Teaser Tuesday: Ravaged By A Rigid T-Rex

spacequokkateaser

“That grass is dead, man.” Jimmy continued.

“No, it’s not,” I lied to myself.

“Sure! Whatever you say, neighbor. It just looks mighty dead from where I’m standing,” Jimmy smirked. His smile looked like someone had painted teeth on a tomato.

“It’s not dead. It’s resting,” I insisted, rubbing my neck.

Jimmy leaned against the fence. The fence creaked in desperation.

“Well, as soon as your grass is done resting, come to me and I’ll give you the name of a guy. My grass guy can do stuff at a good price. No one will ever know,” Jimmy winked.

His “grass guy” sold plastic turf. I shuddered, imagining my proud rose bush and the dahlias surrounded by plastic fakery. I didn’t even buy plastic lawn chairs. There was a reason. A good reason. My mother had died in a tragic and completely unpredictable plastic explosion. Her body had been riddled with strips of cellophane and the cheap polyester scarf around her neck had shrunk in the heat suffocating her. No plastic. You couldn’t trust plastic.

I gave Jimmy a dirty look under my brow. “No plastic.”

“Fine!” he said, throwing his hands up. “So when are we gonna have another BBQ on your fresh lawn?” he continued. Some people were just born to be assholes even when they were friendly.

Advertisements

Teaser Tuesday: Feral Caress

spacequokkateaser

So I sat myself at the bar, got a shot of Jameson and settled down listening in on the conversations and looking for new people. Random banter; town hall was getting a new roof, comparing trucks, loads of dead chicken in the area the last few days. An older gentleman sitting next to me, with the most awesome curled mustache I’d ever seen, lamented how the damn foxes or wolves or weasels or whatever pesky creatures they were that kept eating his chicken, were getting into locked hen houses.

“Once they get a taste for it, they’ll figure out a way!” he exclaimed, then sunk in his seat defeated. A good man, he obviously loved his chicken. Though to be fair, chicken IS delicious to most creatures on this Earth. I patted him on the back sympathetically.

“Can you get meaner chicken? Something with bigger teeth that’ll fight back? Like, maybe swans?” I offered. Bucktooth swans.

He grinned mischievously.

“Aye, that is not a bad idea at all, young man!” He clinked my shot glass with his and took a sip. We continued with working out our plan for mean, self-defending chicken. The music streamed in the background an endless flow of Iron And Wine and as I relaxed in the hypnotic hum of the bar I stopped missing Charlie’s company and didn’t even notice he seemed to have completely disappeared until a good hour in. I scanned the crowd for traces of him. No luck. More people. No Charlie. My eyes brushed over something huge and white on the other side of the bar, then back to look at just what the hell I just saw.

Big guy. Not just tall, REALLY tall. I was no bread stick either at 6 feet, but this one was at least 6 foot 11 and wider than an elephant’s rear. Lean muscle all around, all covered in fine, white body-hair. Only his head hair and facial scruff had slightly more tinge, but even those were all white. The head was shaved on both sides with long, white-ish gold mane flowing from the middle. His jaw could crush walnuts just by being in the same room with them. He was downing a pint of beer in one go, the dark stout a monochrome contrasts to his pale lips, and when he struck the empty pint down on the bar and dried his lips across the back of his hand, I swear I could see sharp canine teeth.

Teaser Tues-..Thursday: cover reveal!

spacequokkateaser

Tuesday is going to be Thursday this week. Because it’s Christmas! And a bunch of other holidays! Rejoice ye readers of books and things. It’s the official holiday of staying at home and burying yourself in books. Yes. For a cover reveal we got a cover for a werewolf/wolf shifter whatsit coming up later. Long hair and things that almost look like wolves. But not quite because that would be bestiality. And I made a Santa to wish you happy holidays. Enjoy whatever you’re celebrating!

teasercovers5

Poking At Their Pregnant Blonde

Finally after a good week (dear lord it’s been almost two now!) of computer issues, I finally hpreggers1ttextave unrestricted access to the internet… and my actual book files! It’s like thinking your house burnt down, but discovering it was only the roof and all your stuff is still mostly usable and you just need to get a new roof and you’re golden. The new roof being a computer and the house being my book files. So far very little corruption/smoke damage in the files so not much rewriting necessary, BUT a whole butt load of checking before I can even get to the editing part.

Things learnt from this debacle? Get two roofs. One of just in case the other catches fire. Or get two houses if you’re fancy.

Anyhow, that means these I can start editing stories now and linking to the books that were already submitted before this ole mess. This one, Poking At Their Pregnant Blonde is about a 30-something Jenna who is very pregnant and very broke. And dreaming of a good shag, cuz who doesn’t? Enter Dylan. Ha! It’s sort of a pun… because erotica…. erh. Yeah. ANYway, Dylan’s a handsome 25 year old with a secret. The two hit it off and there’s a twist that promises a Happily Ever After….

Poking At Their Pregnant Blonde is out on Kobo, Apple, Page Foundry, 24 symbols, Barnes & Noble, Tolino and Amazon Kindle

Self publishing vs Vanity publishing

spacequokka4

Self publishing and vanity publishing are not entirely the same these days… well, not according to everyone. If you listen to your uncle Bob who knows everything about everything and definitely knows everything about books despite never having written one, self publishing and vanity presses are all for “stroking yer delicate damn ego cuz you can’t hack it in the Real World (TM) of publishing!”. Sigh. Really need to stop talking whenever uncle Bob is around….

