roh morgon

~flashback

Somebody asked me the other day how long I’d been blogging. I couldn’t answer them off the top of my head. So when I got home and onto my computer that night, I checked to see the date of my first post.

It was December 6, 2009, two years and a month ago.

I can’t believe I missed my own blogiversary!

Well, yes I can. I miss birthdays and anniversaries all the time – just ask my hubby. Oh well.

So, in belated honor of my blogiversary, and in honor of Watcher, the book that started it all, below is a re-posting of my very first post telling how I got started in this whole writing thing.

It’s certainly been a long strange trip…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

the beginning of it all

I suppose if I’m going to tell the story of telling a story, I should start at the beginning.

One year ago, in December 2008, I heard an interview with the author of a popular book series. When asked who she wrote her story for, she said she wrote it for herself.

That statement flipped a switch somewhere inside me. And so I decided to write a story for me, about beings I’d long been fascinated with – vampires.

At least I thought I was writing it for myself.

The first words to hit the page stunned me. They spoke of the pain of an undead creature as she watched a family she could no longer be part of. They went on to describe how she struggled with her violent nature, held in check only by memories of her daughter, and how she lived with the loneliness of her dangerous secret.

And so Sunny was born. She didn’t have a name then, because all I wrote that December was a one-page preface. The holidays were in full swing, my family was gathering for a long-overdue reunion, and there was no time to write. I reluctantly put her story on hold until after the first of the year. Fortunately she was content with that and allowed me to enjoy my family time.

But when January came around, Sunny came back into my life, and she brought others with her. Together they began insisting I tell their story, invading my thoughts all hours of the day as well as the night. I slept very little back then, averaging only 2-4 hours a night while still trying to hold down a full-time job.

Weekends were even worse. I’d start writing Friday night when I got home after work, recording their story until they released me to crawl into bed just before sunrise. I was usually back up by 8 or 9 Saturday morning to start again. I’d write all day, taking few breaks, and on into the night until sometime near dawn. Sunday would be a repeat of Saturday, writing almost non-stop. Fortunately, because I had to get up and go to work the next morning, they allowed me to go to bed a little earlier on Sunday nights – most of the time.

This went on for five months. At the end of May, over Memorial Weekend, I finished the end of the first draft. I still had a couple of early chapters to flesh out, but as far as I was concerned, I was done.

Sunny and Nicolas had other ideas. A week later they pushed me to continue with their story in the second book of the series. I wrote about 25,000 words before they let me stop. But they didn’t stop. Shifting their attention back to Watcher, the pressure I’ve felt to edit and prepare it for publication has been relentless.

And so it continues. I’m hoping to have all the fine-tuning for Watcher complete by the end of the year. I’ve submitted to two agents that I met at writer’s conferences, and will begin submitting to more in January if I haven’t heard anything by then.

Friends are helping me with artwork and website management. I’m slowly building my online presence, including learning how to blog. This all takes so much time, yet I can do nothing else but press forward as Sunny and Nicolas insist.

Because their need to have their story known…is every bit as strong as the need they are known for.

So if anyone wants to know what it’s like to be seduced and have your life taken over by vampires, I can tell them. Because mine has, and just like in the legends, the dark gift has its good points, and its bad.

 December 6, 2009

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I look back on this post, I shake my head in amazement. That year is a blur – it was like I was possessed. Hmm…who knows – maybe I was <grin> (I like to think so – it’s a better explanation than thinking I was losing my mind!)

As for meeting my goal of submitting to agents and trying to get a publishing deal in 2010, all I can say is … everything happens for a reason. I’m happy with the path I’m on, one that allows me to control my own career, subject only to the whims of the readers  – and not the middlemen of a too-rapidly changing publishing world.

I’m off to a great start this year, with a novel and two short stories published, and more in the works. I feel optimistic about the coming year, and am excited to be moving forward on some new projects.

All doomsaying aside, I think 2012 is going to be great!

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 3 January 2012 11:51 pm
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~writers: you need to read this

Kristine Kathryn Rusch blogged today about the current state of the publishing industry.

If you write, and dream of ever being published (either traditional or self)  – you need to read it:

The Business Rusch: Third Quarter Blues

Then you need to think about the ramifications of Borders liquidation and Barnes & Noble shelf reduction.

But more importantly, you need to think about how you’ll survive as a writer over the next several years.

