Category Archives: Publishing

Authors Vote for Freedom

©2016 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee


Authors Vote for Freedom and Independence

Today, in significant numbers, authors vote for freedom and independence  in a booming trend to by-pass traditional publishers. Migrating to  independent methods, it seems authors vote for freedom and independence Heady stuff.

Why? Change in the industry was inevitable, considering the arrogance, economics, and straight-jacket  limitations of  traditional publishing.  Loss of project control, fine-print contracts,  bad editing,  deadlines, unrealistic promises of miniscule royalties.   As authors in larger numbers move to self-publish, it seems  something substantially more important is involved; the underlying wish and dedicated vote for  freedom and independence.


Freedom in Voice and Content

If you have ever published a book, you know the routine.  Publishers beta-read, edit,  crop,  switch the order of chapters,  introduce  arbitrary changes , smile like Cheshire cats, —then inflict what  they think —or perhaps even believe—is the best treatment and decision for your book. Even, in the extreme—to forgetting content, adding errors,  and altering your unique writer's voice.  Hmm.... we have even heard authors using foul invective  in discussions on this subject.

Publishers are, after all,  as you will be told,  the publisher, and  marketing expertswise decisions  by such informed persons,  by default,  should be beneficial upon occasion.  Besides, someone has to be the whip-snapping boss.  There can be only one flashlight in the dark, one direction, one captain on a ship, blah blah.  Regardless of  subsequent success, or the dismal sinking thereof.

For some inexplicable reason some writers  erroneously accept, imagine or assume  that official publishers should automatically be  smarter and more knowledgeable  than  garret-bound,  lowly scribblers of fiction or even those genius, highly-respected, bespectacled authors of  enormous, non-fiction tomes of significant stuff.  You get the idea.

We observe and must concede that sometimes publishers and editors  are wrong, or actually prove they are more right and clever. Kudos to shining, diligent, and wise editors when they are right,  may their stubby candles at head office always shine brightly.  Sadly, being right or 'being in control' does not always guarantee an optimal outcome —for any book.

Does this conundrum sound familiar to you?  Has your book publishing  experience been   a) surprisingly successful,   b)  produced paper-weights collecting dust , or c) _____?  you fill in the blank.

In all fairness, let us analyze  logically. If your book  fails   in the marketplace  and success expected is not achieved, something is, or was wrong. The question is, what?  You have to decide. It is very simple.  Sparkling, original content written well, with excellent professional editing work, fault-free publishing, and thoughtful promotion into the right market has a reasonable chance. Was your book a quality offering to the world of readers?   We hope so.  Was it dreck destined for failure, regardless of your publishing choice? We hope not.

Questions ultimately must  then also be asked, 'Are publisher  decisions  always  best for every book project?Are publishers compatible with every author?  Is genre a problem?  Timing?  Marketing? Did the formatting work? Is success ever guaranteed?  Of course not. Are your own publishing decisions right for the project?    The correct answer may  be based upon circumstance, karma timing and luck.  And a gazillion other factors.  Think for yourself. Don't feel bad if you are wrong.

Myriads of simple mistakes  are made every day by both authors and publishers —even before  that first draft.  Wonderful premises may be abandoned by discouraged writers, never to be explored.  Publishers may reject a timely,  impossibly good manuscript. Writers  may ignore the advice of  those rare, brilliant, and helpful editors.  Equally, bad editors may discourage writers or ignore, miss, and worse, even introduce mistakes.  Fantastic authors of potentially stellar works are routinely  sent rejection letters —or are told "go take a writing class". Wow—yet  happily end up eventually selling millions of copies.  Believe it; some excellent books never see daylight.    Such contradictions defy logic.

The hard truth is, to publish your book by any method, bravery is required. Publishing a book may be comparable to a crap shoot. Courting Lady Luck. A calculated gamble,  perhaps, but still a gamble.  Timing is everything —sure, we believe that, but how about quality content, originality, beta input, perception, presentation, reviews,  marketing, classification, publishing methodology, sales venues,  change in societal markets and reading audiences?   ...But don't forget luck. It all counts.

Personalities  involved in publishing may also rise,  cement, develop, bloom and  grow —or clash, fester, and fail with bad communication and people skills. You, the author,  —and the publisher —may realistically and justifiably have  completely different visions, ideas, and targets for the project. For better or for worse.

