It's Not All Apples & Oranges Anymore

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Most of  the years while digital and audio have been growing, and print publishers, at the same time, shrinking, there has been a sort of “us and them” attitude involved.  When “indie” publishing started to be the fad – gurus popping up all over with their savant secrets – this attitude persisted.  You must do it this way, or you must go back and bow down to traditional publishing and do it their way.  You can’t have it both ways.  I’m here to tell you that not only is that not true, it’s harmful.

Over the last year I’ve seen a lot of different combinations of things put into play.  Here’s what I believe – from what I’ve learned.

You should always retain your digital and audio rights if you can, but let’s face it – traditional publishers aren’t stupid.  A lot of them are now locking in these rights and not letting go.  That does not have to kill an established writer – it can work to your benefit.

A: Keep all your books, stories, screenplays, essays, etc. in play.  Anything you can keep the rights to publish electronically – do that.  Get the work out there in front of people.

B: If your publisher is holding onto the rights on newer works, play off of that.  Many of these same publishers are willing to include marketing info for their titles in the back of eBooks published by the author, or even another publisher.  EVERYONE makes more money if you cross-promote. If your book is getting front-run promotion from a NYC publisher, use that to market the works that YOU control as well.  We have at least one author who received a very good promotional deal through his current traditional publisher, and is now selling like crazy (and making more money) on the works that the same publisher does NOT control.

C: Pay attention to your work, and your rights.  Keep copies of the final files of things.  Don’t write, publish, forget, and then later on wish you had a document file for your book.  If it’s a backlist title, well, you know what I’ll say next.  If you are established with a backlist…you should be contacting me, or someone like me.  Someone who will scan the book, get you a document copy, not charge you to do that – and help publish your book.

D: If you get a traditional offer, and they are paying you well, take it and use that publicity to move the things you also control.

The playing field is never going to be completely even.  Big Traditional Publishers have money.  Authors (generally) do not.  Authors create and write books, editors edit them, and publishers publish them.  Except, these days, a lot of those hats are being shuffled and doubled up.  If you can, learn from the marketing strategies – good and bad – of your traditional publisher.  If you see something that works, give it a shot…don’t spend your mortgage money trying to follow the footsteps of a guru.  If you don’t feel comfortable publishing and marketing your own work, there are alternatives.  Crossroad Press is an alternative.  There are others.

The key is – be more involved.  Keep your apples in one hand, and the oranges close to the vest.  Pay attention, track your rights, and keep your work active and viable.  Opportunity, regardless of what they say in old cliches, does not come knocking…you have to spot it, recognize it, and act.

Now…go sell a million books and make me proud.

-DNW

The Line-up for New Projects. DeChance & Killer Green

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I have been sadly neglecting both the promotion of my older books, and the creation of new ones.  Being a publisher is demanding, and one of the things I now have to do is figure out how to more successfully budget my time.  I can’t let the writing suffer too much, or I might wither and blow away…and that would be bad…I’m sure of it.

I have several projects in various stages of completion.  I know I owe a new installment for The DeChance Chronicles, and I have two good possibilities.  One is that I write “Nevermore” – the continuation of Kali’s Tale, where Donovan tells the tale of how / why Edgar Allen Poe wrote The Raven …   Another is that I have Donovan, also in storyteller mode, explain to a group of children who hate The Scarlet Letter – that there is a great deal more to the story, and while Hawthorne gave a brief, boring outline, he wasn’t much of a storyteller…  That  would be titled The Scarlet Rose.

I am about 2/3 of the way through novelizing KILLER GREEN – the screenplay.  That book will need a serious rewrite when it’s done to flesh out characters.  It’s fast, fun, and I hope to finish it soon.  I also have the novel (or novella, possibly) Tattered Remnants – a very complex pyschological thriller involving book binding and serial murder – which is partially completed, as well as a novella for The Tales of the Scattered Earth.

Then there is my apocalyptic end-of-the-world zombie book – “Run, if You Want to Live,” involving ultra-marathon running and a zombie menace.

I have – in other words – no lack of ideas.  It’s time…time is killing me.  I must defeat it.

I’d also like to hear from any of you with an opinion on what should be next.

On other notes – American Pies is available now in eBook formats – print soon – and My Soul to Keep, Ancient Eyes, and Maelstrom are recently out in unabridged audio from Audible.com.   Upcoming there is Kali’s Tale – book IV of the DeChance Chronicles.

– Off to put words in their proper order….

