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Indie Vs. Traditional Publishing: Who Wins? The Reader.

teen paranormal romanceAs a writer, I’m constantly embroiled in and barraged by the border-style warfare currently within the publishing industry. From one side, insurgent/terrorist indies fire ebook RPG’s indiscriminately. While from the other side, authorities mount lightning-strike Caterpillar (the big, yellow earth-movers) excursions through the offending shanty towns to demonstrate who is still in control.

In the name of full disclosure, I’m an indie. A Browncoat to the core, I just can’t stomach extensive contracts with large corporate entities with the power to put pouty teen girls on my book covers. At the same time, I like to think of myself as a reasonable individual capable of seeing both sides of the war.

In my efforts to do so, I’ve come away repeatedly asking myself the same question.

Do readers even notice or care? Should they?

I’m not sure of the answer to the first question. To the second, the answer is yes.

After all, the battle is one of control. Until recently, the traditional publishers (the most important ones known as “The Big Five” or “formerly known as the Big Six”) maintained most of the control. Writers possessed very little. For the most part, we wrote what publishers wanted (or guessed at it). Readers possessed even less power in my humble opinion. They read what was published and placed on display in retail outlets.

Sure, occasionally a publisher would display a certain title that readers simply wouldn’t stomach. But for the most part, the exposure dictated what readers read and therefore what would sell and therefore what publishers would buy. (Sorta’ circular, ain’t it?)

Now, all of that is changing.

Ebook shelf space is infinite. SEO (led by Amazon’s killbot algorythms) is getting smarter at matching books with readers. Readers have a growing selection of titles to choose from. This gives the reader an increasing amount of power.

But, as the old adage says, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” If readers choose to read Shades of Gray, that is what writers will write (oh, the spineless, commercial groveling of us indies!)

I won’t go so far as to say traditional publishing doesn’t care about the reader. Obviously, they do. I think the industry as a whole tends to get a little snooty about its role in educating readers on what they should want to read. With the great publishing tutor being discredited and disempowered, readers have been loosed to read indiscriminately.

The coming years will be ones of growing pains and maturity for the reader.

In the end, readers will emerge with a newly honed power they’ve never known in publishing. Will it be a spoiled one? Or a disciplined one? Focused? Or scattered? Self-aware? Or oblivious? Just because you can read whatever you want may not mean you should. Or maybe that is exactly the sort of laissez faire attitude the written word desires.

While indies and trads lob blame back and forth for the unsettled state of publishing and the written word, readers should be amassing for a populous uprising. The power is yours for the taking.

FreedomPop, Latest Tool of NSA

FreedomPop-RevolutionCall me a whistle blower if you must, but it’s time the truth come out.

Uncle Sam has teamed up with “power-to-the-people” internet service provider FreedomPop in its latest endeavors to infringe upon our ever dwindling privacy. When you think about it, it’s the perfect scheme. The only problems? First, the plan was executed with typical government efficiency. Second, they messed with me.

As we all know, my mental prowess is a few stories taller than the average American bungalow (just significant enough that a jump will break your ankles but not kill you.)

This is how it all went down. [Read more...]

EHR Cover Reveal, Trip to LTUE

Empty Hand RevolutionThanks to all of you who gave feedback on the cover. Here is the final version. I think it is rather snappy.

In case you missed it before, here is the link to the launch/landing page for Empty Hand Revolution. Sign up to reserve a copy of the ebook at the opening price. (First 5,000 for $2.99. After two weeks or 5,000 the price will go up to $9.50.) And below is the longer product description. I’m getting more and more stokes about this project. It won’t shake things up in the U.S. as much as India. But the ripple effect will be fun to watch.

In other news, I’ll be heading down to Provo, Utah for Life, The Universe and Everything this Thursday through Saturday. A long running readers and writers’ conference for science fiction and fantasy based stuff, LTUE is a pretty powerful networking and brainstorming resource in the Rocky Mountains.

If you are planning on attending, look me up or shout me out. Should be a good time!

ltue

The war defines the warrior.

Born into a tribal war with India, trained as a black belt and street fighter from the age of nine, tortured and left for dead at the age of seventeen, Cosmo Zimik has an intimate, working knowledge of violence.

During his long weeks of recovery, nursed to health by a total stranger deep in the jungle, the seed of the Empty Hand Revolution germinated in Cosmo’s mind. Four years of underground fight clubs, multiple contracts on his life and another near death experience forced Cosmo’s Empty Hand Revolution into full fruition.

