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You have permission

Having just released my first book, there comes feeling of a great sense of achievement, but this moment of personal achievement almost wasn’t going to be.  When I originally looked into independent publishing it was 2011 and I was attempting to write literary fiction. Things were different back then and in order to be taken seriously as a writer I thought I had to write serious fiction. I worked and worked on a book and put it out and it got some relative success but something didn’t feel right, so I unpublished and didn’t write again for four years.

There was a lot going on during this time in my personal life that affected my writing, but also in hindsight I could see that I wasn’t ready to publish and that I wasn’t learned enough in the industry to make a true success of it and when I went back to that project, I couldn’t finish it. As much as I love literary fiction, I didn’t want to write it.

Instead of completely giving up, I gave myself permission to switch genres, to explore sci-fi and things just flew. I’m now starting my second book and have so many ideas I’m often struggling to keep up.

You don’t need to write the next great American novel to be considered a serious writer. You’re not less of a writer if you choose to write sci-fi, chick lit or anything you want, because this is your writing career, no one elses is.

Do you want to wake up everyday excited to write? Do you want to feel passionate about what you’re working on? Well if you let other people tell you what you should be writing, then how will that lead to your happiness?

Trust in your own instincts on what you want to write, you’ll create more work and ultimately be more successful, because writing should be about personal happiness as much as financial return.

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    Indie vs. Traditional Publishing

    We’ve entered an interesting phase of the digital revolution where the phrase ‘digital disruption’ is no longer a trendy buzz word but rather the state of the future. Technology is changing at a rapid rate and the entertainment industry is naturally evolving along with it to provide users with multiple options for how to consume media. This can also be seen in the book industry where independent publishing is starting to rival traditional publishing and becoming a more viable option for writers. But which is the right route to choose?

    Independent Publishing

    A few years back, being a successful independent author was nearly unheard of nowadays it’s considered to be an industry in its own right that’s starting to challenge traditional publishing. There are many benefits for
    both options, however, when I decided to become an independent publisher it was for the following reasons:
    – Control. This for me was key, I’m wanting to build a brand that has diverse characters and features LGBTQ+ characters, while traditional publishing is getting better at including these characters in their books there’s still some ways to go. I also wanted to control my own production schedule and overall look and feel of my product. It’s been a lot more work but the end result is a product that I’ve created myself.
    – Rights ownership. I’ve been hearing more and more on podcasts about the importance of rights ownership and being sure to check contracts to see what rights you are signing away. With independent publishing you own all of the rights meaning you can publish anywhere and in any format. This is incredibly appealing as it allows for the books to be turned into multiple product versions and sent through various channels.
    – Set pricing. This is kind of linked to rights ownership, with indie publishing you set your own price and can control your own profit margins. When I was working out the prices for my paperback I knew exactly how much the production of each book would be, plus the cost of shipping and what I’d have to add on top in order to make a profit. This can be challenging to understand to begin with but worth investing time in as it’s going to affect your bottom line in the long run.
    – Build your own platform. As an author you’ll have to do your own marketing, this is the same nowadays with traditional publishing and with a myriad of social media outlets available you have to choose which is right for you and how you want to engage. You do start from scratch so it can take time to build but for those invested in building a community it can have a greater return.
    – Royalty Payments. These are more frequent with self publishing (and you have a better oversight of how your book’s tracking in terms of sales), where as from what I’ve heard with traditional publishing, you typically get two pay-outs per year and pay a bigger percentage back to the publisher, whereas with indie publishing you can claim up to 70% in royalties.
    I don’t have exposure to the traditional market so only have general knowledge of what this is like, however, the choice is entirely personal and there’s no one better way over another, the important thing is producing a quality product so that readers can’t tell whether it’s traditional or independently published.
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    Auckland Writers Festival

    Last weekend was a flurry of activity with the Writer’s Festival getting underway in Auckland. This is by far one of my favourite weekends in the city and this year was no exception. As soon as the programme comes out, I scour through it looking for exciting events that will inspire and cajole inspiration out of me and this year did not disappoint.

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    Refilling the creative well

    Life, eh? It can take it’s toll sometimes, we can get so busy with keeping up to the demands of work and everything else we need to do that it can end up draining the energy that we need to thrive. As someone who’s innately creative I need to find things that help keep me fuelled creatively, otherwise, I’ve found my happiness suffers.

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    The Importance of Learning Craft

    I’ve been spending a lot of time lately listening to marketing related podcasts with indie publishing. While these are informative and are always a great listen, I realised I was paying more attention to how to publish what I’m writing, rather than actually learning how to write better. At the end of the day, you can have a great marketing plan, but if you don’t have great writing to back it up, then what’s the point?

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    Editing a sci-fi novel

    I’ve started the third edit of the ‘Book’ and it definitely feels like I’ve entered the bowels of storytelling. While much is created during the first draft, editing what you’ve written is where the story really begins to take place. I currently have 68,000 words to get through and it feels like a huge task of knowing the world, the characters, the history the future and how everything fits together. Read more

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    Getting to grips with story

    I’ve been writing constantly now since the weekend I spent on Waiheke, I originally started writing Historical Fiction, but as I delved more into the new world of self publishing, I discovered the joys of writing genre fiction and how writing sci-fi/post apocalyptic fiction made more of a fit for my current style. I started working on my current WIP at the end of September 2016 and I’m now in the final act of the second draft. I’ve been doing a lot of learning in regards to both craft and publishing since then and now as my story is coming to a close in it’s first book (of three).

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