Both votes  to self-publish and the vote to publish traditionally are incredibly complex choices,  —and are only two choices of many which must be made. Hard decisions.  It is your book. Your responsibility.

So,  what to do?  Writers, scribblers, poetic persons and all,  if publishing is in your future, pick a straw. The best part is, now you do get to decide. Be brave. We observe that a vote for freedom and independence coincides nicely with a vote for personal satisfaction even if success is optional.  Read that again.

Here at Incoming Bytes we say step out there if you dare.  One thing is'll never know until you try.  It's called the writing life. 




*An update on my most recent publishing project:

I have voted for freedom and independence in republishing  Morgidoo's Christmas Carol, —originally published in 2011.

We're now up and running.   Morgidoo's Christmas Carol (Subtitled The Bells of Blister,  3rd Edition  is now  published,  in both  eBook and print formats available  now  at 

  • Print:  ISBN  13: 9781523683826   167p.,  6"x9" paperback  b&w )
  • (Kindle  eBook format, ASIN: B0063EWU9G   Full colour )  
[caption id="attachment_3753" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Cover art for Morgidoo's Christmas Carol (the Bells of Blister) 3rd edition Cover art for Morgidoo's Christmas Carol (the Bells of Blister) 3rd Ed. 2016[/caption]

 ©2016 Cover art  All rights reserved.


Yes... Christmas, we do observe,  may  still appear to be 9 months away, —but go for it anyway. Why?  Morgidoo's Christmas Carol is classic literature  for all seasons.  All year.  Written to be enjoyed  by readers of all ages.  Adults  and publishers included.

Is that Incoming I hear?

Posted in Books, Business, Publishing, Reflections, Writing Life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Facing Down A Writer’s Dilemma

©2016 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

[caption id="attachment_3714" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Part of a little village...Morgidoo's Christmas Carol
'The tiny church on Blister Street'[/caption]    

A Writer's Dilemma


Well, how about that cool winter holiday,  people?

  It was a long, yes, but somehow, it seemed  a whole lot longer. I  have been mulling over  a writer's dilemma...which, sooner or later, like everything important,  must be faced down. Surprisingly difficult  decisions must be made in the writing life. Have you made any lately?

Publishing decisions, that is ... Simple?  No.   A writer's dilemma ,  two less-than-perfect choices, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.  Tough choices.

We have  been totally distracted here at Incoming Bytes.

Distractions put off decisions, but I tend to digress to allow time to think.  Does that happen to you?

  Even for the most savvy of writers hard decisions must eventually be made.  Get to it, a path must be chosen.   We're getting closer.

Let's procrastinate.   Coffee anyone?   See what happens?   Writing is  more than coffee, staring at that damned  cursor, having discussions with the muse,  and petting the pups. Decisions like going independent or renewing existing publishing contracts come up and must be made. To renew or not? To remain with a publisher or not?  Drop anchor, or set sail off into a stiff breeze?  There 'ya go. Decide already. Facing down a writer's dilemma... is much easier said than done.

Here's the thing;  as writers, we collectively desire success; we want  someone, anyone-- to actually buy and read our  novels, whatever we're scribbling.  Being 'out there' pretty as you please on a publisher's website  isn't enough. Reality sucks big time; in the starving writer's attic, dollars pay for bread.

We all dream that readers will  be interested enough to  bust the bank and buy  a real book, —a novel, preferably one  of our own.  Facing reality and the increasing cost of living, writers   dream not only of writing a winner, but of actually being paid, too —a lot more than the unrealistic  pittance called royalties now offered by publishers.  It's a tough game.

In theory the whole process is simple enough; write a great book,   find a great publisher, an insanely insatiable, interested community of readers, and sell, sell sell  to the right demographics, etc. etc...   The book simply has to fill a need and a niche.  It seems simple enough, but is not. 

Your book  must also fulfill  expectations.  Interpretation of your vision, book classification,  publicity, marketing, a timely launch.  All of the above. Your book must  be unique, well-written, formatted, edited, loved and mollycoddled by your publisher...and then sold all the way to the million copy best-sellers list...  Okay.  That's quite a lot to ask.