In a world hungry for power and drunk on violence, what does it mean to be a warrior? True greatness requires humility. Courage requires surrender. Developing into a warrior on such terms has been Cosmo Zimik’s life quest. Born a Naga and forged a warrior, Zimik became a missionary and then finally a revolutionary of a new breed. From the jungles of Manipur to the streets of Delhi to the countryside of Idaho, his extraordinary journey will equally inspire and convict.

Empty Hand Revolution invites the reader to experience Cosmo’s sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic, yet always incredible world through his own eyes. And may the bold in spirit discover first-hand where empty hands can lead.

Empty Hand Revolution Cover

For the past four months, I’ve been working on a ‘based on a true story’ sort of book about a black belt, prizefighter, street-fighter, revolutionary sort of guy from Northeast India who happens to live in Nampa, Idaho at the moment.

I can’t really call it a biography since I’ve changed so many of the names and dates and situations in order to keep everyone involved out of trouble (well, more trouble). But those of you who enjoy coming-of-age stories, inspirational stories, redemption stories, or just cool crap about martial arts and India, you should check out EmptyHandRevolution.com. Sign up now to ensure you get the early-bird deal on the ebook (only good for the first 5,000 folk).

Born in a tribal war with India, violence his earliest memory, Comso Zimik trained as a black belt and street fighter from the age of nine. His vow: never show weakness. Tortured and left for dead in the jungle at the age of seventeen, Cosmo birthed a new vow: uncover the true meaning of warrior in a world drunk on violence.

Help Choose the Cover

But, the immediate matter is in regards to the cover. I should of had this done a month ago. But hey, I’m a writer, not a book-cover-design-guy. Finally, with the help of local genius, Brian Loeber, I’ve got four covers for y’all to choose from. So help out by giving your opinion in the comment section below! Yeehaw!

Cover One

Book Cover 1

Cover Two

Book Cover 2

Cover Three

Book Cover 3

Cover Four

Book Cover 4

LEGOs: Legitimate Excuse to Get Offspring

Lego SerenityI hadn’t thought of it when I first approached my wife with that certain twinkle in my eye, but in a world where couples have children for the tax write-off, why the hell not bring a child into the world for the sake of sharing one of life’s greatest pleasures? I’m talking of course about Legos.

At the age of eighteen, I boxed up the last of my childhood treasures and stowed them in the 180-degree attic space of my parents’ Texas home. With those treasures went a mighty cardboard box of Legos. At the time, I thought I would never again experience the insight and satisfaction those plastic bricks brought me for so many years.

More than just a vehicle for fine motor skills, those bricks produced endless plans for disposable automobiles and rotating hallways and underground bunkers on the moon. Legos unlocked my geeky architect and creative hubris. [Read more...]

Why Fox Got it Right with Almost Human

almost humanHow long has it been since the world has been blessed with a cop show featuring two male partners? A true buddy show? Not counting TV series such as The Wire or The Shield (these sort of fall in a different genre for me)… I can think of White Collar… and that’s about the only recent example–until now.

There are multiple reasons I’m enjoying Almost Human: I’m a sucker for sci-fi, I enjoy crime mysteries, etc. The feeling of the show lands somewhere between Dollhouse and Castle (two shows I love). But the biggest reason is the pairing of the physiologically broken human with the physiologically broken android, both of them dudes.

I’m tired of all the chicks. Even Sherlock’s Watson has to be a hottie now? [Read more...]

Subscription Based Serial Fiction: The Technical Problems

bluefirereaderWhen it comes to delivering serial fiction directly to the reader, Amazon has set the bar high. By operating the Kindle Serial Store, creating the Kindle device and rendering their branded ereading app ubiquitous across multiple platforms (iOS, Droid, etc.), they can take your money and deliver the product to your reading device of choice with one click. Booyah. And they will continue to deliver the serial installments every two weeks until the story has run its course. (Pay once, ie. subscribe, and the rest takes care of itself.)

If any storyteller is serious about monetizing serial fiction outside of the Kindle Serial Store, this high bar has to be the goal. Readers will demand it.

One Click Must Do it All! (But How?)

How does an indie writer attempt such a monumental technical and organizational feat? The most obvious solution to me was also the least practical: Create a specialized app of my own that will bridge my fiction onto every smartphone and tablet out there with access to Droid, Windows, or iOS app stores.

Since this requires a chunk of change upfront, as well as the determination to update the application continuously across all platforms… I quickly crossed this off the list of personal options. I don’t want to go into app development. I want to write stories from which I generate a living wage.

That leaves the indie writer/entrepreneur shopping for go-between services and trying to piece together a network to mimic the one Amazon has built. Let’s break down the necessary pieces: (and my preferences so far) [Read more...]