DNW

New Paradigms for Authors

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As we have worked, poked, and prodded Crossroad Press into something fluid – a publisher that works with change instead of against it and strives to provide opportunity where so many times in the past it seemed there was none, some important shifts have occurred.  I wanted to take just a moment to talk about some of the things we can do and that we are doing with authors, their backlists, and their new material.

In the old days – if you wrote a series, you were at the mercy of your publisher.  If they decided, for instance, after two or three volumes were published, that they no longer wanted to continue the series – odds are that series was dead.  Getting a new publisher to take book three, or four of a series was iffy at best, and usually never happened.

At Crossroad Press, we are more than willing to take up a viable series that is already in progress and help the author to continue it.  In fact, if you have books two and three of something that died long ago lying about…you should contact us.  There is no reason you can’t continue to publish your series, and if the original publisher is actually still offering the earlier books, the two sets can only feed off of one another.  Something to think about.

Another thing is those books you may have written on spec for a series, or a particular editor or agent, who decided to go a different direction, or just flat turned you down.  No reason your work should go to waste.  We’ve actually developed a couple of original series – The Tales of the Scattered Earth and O.C.L.T. to allow a lot of genre series books to be re-vamped slightly and published…again – this was not something that was going to happen under the old publishing models.

Cross genre books.  How many authors write what they want to write, and how many write what they, their agent, or some editor they are trying to please believes will sell?  How many have a novel, or two, or twenty, that has never seen the light of day?  Why?  If you are a successful horror author with a mystery and a fantasy and a young adult you’ve written that no one would touch because you are a horror writer?  For God’s sake…contact me.  I am willing to bet that if more authors were writing what they feel like writing, the quality would leap dramatically.

Lastly – old books you think aren’t good enough anymore, or are dated, or you just aren’t sure about.  We have done one such title, revised heavily in collaboration with a second author – retitled – and back into the publishing mix.  We have more in line.  If you were forced to rush, or compromise, hated your cover, your title…guess what?  We care what YOU think, and we’re here to work with you.

The world has shifted.  Stephen King’s Roland would say – The World has passed on – Ka is a wheel, after all.  Publishing, also, is a wheel.  Don’t let it grind you under…wheels are for traveling.  Climb aboard.

-DNW

Spring Vacation & The Aurora Fossil Festival FTW!

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About six months ago, we began planning what seemed at the time an unlikely vacation.  It was to begin the very night of my son Zachary’s high school graduation.  The plan?  We would hop in the van, drive to New Bern, NC to a hotel, and on Saturday, we would attend the Aurora Fossil Festival.  None of us really knew anything about this place except that they HAD a museum, there were giant Megaladon jaws you could get your picture taken in, and there was a pile of dirt – somewhere – you could dig through and find your own fossils.

None of us (at that particular time) was obsessed with fossils.  We wanted a break, a getaway, and something different.  We found all of that and more.

The trip up was an adventure in itself, as there are a lot of new bypasses and roads in place that were NOT in place when our Tom Tom was last updated.  Several times in the middle of long stretches of bridge it suggested we go 80 yards and turn left.  We declined.  Also, there was a tiny place named Chocowinity along the way…but it passed so quickly I thought maybe I’d hallucinated it.  It turns out it’s from a Native American word for “Fish From Many Waters,” but that’s for another story.

We spent a good first night in the Holiday In Express, rose early, ate our continental breakfast, and piled into the van. Along the way we passed interestingly named places, and as we pulled into town, we cut in around to the left and ended up parking two spaces off the main street.  Quite by accident.

After hitting the one ATM machine in town, we started back across a big field into the festival.  Before we really got in, we were handed a sheet to identify fossils, and a very friendly girl told us that the secret was that the gravel and dirt in the parking lot was fresher than what had been dumped for the festival.  She showed us a very nice prehistoric Great White shark’s tooth she’d found.  We went back to the parking lot.

We gathered four or five baggies of fossils, and the pride of the lot was Katie’s Great White tooth, about twice the size of a quarter.  When we’d finished in the parking lot, we crossed into the field and dug with the rest of the festival guests in a big pile of “reject” from the Phosphate mine, which is the source of all the fossils.

While there we saw some odd species of duck, played with a corn snake, had funnel cake, bought fossils – and hats – and other things – and attended an amazing lecture on how the biggest specimen ever pulled from the mine was preserved, cleaned, and displayed.  It’s the skeleton of a juvenile whale, and the care and ingenuity involved in that project was well worth the our we sat listening to the lecture and learning.  After that we went out and saw the skeleton itself, as well as the rest of the museum, and took the obligatory photos of people in giant jaws.  We also bought raffle tickets for the giant Megaladon tooth, over 6″ – did not win – and enjoyed the parade, including a passably good Jack Sparrow impersonator.  Below are some more pictures from the trip.

