Change is scary. Okay, TERRIFYING. Yet, as writers, we should seek to always be pushing ourselves to the next level. It makes us stronger. Makes us grow. But, there are a few things about “going to the next level” I’d like to warn y’all about.
Yesterday, I finally sent my new book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World off for formatting. This book has been almost two years in the making and you have NO idea how happy I am to finally reach this part of the journey. I’m not quite to the summit—physical book in hand and for sale—but I can see it….
…..so close….nearly THERE…..*grunts*
A Brief History of ROM (Rise of the Machines)
Two years ago, I scored a big-time agent and was over the MOON. Like many of you, I, too, dreamed of having a traditional deal. Not that my publisher at the time wasn’t awesome, but I thought it would be super cool to experience all sides of publishing—indie, traditional, and self-pub—so I could help you guys better. It’s a tad tricky to guide people down paths you haven’t seen.
Anyway, in summer of 2011, my new agent advised that I stop writing any more books on my own, that it would strengthen his position negotiating with publishers.
So, I wrote my hundred-page proposal and waited…and waited…and *taps watch* waited some more. I nearly developed a twitch because this book was awesome, and I had ideas for so many more. But, no…I’d been told to wait. Not my strong suit, but, patience is a virtue, right?
I was actually okay waiting for a while. I was launching WANA International and WANATribe and traveling all over the country teaching. But, by December 2012? I was done. I requested that my agent quit working on ROM, that I was going to just publish it myself.
All Right, Done Waiting
Writers needed a guide that was current, relevant, and effective yesterday. And even if a traditional publisher magically offered me a deal? The lead-time was a YEAR, and I’d already lost 18 months.
I’d learned so much more that I wanted to share (namely the keys to connecting to and creating readers). I had a WANA 2.0 plan that was ten steps simple and left plenty of time to write more books (the most important thing we do, right?).
Of course, since the proposal was a year-and-a-half old I basically had to start over. Good thing blogging had seriously strengthened my writing muscles.
Also, during this two-year break, I’d been furiously reading all kinds of research about the history of communication, epidemiology, neuroscience, language, psychology, sociology, anthropology and all of this information added a depth and beauty to ROM that wouldn’t have been there without that hiatus. Sometimes waiting does pay off ;).
We Have To Do Stuff That Scares Us
It was scary to say to my agent, “Shelve it.” I wanted him to have the keys to my writing future. I had laundry to do and a refrigerator to clean out and did I even mention I have to potty train The Spawn? I have to do this, too? Whiiiiiiiiinnnne. I wanted someone else to tell me what to do. Don’t I make enough decisions?
And the publisher of my first books was very kind to me, good to me, but I work with a lot of self-published authors. It was time to go through the process myself, and it was hard to part from a publisher who’d been so wonderful. But, it was time to do this on my own, no
training wheels publisher.
*takes shaky breath*
Hey, The Captain’s Chair is Kinda Comfy
I really liked the idea of creative control. I had to have the title Rise of the Machines. It was perfect. I even had my lawyer double-check to make sure I could use it for this book. I also had a very specific vision for what I wanted my cover to look like. Is it a risk? Yep. But, personally? I don’t care for the standard “non-fiction” cover. Snooze-fest. Also, this was a perfect opportunity to realize another big dream of mine.
I got to be a CYBORG! *fist pump*. Yes, that is actually me on the cover (though I won’t tell you which half :D).
My audience is creative people, fans of Dr. Who, Star Wars and Firefly. People who love vampires, car chases, monsters, love stories and Renaissance fairs. I wanted a cover that was artistic and shiny; one that might even look like a novel had been misplaced among the Target Your Readers Then SHOOT THEM IN THE FACE WITH AWESOME!!! marketing books.
Hey, I’m a misfit. My book should reflect that, right? And, hey, if I think it’s shiny, maybe y’all will too.
Maybe it will work? Maybe it won’t. But in the end?
I got to be a cyborg Taking risks is part of growing.
We Risk Being Wrong
Hey, for all I know, self-publishing will make me want to hurl myself into traffic. Right now, I only have a glimpse of the process and, frankly, it resembles herding crack-addicted chickens.
I had to put a deadline on myself. I didn’t have an editor threatening me with a taser and Justin Bieber tunes to hold me to task. I also had to take charge of the cover creation and guide the artist until he created what was in my head. Now? Going through working with a formatter. All very new, exciting and terrifying territory.
What if this is a mistake? What if I was wrong? *shrugs* We never know unless we try, right?
We Need to Know it’s Okay to Be Wrong
If you dip a toe in The Red Sea and it doesn’t part? Step out. Might be the wrong time, wrong place, wrong “sea.” We learn from mistakes. I know a lot of things I did wrong during this process, so the next book? I will get to make new mistakes.
If we aren’t failing, we aren’t doing anything interesting. Failure sucks, but it’s a great teacher. Do I hope for super-duper success? SURE! But, great success comes with risk attached.
At least if I fall on my face, you guys will offer me digital hugs and digital daiquiris to ease my pain.
And we can’t please everyone. Some people will love the cover and others will hate it. Some will love the book and others
have poor taste might prefer something more traditional that can be measured with algorithms and spreadsheets and reports.
Rise of the Machines is NOT a typical social media book, but I think it will prepare you guys no matter how technology or social media changes. I designed an approach ideal for the creative person (because it was written by a creative person).
I mean, COME ON! How many of you are doing this writing thing until you land your dream job in marketing or sales?
We are artists first, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have an amazing social media platform that’s resistant to all technology changes except implosion of the Internet…and then we have bigger problems than book sales.
The Zombie Apocalypse is at hand. *ratchets shotgun*
The WANA 2.0 plan is organic and will grow and mature as you grow and mature. It can even bend with shifts and changes in genre. It works for all kinds of authors—traditional, indie, self-pub. No matter your age or what stage of your career, the WANA 2.0 plan works for you. It isn’t a Social Media Snuggie One Size Fits All. It’s tailored to you.
It’s simple, fun, and harnesses the same creativity you use in your books to connect to readers. My ideal launch date is going to be July 4th, Independence Day.
Hellloooo???? We Are Not Alone. Rise of the Machines. WANA RELOADED. Independence Day. Admit it. It’s NERD-TASTIC! Also, we writers are declaring our independence. We are not alone, and we can do this with or without a legacy publisher.
A few of you mentioned you mentioned that you wanted me to put ROM on Goodreads, so here it is! It isn’t out, but can be added to your TBR List. *HUGS*
WANA—Resistance is FUTILE
Anyway, enough about me. I love you guys and thanks for all your enthusiasm, your support and your love. The book is dedicated to you, because I couldn’t have done this without you. WANA is a kinder, gentler Borg…with a bouncy house and cookies :D.
What are your thoughts? Have you had to do some scary stuff lately? How did you handle it? Are you on the ledge facing doing something terrifying? What’s your advice? Hey, I’m new to the whole “self-pub” thing so any help would ROCK.
I love hearing from you! And today, I will select a winner from the comments to receive an advance copy of ROM (provided I figure out how to do that).
To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!