For some, the adventurous and the brave, this may be a new Golden Age for writers. For others, those who fear to stray from what has been the publishing norm, you’re going to need to hang on tight.

Looks like it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

roh morgon @ Thursday, 21 July 2011 11:11 am
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~Weekly e-Watch Wrap-up: 27 May 2011

Once again there’s enough happening this week in the publishing world to warrant a second post. Here’s the e-Watch Wrap-up for the week of May 23:

Amazon as publisher

The Rise of e-Books

Self-Publishing: The Top Ten

More on Self-Publishing

The Supernatural Reigns

Writers Beware

Have a great Memorial Weekend!

roh morgon @ Friday, 27 May 2011 11:52 pm
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~Weekly e-Watch Wrap-up: 20 May 2011

Enough news has already accumulated in my files this week to warrant a special Friday edition of e-Watch. Without further ado, here’s the Weekly e-Watch Wrap-up:

The Battleground Expands

Fast Times at Publishing High

Sink or Swim: It’s All About Survival

More Publishing News

The Last Word

Why you won’t succeed in self-pubbing by Joe Konrath
 

 That’s it for today, folks!  Have a good weekend!

roh morgon @ Friday, 20 May 2011 3:52 pm
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~Wednesday’s e-Watch: 18 May 2011

Publishing This Week

I’d like to start this week’s e-Watch with yesterday’s FUTUReBOOK article by by Jürgen Snoeren on the changing nature of publishing.  This is a great recap of some of the events I’ve been reading (and mentioning in this blog). 

More evidence of the ongoing changes: there is a new digital distributor on the block, and folks, I think this is going to be BIG.  The name of the company is Enthrill Entertainment Inc. and they’ve come up with a hell of a new distribution model for e-books.

I watched the Enthrill e-book Distribution video on this yesterday and immediately emailed it to my marketing team. Snoeren mentions it in his article as well – I encourage my readers to take the time to check this out, because I believe it will be an integral component in the future of publishing.

Other interesting publishing news

Donnelly POD joins w/ Harper Collins = faster time to print

Agents as publishers:

Amazon as publisher:

Another interesting observation on the happenings in the pub world was made by Anne R. Allen in her article  Is the E-book the New Query?

The Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) recently featured Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. An article covering the event, written by Joel Friedlander, focuses on indie and e-publishing. It’s appropriately subtitled Indie Revolution in Full Swing.

Considering the tumultuous times the publishing industry is in right now, writers need to be very careful about their next moves.

Personally, I’ve reached a point where I’d rather fall on my face self-publishing than risk signing a contract that will lock me into an antiquated royalty system and a brick-and-mortar distribution model that may completely implode before my book can even reach print.

Writers Beware

On that note, I’m starting a new series that will be featured as part of the e-Watch. I’m calling it Writers Beware. Here’s a few articles to start it out:

Let The Games Begin

Michael Stackpole used an interesting analogy in his article on the traditional vs. indie camps. The name of the piece gives a good hint on which side he’s on. It’s called House Slaves vs. Spartacus.

Kevin McLaughlin also looked at this issue in Begun, the publishing war has…

Indie Resources

Here are a couple cool articles on piracy: Piracy is good and Let’s squeeze the life out of book pirates

And, as a wrap-up for today’s e_Watch, April Hamilton over at Publetariat posted a great Self-Publishing Resource Roundup. You should check it out.

~~~~~~~~~

That’s it for today. As you can see, a lot is happening, and it’s happening REALLY FAST. 

I’m debating spreading this feature out over two days instead of trying to get everything into one. What do you think? Do you like it? Is there something you’d like added?

Let me know…

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 18 May 2011 1:08 pm
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~Wednesday’s e-Watch: 11 May 2011

Today is the inaugural edition of Wednesday’s e-Watch and it’s packed with info for anyone interested in the status of indie and e-publishing.

In fact, you might feel a little overwhelmed with everything listed here. I do, because, with the exception of the final item at the bottom of this post, everything below happened in the space of ONE WEEK.

So far this week:

Joe Konrath’s post yesterday was another eye-opener in a long string of eye-openers. The first part included a guest post by indie author Scott Sigler. Scott shared his story of how he became a top-selling indie author and the marketing methods he used to build a devoted fan base.

Joe wrapped up Scott’s post with some astonishing sales facts: currently, the Number 1 e-book in Amazon’s horror category is Scott Sigler’s newly-released Blood is Red. Positions 2 and 3 are Run by Blake Crouch and Trapped by Jack Kilborn, both indie authors. In fact, Joe said that the top eight horror bestsellers are indie – and are outselling King, Koontz, and Harris.

Now that’s something.

