Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cursed with Power (book 1 in the Magicians series)

As many of you know, Cursed with Power has been on quite a journey with publication.  What I love about the writing community is that we all have our own stories to tell about how we got where we are today, and I want to take the time to share my own.  I'm also encouraging you to post about this on your own blog; share your story with us.

The first copy of Cursed with Power was about as lonely as this cover to the left.  It was lacking a lot, and I'm not talking grammar and spelling errors.  Oh no, when I say the first version was lonely I mean it literally.
Celestria was at first alone in the story.  Léal was barely in the book at all, and while that doesn't such a surprise this next part may be.  Celestria spent the rest of her journey by herself with no one to accompany her --that's right, Alaire wasn't in this version--and certainly no one to inform her of how dangerous Aldemund really was.
Now while Wilhem --you may remember him as Aldemund's "right hand man" and magician--had more lines (of dialog), he wasn't significant in any way.  As a matter of fact, the only significance he had was helping Aldemund track down Celestria.
While I can't tell you how the book ended since I've never been one for spoilers, I promise you the ending was nothing like what it is now.  Celestria lacked depth in character, she had no one to rescue her, and she was indeed very alone in the magical world.
Why does any of that matter?
I'm not rambling.  Actually, this first copy of Cursed with Power was in a way a journey for me to discover myself, not only as a writer but also as a person.  Like Celestria, I was struggling to realize my true powers, to discover my true destiny.  I didn't know where this book was going to take me, who Celestria was, or why I even wanted to write it.  When I finished the first copy, though, I finally understood.  I'm a writer, and it was this passion I discovered while writing the book that made me all that more eager to continue on.
Would Cursed with Power be where it is today had the first book not explored Celestria's inner discoveries?  Who knows, but I believe from Celestria's experiences I realized who I was and the purpose behind writing.

Lately, numerous readers have been saying they feel "close" to Alaire and during his struggles they hope he survives.  For me, I share that closeness with Alaire as well because he is --in many ways--a reminder of how this book transformed into everything it is today.  In a way, perhaps I learned a few things from Alaire.  He not only became a hero for Celestria, but he also became a hero for my writing.

This journey has been frustrating and enjoyable, but I wouldn't dare back away from it.  I'm happy with Cursed with Power, and I look forward to the date when I am able to announce publication.  To my fans on Wattpad, Inkpop, and my fellow bloggers: I am extremely grateful to have you standing beside me.  We're almost there!

So tell me, do you have a character who saved your writing?
Lindsey R. Sablowski
Read the story online:
Cursed with Power
In the darkness they are flames.  In the daylight they are shadows.

Be there for the magic: www.themagiciansseries.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Talking with independent authors

So lately in my search I've been talking to a lot of the authors on Createspace.  Most of the members have already self published or are in the process of doing so.  I thought I'd share a little bit about what I've been hearing, and who knows maybe it can help you out too.

I posted a discussion about how one goes about deciding to self publish, and the responses I received have varied.  What I've been hearing a lot of, though, is to "just do it."  You'll never really know what it feels like to self publish until you actually do it, and unlike waiting a year with a traditional publisher it can be done within several weeks.  (Depending on how long you need to proof for.)
Being overprotective over my book (once again), I asked more questions and waited for answers.  One author said he was with traditional publishers for years, but when he self published his book I Was Blind But Now I See it became a bestseller on Amazon.

Of course, we all realize such luck doesn't come to anyone.  Even so, I think that can be said whether you self publish or not.
I've been hearing all the responses and making a mental check list.  Some of the authors talk about how they love having control, for others it's because royalties... but all of them shared one answer in common: It was a dream.  They could finally say "I've written a book and it's published!"  They finally had a chance at glory to show the world what they have to offer, and if they didn't succeed at first they kept trying until they had it down to a science.

If nothing else, this week has been a week of realization for me.  If you've always dreamed of publishing your book, look into your heart.  You worked hours upon hours; some of us didn't sleep *coughcough me*; others of us worked during any spare time to write the entire book out.  So if traditional publishing is giving you a headache, I'm not going to tell you that self publishing is the only option you have left.  I will tell you this, though: Self publishing can be an answer.
As for me, I've decided if Old Line Publishing isn't in my work I am going to self publish.  I've been querying agents and publishers over six years now (different books, but you get the point).  You know I am not the girl to jump into a disaster without over-thinking it first, but for the first time I actually see another answer to what I desire.  Hopefully all of you, who have been my audience, readers, friends, fellow writers, supporters, and the reason I write this blog, will continue to support me when Cursed with Power is publisher --whether traditionally or independently.
Lindsey R. Sablowski

Read the book online:
Cursed with Power
In the darkness they are flames. In the daylight they are shadows.

Be there for the magic: www.themagiciansseries.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Self Publish or traditional publisher?

If you're wondering where I've been since the last time I posted, this is the question I have been pondering over for months.  (Not that I've been gone for months, but you get the point)  At what point do you decide that you want a traditional publisher or to self-publish?  At what point can you make a decision that is going to have such an impact on your book, your baby, the "child" you've spent years "raising?"
Don't worry, you're not alone.