As an author,  success and financial returns are only one consideration. Future sales potential, future books,  perception of important  friendships, the supportive author community   —and so many other aspects also occur in an author/publisher business relationship. Simple enough?

What is not simple however, is how, or why, publishers make those all-important and critical production decisions made for your book.  Covers, formats,  fonts,  printing, marketing ploys,  write-ups, and ultimately promotions, discount sales, giveaways,  whatever.  Interpretations and decisions out of your control.  Everything a publisher does affects your book;  all of these 'production decisions'  are critical to success. Do some go astray?  We hope not, but, indeed, some inevitably must.

Keep in mind decisions made by  publishers are never   'wrong' from the publisher's point of view or master plan at the time... Good publishers have a vision they would like to see fulfilled— they, too, want success for their authors.  Does that success always happen? No.  Do publishers always make the correct written-in-stone decisions for every author, every book?  As the author, guess what? Only you can decide. In addition,  some decisions don't seem to work—for whatever the reason.

Let's talk about a specific book.  It is a good example.   The publishing contract  simply expired for my Christmas classic "Morgidoo's Christmas Carol, " so all stops are pulled;  it is now  top priority even though Christmas is still 10 months away.    Am I looking closely at all of the options available?  You bet. Including going Indie.

Morgidoo going Indie Well? Why not? I  published the 1st. edition back in 2011 as an eBook. MCC was subsequently picked up by Rocking Horse Publishing for the 2nd Edition (2013). 

Why change now? Two Years later...Sales have not been great.  Why?  For a much-loved Christmas classic written for all ages,  a unique story,  poor sales were certainly not expected, and realistically, the status quo is not going to cut it.    Not enough promotion? Who knows.  There can never be enough promotion for any book by author or publisher.


A  'Look at The Book'  View

 Let's get to it. Out in the market, the contentious square format apparently  labeled this Christmas classic  as  only a child's book —another writer's dilemma —and in fact resulted in negative feedback  to this author.

"Great cover, great story, but..." comes to mind.  Why?  Adults immediately perceive the square format to be a 'kiddie book" product. Subconsciously or not.   The surprising fact is,  adults apparently do not like  square, flimsy, skinny formats which demand table space instead of standing vertically on shelves  'like real books do'  as someone suggested, tongue in cheek.  Miffed upon hearing that possibility,  I did an unofficial experiment.

One of my favourite hobbies is observing people, so during the recent Christmas season, I  stood about and, interestingly, observed that shoppers tend to studiously ignore tables loaded with a great variety of  "square format" books.  "Those are  kid's books", some commented. "They're not real books, and are really overpriced for what you get".   "I don't buy them for my kids. "I don't bother with them." "I don't have kids."  That last comment was reasonable, but the comment  "I hate skinny, square books..." was an eye-opening response received from one shopper.  Verbatim. "...they're awkward to read, and you have to pile them up somewhere."

That said it all.  Fair enough. The square format could potentially be detrimental to the sales of books mature readers might otherwise consider.  In marketing, not a happy thought.

  I thought about that conundrum for quite a while.  Reality is an incredibly steep learning curve.  Learn by making mistakes, and don't get paid for it.

Bottom line,  I was forced to conclude:   "Politically-correct or not, publisher decision or not the square format was likely a bad choice;  perception is everything,  the book-buyer makes the ultimate decision, the customer is always right, yada-yada. Time for reality.


Decision Time. 

As a result, the 3rd Edition  of  Morgidoo's Christmas Carol  will  now  be re-edited, re-formatted to it's original  vertical format, and coincidentally,  will be launched under my own publishing label,  (Whitewood Forge Publishing.)  New cover, new format,  true to the original edition, even subtitled "The Bells of Blister" which was the original file subtitle. But still  new.

You got it. New. Reshaped.  More consumer-friendly.  Will these marketing choices work?  Only time will tell.

Morgidoo's Christmas Carol (The Bells of Blister) will be issued both in print and as a Kindle eBook. Be advised the 3rd. edition will look VERY, very  different.  It will look like the timeless classic it IS...suitable for readers of all ages.

Watch for it...........  Coming soon.

How about that. Another writer's dilemma faced down.

Is that Incoming I hear?

  Photo credit: © 2016 'The tiny church on Blister Street'
Posted in Books, Business, Life, Publishing, Reflections, Uncategorized, Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments