Tag Archives: publishing

News and updates

Hi guys. Okay, so the blog has been languishing for a while, the good news is that I’ve been busy writing, and a few new titles should be coming out in the next few weeks. Another thing I’ll probably be doing is redesigning the site as a whole. This blog is not going anywhere, and the same goes for the legacy aspects of the site, but for the most part I’ll probably be changing the way in which things are organized by moving some things to a different site where I don’t have to worry about exceeding GreenGeek’s ridiculously limited ‘unlimited’ service (if you’ve been following this site for a while, you are probably aware that that’s been an ongoing issue for some time, as I’m fed up with the fact that traffic spikes are routinely penalized).

For a while there I considered of opening a facebook page. That would have been the logical thing, but I admit that by now my refusal to have a facebook account is pretty much a matter of principle (I don’t like the fact that having such an account seems to have become almost a requirement, especially considering their rather cavalier approach to privacy). Anyway, that’s where things stand, so watch this space!

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CreateSpace ruins the day!

Up until now my experience with Createspace had been a fairly positive one. Now I have to report an extremely unpleasant experience: I was in Mexico, and I needed some copies of my books in a hurry, so I placed an order and paid for priority shipping, which was ridiculously expensive (as in 150% of the cost of the books themselves!). I was told that the books would be there within a week. That felt a bit too long in light of what I was being charged, but seeing how I had ten days, I figured I could live with it. The order was placed on March 11, the books were ready to ship by the 13… and there they sat, neglected until the 17, when I finally got a notice letting me know that my order had shipped… and would arrive by the 23 (and that 23 has now been changed to a 24). That’s thirteen days for priority shipping, and long after the time those books will do me any good. I wrote back to them to ask what was going on, and I had my shipping fee refunded.

That was something, though there was nothing remotely resembling an explanation, and the truth is that it didn’t really do me one lick of good, as what I needed were the books, not the refund, that was why I had paid that outrageous shipping rate in the first place… and then I began poking around. It was then that I realized that they had sent an international shipment that had been billed as priority, and for which they had charged the same rate they would have charged if they had been sending the books all the way down to Argentina (there’s a flat rate for Latin America), using UPS’s Standard service, which the company itself lists as “economical ground delivery for your less-urgent shipments”.

Ground delivery? On an international shipment? And how do they reconcile the word ‘priority’ (as in priority shipping) with UPS’s   ‘less-urgent’ wording? Quick, someone get these folks a dictionary.

In short, buyer beware, when it comes to international orders CreateSpace’s ‘priority shipping’ is a mess, one that can leave you looking like a fool if you dare rely upon it, and no refund is ever going to fix that.

UPDATE: Okay, so the books won’t be here on time, there’s nothing anyone can do to change that, but I just got a call from a representative from CreateSpace, acknowledging their mistake in shipping via UPS Standard, and doing his best to find a way to make things right. Unfortunately there were some elements of this particular mess that made finding a real solution impossible, but I realize that those are not CreateSpace’s fault. Yes, they screwed up, but they owned up to their mistake, and I definitely appreciate it.

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Technical difficulties may cause some delays

ARGH! Okay, so I had said that we had a tentative release date for book three of Citlalli, and that that date was late July/early August of this year, now it looks like that may have to be pushed back to March of next year. The book itself is coming along nicely, but this is due to some circumstances beyond my control. I am doing my best to remedy the situation and find some sort of a workaround, if I can things will probably go back to their original schedule, if I can’t I will probably wind up publishing a whole bunch of books simultaneously, as Citlalli is not the only one that would be delayed.

What can I say, human stupidity just got in my way.

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And we have a (tentative) release date for the third book of Citlalli!

Remember how on my recap of 2013 I mentioned that I had one book being revised? Well, that one is the third book of the Citlalli series and, if everything goes according to plan, it should be out in the last week of July/first week of August!

I have to say that the fact that it is in a readable form and with a possible release data clearly established is a relief because that is one that did give me quite a bit of trouble. In fact it is nowhere near what I thought it would be when I first started toying with the idea a few eons ago!

Oh, and i case you were wondering, chances are that Citlalli is going to be a tetralogy… or maybe it would be more accurate to describe is as a trilogy with a twist.

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It can be read!

Yay, I finally managed to get the third book of Citlalli into some semblance of a readable form… of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have half a dozen rounds of corrections to look forward to, but for the time being I’m aiming for a late July, early August.

That’s a little later than I would have liked, but nowhere near as late as I had feared it would be.

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E-publishing and the race to the bottom

As I prepare to release another book I find myself grappling once more with the question of what to do about e-books, a question that becomes more relevant with each and every passing day, as more and more readers eschew the printed world altogether to switch to electronic versions instead. The thing is that while a part of me would love to join this trend, there is another one that can’t help but to hesitate.

