How To Republish Your Own Dang Book

Or: How To Rise Like A Phoenix From So Many Ashes

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Seriously, y’all.

Now that the Ariah relaunch has happened, I thought it might be cool to walk you through what that looked like, exactly, in case any of you out there need similar info/skills in the future times.

What Happened When I Heard My Press Was Going Under
Oh, you know. Irritation. Resignation. Worry. But it’s the new normal, right? You can’t let yourself dwell on it too much. I got the rights reversion language from them, and filed it away. Ariah (and the other books I had under contract with them) was mine again.

And that felt a bit like freedom, honestly. Terrifying, exhilarating freedom.

Deciding What To Do Next
I went into that a little here. The options were pretty clear-cut:

  • find a press willing to reprint Ariah
  • create a press and reprint Ariah
  • self-publish Ariah

Ultimately, I went with option 3, for now, because of timing and resources. Judging by word of mouth and some of the few stats I have at my disposal, there is some momentum and demand for Ariah out there currently. I was afraid if the book disappeared altogether that the word of mouth would dry up, the momentum would turn to stillness, and Ariah would entirely lose the audience its found. It felt, and still feels, important to keep the book out there. It is as entirely legitimate as it will ever be–publishing through a press is not going to make that more or less true–and the text has already been copy edited.

Ariah’s Second Edition – Nuts And Bolts
Ok, with that decision made, I started sketching out tasks to make it happen:

  • Cover – I have always loved the cover art the press secured for Ariah, so when they offered to let me purchase it, I jumped at the chance. Done.
  • Redo Digital File – I took the epub file the press gave me for promotion purposes when the book initially launched, and plopped it into Sigil. Sigil is a free program that I use to edit and manipulate epub files until they are *exactly* how I want them.
    • Change Front and Back Matter – I needed to make changes, definitely, to the copyright page. This is a second edition, since the publisher has changed. I took out some of the language my press had in the copyright page and added some other language. I reconfigured the Table of Contents. I removed some of the back matter and added other back matter, and made the links live.
    • Tweak Book Design – In Sigil, I tweaked some of the chapter titles and section headings to be more my aesthetic.
    • Upload to Kindle – When the Sigil file was done, I uploaded it to a different program, Calibre. In calibre, you can add a cover image. You can also convert the epub to other formats (like mobi). I took the newly created mobi file and uploaded it to Kindle. Bam: that’s your ebook.
  • Redo Print File – Also in Calibre, I converted the epub to a rtf file. I made whatever book design choices I wanted in Word–important note: you have to set paper size to 6×9 and set mirror margins to match the default CreateSpace size. I found this part to be extremely, weirdly, super fun. Then, I exported the word doc as a PDF, which I uploaded to CreateSpace.
    • Upload to CreateSpace – You’ll need to go through CreateSpace’s entire finicky checklist, and you’ll need to go through the cover design process there. This was…less fun, but very thorough. Once it’s all done, and reviewed, then you have a print-on-demand paperback!
  • Update Amazon Author Page – Go to AuthorCentral and add the new versions of the ebook and paperback to your bibliography. I had to add all the extra shizz to their pages (editorial reviews, about the author, etc).
    • I couldn’t get Amazon to link the new editions to the old editions, so the current reviews are trapped forever on the old edition’s page. *sad trombone*
      • although I have found a couple of ways to inquire about this (check out this and this if you wind up with similar issues). So hopefully this will be resolved soon!
  • Update Goodreads – Add the new ebook and paperback as new editions to your book’s goodreads page. If you do this, then your reviews from the old editions will carry over like magic.
    • If you run into trouble with that, the Goodreads librarian group is full of angels.

What’s Next?
The big question is What To Do With Those Other Books Zharmae Had Under Contract. I’ve shopped them around a little, but not much. But honestly, I don’t really know what’s next.

I do know it will work out. And I’ll be around. And it’ll be great! Stay tuned.

ARIAH has relaunched!

In the wake of Zharmae’s closing, I was faced with a choice:

  • take my book and go quietly into the night, shopping it around as a possible reprint
  • relaunch it myself immediately

I’ve decided to do both things. I’ve put a couple of feelers out to people who might be interested in reprinting Ariah–people with resources and reach I don’t have alone–but in the meantime, this little book has grown legs!

There are readers who would like to buy it in the interim, in both ebook and paperbook formats, and it feels not super cool to keep Ariah out of circulation just because when it takes not a terrible amount of effort to put it back in circulation.

So: Ariah is available, as a second edition, via Amazon in both print and digital formats. One day there might be yet a third edition, if any of those feelers pan out, but maybe not, so what is there to lose really?