~~~

Another well-known indie author made news of her own. Most of you have heard by now about indie author Amanda Hocking’s phenomenal success with her self-published books (900,000 books sold in ten months). She made the headlines again when she inked a four-book deal for a new series with St. Martins Press for $2 million dollars.

Well, last week she did it yet again. Amanda made a three-book deal with St. Martins Press for her Trylle Trilogy, a series she already published herself.

Big publisher buys previously self-published series. Thought they didn’t do that.

Looks like the rules of the game are a’changing.

~~~

Last week’s news:

Wednesday was a big day for announcements in the publishing world.

From Smashwords.com: Smashwords books are coming to an app store near you.Today we announced an agreement with ScrollMotion that will transform over 33,000 Smashwords Premium Catalog ebooks into individual mobile apps for distribution to the largest app marketplaces for smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The relationship will gain Smashwords authors and publishers free entry into the app marketplaces for Apple, Android, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS.

~~~

Wednesday’s press release from Lulu.com might be of additional interest to those who are planning to self-publish.

~~~

Also on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch published a press release from Amazon announcing their latest imprint, Montlake Romance.

Is Amazon moving in the direction of becoming a publishing house?

The question becomes more interesting. Read on.

Friday’s news contained an announcement about Bookish.com, a new book recommendation service backed by Hachette, Penguin (USA), and Simon & Schuster.

As in, Three out of the Big Six publishing houses have formed an alliance.

This alliance includes partnering with AOL Huffington Post Media Group. According to PR Newswire, Bookish will feature exclusive content, sell physical and digital books, and provide social networking.

Sounds like Amazon meets Facebook, right?

Is this an attempt to pool resources to better position themselves against the other Three? Against Amazon?

You can read more about this here and here, and draw your own conclusions.

In fact, Mike Shatzkin has an interesting post from May 8 that examines the mad scrambling taking place by anyone and everyone who’s a big name in publishing. Check it out on his blog, The Shatzkin Files.

~~~

I was introduced to science fiction and fantasy by my dad. He signed me up for the Science Fiction Book Club when I was about twelve, which pretty much changed my life, as I’m sure it did for a lot of other readers and writers of the genre. I haven’t thought or heard about book clubs in years (other than Oprah’s), so when I saw an article on subscription e-books from The Shatzkin Files, I thought I’d pass it along.

~~~

This March 23 post on if:book, A Project of The Institute for the Future of the Book was from Kim White and, ladies and gentlemen, I hate to tell you, but this is where we’re headed: shift happened

~~~~~~~~~~

Phew! It’s hard to believe that (except for the last item), all of the above events happened in ONE WEEK!

ONE WEEK!

And I only included the major stuff.

If I missed anything, or you’d like to add to the list, let me know. Include it in your comments and I’ll cover it in a subsequent post.

Remember, even though writing is a solitary art, getting published takes a team. Be part of the team. Help us stay current on the latest events so that we as writers can not only survive these topsy-turvy times, but actually thrive and maybe even come out on top.

Let me know what you think.

roh morgon @ Wednesday, 11 May 2011 5:11 pm
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~new feature: Wednesday’s e-Watch

As those of you watching the digital book revolution know, the world of e-books is changing faster than any of us can comprehend. 

I’ve been following the developments for several months now, and want to share the groundbreaking news that’s occurring daily within the publishing industry.

To help keep my friends up to date with all of the changes, I’m introducing a new feature to my blog. I’m calling it Wednesday’s e-Watch (and no, this has nothing to do with my soon-to-be-published novel, Watcher :) ). 

In the e-Watch, I’ll recap the latest news in e-publishing, including self-publishing, e-book technologies, and the digital marketplace.

One of the sources I use is Publisher’s Marketplace. I subscribe to the daily Publisher’s Lunch newsletter and pay to have full access to the Publisher’s Marketplace website. That access gives me links to the headlines mentioned in the Lunch newsletter, and I’m constantly amazed at the information I find there. The speed with which the publishing industry is embracing digital is incredible–and lately, there have been major announcements nearly every day. Being able to keep up with at least some of the developments is well worth my subscription fee.

