Category Archives: Indie Publishing

The Year Ahead

This year, 2013, is the year I launch my writing career.

Yes, I’ve published both a short story and a novel in ebook format, but that was nearly two years ago and I did nothing to follow them up.

This year, I’m going to release something every month. I will start developing a base of stories that will build year after year and form the foundation of the 20 year plan I created back in 2007.

What was that plan? Simple. By 2027, I want to support myself solely from my writing – my retirement savings as it were. I don’t have a high paying job with a pension. If I’m lucky, I’ll have worked enough here in Spain to receive the basic pension, but if I want to enjoy my retirement, I’m going to have to have an independent income.

And that’s where my writing comes in.

After five years of honing my craft and learning about the business, I am now ready to launch my career. In other words, I am right on track. Publishing, especially indie-publishing, is all about long-term thinking. To have a decent income, I need a lot of product selling a little bit every month.

So, this year, it’ll be 12 short stories plus a collection. Next year the same plus one or two novels. Repeat every year and in fifteen more years I’ll have at least 20 novels plus 15 short story collections and 180 short stories. With that sort of inventory, I’ll be earning a decent amount each month.

But that’s a long time away and things will more than likely change. I don’t need to think about it.

I only need to think about this year and the next step in my writing career, the launch of my own small press – Aia Publishing – and the creation of more stories.

So, watch this space for publishing announcements and more thoughts about my writing and the writing process.

Today’s post was inspired by the “projects” prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour! Up next: Nancy Bridenthrall.


Posted by on January 14, 2013 in General Babblery, Indie Publishing


Deadlines? Deadlines? What are deadlines?

In all my various jobs, I have always had deadlines of one sort or another, and of course at university I had monthly deadlines. Since I am not a traditionally published writer, I have never had to deal with external deadlines when it comes to my writing.

To get anything done, therefore, I have to apply self-imposed deadlines. There is a small problem with them, however. They are self-imposed. Which means they can be missed without any sort of negative consequence. Yes, my writing suffers and my future writing career suffers, but there are no immediate concrete negative effects.

Even asking friends to help me be accountable doesn’t mean anything. They aren’t going to punish me if I don’t follow through. In fact, they won’t even care that much because my lack of writing has no impact on their lives. It’s just not important.

So, what does it all mean for my writing?

That I can’t rely on any external force to push me because there isn’t any. Maybe one day if I get a publishing contract and I choose to accept it then, yes, I will have to deal with deadlines, but for now I can only rely on desire and determination.

And if they aren’t enough, then the fundamental question becomes: How much do I really want to be a writer?

And that is the question that does get me writing, deadlines or no deadlines.

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Now go check out the Merry-Go-Round blog tour to find out what other authors/members of Forward Motion Writers think about deadlines, starting with Erin M. Hartshorn tomorrow.

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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in General Babblery, Indie Publishing


Why’s Alex So Quiet?

Writing is a pleasure and a fun hobby, but I want more than that. I want a career as an author. I have a long-term plan – not a one, two or even three year plan but a 20 year plan. I started it in 2007, meaning that by 2027 I will have fulfilled it.

Why so far away? Because I’m an impatient person. When I want something, I want it now and I get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. By giving myself a far away success date I’ve taken the pressure off and have let myself do things well, which will guarantee success far more rapidly than doing them quickly will.

Since 2007, each year has had a theme. In that first year the theme was beginnings – the year I began to be a writer. The following year, 2008 was the year I found roots. I didn’t focus on writing much that year as I needed to create the environment where I could write without worry. 2009 was the year I got serious about my writing and 2010 I got professional – my thinking processes jumped from hobby-writing to career planning. This year, 2011, is the year I got consistent. I write regularly and produce quality work on a schedule.

This year I also showed that I could publish. I first experimented with a short story and then a novel, putting them up electronically. The short story I edited on my own and designed my own cover. The novel I still edited on my own, but I got a professional proofreader to look it over and hired someone to give me a professional cover.

On top of that I’ve done a whole lot of research into what it means to be an indie-publisher in the current market. Some people have had huge success while others have floundered. The successful ones have taken the professional route and impressed people because of that.

For me, professional means edited, proofed manuscripts with professional covers and print as well as electronic versions readily available. Plus it means a focused marketing program aimed at creating high visibility. All that, however, takes money and time, and lots of careful planning. As the indie-publishing world grows, it’s going to get harder to be noticed. The noise-to-signal ratio will become increasingly off-balanced (leaning toward a lot more noise). I don’t want my hard work to disappear into the virtual pile of unread and unbought books.

If I want to be part of the signal side of the ratio and have that signal get through, I need to be prepared. I need a lot of product to release regularly and I need a clear plan to promote it all.

