Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Self Publishing

I have things I should be doing. Still have to get my tax stuff together. Could be writing the next Alibi Jones novel - just cracked the 49K mark on the first draft. I could be working on the next Vatican Assassin comic book – Cristian Navarro is up for the art duties once again. He just needs me to get him a script. Could even be revising the script to a romantic comedy I'm working on, based on the feedback from last week's writer's group. Instead, I find myself writing this blog post.

Why? There's been a flare-up online this week involving a self-publishing writer who lost her temper on a blog reviewer. Her outrageous reaction and behavior - and her poor quality product – reflect badly on all of us trying to put our work out in front of the public. Instead of rehashing the exchange, you can read it for yourself here: http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2011/03/greek-seaman-jacqueline-howett.html - Be sure to read the comments, at least the first few exchanges between the author and other commenters – gets redundant after a bit. Almost makes me wonder if it's faked...

I've received my share of bad reviews, and they do sting, especially the accurate ones. Big Al's review of Ms. Howett's eBook was accurate and fair – kind, even. Her reaction was uncalled for and unprofessional. I was embarrassed for her at first, but also angered that she was making self-publishing writers look bad through her comments.

Then I took a look at her eBook. Oh My Lord...

It was poorly formatted. BUT... It's unreadable! Its worst offenses are grammatical. This supposed writer is guilty of doing horrible things to the English language in this work. I was again angered – she compounded the earlier offense caused by her reaction by drawing an enormous amount of attention to a shining, negative example of everything wrong with self-publishing! Ms. Howett's "book" gives tinder and fuel to every critic who wants to dismiss self-published works as trash, to every apologist for old school publishers insisting that only what they bless is important, only what they publish is worthy.

With her selfish, immature and public fit, Ms. Howett erodes the progress we self-publishing writers have been making with the online reading public. With the inferior product she releases, she has no right to demand serious consideration, and her attempt to do so is insulting to those of us who have taken the time and effort to release books that will stand up alongside any published work.

Grrr... I've been trying to gather my thoughts and calm my anger. Figured the best way to do that was to write about it. I did feel some empathy for Ms. Howett at first – as I said, I felt embarrassed for her. I've been doing this for a while - there's a lot to learn if you're doing it all yourself. I've been putting out my own books since 2005, and I'm still learning all the time. For example, just updated the cover art and design of my latest novel, Alibi Jones, after coming to grips with the fact the original art and design were horrible – or at least bad enough they weren't doing the book inside any favors.

I think my design skills are catching up with my writing skills. My writing has certainly improved book to book, and that's thanks to a lot of work – both on my part, and by others who help me improve my work. I've got five people who read my books when they're still in manuscript form – some might call them "beta readers". They serve, in some ways, as my editors. Each has a different strength in the mistakes they find, whether it's grammar, continuity, repeated words and phrases, etc. Each of my novels is read through several times by several sets of eyes before I do my final corrections and rewrite.

I've recently taken an additional step in preparing the final, print ready file. My "day job" is in radio. Years ago I began narrating and offering my novels as free audiobooks, applying my professional skills to my publishing. Now, I read and record the raw audio for the eBook using the final draft of the manuscript. There's nothing like reading text word-by-word aloud to help you find your final mistakes!

Guess what I'm saying is... It takes a lot of work to put a book out. I'm still trying to get it right. As a writer, I'm still struggling to find more readers and listeners. DIY means a lot of self-promotion. But I'm out there working at it – been able to sell about six hundred "dead tree" books and five hundred eBooks. The free audiobooks have been downloaded over four thousand times – those who do find my work seem to like it. There have been both good and bad reviews. If I've replied at all, I've tried to do so graciously.

I love it- but it's hard work to get it right. That is what is most galling about this whole incident. Ms. Howett has obviously NOT done a whole lot of work putting her book out. Yet my efforts get lumped in with hers just by dint of us both being self-published. Grrr.

What can I do about it? Not much. I didn't comment on the original blog yesterday when I could have – why pile on? But it has been bothering me enough to try to process it in public here. Guess the best thing I can do is concentrate on making my books better. As a self-publisher, my name is my brand... So? Strange as it sounds, I've got to do all I can to prove that "Mike Luoma" is a quality brand. Hate the way that sounds, but it's true. When I finally have as many people posting and tweeting about me as Ms. Howett does, my hope is they will be saying good things...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Podcast Episode Features Chapter Three of ALIBI JONES!

Chapter Three of my science fiction adventure Alibi Jones on today's Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast - Alibi, Kit and Piccolo escaped a Tek'Tah cell - they now run across the barren surface of Tek'Ti'Karn with the reptilian aliens on their heels, as The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue!

There's also some behind-the-scenes teases on Alibi's future on this episode. Have you seen the new edition of Alibi Jones with Federico Guillen's striking cover art yet? Very proud of the cover! Head over to the page to see it - link's below.  Listen in for a little brand-new, good old-fashioned, science fiction adventure!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Adventures of Alibi Jones Continue!

