Pubslush and Colborne join forces

This news is about three weeks old, but it’s worth reposting Porter Anderson’s article on the merger between literary crowdfunding website Pubslush with Canadian publishing services company Colborne Communications.

I myself had looked into setting up a project on Pubslush around a year ago as part of my research into whether I should go the crowdfunding route for Starley’s Rust or other books in the future. For the moment, I’m unconvinced that crowdfunding is a worthwhile option for me, given that it requires a significant time investment with no guarantee of success. That’s already the case with self-publishing, so I feel like crowdfunding would significantly detract from the amount of time I’m spending on actual writing. And although finding a readership is lovely (and gaining income from fiction a bonus!) the writing itself is what I’m here for. Creating, crafting and honing stories… that’s guaranteed achievement.

I’d love to hear the thoughts of other authors on crowdfunding. Have you tried it? If so, did it work for you?

The current state of the indie publishing nation

Roz Morris interviewed me for her wonderful Undercover Soundtrack site last year, and now she’s posted this fascinatingly honest interview with a mysteriously anonymous author. In it, they discuss whether independent publishing has hit a wall, fallen off a cliff or is simply in a downturn as part of a normal cyclical phase.

It’s scary up there.

The author is quoted as saying:

“I check in on Kindleboards now and again. Yesterday I saw an author who started out making $13,000 a MONTH on four poorly written books say she’s now ghosting for other indies to make ends meet. Another author posted about the publication of his new ‘novel’, which is 117 pages long with lots of white space (probably 15K words) and selling for $2.99. Everyone was fawning over him and his swift production.”

Have we reached the top of the cliff? If so, should we admire the view, walk back the way we came, or take the plunge and hope that this is just a metaphor and not reality?

Photo credit: Peter Morgan / Foter / CC BY

Time for a shift

Hello followers! Wait, that makes me sound a bit like a religious leader or a dictator, and I’m just a humble author. The thing is, “followers” is how WordPress terms the people who subscribe to updates from a blog. Maybe I’ll call them bloggowers. It’s ugly and I probably won’t use it ever again, but right here, right now, I have bloggowers!

Anyhoo, on with the post. I’ve made a decision as the publisher of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work to tell the editor of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work to harangue the writers of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work because they aren’t creating enough interesting content. The trouble is, the publisher, editor and writers of Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work are all me, and I’m also an author trying to write and self-publish books. My time is therefore limited.

That’s why I’ve made an executive decision to post more frequently with content from elsewhere about writing and the publishing industry (both traditional and indie). This is win-win-win, because I don’t feel the need to create 600-word articles every week or two, my bloggowers get to read interesting content more often, and the writers of that content get links to their original articles. It’s either that or I unethically outsource my posts to child bloggers in Bangladesh.

Editor

Me*, earlier, revealing the blog’s new direction to my enormous staff of writers.

I may also start using my professional Facebook or Twitter accounts to post snippets of news on how my books are progressing, rather than struggle to craft an entire post on this blog every time I pass a milestone.

This isn’t exactly a makeover. Sitting at your Desk Isn’t Work will now become more like a channel for news on the industry and tips on writing fiction, but will basically look the same. Maybe I’ll call it a makeunder. So that’s two words minted in the space of five minutes. Enjoy the makeunder, my bloggowers!

 

*This is actually editor Alan Rusbridger addressing the Guardian newsroom to toast the paper’s Pulitzer win. Photo credit: katybird / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Broken Pencil reviews Starley’s Rust

Reviews are always nice. Nice reviews are even nicer! Check out what Toronto indie culture and zine mag Broken Pencil had to say about Starley’s Rust besides this:

Dutton is in his element crafting together a sci-fi adventure with a good blend of sincerity and humour that, without such a fine balance, can be the downfall of any YA fiction.

Back from vacation with a new story

In some parts of the world, spring has sprung. In the Dominican Republic, where I visited last week, it even felt like summer, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius (86 F). And while I was in the Caribbean, it was -30 degrees (-22 F) in Montreal, where I live. That’s quite the contrast! In fact, last month was officially the coldest February on record in Quebec. Lucky me, I thought, as I lay in a beach lounger last Friday, looking up at palm trees while sipping something called a Coco Loco. Then a bird pooped on me. This has happened to me once before (bizarrely, also on vacation; maybe I shouldn’t get out more) and this time I’m happy to say that it was a much smaller bird with a correspondingly smaller payload.

Breath Less cover

What does this have to do with writing? Sometimes unexpected things can fall from the sky and you’re left staring at them thinking, “Well, I guess I have to deal with this now.” When I geared up for the launch of Starley’s Rust in mid-January, I didn’t expect to embark on another work of fiction until I began the as-yet-unnamed conclusion of the Embodied trilogy. Then suddenly, plop! the idea for Breath Less came to me.

Breath Less is a short story for Young Adults. It’s set one sweltering summer sometime in the future, and I guess you’d call it a sci-fi romance. Talaya, a teenage girl, is trying desperately to revive a boy called Adam whom she met the day before and has now passed out in her backyard pool. But things aren’t what they seem…

I decided to publish Breath Less “live” in three sections on Wattpad, and now the last one is online. Maybe I’ll also make an ebook version at some point, but right now I’m keen to know what readers think of it, rather than attempting to sell it.

So if you’re interested to know why a girl who takes her books out for a drive is attracted to a boy who dives into a pool but can’t swim, click on the cover and log in to Wattpad.

The Rime of the Ancient Marketer

Websites, websites every where, Nor any way to link…

The ancient mariner in Coleridge’s wonderful poem that I’ve so horribly pastiched here was undone by an albatross he killed. For indie authors, that albatross is the multitude of social media options and reading-oriented websites that your books can appear on. Half of the latter variety apparently consist of writers promoting their books to other writers, which hardly seems very efficient (unless your book is actually about the writing process).

The statue of the Ancient Mariner, in Watchet, Somerset, about 10 miles from where Coleridge lived and the same county I grew up in.

The statue of the Ancient Mariner, in Watchet, Somerset, about 10 miles from where Coleridge lived and the same county I grew up in. Oddly, he appears to be holding a skateboard. Maybe he got into that after quitting the sea life.

The reality is that there are so many online outlets to publicize and market books for both indie and traditional authors alike that it’s impossible to cover them all. Beyond the obvious ones like Facebook, Twitter and WordPress, there are secondary-but-still-significant ones like Instagram, Wattpad, Bloglovin, and StumbledUpon. In fact, there are so many that it’s not even realistic to list them all on your own blog. I use the right-hand side of this page to lead readers directly to the Amazon pages of my books because that’s the best way to serve someone who might be interested in buying them, but my media kits include well over a dozen other links to different online stores like Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

There are other incredibly important links that I’ve not even mentioned above that can fall by the wayside in the tsunami of marketing activities (hmmm… I smell an ocean theme today!) My YouTube channel, for example. And the ones I’m now going to plug right here: my author pages on Goodreads and Amazon. So to rectify the situation, here are the links to both pages:

My Amazon author page

My Goodreads author page

There. Done. It’s always a bit weird to write about yourself in the third person, but readers visit these pages because they are genuinely interested in the living, breathing writer behind the books. And besides, I don’t have time to invite them all over for tea. Maybe one day I’ll rent a boat and we’ll all sail off from the north Somerset coast for a bit of fishing…