Psst – there is a giveaway happening right now through my newsletter. You can sign up for the newsletter mailing list here, if you haven’t already, and enter the giveaway here.

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2nd Edition Ebook | 2nd Edition Print

The second edition has no story or grammatical changes in the text compared to the first edition. Really, the only change is that the first edition was published by Zharmae, and this edition is published by me, and thus they have different ISBNs. I did take the opportunity to make some slight differences to layout and book design, but again, the book does not have any additional content, so if you already have a copy of Ariah, I can’t really tell you in good conscience to pick up a copy of the second edition (unless you’re like OMG I MUST SUPPORT B IN EVERYTHING THEY DO in which case…thank you! You’re very sweet and encouraging!!).

B

A Fresh Start

Sometimes you get an email and it’s like

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And then you’re like

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So here’s what happened: my press, Zharmae, is folding after five years of putting out books. They’ll be shuttered at the end of the month.

That’s ok! That happens. It’s tough out there for presses–even the big ones.

The open question is what this means for me. In the short term, rights to Ariah and the not-yet-published A Tale of Rebellion series have reverted back to me. I am without an agent. So, basically, I have books in hand and many options.

The idea of getting back out there and subbing all over again is fearsome, but it’s also invigorating. Fresh starts are…well, shit, they are fresh if nothing else. This news comes at a time of a lot of general transitions in my life,* and while not necessarily unwelcome, it is has given me pause. It’s a moment to slow down for a second and figure out what I want and don’t want in my writing life.

In any case, stay tuned. I’m not going anywhere. That much I know for sure.


*Day job transitions, kiddo just started kindergarten, just a whole lot of stuff flipping over at once. Things are hectic.

 

ARIAH named 2016 Bi Book of the Year: Speculative Fiction!

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all my dreams came true i am an award winning author and only skeletor can capture my emotions in gif form

How amazing is this news??

You know, whenever people ask me what motivates me to keep writing, I tell them it’s curiosity, not external validation. But, hey, the occasional bit of external validation is certainly welcome!

When I wrote Ariah, I couldn’t imagine that it would get published, much less win an award! So, many thanks to the Bi Writers Association for this. It means a great deal to me.

Thanks also to my partners, Jon and Sam, and my ex, Hunter, who slogged through many iterations of Ariah. Without them pushing me, this book never would have seen the light of day. I’d also like to thank my editors, Sarah Bangs and Carrie Hemler, for the sharp insights that made this book as good as it could possibly be.

AND MANY, MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO THE OTHER WINNERS AND NOMINEES! Seriously, what an amazing, talented bunch.

Bi Book Awards & New Patreon Story!

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Click here for full flier
Tickets $15 in advance or at the door
Westbeth Community Room, 55 Bethune St. W. of Washington St., NYC

I am so excited to be packing off for a couple of days to go to the Bisexual Book Awards! I’ve been honored with the opportunity to do a short reading from Ariah. If you’re going to be in New York on June 3rd, I’d love to see you! RSVP, and come by the Bisexual Book Awards!

Not able to make it? No worries! A new short story is coming–and not only is it set in Aerdh (the fantasy universe Ariah was set in) but it features characters from Ariah! It will be released via my Patreon on June 12. There’s a sneak peek and some info up over here about that.

ARIAH is a finalist for the Bisexual Book Awards!

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Exciting news! Ariah is on the shortlist for the Bisexual Book Awards in the Speculative Fiction category! I’m super-thrilled simply to be nominated (no, really, I mean that)–especially because of the fine company I’m in!* Seriously, there’s about a half dozen other finalists that are very high up on my TBR pile right now. Are you looking for some bisexual books to read? You might want to check out the list of finalists!

OK HERE’S SOME MORE NEWS:

In celebration, I’m going to release an Ariah-related short story via Patreon in April! So…if that’s of any interest to you, then yay!

*Including but not limited to Shira Glassman, Hannah Moskowitz, and Lidia Yuknavitch.

2015: Year in Review (Thoughts & Such)

All things considered, I had a pretty good year writing-wise. Here are some highlights:

Ariah got published.
This was my book, you know? I’d worked on it forever, subbed it forever, and then it was out there.

I learned so much about book marketing on the fly with Ariah. I sent so many review requests. I did at least twenty guest spots on far-flung blogs (anywhere that would have me). I ran a ton of giveaways. Ultimately, I think, it’s mostly about getting a book in the hands of the right reviewer at the right time.

Really, for indie books (and I think even for traditionally published books) the strongest marketing tool is word of mouth. Patience has been my biggest obstacle, honestly, but I’m slowly gaining a readership.