 

American Pies comes to Digital

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AMERICAN PIES

By David Niall Wilson

Those of you who follow my antics will be aware that – among the publishing, fictioneering, and other activities that fill my waking hours and dreams, I’ve been working on a book titled American Pies.  The book is available in eBook formats now from Crossroad Press, and will be at all eBook sites by tomorrow.  The trade paperback is in “production”.  This is – sort of – a book about how to bake fruit-filed pies.  It is also a commentary on the cookie-cutter, dumbed-down versions of our culture we have come to take for granted – like cardboard-boxed pies at the grocery store, or pre-baked desserts from the freezer you just heat up.  What’s up with that?  Where did they come from – and where did the fresh fruit, hot ovens, and integrity go?

I don’t know where it went, but I spent my winter gathering up all of it I could find, and baking it into thirteen pies.  Twelve of them are just fruit-filled standards, though some with oddball filling choices, like persimmon and nectarine.  The thirteenth – the lucky pie?  The American pie.  Red white and blue with stars…I made it, and I ate it, and it rocked.  Now you can make it too.

Along the way you’ll meet my grandmothers, you’ll learn of a tiny town named Flora, Illinois – and hopefully, you’ll catch some of my love of the freshly baked fruit pie.  Included are metric and Imperial measurements and oven settings, provided by “The Pie Bloke,” Darren Pulsford from across the big pond.

I hope some of you will check the book out…and if you do, share your photos and stories with me.  That’s another thing Americans do, you see.  We eat pie, drink coffee (or beer) and tell stories.

-DNW

A Few Comments on "The Voice" RIP Shields Brothers

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I told myself I was done writing posts like this when we quit watching American Idol, but last year we got hooked in (late in the season) to “The Voice” – and it felt “different”.  It felt to me as if the coaches actually were connecting on a deeper level with their teams, and that they really cared.  I wonder if I’d have felt that way if I’d watched from the beginning.

Anyway, last night we watched the final battle round, and I have to say – connected to their final teams or not – at least in the early rounds, this isn’t a contest between singers – just coaches.  It was pretty obvious in the battle round segment that songs and pairings were being chosen where either a: The coach already knew who was going through and set it up so they couldn’t lose – or B: (even worse) The coach put through who they wanted regardless of how the actual battle went.

I guess that’s what you should expect, right?  The coaches all want to win.  I came out of last year disliking Blake, because he seemed more of a horn-dog than a coach, and don’t get me wrong, he still does stupid things like thanking girls for wearing (basically) their underwear on stage.  If I were his wife, I’d shoot him in the head.  That aside?  He was the only coach who seemed to honestly be choosing the singer who – in THAT BATTLE – did a better job.

Here’s my biggest complaint.  Cee Lo Green.  Seriously.  The Shields Brothers against Erin Martin.  The song?  Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got to do With it?” – huh?  First off this girl Erin Martin can’t sing.  She is a one-trick pony with a baby-goo-goo voice that left the world in the lounge singing days of “Santa Baby” and has been (thankfully) absent since.  She was off key, made no pretense of trying to like the song, or respecting the original, and she was rude, arrogant, and wore her underwear on stage.

The Shields Brothers – sure they aren’t polished.  Sure, they rocked it harder than she did…but they actually SANG.  They pulled back as their coach asked them to do. They harmonized.  They IMPROVED while Erin Martin served up what looked like a bad karaoke performance of Grace Slick mixed with Bjork. I’m pretty sure she did not hit a SINGLE NOTE…she has no range…

Cee Lo’s reasoning?  The boy’s sound too much like they have the “one sound” and he isn’t sure how he can work it in / work with it.  Huh?  He worked with both artists.  One listened to him and improved (Shields) the other went her own way very literally and made a fool of herself.  She was saved when Cee Lo picked her, claiming that a world class producer can’t work with the Shields Brothers?   Sad day for that show, I think.

A couple of shaky choices were made.  More than once – on a show where the battle is supposed to go to whoever did better THAT NIGHT – we learn yet again the reality of reality TV.  It’s a joke.  They do whatever they planned to do all along, they clearly don’t care what the people in the audience do, or think…and we are left with our new hero – BLAKE – to give the show a tiny ounce of respectability (which is not his forte, I might add).