So let’s break this down a little. A vanity press/publisher takes on small runs of books to publish. They may offer a package deal on 1000-2000 copies that would include cover design, but most vanity publishers have a set price for the run and then they want you to buy editing and cover design and publicity at an extra charge from them. You will pay out of pocket for the books that you’ll eventually receive and then have to work your butt off to contact sellers and hawk your wares because the money you just invested (and it’s not going to be a small amount) is now sitting in your living room/garage as physical copies of the book. There are publishers who do this with digital books as well. Point is: YOU pay, you pay a lot, there’s little to no marketing done by the publisher on your work and sellers are reluctant to stock items printed through these publishers because they’re perceived as “of lesser quality”. The out of pocket costs for a few boxes of books in this case can be in the tens of thousands. The product here is not the book. Vanity presses don’t make money selling books to readers, they make money selling publishing services to authors. This whole practice started in 1959-60 when a few publishers started offering to publish poems in anthologies for a fee from the author. You’d pay to get your poetry included. Vanity presses, the worst ones, continue soliciting would-be authors with letters of flattery and taking out ads that say “XYZ Publisher is looking for books!”. God I hope that’s not an actual publishing house… Y’all, that’s an example, so any similarities to an existing publishing house is purely coincidental!

Self publishing through Amazon/Createspace/Lulu/B&N/Kobo etc. print on demand services is a bit different, as your initial, required, monetary investment is very small. Usually about as much as you’d pay for a single paperback book, sometimes even less, and this goes down to you needing to order a proof copy from them. The marketing platform is already there but there’s still little to no marketing on the service provider’s end and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd so you can and should do marketing yourself. BUT you’re not treated differently by the publisher for not wanting to buy editing or cover design services from them as you might get with a straight up vanity publisher. You also wont have most of your money tied up in stock. Createspace, for example, has options for making your book available through Amazon and B&N as well as their own website. That’s already 3 platforms as opposed to 1 or none. Your book exists in a digital form with the publisher and physical copies are made when orders are received, hence the moniker Print On Demand. They make their money by selling your book as well as selling publishing services to authors.

You can also go “full” indie by simply contacting a printer and dealing with them directly to get your book made. Now that’s hardcore self publishing. You find a good printer and you might get good deals for making book related merch as well since, ya know, they print stuff. Books aren’t their sole bread and butter nor are authors their sole client group.

Ok, so why does uncle Bob and a whole host of other people say all self publishing is vanity publishing? It’s not entirely unjustified conflation, but really depends on how you view the extent of the publishing process and not just how you view the author. First “vanity publishing” as a term clearly states what the person flinging it, and uncle Bob, think of the person who takes that route: you think your writing is too good and pure to be touched by dirty, old strangers and whatever you have to say has to be heard by everyone. DO NOT EDIT MY PRECIOUS BOOK, IT IS PERFECT!

The reality is that a lot of smart self publishers do employ someone to edit their work and take on their suggestions, not just the proofreading. If they have the money to spare. Seriously, a lot of the time when you wonder how such a misjudgment of creativity was ever put on sale, it’s not because the author didn’t want to put their best foot forward in a creative sense, it’s because there were limitations like, say, money. Or experience. Or time and place. Take your pick. They also look for beta readers (people who don’t edit but represent your average potential reader) to give input on the book. That’s an awful lot of trouble to go through for a quick ego wank.

That’s not to say that there aren’t those special snowflakes who take pride in never having shown their work to anyone for a second opinion before unleashing it to the world. But writing and publishing aren’t a matter of agreeable personality. Authors, like plumbers and politicians, come in all shapes and sizes.

Another point is that while there are bunches and bunches of publishing houses in the world, enough that you could safely say that there’s a home for all kinds of material, traditional publishers are there to make a profit from selling books, so they can be reluctant to take chances on unconventional material. There’s that story about some YA author who got rejected 12 times… can’t remember her name now… I’m sure it’ll come back to me at some point. And that other author, well a few of them, who is often cited as having written like, really really badly. Like absolute shite. And yet they got published and got really wealthy from it. Point is, it’s obviously misguided to assume that going through the extensive editing of an “official” publishing house would guarantee a good, high minded book. So at this point, you gotta ask yourself: what exactly, would be wrong in just self-publishing?
Nothing mate, on a conceptual level, not a damn thing. In fact, it might be more apt, when talking about self publishing and vanity publishing (because you CAN reasonably say that all self publishing is vanity publishing in the sense that people want their special story to get out into the world, unlike traditionally published people who do it for altruism. Wait,  what?) to instead talk about self publishing and predatory vanity presses like dem eggheads in academia already do. They call those papers who charge budding academics for publishing their articles predatory open access publishers. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to just make a book and not sit through the very long process of getting published traditionally. People like books. People like stories! If you want to and can afford waiting it out and going through the traditional publishing route to get a home for your books and a nice deal that guarantees you a home for future books, that’s just nifty too. Both routes are equally part of the real publishing world.
Traditional publishing can guarantee you, at least for a certain amount of time, a professional editor, cover design, marketing and distribution. Maybe even a steady paycheck, it really depends on how you play things, how your publisher fairs and how long your book remains in print. That’s a whole lot of good things that you don’t have to worry about and the lump sum of the advance is nice too. The main differences between self publishing and traditional publishing these days, is the amount of creative control you’ll have and how much work you have to put into it to get that money. Because unlike in years gone by, thanks to digital publishing you can actually make a living self publishing, it’s just going to take an exponential amount of work. So uncle Bob with his ego stroking theories can just sit down cuz his ideas of what constitutes a proper job and what’s fiddling with pretty paperweights to give out on Christmas is going the way of the dodo. Self publishing, for profit, is hard work just like working independently in any creative field. To get financially stable (-ish), you can’t really afford much of that vanity.