I broke out of my shell as a writer and made some lovely writer friends.
I started using Twitter in earnest this year, and it was a great decision for me. Twitter, plus blogging, means a ton of connection to other writers. And I went to my very first con this year–Sirens was awesome! I got to meet some writer friends in the flesh, which was so cool!

I tend to write in isolation, but I still need a community. I love to talk about process and books and technique and what I’m writing and why I’m writing it. My partners quickly get fatigued on my subjects, so twitter is an excellent outlet for this.

I got vocal about diversity in publishing.
It was inevitable. I’ve always been passionate about social justice, so the intersection between writing and social justice was bound to pop up at some point. I think about this stuff a lot, in both my own writing and in others, and doing the disrupting publishing roundups every week or so has been eye-opening and informative.

This year I’ve also been explicitly reading and reviewing books with an eye towards diversity (you can see notes on diversity in the book reviews here and a call for diverse books in my review policy here). This, too, has been eye-opening and informative. I’ve spent a lot of time this past year thinking about what I can do, as a person with multiple privileges and marginalizations, to make publishing more diverse from within. What is it ethical for me to be writing about? When should I step back and simply promote voices? When am I taking up space inadvertently? Heavy, important questions.

Writing ARIAH: A Closer Look at the Titular Character

Ariah is the pasty one in the center, FYI

Amazon | Goodreads

Given that Ariah hit some new folks radars thanks to spotlights thrown by the wonderful and talented Foz Meadows and Liz Bourke, I thought it might be talented to post some writerly behind-the-scenes type things here on how the book came to be. I haven’t really done that since before its launch, anyway, though if you’re interested, you can find all of those posts here.

Ariah Lirat’Mochai is a funny story. The book wasn’t supposed to be about him. It was supposed to be about his mentor, Dirva. Ariah was supposed to be the reader’s lens into Dirva, the way Nick Carraway narrates The Great Gatsby though the book isn’t actually his story. I maintain that Dirva is an interesting character in and of himself, but Ariah quickly took over the narrative. No passive viewpoint character here, no, Ariah demanded to tell his own story while Dirva’s maudlin arc played out in the shadows, seen sometimes and hidden at other times. I went with it. What else can you do but surrender to a first draft?

I have always loved Ariah’s voice. It came fully formed, of its own accord. He overthinks, he questions and second guesses, he is uncertain, but at his core, Ariah is a man who has a moral center. Not, particularly, a sense of self, but a firm moral center. And this makes him very interesting to write, because for him:

The truth was a slippery thing that, perhaps, did indeed slide between categories.

He spends a lot of time and energy trying to parse what he should say and what he should not, and when, and why. Some of this is to do with his magic–being an shaper, which is somewhat like an empath–he essentially eavesdrops on other people’s emotional states. They may be trying to cover, putting on a game face, that he sees right through without realizing he’s even seeing through it. So, because he’s so accidentally observant, he’s very careful. Ariah tries to weigh everything before he speaks. He doesn’t always get it right, but he tries to, which means there are so many thoughts running through his mind at any given moment as he tries to process everything at once.

On top of this is the complication of his empathic magic, and the way it interacts with his shifting sense of self. Early in the book, it becomes clear that he needs some sense of stability to keep himself together:

Ambivalence tends to drive me to self-sabotage. I do not do well with internal conflict; I do not do well when I am unmoored.

But it also becomes clear that for Ariah, paradoxically, coming to terms with a shifting sense of self provides the greatest sense of stability:

It’s like you’ve got two hearts inside you: yours and theirs. To learn a litany, you have to learn to be yourself and not yourself at the same time.

It’s only by understanding the way he is deeply shaped by the people he is around and loves that he can keep that dangerous ambivalence at bay. The only way Ariah can find to silence that awful internal conflict is, shockingly, but accepting that there is no single ineffable Ariah–there is the Ariah that brought to the surface by Sorcha, and the Ariah that is brought to the surface by Shayat and the Ariah that is brought to the surface by Halaavi, and none is more real or true than the other.

Ariah, like all the characters I’ve written, is deeply similar to me and deeply dissimilar to me. He is like me in that I tend to get immediately and terribly overwhelmed by the information I receive from others. I pay far too much attention by accident to people’s postures, their tone of voice, their word choice, their clothing, everything, and then I have to process it, and it’s exhausting, so very exhausting. He’s unlike me in that he strives for harmony and politeness. I don’t. But this idea of reconciliation between all these different versions of oneself, this idea that all the different sides and presentations of oneself are harmonious, are in sync, are a network of related ‘yous’ all made possible by the strength and depth of your relationships with other people, that is a thought I don’t think I would have had without writing this book. I wouldn’t have made that insight, which I find profoundly uplifting, without having stumbled upon Ariah’s voice and letting him take the story’s direction. I’m glad I did.



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