Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Reader's Paradise

Fall is finally in the air. We slept with the windows open last night and the ceiling fan going. It got cold and the blankets were warm. It was awesome! But, the more important thing is that I am no longer flailing with my stories. I've finally settled on an idea and started working on it. I've decided to just power through any obstacles that crop up. I don't know why I couldn't do that earlier. Maybe it was just some deep-seated mindset or something. That's not really what I wanted to talk about in this post, however.

Lately, as I was struggling with indecisiveness, I pondered the new publishing paradigm and my place in it. In the beginning, when eBooks began to change the publishing landscape, I was ecstatic. Finally, the gates and gatekeepers were becoming a thing of the past. Any author could publish their book themselves and reach readers directly, without the elite publishers standing in their way. I'm still excited about that. If not for this revolution, so many great authors would go unnoticed and that's a shame, especially for the readers (myself included).

Now that I have a few books out there, I've begun analyzing my place in the publishing world. I've had some success, but nothing like I was expecting. I follow several authors' blogs, tweets, etc. to know how they are doing. I lurk on eBook boards and keep up with some of the latest success stories of breakout indie authors (those who find themselves in the top 100 Kindle Books and sell hundreds, if not thousands, of books a month). To tell the truth, I'm baffled.

I can't help but wonder how these authors (many, still, with day jobs) manage to stumble into such luck. Of course, many of them deserve their success because of their writing. In the end, it always boils down to the writing that separates the good from the bad and good from the great. In trying to better my own marketing efforts, I usually obtain a copy of some of these authors' books to see how well they write. A lot of them are good. Sadly, some of them are not very good (although, I will admit that reading is very subjective, as is any art-form). The part that baffles me is how these mediocre writers manage to be so successful? The only thing I can come up with is that they either know some highly successful writers and ride on their coattails, or they are geniuses at marketing. But, I didn't really want this post to be about me commiserating about other writers' success and my lack of it (Well, I kind of did).

There is a former mid-list author (mid-list is pretty much gone since the eBook revolution) I used to follow because I was in awe of his success despite his horrible writing. I'm not about to mention who he is, but he writes primarily zombie books. I bought several of his books and discovered the writing to be sub-par. Yet, he was vetted by the publishing industry and had built a career on that writing. Obviously, he was doing something right because he was successful. I knew there were enough readers out there who enjoyed his books enough to keep coming back for more.

That's what I wanted to emphasize with this blog post. No matter the level of writing, there seems to be an audience out there for the story. Since the gate keepers have been circumvented, so many more authors can publish their material. A reader can find just about anything that appeals to them. Just look at the Fifty Shades of Grey series. It's spawned a whole cult following and enough writers coming out of the woodwork hoping to jump on the erotica bandwagon so they can earn a slice of the success pie. No matter your reading tastes, chances are, you can find plenty of stories out there that will interest you for quite some time. Sure, there might be a lot of garbage out there you have to weed through to find that diamond. Just remember, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

With that, I'd like to leave you with a shameless plug. If you're looking for something scary or weird to read this Halloween, may I suggest my Adverse Anthology? I think you'll enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

--Insert Witty Title Here--

Sorry I haven't posted anything lately. I kind of feel at loose ends with my various projects; like I'm being pulled in several different directions. It may sound like I'm overwhelmed, but the truth is, I'm not. I'm more lost than anything, just drifting. Hence the title of this post. It seems to sum up my feelings pretty well.

With my writing, I am floundering. I have so many ideas and they all appeal to me. At least until I begin working on them, then the plot seems to hit a brick wall or simply fizzles out. I feel like I'm searching for the Higgs Boson and while I'm examining a theory, something shows me I'm headed in the wrong direction, so I stop or change course with uncertainty. This is the longest I've gone between stories without a definite course. There's only one thing to do, however. I need to pick a story and power through it. But, that's easier said than done. Currently, I have my sights set on a YA Halloween tale in the vein of Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree or Clive Barker's The Thief of Always, both great books.

In addition to my writing, I also have some other projects I'm working on. It's that time of year when my mind becomes distracted by the approach of fall, and with it, my favorite holiday, Halloween. This means I'm trying to create some cool silicone masks. I managed to sculpt a cool design a couple of weeks ago and then made the mold for it. When I finished the mold I went ahead and made two different casts. For those of you that don't know, a cast is when you pour in the silicone, let it dry, and then pull out the finished product. The first cast was too thin and ripped in several places. This is not uncommon. So, I poured another cast, making sure to double the amount. When I pulled it out, I had less rips, but still, that cast was unsuccessful. I haven't gone back to try again...yet.

My last distraction is my photography, which has come more to the forefront lately since I started trying to sell some of my work. I'm also pleased to announce that I am working on several new techniques. Last night, I experimented with something called light painting. When you light paint, you set up your camera in the dark, focused on a specific scene, and use a light source to highlight an area of the scene. I was pleased with my initial results and want to do more of these types of photos for my gallery. Also, there are some more techniques I want to try, but I'm waiting for the right time to try them.

Now for a confession: I made a major purchase this past week. I made the leap from my current camera (a Canon Rebel T2i) to a more professional-grade camera (a Canon 5D mark II). With the significant price difference, I did not arrive at this decision lightly, but I feel it will allow my pictures to really pop. Time will tell. In the meantime, I need to focus on something and see it through to completion. If you want to help me out, please buy one of my books or one of the photos from my gallery. It would certainly go a long way to lifting my spirits. As always, thanks for stopping by!