Right now I have neither.

Which leads me to the point of this article (yes, it does have one!). If 2011 is the year of consistency, 2012 will be the year of preparation and 2013 the year of publication. It seems like a long time away, but 18 months before seeing publication of a book is standard fare in the traditional publishing industry. Moreover, unlike many traditionally-published authors, instead of one book going out to the public, over the year I’ll have several.

During the next year and a half, therefore, I plan to write several more novels and learn as much as I can about this emerging writer’s market. I’ll still be around here in AlexWorld updating you on stuff, but it won’t be a regular thing, nor will I be always hanging around in the world of social media. (You’ve already seen how random I’ve been with my posts as I’ve been figuring all this out.)

In other words, I’ll be gone on an extended trip deep into AlexWorld and will be sending out the occasional postcard to let you know how the journey’s going.



Posted by on July 14, 2011 in General Babblery, Indie Publishing


Debut Novel Launch: An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

I’ve spent the last week SQUEEEEEEing to myself. Why? Because my first novel An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life has been published on Amazon and Smashwords (which means it’ll soon be available in all popular ebook stores). What’s it about? Here’s the back of the book blurb:

Usually Fairy Godmothers help out lost princesses, girls forced into family slavery, and wooden puppets wanting to be real boys. Gail McCain, however, is none of these things. She’s just a normal 18-year-old girl who likes to get up, go to work, eat sensibly and go to bed early. Okay, so maybe she’s not that normal. Enter Amanda, a fairy life-coach (godmothers are so last millennium) who informs her new client that she’s cursed to be boring–and it’s the fairy’s job to get Gail a life. Skeptical at first, Gail quickly adapts when she gets some new friends and even a boyfriend. But Amanda’s not done with her yet, insisting that the curse needs something powerful to break it. She makes Gail a famous celebrity blogger, tossing scandals, love triangles and bitchy starlets in her path. But can a teenager whose idea of excitement is her egg-one-a-week Sunday breakfast survive all this excitement?

You saw the cover last week, but it’s so awesome, I just have to post it again:

An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

If you decide to check it out, I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear what you think! Connect with me over on GoodReads and we can talk about all sorts of books!


Judging a Book by Its Cover

So, An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life is one step closer to getting published. I now have a cover for the ebook.

An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

This time you can completely forget the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” because Blue Sun Studio has outdone itself with a cover that perfectly captures the feel of the book. “Bewitched meets Selena Gomez in Wonderland” is one reaction that I got and well, to be honest, that’s a mighty good description of the book itself.

Exactly one week from now you’ll be able to find it on Amazon and Smashwords, with it slowly working its way through the various e-channels.

How exciting is that?


Cheap is Expensive

One of the things I learned as a small business person is that it often costs more (in money, time and energy) to go with the least expensive option. Yet for some reason I ignored this lesson when deciding on a cover designer for the upcoming publication of An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life.

From my small business years I already had a graphic designer whose work I adore (take a look at my former site Someday Syndrome to see how awesome her work is). However, since An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life is my first publication, I wanted to limit the money on spent on the cover and I went with someone I didn’t know but came recommended and who knows how to make a professional-looking cover.

Silly me.

The deadline came and went and the designer vanished off the edge of the Earth. I had planned to publish the book at the end of April and now it’s going to happen the end of May.

The good news is that I’m going to have a kick-ass cover from someone I trust and before the end of the month An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life will be up for sale, plus since I was planning on going with this designer later, now all my books will have the same look and feel to them.


Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Indie Publishing


Ready, Set, Go! The Upcoming Launch of An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life

When I first decided to go into indie-publishing, I published a short story as a test. In that experiment, I learned that I don’t have the visual artistic skills to create a cover, plus I confirmed that proofing is NOT one of my strengths. So, when I decided to launch my first novel, An Extraordinarily Ordinary Life, the first two things I did was hire a cover artist and sent the book out to a professional for proofing.

I now have the proofs back and I received the cover in my inbox today.

That means that by this time next week my first novel will be epublished. It might take a while for it to propagate around the web, but it’ll be up and all the seedlings I’ve planted over the past several decades will begin to bear fruit.

Do I expect instant success? A thousand sales a month? No, not at all. I ran a small business from 2003 to 2009. I know what it’s like to start small and build. The important part is the starting. Without publishing something first, none of the rest can come.

You might recognize the title of the book from the blog here. Yes, it’s the same thing, making the transformation from blog-novel to ebook. And that means that when I do publish the book, the blog version (except for a few teaser posts) is coming down. After all, a smart businessperson doesn’t compete with himself.

I’ll announce the launch here on the blog as well as on Twitter and Facebook, and I’ll stick the cover up in the next few days as a preview.