Another source of good information, as you all well know, is blogs.

I follow the blogs of popular indie authors such as Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, Amanda Hocking, and Zoe Winters. Other important self-publishing blogs I pay attention to are The Creative Penn, Self-Publishing Review, Write to Publish, and E-book Endeavors.

But I’m also reading industry blogs like one I just found through Publisher’s Marketplace called FUTUReBOOK. This European blog on publishing has some eye-opening posts today that give a great snapshot of where the industry is racing at lightning speed.

My blog will be getting a facelift within the next couple weeks, and I’ll be refreshing my blogroll to make it easier for you to check them out.

I hope you all enjoy e-Watch and that it helps you to weather the publishing whirlwind that is upon us. Those writers who pay attention to what’s happening and do their own research will have the best chance of finding a safe harbor for their writing futures.

The storm isn’t coming…it’s here NOW.

~~~~~~~~~

Here’s a couple posts from FUTUReBOOK that take a two-sided look at the state of the industry as it stands today:

Is it the end for publishing – or a new beginning?  by Victoria Barnsley - the publisher’s perspective

A brief reaction to Victoria Barnsley’s speech by  Nick Harkaway – an author speaks up

In tomorrow’s inauguration of Wednesday’s e-Watch, I’ll recap some of the monumental events in e-publishing that have taken place in recent weeks.

And one last note:

The thing I love about blogging, both reading and writing, is the sharing of information. My research in e-publishing at this point has barely begun, and I’m sure some of you out there who’ve been at it a little longer have your own awesome resources.

PLEASE – for all of us struggling writers - SHARE them. Help us stay informed. Let me know about your favorite blogs and websites that cover e-pub happenings and I’ll be happy to pass the info along to my readers.

The only way any of us will ever be published, whether it’s self or traditional, is by educating ourselves and forging ahead with our eyes wide open.

Now…go write.

I’ve got the first watch.

roh morgon @ Tuesday, 10 May 2011 3:50 pm
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~shifting directions

Here we are, nearing the end of the fourth month of 2011…

I can’t believe the year is already a third over. Time flies when one is buried in both work and writing.

For those of you who occasionally check my blog, I apologize for my long absence and appreciate your loyalty.

The last several months have been a wake-up call for me. It all started at the San Francisco Writers Conference in February, where the predominate message on how to get published was nearly 180-degrees from that of last year’s conference.

In 2010, the traditional route to becoming a published writer  (i.e. via agent, publisher, etc.) was still being promoted at the conference as the smart and secure way to go. Those who were venturing into self-publishing were viewed with shaking heads and whispers of doom. But at the same time, some folks were watching the risk takers–and taking notes.

Several major events in 2010 and early 2011 indicated the wind was beginning to shift in the other direction.

The number of e-book purchases sailed past hard copy numbers in several categories, firing a warning shot across the publishing bow that the whole world felt. The bankruptcy of Borders was a direct hit, the first of many salvos that are continuing to rock the publishing industry.

The February 2011 Conference was aflame with the recent Borders news, yet highly optimistic about the changing publishing climate. And sessions on self-publishing, or indie publishing as it’s now being called, had an equal presence with those following the traditional, or legacy model.

In March, a new storm hit the publishing world as established author Barry Eisler walked away from signing a two-book, $500,000 contract with St. Martins Press to publish the books himself. And a week later, self-publishing darling Amanda Hocking signed a four-book $2,000,000 contract with the same St. Martins Press.

Needless to say, these two events left many folks scratching their heads.

But when it comes down to the dollars, both decisions make perfect sense. Barry retains control over his story and his release schedule (it can take up to two years for a book to hit the stores after signing with a publisher). What’s more important, and the deciding factor in his decision, is that he can earn more in the long term by publishing the books himself than he could using the traditional model.

For a little insight into Barry Eisler’s choice, check out this conversation between Barry and Joe Konrath. A follow-up to that post can be found here in Part 2.

Amanda Hocking, on the other hand, gained a legitimacy and recognition that is difficult for self-published writers to attain. She also now has a team behind her to take care of much of the publishing details, freeing her up to do more of what she loves–writing. To read about her decision, I encourage you to visit Amanda’s blog.