To begin with there is the fact of just how fragmented this market happens to be. You can choose a publisher, have your book printed and distributed by signing a single contract in such a way that you know what you are getting, but when it comes to e-books each bookstore requires what amounts to a different agreement, with most outlets claiming for themselves the right to modify the terms of the agreement. This creates a maze of shifting legalese few self-published authors can realistically hope to untangle, or even keep track of, where the possibility that the evolving contracts would at some point collide with each other cannot be entirely ruled out… and the more distribution options you seek, the higher that risk becomes. Continue reading E-publishing and the race to the bottom

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Waiting for the proofs to arrive

And we are done! That project that was almost there the last time has officially crossed the finish line, including cover design and interior layout. That means that all that’s left to do is to wait for the proofs to get here, and then, if no major issues pop up, it will probably go live on November 2.

As for what that one is about: it’s a ghost story (hence the decision to release it on the Day of the Dead if at all possible). Will it sell?

Who knows? The truth is that I’m not particularly optimistic in that regard (not considering that I have a marketing budget of exactly $0.00, and would much rather be writing anyway), but I’m not particularly concerned about it either. Yes, being able to make ends meet would be great, but my needs are simple, and no matter what happens I had a blast writing it, so I’m just tossing another message in a bottle, waiting to see if someone -anyone- will pick it up…

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Two down three (at least for the time being) to go

Well, one/two of the five projects I have been trying to juggle are all but done (they are two versions of a single title, that’s the reason behind the iffy numbering. The English version is done, and the Spanish one has less than a week to go, though there are also some design issues that I’ll also have to take care of… still, the end is near). A second/third project (the one that was being a bit of a brat), has effectively been shoved to the back burner. It’s not happy about it, and at times I hear it grumble so I have to go in there and stir it a little to keep it from turning into a charred mess, but on the back burner it sits. Whether or not it will agree to stay there remains to be seen.

As for book three of Citlalli (that would be the third/fourth project depending on how one counts the one that is almost done), the first draft of that one  is coming along nicely, and with a little luck it will be done before October is out… not that I don’t have half a dozen rounds of corrections to go, but I should have the rough draft by then.

Once that is done I’ll finally  be able to turn my attention back to the sort-of-history book I have been neglecting for the past few months (that would be project four/five… the problem with that one is that it was supposed to be something like 25,000 words, but last time I checked it was 90,000+ and counting). It should also make it possible to go back to my preferred kind of insanity (that would be one where I have two active projects, where I revise one while writing the other one)… okay, so that’s supposed to be the theory.

Of course, that only works if no other projects come knocking (okay, so for the most part they don’t knock, they just barge in and make themselves at home, knowing that they are welcome and that the door is always open), or if the one that is currently on that back burner doesn’t get too bratty in the meantime. Still, having some semblance of order, even if it is only for a little while, makes for a nice change of pace!

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Crowdsourcing your book

I’ve been going over the Pubslush site for the past couple of days, and I have to say that this is a trend that could actually be interesting not just as a means to secure some financial backing, but also as one that can help authors fine-tune their sales pitch. No, I’m not too sure about their publishing arm (they mention the fact that they have one, but there is little to no information about it), but the basic concept seems to be solid.

The basic premise is the one you would expect from a crowdsourcing site: you create as project, set some goals and rewards, as well as an allotted time frame, upload some content, and wait. There is a minimum $500.00 threshold, and if you reach it, you get the funds (minus 4%, plus processing fees), even if you fall short of your stated goal.

Of course, the question of whether crowdsourcing a book using what is, at least for now, a relatively obscure site can hope to reach all target audiences is a valid one, but seeing how the service is free it may well be worth a shot.

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Free to write whatever I want

Is it odd that I find the fact that my books aren’t selling oddly liberating? That was a thought that hit me as I worked on the third book of the Citlalli series, and I found myself confronted with the need to make some hard choices when it came to a few critical aspects of the plot. It is a choice I have known I was going to have to face at some point pretty much from day one, and that was one of the main reasons I switched from Virtual Bookworm to CreateSpace in the first place, but still I know that, if the book had been selling, I would have found myself wondering which plotline would play better with my readers… I would have found myself trying to play it safe. That is human nature, but as things stand I am free to make my choice with no external influences. In fact if the books had been released by a traditional publisher I might well have found myself deprived of the right to make that choice at all. More often than not, that freedom is one of the first things authors working on a series have to give up when they sign on that dotted line.

Oh, that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like it if my books were a source of income. Like everyone else I have to eat, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day I have a roof over my head, I am reasonably happy, I can publish what I want, when I want, and my dogs are fed, so I have no reason to complain.  It is a matter of perspective, of keeping my priorities straight, and figuring out what matters to me… and of feeling grateful for the fact that I am in a position to follow my dreams, to write and publish my books on my terms, and to live my life more or less like I want to.

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