As you may or may not know, I've recently been debating on whether to self-publish or not.  First, though, let's start with a little back story.  When I wrote my first book, The Magic of Light, I avoided self publishing like the plague.  I couldn't afford to pay the expenses most companies require to even have the book in print, and neither could my family.  I always thought of it as a dead end; self publishing being the last road you would ever want to take, and once you did it you wouldn't ever be able to undo what you had done.
Back then, though, I didn't know what I know today.  I believe a lot of writers don't know this, but self publishing isn't a demon.  If you publish your own book that doesn't mean you'll be looked down on, you're not good enough to be published by a main stream publisher, and your books will never sell.  Look at Christopher Paolini.  Eragon is a worldwide seller, and that's only the first book alone; if you look at his entire series it's amazing to see how far he has come since self publishing Eragon.  A publisher recognized his talent, and who's to say that can't happen to the rest of us?
There's also Createspace, which is run by Amazon.com  I joined about a year ago when I first entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, but since then I've been researching self publishing with Amazon.
Now I know it's not all perfect, but don't worry I've got my pros and cons ready.  (I'll mark those that only apply to Createspace with a *)

  • *No set up fees: You don't have to put forth any money to start selling your book online.  Of course if you want it sold at Barnes & Noble, libraries, and etc. you do have to pay a fee of $25, but then again it's a little price to pay when everything else is free of charge.
  • Full Control: Unlike with a traditional publisher, you have control over what happens with every step of the process.  Fancy fonts, cover design, page numbers, set up of pages... Everything is in your hands.
  • *Easy and simple program to prepare your book: You can view how the pages of your book are going to look before you actually finalize it and have it publisher for the world to see.  If there's mistakes, you can fix them.  If you see something you don't like, fix it.  I don't know if this applies with any other companies, but I have looked at the program on Createspace and it's very hands on and easy for anyone to use.
  • Paper-back books: No matter who you are, almost every writer wants to be able to hold their book in their hands.  This way you can.
  • Online distribution: Whether you choose to sell your books outside of Amazon or not, you're allowed to sell your book online.  These days technology rules, so you have to think what's going to work best.  You can link your book, promote it on your blog --I'm sure you've already seen it before.  It's easy enough to share with your friends a link to Amazon or Barnes & Noble when it's online available to buy.
  • Higher royalty: You might already be aware of this, but in case you're not with self publishing you'll make a higher royalty than you ever would with a traditional publisher.  Say you sell your book for $7.99 online.  You would make $2.34 for every copy that sells.  Are you ever going to make that much for each copy with a traditional publisher?  Likes are, you probably won't.  (Not that you can't make a living by being published by a publisher.  Remember Steven King anyone, haha?)
  • Unlimited Distribution: Your book is not only sold at Amazon, but it can also be sold at Barnes & Noble, libraries, and other book stores.  (Mind you there is a $25 charge if you want it sold outside of Amazon)  It can also be published for the Kindle (though this is a $69 charge).

  • Chance of interesting a publisher: While it isn't likely for everyone that self publishes, it happened for Brittany Geragotelis (author of Life's a Witch), Christopher Paolini (as I already mentioned), and many others.  Brittany's book was actually on Wattpad before she published it, and she's now been offered three book contracts and is selling the rights for it to be made into a TV show.  It doesn't always happen, but it can if your book grabs the attention of a reader. 

  • Your name finally out there: Your name will finally be out there in the publishing world.  I recently just read an article where 10 editors were asked at a conference if they would have published J.D. Salinger had he been a new author when they came to him.  All ten said no.  It's scary, yes, but once your name is known publishers, editors, and agents are more likely to gave you a chance.
  • Failure: We all wonder it... What if my book isn't good enough?  What if the sales aren't impressive?  What if no one buys it?
  • Time: Self publishing takes a lot of your own time, and if you're one of the many writers who already have a full time job this might not be the right choice for you.
  • *Fees for your own copy: I don't know where else this applies, but if you want copies of your book from Createspace you do have to buy it at the price online.
  • Negative reviews: Unfortunately I've seen this before.  Books that are self published sometimes aren't fully edited or the professional look is missing simply because the writer didn't have enough time to work all of those details out.  Keep in mind, readers aren't going to know your story or where you're coming from.  They might not understand why you self published or the fact that you've spent weeks, months, years --however long--working on your book.  If you're going to be self published, be ready.  (Note: Negative reviews are always expected, no matter what choice you make.  Even traditionally published book receive poor reviews.  Steven King has been criticized that his books have "no plot" and focus on "gore and blood."  Even new authors like Leigh Fallon have received negative feedback on their book.  We'll all have to face it at some point or another)
Whew!  There's a lot of factors to look at, and I'm sure I missed several.  Hopefully, though, I went over the main ones.  I'm not writing about this to scare you or convince you there's only "one way" to publish your book.  Actually what I want to point out is that traditional publishing is not the only way you can publish your book, and when I learned that myself I was relieved.  How long have we been hearing this is the "only" way to go?  Do what feels right.  
If you're published, share your story with us :)  I hope was able to help someone out there, and if you haven't made up your mind yet don't worry.  I'm actually still debating about it, and most likely will for a good while.

Lindsey R. Sablowski 
Now read Cursed with Power online:
Destiny may find them, but will it be enough?  Join Celestria and Alaire in the struggle for survival at: http://www.wattpad.com/3571491-cursed-with-power-book-1-in-the-magicians-series

Be there for the magic: www.themagiciansseries.blogspot.com