As for Amanda’s accounting, some would argue she could have made more by publishing those four books herself. But I don’t think she’s going to be hurting for money, because she still has her self-published titles that are selling well. And as print readers discover her books and visit her website, her self-pubbed works will keep selling.

Ultimately, these two authors did what they felt was in their best interests, and no one should question their decisions.

But we can watch the results of those decisions unfold, and learn from them.

I know I am, and I know which direction I’m heading.

I realize the self-pub route is difficult and requires a lot of work. But so does the traditional, and if I go that route, I have an uphill battle (see December’s ~biases in publishing).

My posts will be infrequent over the next several months as I re-position myself to publish on my own. I have a number of changes to make, both to blog and website, and a lot of preparation to get Watcher ready to hit the market by my target date.

So continue to check back once in awhile for news about the paradigm shift that is shaking up the publishing world. It’s a revolution that’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

roh morgon @ Friday, 22 April 2011 3:03 pm
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~with a little help from my friends…

Fresno SciFi & Fantasy WritersWow…

We did it.

:)

Who are ‘we’, you ask?

‘We’ are the:

Fresno SciFi & Fantasy Writers

(cool logo, huh?!)

FSFW is a face-to-face critique group that was founded in April 2008 by Christopher Wood (aka töff). I joined last year, and it was one of the best things I could have done for my career as a writer. The grammar lessons and feedback I’ve received from the group have been priceless. In addition, several members are webgurus, and without them (especially töff and Chris Fontes), I wouldn’t have such an awesome-looking blog and website.

So what did we do that’s so cool?

We made a commitment, wrote and polished some great stories, and self-published our very own anthology. It’s called:

Doesn’t it look great?! The talent in our group is amazing. One of the anthology contributors, Melanie Smith (who is also one of the editors), painted the cover. The cover design, along with the typesetting of the book itself, was done by the other editor, töff.  His 20 years in the printing industry has really come in handy, especially since there are so many different book formats in publishing.

And one of the formats it’s now available in (worldwide!) is Amazon’s Kindle. Check it out on Amazon here!

(wow – to actually see something we’ve worked on for so long listed in Amazon is beyond cool!)

You can also buy the ebook from the FSFW website. The hardcover and trade paperback editions should be available from the site in the next couple weeks – just in time for Christmas.

Here’s a listing of the stories:

The Station by E.A.J. Smith – Isolated aboard a space station during a massive solar flare, a man fights to stay alive and to destroy the thing that keeps him trapped.

Making of a Monster by Melanie Smith – Who can say which choice it is that sets an unassuming boy onto the path that leads to evil?

The Forbidden Chamber by Sarah A. Peterson – Young Sandy and her baby brother take two different approaches to dealing with the ghost of someone else’s past.

Endangered Species by Jim D. Geiser – Vampires now live openly with humans. Can one vampire girl now end the hatred between vampires and their hunters?

The Alley by Earl Scialabba – A boy in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles is torn between his struggling family and the protective camaraderie of his friends.

Into the Grey: The Revelation of Caius Solomon by C. Michael Fontes - A half-angel battles his past, faith, leader, and personal demons when tasked to assassinate an innocent human in 1800s Europe.

Q Flux by Christopher Wood – A mathematician holds his finger on the button that will connect mankind to an alien civilization of unknown power and intent.

The Swordsman by P.D. Wright – A young monk chooses to fight to protect his village, his family, and the girl he loves from foreign invaders.

The Bakkra Encounter by R. Garrett Wilson – Three college students find themselves guests—and prisoners—in an alien world that becomes more hostile the longer they stay.

Fur Before Feathers by Roh Morgon – The choices between right and wrong take on a few extra twists in this coming-of-age tale about a young shapeshifter.

So anyhow, I just wanted to share my excitement and thank the nine other contributors, along with our editors and designers, for all the time and effort spend on making this project happen. And last, but not least, I’d like to thank Ryan Wilson, whose idea for the anthology got us started on this new adventure in publishing.

Thanks, FSFWers, for being such a great group! You’re awesome!

And thank you, töff, for your tireless efforts to make this book a reality.

And yeah, that’s a lot of thanks. But, hey – I’m grateful!

roh morgon @ Saturday, 20 November 2010 2:27 pm
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