rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
It's really weird, starting a new blog, with a new identity. And it's very weird to be embarking on this sort of project. I'm not good with the legal small print. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about the ins and outs of publishing. I don't have my finger on the pulse of the literary world. All I know is what I want to write, and how I want to present it to people. The idea of running around trying to sell my work frustrates me -- I've grown up writing for an audience of friends and acquaintances who gave me instantaneous feedback. I've always been in touch with my audience, such as it was.

Well, I don't know how well that's going to translate to this project. Maybe I'll have to jack it in and go into traditional publishing. Maybe I'll never be able to earn a living like this. But I have to try this first.

The idea to self-publish more or less came from Cory Doctorow and Amanda Palmer. Cory Doctorow, for example, offers all his work online. For free. In a multitude of formats. Here's something he says in his commentary on the download page for his book, Makers:

So you own this ebook. The license agreement (see below), is from Creative Commons and it gives you even more rights than you get to a regular book. Every word of it is a gift, not a confiscation. Enjoy.
What do I want from you in return? Read the book. Tell your friends. Review it on Amazon or at your local bookseller. Bring it to your bookclub. Assign it to your students (older students, please -- that sex scene is a scorcher) (now I've got your attention, don't I?).

And yes. This is what I want. I don't know if I'll have print copies available, so my situation is different to his, but his ideas? Oh, yes. The day I read that, I said to my partner: "When I grow up, I want to be as cool as Cory Doctorow."

He's just that cool.

Amanda Palmer suggests a new model for the relationship between artist and audience. For example, from her blog entry Why I Am Not Afraid To Take Your Money:

artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.
artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.
artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.

That blog might've been the first glimmer of the idea for this project of mine. Seeing the community [community profile] crowdfunding also sparked something.

Like Amanda Palmer, I don't promise I'm going to get this stuff right. But I want to try it. This is a new model for artists of all kinds, and I want to be part of making it work. Or finding out that it doesn't work, and we need to go back to the drawing board. I want to have a frank and open relationship with potential readers, without getting het up about digital copies of my work flying around. I want to write as I've always written, only for a larger audience, who know that everything is happening just as I want it to happen. Nothing is going to happen to my work that I haven't okayed and done to it myself.

I want to know that people are enjoying my work. The most wonderful thing to happen to me would be getting some readers who will download my work for free (or a very low fee), and read it, and then come by and drop £2 in my metaphorical tip jar, and leave me a message saying I made them laugh, or cry, or squeal like a little kid.

Of course, I just read this blog, which I'm pretty sure is saying don't do it. For example:

I’m talking about the blogs and twitter-feeds that may be partly social, but which pollute the social ether with self-promotion and book marketing.

Yes, right up front: I am trying to market my work through social media. I don't have a twitter yet, but I might. I might also get a GoodReads account. I'm going to try not to be obnoxious about it, but yep: here I am, polluting the social ether. I might get the balance wrong -- scratch that. I will get it wrong. (Catherynne M. Valente's post, a rebuttal of that one, is worth reading for the point on the ratio for this. You can find it here.)

Here's the plan, such as it is. So far, I know that I want to use paypal as a kind of tip jar, as I've already kind of mentioned, and that I want to release ebooks for little or no cost. I think Smashwords is probably going to be my vendor of choice. I'm also considering Lulu to offer print-on-demand dead tree copies of my work. I need to read through the various terms and conditions, of course.

I am not going to remind you of this in every single post I make. But, this is my first post, so, if you like what I'm saying, if you like what I'm writing, there's a donate button in my profile, here. You could also help by promoting my project. Or, if you're good with graphics, and you'd be willing to work for little/no pay, then you could help by working with me on a book cover. To get into the Premium Catalog on Smashwords, a cover image is required, if I remember rightly.

Next entry, I think I'm going to talk about what I'm actually working on. But, if there's something else you want to hear about -- at any time -- drop a comment, or email me (rhian.crockett[at]gmail[dot]com), and just let me know.

I'm also thinking about something I can offer, for free, that will kickstart this little project. Stay tuned?

(I need an icon. And a better layout. I'll get right on that, too.)


rhian_crockett: A painting of a castle; there is a red flag flying. (Default)
Rhian Crockett

August 2013



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