Indie Author Day Report

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Indie Authors!

Indie Author Day at my library was a success! Ten people attended, just the right amount for our small meeting room. Most of them were indies who had already published a book or two, or were working on one. So we had a very collegial discussion.

Author Rob Cerio presented on “How to Know When Your Manuscript Is Ready” – technically as well as artistically.

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“The” Rob Cerio

Romance Author Farrah Rochon spoke about being a “hybrid author,” one who publishes both with a traditional publisher and independently. When the rights to her early novels for Harlequin Romance reverted back to her, she re-published them independently, while continuing to work with other New York publishers.

One thing Farrah said which I found very interesting, is that she feels her trad-published books provide her with discovery — marketing, being in brick and mortar bookstores — but her indie books are where she earns more money these days. That seems like a sound strategy, I wonder how many authors are trying that.

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Farrah Rochon

Author Zach Bartlett, who is also one of my librarian coworkers, presented on working with a small press, which is kind of in between indie and trad: you can get into bookstores, get professional book production, but you usually don’t earn an advance, and have to do a lot of marketing yourself.

I also want to thank my workshop partner, Xavier DeSoto, who came by to help me set up for the event, and took the pictures. Thanks, Xavier, that support meant a great deal to me!

We also watched several education videos from the Indie Author day website, on topics like designing a book cover and marketing. They had good information.

There is some other useful stuff on that website, which we didn’t get to, or wasn’t appropriate for the venue. Ingram Spark, the POD publishing arm of the book distributor Ingram, has a podcast about indie publishing, and there are a couple episodes of it there, on Print on Demand publishing, and on using ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers, the UPC code for a paper book that allows it to be ordered and moved through the various retail systems, including library purchasing.)

There are two videos about leveraging Wattpad for your writing platform, which I found very interesting. Wattpad has always gotten very mixed reviews, but it obviously works for some people. It even has its own publishing imprint now, and a development arm that shops Wattpadder’s stories to Hollywood for film and TV. Are Wattpadders being fairly compensated for that? I don’t know, you would certainly have to do your research.

There is a PDF “Guide to Self Publishing” from Elite Authors, which has some solid information in it, if you can hack your way through the hard, hard sell on the first five or so pages.

You can also see what went on at other libraries across the country on social media by using the hashtag #indieauthorday2019 on Twitter and Instagram.

All in all, my day went very well and I hope to do the same next year. Next year, Indie Author Day is on November 7, and it is being co-marketed with Nanowrimo. So we have to think of some way of combining the two. Maybe a day-long write-in, with breaks for workshops, games, and food.

Attendees, stay in touch. Let’s work together over the course of the year. I hope to see you all next year!

Thoughts?

I heard Billy Joel’s song “Only the Good Die Young” on the radio. And I thought, “Man, this is kind of ugly. I don’t think this would fly in today’s climate. Mocking this girl’s religion and pressuring her into sex?”

And yet. It’s just a song. Maybe we have gotten too sensitive these days.

Thoughts?

Indie Author Day

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I will be hosting Indie Author Day at my library tomorrow from 11:00 AM — 3:00 PM.  Please stop in if you are interested in self or independent publishing, and to get an idea of what’s involved.

Local authors Farrah Rochon, Rob Cerio, Zach Bartlett and myself will be presenting.

Robert E. Smith Library, 6301 Canal Blvd, corner of Harrison Avenue.

Happy #indieauthorday to all!

Putting the Brand Out There

Some of the people in my writer’s workshop, and others, have started a second group to work on marketing our indie books together.  We have been meeting to study up on indie marketing and draw up actions plans to publicize our books.

The first thing to do, is to provide a professional presence for your books and yourself as a writer on social media.  Facebook, Twitter, whatever you like to use. A website/blog is also a essential.  Look for some changes at this blog in the future.  For example, I changed the primary domain name from atlantisfallen.net to kirstencorby.com, to reflect the fact that my current work in progress is not the next book in my imagined “Atlantis Fallen” series, but a science fiction novel.  The website is currently about all my writing, not just Atlantis Fallen.

The next step is to create a Facebook page:  Kirsten Corby, Author. Again, advertising myself, the author, not just Atlantis Fallen, the books.  I can always create an Atlantis Fallen Group or Page later, once I finish the next book, which is currently called, The Gift of the Lion . 

I’m thinking about Twitter or Instagram.  I kind of hate Twitter, but it has a strong #WritingCommunity based around that hashtag — it even has a newsletter.  Instagram has a friendlier vibe.  But the fact is, I’m already wondering about good, useful content to post on FB and more regularly here.  Not sure I can generate worthwhile content for four different platforms.

I’ll update if I add those platforms.  But probably, it’s better to concentrate on what I already have, this blog, and my new FB page.  Please visit it and tell me what you think: Kirsten Corby, Author.

Oh, there’s also Goodreads — I have a page there — but that’s a whole other thing. We’ll talk about that later.

 

One Giant Leap For All Mankind

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  Neil Armstrong made his one giant leap 50 years and about one hour ago.

I at 53 am just barely old enough to remember the Apollo program.  I remember watching Apollo 11 lift off from Cape Canaveral with my parents and my newborn baby brother, on our little black and white TV.  I knew enough to know it was terribly, terribly important, although I didn’t understand why.  I do not remember the the actual landing, I don’t know why.  Maybe I didn’t see it; it was way past my bedtime. I was only three years old.

But I learned about Apollo 11 by reading the commemorative issue of Newsweek magazine that my mom kept and carefully preserved, and is still at her house.

