NYT Best Sellers list, opinions will change.

photo credit: Vader's Autograph via photopin (license) 

The second is based on stories people have read. You can't blame readers for being upset when they open a book and get a face full of garbage.

Let's be honest. Some books are bad. There is a population of authors in every genre who have no passion for the craft of writing. Their passion lies in the bragging rights of being published. We've all seen them. They adhere to the lowest possible standard and put out such poor-quality books, most authors would be too ashamed to publish them even as a free read. Their indolence gives the rest of the Indie world a bad name, but they'll never admit it. 

There's also no cure for it. Lazy people infest every industry. Ours is no exception.

The third is the one that bothers me. It's shaming Indie authors for not hiring professional editors.

Most of us know a significant population of authors earns less each year than people mopping the floors at your neighborhood Walmart. Articles about the downhill slide of royalties light up a situation made worse by the sudden decline: the cost of a quality freelance editor. 

Let's look at the numbers. Reports say the average Indie release sells 250 copies over the life of the book. (Keep in mind, that number is from before the Great Deluge of 2014. I'm positive the average is much lower now.) You can do the math. 70% royalties on a $2.99 ebook, multiplied by 250 books gives you barely more than $500. Subtract the cost of the cover which is anywhere from $80 to $350. That leaves an amount so small it's hardly worth the effort of writing the book. It's even more depressing when you realize that amount is spread out over the life of the novel.

Despite this pittance, most experienced editors still charge $1,500 to review an average-length manuscript. Some considerably more than that. Those unreasonable prices push Indie authors to do one of two things. They can go to a less expensive person (who also has no professional experience and returns a manuscript still full of plot holes and grammatical errors) or skip the editor altogether.

I understand the concept of people wanting to be paid for their time and talent. I also understand that freelance editors do this for a living. Unfortunately, they're on the same cruise ship as the rest of us. Everybody's profits are down and clinging to a price list that doesn't correspond to the earnings of the average Indie author creates a problem on both sides. 

We can't expect people to have their books professionally edited when the cost for a single manuscript is so far out of reach they'd have to skip paying the mortgage for two months to afford it. Editors can't survive when their customer base can't afford to hire them.

Some people in the industry think authors should be the only ones to make sacrifices. If they can't afford the expense of publishing a well-written, well-edited book, they shouldn't be publishing in the first place. It's a luxury, not a right. That's a blog for someone else.

All I can say is there's a disconnect and shaming authors for not meeting demands they can't afford doesn't help. We need a middle ground that gives the many novelists who want a qualified editor the opportunity to hire one. Preferably without driving the editors into bankrupcty along with everyone else.

What's a little treachery among friends?
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Valentine's Day Blog Hop Winners!

We have winners!

Here are the winner's of last weekend's blog hop. 

Grand prize - $30 Amazon Gift Card
Julie R.
Any ebook by author Lynley Wayne
Virginia H.

Any ebook in Jessie G's Sizzling Miami or Devils Pride Series
Charlotte M.

Any ebook by author Stephen del Mar
Jen CW

Lights Out Valentine ebook by Neil Plakcy
Fay W.

The Harvest: Taken ebook by M.A. Church

A Knight to Remember ebook by Anne Barwell
Kimberley S.

Gray and Harrison ebook by Tracey Steinbach
Ravyn B.

The Way Life Turns ebook by April Kelley & Bronwyn Heeley
Milo G.

Rustic Melody ebook by Nic Starr

Any ebook by author Sharita Lira
Brandy L.

6 Days to Valentine ebook by LE Franks
Jenn D.

Brotherly Love: A Dirty Dames Anthology (Stepbrother Romance) ebook by Verity James & Cassie Donoghue
Jo Moon

Rhythm and Blue ebook by DP Denman

Thank you to everyone who entered! Winners will be contacted via email with details about collecting their prize.

What's a little treachery among friends?
Get your copy today!

Friday, February 12, 2016

#LGBT Valentine's Day Blog Hop #giveaway #FREE

Welcome to the LGBT Valentine's Day blog hop!

We're celebrating the messy, inspiring, frustrating, healing thing that is love with a great big giveaway.

We have some great prizes for you this year:

$30 Amazon Gift Card
Winner's choice of any ebook by Lynley Wayne
Winner's choice of any book in Jessie G's Sizzling Miami or Devils Pride Series
Winner's choice of any ebook by by Stephen del Mar
eBook copy of Lights Out Valentine by Neil Plakcy
eBook copy of The Harvest: Taken by M.A. Church
eBook copy of A Knight to Remember by Anne Barwell
eBook copy of Gray and Harrison by Tracey Steinbach
eBook copy of The Way Life Turns by April Kelley & Bronwyn Heeley
eBook copy of Rustic Melody by Nic Starr
eBook copy of 6 Days to Valentine by LE Franks
eBook copy of Brotherly Love: A Dirty Dames Anthology (Stepbrother Romance) by Verity James & Cassie Donoghue
eBook copy of Rhythm and Blue by DP Denman

Hop by the other blogs for more chances to enter!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Take the Pledge! #diversity #writing #readerprobs

It's no secret there are trends in writing. Right now bookshelves are full of vampires, shifters, doms, and bounty hunters. Who can say what they'll be full of in 20 years? Possibly still vampires, shifters, doms, and bounty hunters.