We’ll continue to watch it, but my reason for loving it last year was that the coaches seemed to care, and I’m thinking right now that The Shields Brothers – after getting the shaft in the most bizarre contest ever – aren’t feeling the love…sent home to the farm because a model with a bad voice wore her underwear (that’s my take, anyway).  When the coaches say “I’ll stick with you” it only means nothing.  This is not the first ridiculous decision obviously made before the battle began, but it’s clearly the worst (maybe in the history of reality TV).

-End Rant

SHIELDS BROTHERS – KEEP ROCKING!

In Between the LInes

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Too many things going on at once.  I have a bunch of stories I need / want to write.  I have books to publish.  Heck, I have a pie to bake, and a book to write about that.  I’m virtually stuck between the lines, and almost every day a new thing I’d really like to work on comes along.

I have a novella started for The Scattered Earth, bring Euphrankes Holymnn and the crew of the Airship Tangent back for an encore.  I have even more written on a new Cletus J. Diggs Mystery.  I have “Nevermore,” the next DeChance book, which will involve an appearance by Edgar Allen Poe…and I have a novel about a zombie apocalypse and ulta-marathon running in the wings.

I need to write my way out…it’s the only way through, as I know from experience.  I suspect all of these things and more will be written in short order, but tonight…I feel stuck.  I hate that.

Tomorrow…there will be words.  I will share some with you just to prove it’s so…

-DNW

The Pie Guy #8 – Fresh Nectarine Pie

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This pie is another experiment.  I like peach pie, and I like nectarines, so I figured, what the heck.  As long as there is a recipe for a pie made out of something I like, and people seem to like the PIE, then I am in.  I also have vanilla ice cream to make sure.  It worked with the apple pie.  Everyone dug in and that one was gone almost as soon as I sliced it.

This brings me within four pies of the writing of the first book by The Pie Guy – wherein I will explain my contempt for crappy, thin, too small and overpriced pies as sold in stores – go on about my childhood and how much I love pie in general – and tell you all the lessons I’ve learned along the way trying to bake all these fruit pies.  I will probably talk about how much I enjoyed EATING them as well.

So without further ado – the gallery of photos from the Fresh Nectarine Pie.

Nook Exclusive – KALI'S TALE Dechance Chronicles #IV

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Today is the start of the thirty day exclusive run of KALI’S TALE on Barnes & Noble.  It’s part of a special promotion I was chosen for (I love it when that happens) called NOOK FIRST LOOK – I am hoping it can get me some more notice for not only this book, but the first three in the series, and some of my other titles as well.  Kali’s Tale crosses over to a number of my books.  If you are NOT a B&N buyer, you could read “The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature,” and “The Preacher’s Marsh” for background on the setting of Kali’s Tale, as well as “Vintage Soul,” the second book in The DeChance Chronicles, where we meet the vampire Kali and first get th hint that she might have less than happy thoughts about her “sire”.

Kali’s tale includes a lot of subjects I hold near and dear.  Alchemy – some of you will have watched the indie, artsy movie GODHEAD that I wrote the screenplay for…in which two young men run their lives and minds through the alchemical process.  Others will have read Deep Blue, and will appreciate the segment of Kali’s Tale spent in the back alley of a Memphis Juke Joint.

DeChance fans will learn more about Asmodeus, the old crow that joins the crew during Vintage Soul, and will get a few more peeks into Donovan’s past.

This also marks the first direct cross-over between DeChance and the other original series, O.C.L.T. – about an agency Donovan sometimes consults for. If you are a fan of that particular series, you’ll find two old friends, Geoffrey Bullfinch and Rebecca York making appearances.

Now…hie thee to B&N and buy yon book.  Srsly.

Find my books for NOOK here.

Find my books for KINDLE here.

Find all my books here in many formats.

-DNW

The Pie Guy #7 – Honey Crisp Apple

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Okay, this one is cooling on the stove, and I have to say…it smells awesome.  There are six cored and sliced honey-crisp apples inside, dusted with sugar and cinnamon, sprinkled with lemon juice to keep the apples from discoloring prior to baking…butter (margerin, actually) melted in between the slices.

I purposely held off on apple pie because it is one that most of the family loves.  I wanted everyone to enjoy it.  As usual, I overstuffed it a bit.  There are more of them than the recipe called for, but somehow it did not pop the crust open, or spoil the amazing smell.

One thing that led me to start baking pies is the ridiculous, deflated, tiny things we’ve started bringing home from the grocery store with the label “pie” on them.  They have very little filling, they don’t seem to be a full 9″ around…they just are not what I remember, or grew up loving, and honestly – at $9-$12 apiece, I can make much better ones much cheaper – and DO. Here is the gallery for the honey-crisp apple pie.

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