I am old enough to remember the later missions.  I clearly remember seeing incredibly vivid live color pictures of Apollo 17 bouncing around the Taurus-Littrow valley in their “moon buggy,” as it was nicknamed, the Lunar Rover.  I also remember thinking that we were going to see a lot more of that, that we would build a moonbase and it would become a regular thing.  And being excited.

I loved the space program as a kid. I wanted to be an astronaut when I was tiny, not a nurse or a mommy — until I suddenly realized that my eyesight was far too bad to ever become a jet pilot, and so I would never be allowed into the space program.  (That was still the case back then.) Lego had a giant “Moonbase” set that I wanted so badly, but never got because it was hella expensive.

My second grade reader was all about the space program, and I learned about the Mercury and Gemini programs that preceded Apollo, about the astronauts and their capsules — Friendship 7, Freedom 7, Liberty Bell 7.  It was not lost on me that they were named things like Friendship and Freedom, not Javelin or War Eagle or anything like that.  I was young enough to completely accept the propaganda that the moon shot was an endeavor of pure science and human achievement, conducted in the spirit of exploration and inquiry, nothing so grubby as politics.  That propaganda probably contributed to my lifelong disdain for money and the profit motive and the balance sheet, and my choice of a career in public service. As I grew older and realized Apollo had been a tool of the Cold War all along, it was bitterly disillusioning.

(But still, that war was fought at least partly by these peaceful means after all, exploration and discovery, not weapons and conquest.  They turned missiles into spacecraft, not the other way around  — the Redstone rockets that launched the early Mercury missions.)

That, the race having been won, America and the world turned its back on the moon and space exploration has been one of the biggest disappointments of my life. I grew up reading Heinlein juveniles and watching original Star Trek and 2001:A Space Odyssey.  I thought our future lay in space.  I still do.  It is our very nature to explore and expand.  We, homo sapiens, walked out of Africa over 70,000 years ago, and we walked, sailed, swam to every habitable corner of this planet.  To see what’s beyond the horizon, to pierce the new frontier, is in our very DNA. We turn our back on that urge at our peril, I think.

To my mind, Apollo is still the pinnacle of human achievement.  Apollo is my touchstone to the thought that the human race is capable of true greatness, true excellence.  That our reach does not exceed our grasp.  We went from Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base in sixty years.  We did the impossible.  Apollo proves that we, the human race, can do anything we want to, if we have the will.

Many of the challenges that face the human race right now seem impossible to solve. But they’re not, if we face them squarely and have the will to meet them.  I want us to have that will again.  I know we can, because I saw men walk on the moon, who went in peace for all mankind.

 

Tropical Storm Update

Hey, just wanted to give everyone an update. I live in New Orleans, LA and we are awaiting Tropical Storm Barry. So far nothing much happening, as you can see. It’s raining but not much else.


The concern this time was that the storm surge Barry pushes up the river could overtop the levees. The river is already at record levels for this time of year, due to all the flooding this year in the Midwest. Most of the concern is for parts farther south of the city. But it’s a concern. The levees have never been overtopped in my lifetime.

Luckily, the surge is looking not to be as large as feared, and the levees appear to be in no danger.

 
In case you didn’t know, this is climate change. This is it. It’s here, now. Not some Boogeyman of the future.

 
Wednesday morning we got a feeder band spun off in advance of the storm – a line of squalls – and it was crazy! We got EIGHT INCHES of rain in NINETY MINUTES! This overwhelmed the pumping system, and we had street flooding in places it’s never happened before, like the French Quarter. The city was at a standstill. More such rain is expected when the storm makes landfall later today.

 

This storm is unusual in that all the moisture is on the back end, “behind” the eye as it travels.  So for us, the really heavy weather is yet to come.

 
The government instructions are to “shelter in place.” No evacuations. So my family is hunkered down with storm supplies – water, snacks and batteries. We’ve done this before. But every storm is different. The only way to know what Barry will do is to wait and see.

You Just Have to Do It, Part the Second

 

 

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When I was shouldering my way into Geek Fest, April, one of my colleagues, encouraged me to donate a few copies of my book to the library, so that attendees could check them out.  Which is something I always intended to do, but never got around to, because of my shyness.  Another way I just “had to do it,” as Alys Arden said, but didn’t.

But with April’s encouragement, I did, and the cataloging department kindly had them ready in time for Geek Fest.

Of course, I earmarked a copy for my own branch that I manage.

That’s it above. One of my staff members put it on display. They were excited to finally see it.

“They could make a movie out of this!” my coworker Belami said.

(I think so too, but find the possibility unlikely.)

And now, all three copies of my book are checked out and there is even a waiting list!  I have to tell you, that makes you feel like a real author.

It was lovely to receive this support from my coworkers.  It’s encouraging.

That’s the thing about “just having to do it,” — it’s not all nerves and anguish.  It can be good too. You get support.  There are rewards. (Besides, you know, selling books.)   This is what I learned from this.

And the more you do it, the easier it gets.

So, if you are an indie author like me, you might look into donating a few copies of a book to your local library.  Particularly the first book in a series, if you have one.  It’s another way for people to discover your work.  If they like it well enough, they may be moved to buy your subsequent books.

If you work exclusively with e-books, you might look into the SELF-e platform libraries use.  Again, it’s a donation, but it’s a way to get noticed.

It’s up to the inclinations of individual libraries and librarians whether they collect indie authors or not.  Some libraries are very supportive of their local authors. Some are not.  But it can’t hurt to offer.

DON’T, however, try to sneak in a purchase request for your books as if you were just a regular patron.  We librarians can always tell, it smacks of desperation, and it just pisses us off.  Be above board and donate a few copies if you can.  If nothing else, they will go to the library book sale. You will get noticed and help the library earn a couple dollars.