The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on the Glow-in-the-Dark RadioPodcast - Hear chapter two of the science fiction novel Alibi Jones on today's podcast, as Alibi and his cellmates plot escape from their Tek'Tah prison cell!

There's also background, behind-the-scenes material on this episode - Reading the opening notes from my Alibi Jones notebook to illustrate how my storytelling is character-driven. All that and some news - taken to playing with my new laptop's low-fi webcam as packages with new creations have arrived this week. Fun sharing that experience! The links to the YouTubevideos are below - see the arrival of a New T-Shirt/design and the new edition of Alibi Jones with Federico Guillen's striking cover. Listen in for some brand-new, good old-fashioned science fiction adventure!
Become A Fan of Alibi Jones on facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/pages/Alibi-Jones/142797717510  
Glow-in-the-Dark Radio at IndyPlanet.com: http://indyplanet.com/store/index.php?manufacturers_id=740

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moon Music

Made A Mix for the Moon...

John Fogerty - Bad Moon Rising
Joe Satriani - Big Bad Moon
Echo and the Bunnymen - The Killing Moon
Pink Floyd - Brain Damage/Eclipse
Genesis - Mad Man Moon
The Kinks - Full Moon
Waterboys - The Whole Of The Moon
Trip Shakespeare - Look At The Moon
Van Morrison - Moondance
Masters of Reality - J.B. Witchdance
Thin Lizzy - Dancing In the Moonlight
Rolling Stones - Moonlight Mile
The Doors - Moonlight Drive
Nick Drake - Pink Moon
Big Star - Blue Moon
Roger Daltrey - Under A Raging Moon
Frank Sinatra -It's Only A Paper Moon

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alibi Jones - The Novel - Gets New Cover & New Start on The Podcast!

The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on today's Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast - with the start of the FREE audiobook of ALIBI JONES - The Novel. You'll hear the Preface and Chapter One, as Alibi records a birthday greeting for his Aunt Anita in the preface, and then gets thrown in an alien prison cell as we begin the first chapter!
It's another PERFECT jumping on point! You may also want to go back to last week's podcast episode for the stand-alone short story ALIBI JONES: BLIND EYE - an earlier short adventure with Alibi.

There are two exclusive bits of news you have to listen to the podcast to learn: the title, at least the working title, to the next Alibi Jones novel - AND a code to get a FREE eBook of ALIBI JONES through Smashwords.com! One other exclusive debut? This is the first place you're seeing the brand-new cover to ALIBI JONES - with fresh art from Federico Guillen! I'll be updating the book to the new cover art in stages:

Links from the podcast:


Alibi Jones - At Smashwords.comhttps://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4034
At Amazon/Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Alibi-Jones/dp/B002R5B18Q
At Amazon/Print: http://www.amazon.com/Alibi-Jones-Mike-Luoma/dp/0557122155/
At Lulu.com/Print: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/alibi-jones/5507416
Free Audiobook at Podiobooks.com: http://www.podiobooks.com/title/alibi-jones

Alibi Jones: Blind Eye - In Spacebound! #1 from Earthbound Comics:http://glowinthedarkradio.com/AlibiJonesBlindEye_pg1.jpg
At Amazon/Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Alibi-Jones-Blind-Adventures-ebook/dp/B00472O7M4/

Alibi Jones: Vacation - At Amazon/Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Alibi-Jones-Vacation-Adventures-ebook/dp/B004NNV00E/
At Smashwords.com: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/42208
At Lulu.com/Print: http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/alibi-jones-vacation/14874811

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Brand New Audiobook Short Story - Alibi Jones: Blind Eye - Exclusively on the New Podcast!

A BRAND NEW START! Today's new Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast sees the beginning of the adventures of ALIBI JONES! The perfect time to start listening!

It's 2135 - Alibi is in the SAIF (Solar Alliance Interplanetary Force) Mediation Corps. He handles negotiations between humanity and alien races, and occasionally oversees negotiations betweenalien races. He's the adopted son of the former head of the Solar Alliance, Anita Capituna, his "Aunt Anita".

HEAR NEW, EXCLUSIVE SCIENCE FICTION ON TODAY'S EPISODE - THE AUDIO SHORT ALIBI JONES: BLIND EYE! At a diplomatic function he attends on his aunt's behalf, Alibi hears talk of people buying into a new settlement. But the news sounds suspicious - could "Poyas" be more con job than colony? And what is Alibi's old girlfriend Shirra doing messed up in it?

It's an audiobook short story based on the script to the comic book short found in Earthbound Comics' Spacebound! #1 featuring art by Meisha. You can get a copy of Spacebound #1 from the online store Indy Planet - linkage: http://indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4223 - or get the 16 page Alibi Jones: Blind Eye comic for the Amazon Kindle for just 99 cents here: http://www.amazon.com/Alibi-Jones-Blind-Adventures-ebook/dp/B00472O7M4/. Read preview pages at http://alibijones.com. And as always there are more of my books & lots of free downloads at my website: http://glowinthedarkradio.com