The thing about trends is no one knows when the next one will strike because authors rarely get a bulletin in advance. Someone writes a story, readers go crazy for it, and half the authors of that genre pop to their feet like a gang of meerkats with a collective 'oh!' of inspiration.

Several months later variations of that same theme start to flow out to readers. 

For the last year, (probably longer, I just hadn't  noticed) I've witnessed a rarely seen phenomenon. Readers are begging for a specific story. It's a constant cry that is getting louder.

We want diversity, damn it!

A growing collection of readers is sick of books about white men. They want something fresh, something realistic. After all, cities are full of people who aren't white and aren't men. Why not write about those?

The loudest voices are coming from younger readers. In a few years, those won't be young readers anymore.They'll be our readers. Are we ready for them?

Since readers have been kind enough to tell us in advance what they want, I intend to respect the request. At the moment, my books are predominately about men because you can't write gay romance without them. I have transgender and genderfluid characters in almost every book, but that still leaves room for other bits of diversity and I have no excuse not to add them. 

I'm taking the diversity pledge. Will you?

I am in the middle of a series (Blue) that I expect to go on for at least a couple more books. I can't change the main characters, but I can add others. So, effective February 2016 I officially pledge to do something about the lack of diversity in my books. As of the third installment in the Blue Series readers will begin to see other voices in the background, other skin colors, other genders.

Since I'm writing about people who live in Vancouver, B.C. adding those voices will bring the stories closer to reality. No one would ever accuse that corner of British Columbia of being too white. For the last 20 years, it's been a contest between Asian and Caucasian for the title of most dominant ethnic background. By all rights, half of my characters should be Asian with regular appearances from blacks and Hispanics.

I intend to do something about that.

Stay tuned!  

What's a little treachery among friends?
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rhythm and Blue Is Here! #gayrom #NewRelease

Rhythm and Blue is live!

The eagerly awaited sequel to the best-selling book, Blue, is now available on Amazon and All Romance eBooks.

Get your copy today!

What’s a little treachery among friends?

Blue's career is gaining speed, shaking up his almost quiet life. The unexpected success brings international recognition and sparks jealousy in a once trusted friend, shifting the precarious balance of ego and amity.

The increasing demands of Blue’s schedule prompt Brady to make changes of his own, trading the comfort of his obsessive routine for something less predictable.

Blue needs stability. Brady needs time to adjust. Can they pull it together before success creates more casualties?

Don’t miss the gripping sequel to the best-selling novel Blue.

Official Playlist


Blue woke to classical music on Brady's clock radio. The music stopped. The bedside lamp snapped on, and he rolled to his stomach to hug his pillow. He smiled when Brady kissed his shoulder, and drifted in the space where dreams and reality blended, waiting for the sound of the shower.

The normal routine had Brady clean and dressed for work before Blue got out of bed. He had nowhere to be at three-thirty in the morning. He could lounge under the covers until something as important as a craving for coffee or a full bladder lured him into the day, living the life of a largely kept man.

He didn't know how much Brady made a year or what he had in the bank. He didn't think he had the right to ask those questions. He only knew Brady was good at spoiling him.

He drifted near sleep before the smell of coffee coaxed his eyes open. Brady stood by the bed with a breakfast tray and a smile.

"What's this?" He pushed up on one elbow.

"I thought I'd bring you breakfast in bed." Brady set the tray on the nightstand.

Blue plucked the steaming mug from its place near a plate of sourdough toast with a generous dollop of Mary’s homemade strawberry jam.

"You thought you'd bring me breakfast in bed because...?" He sat up and took a sip of coffee, eyes on Brady.

"No reason."

Blue watched him over the top of his mug, waiting for the truth. Brady was romantic and lived for random surprises over nothing. However, his favorite bread, favorite jam, and coffee at four o'clock on a random morning felt too much like buttering him up.

"Except?" he prodded.

"I'll tell you that part later. Enjoy your breakfast."

He raised his chin to accept the offered kiss and tracked Brady when he strode back out of the room. He took a bite of toast and tried to guess Brady's news while he chewed. There were too many possibilities. He put down his half-eaten toast, tossed back the blankets, and crawled out of bed.

It was chilly without covers to warm him and he stepped into the closet to pull on one of Brady's rarely worn sweatshirts and a pair of jeans. He padded barefoot down the hall to Brady's office.

"I think I want to hear whatever you're trying to break to me in phases," he said.

Get it now!