Should Self-Pubbed Authors Refer to Themselves as “Indie?”

I’ve seen the odd snarky comment on Twitter about this, so I thought I’d weigh in.

Should Authors that choose the route of self-publication refer to themselves as “Indie Authors or Writers?” Seems a number of people are bothered by this. Their argument seems to rely on the fact that it is the small press publishing houses that are “indie” and not the authors themselves.

I call bulls*!#.

Let’s look at the two areas of artistic expression where indie is considered, by many, to be a badge of honour; the film and music industry.

What makes a band or filmmaker indie? Well, they aren’t paid to create their work. Instead, they invest in the tools to create it and then find a way to put it out to the world for consumption. Perhaps that’s a simplified view, but really, what else is there? They are creating work that isn’t being done with the blessing and bankroll of a major corporation. They take all the financial risks themselves and, if they’re lucky, reap the benefits.

So what makes them any different from a self-pubbed author?

Did the indie band build their own instruments? Did they build the software they used to record and edit the music? Did they create the infrastructure of iTunes that they used to market and sell their music? No, they didn’t do any of those things. They used their money to buy existing, proven, equipment and then used an existing means of publication.

Did the indie filmmaker build his cameras? Did he create the film and projectors used to show the movie? No, he outsourced all of those things.

If we apply the “publisher is the indie” aspect to the film makers and bands, then shouldn’t iTunes or the company that created the DVDs be considered the indie ones?

The fact is, in today’s ebook world, an author can write their book and create the epub file themselves. In fact, they can do everything up to the point where they have Amazon or iBookstore or the like sell the product. In the sense of the ebook, the author has done everything. The online etailers are just the store where they sell their product.

And if an author decides to create a paper and ink version of their book, they are still involved in the whole process, and in the end, they still pay for the service. They take the financial risk upon themselves to produce the book. No one pays them for it. There is no security that they will ever recoup the money they have invested. In essence, they have outsourced the printing, the same way the indie film maker outsources DVD production, the same way the indie band outsources CD production.

In truth, there is no difference between the financial risk, effort, and love of craft between the indie filmmaker, band, or author. They all create works of art and they all take financial risk to get their work out to the world. Just because they use a company to outsource a service doesn’t strip them of their indie status. After all, they are still the ones paying for it.

I mean, should Compaq get partial credit for my novel because I used one of their laptops to write it? Should Scrivener be considered the indie author because I used their software?

In the end, the reason writers are being questioned as to whether they are indie is because self-publishing still has such a bad rep. It’ll take years of amazing self-pubbed authors to wash that stain away. When that happens, being in complete control of your creative content will be seen as a badge of honour, as opposed to being a hack who couldn’t get a book deal.

So writers, proclaim yourself indie. Get outside the box. Write amazing, crazy stuff that no publishing house would touch and get it out there into the world. There will be people who will love you for it!

From Dark of the Moon – Optimus Prime!

Optimus Prime from Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon

OK, I admit it, I’m a bit of a freak for Transformers. Almost as big a fan as I am Doctor Who. So each time something new in the franchise comes along, I’m a little excited for it.

The best part is, my 7yo son is a fan too. So I have a perfect excuse to make trips to Toys-R-Us and check out the latest toys ๐Ÿ™‚

But hey, you all know that, right? I mean, this is the blog space that trumpeted the pics of the Megatron and Shockwave toys.

Confession: My favourite transformer of all-time is Optimus Prime.

When I was a kid, I had to have every version of Optimus Prime. It didn’t matter whether it was a repaint, a mini, or a bat, monkey, etc. If it was the current version of Optimus, I had to have it. No other transformer inspired such loyalty.

While I wasn’t a huge fan ofย  the flames, I loved how Optimus was envisioned in the live action films. I darn near squealed when the classic Gen. 1 voice of Peter Cullen started with the intro. And man, it was awesome to see Optimus unleash some kick-ass. I mean, the forest fight in the second movie? Damn.

And the third movie Dark of the Moon? It looks like it’s going to deliver some more Optimus-ownin-Decepticon-butt action. Yes, my hopes for the third film are getting elevated with each released trailer.

So along comes the requisite refresh of the Optimus toy for the third movie. No huge surprises here. It looks pretty standard to the previous versions. Clearly they’ve altered the transformation a bit, but that’s to be expected.

But oh wait….

What’s that?

Booyah, Optimus Prime with a trailer!!! OK, my hopes for this film just went Kerplow! Other than the flames, what was the thing we fanboys bitched about in regards to Optimus’ appearance in film one? Yup, where’s the trailer?

Fixed.

Not only fixed, but I’m laying odds plays a part in the plot, cause lookey what Optimus becomes with his trailer….

Some super crazy powered up – winged – version. Yeah, I’m thinkin this version of Optimus is going to own. I hope it isn’t a wimp out and just turns out to be his “Fly me to the moon” outfit.

All this hype is thanks to the good folks of Tomopop.

So verdict? Excited. OK, yeah, Michael Bay, I’ll be in the theatre. PLEASE let it be as good, no, better, than the first movie. Between this toy and the Superbowl trailer, I’m starting to get hyped!

The Late-Night Habits of a Wannabe Writer

My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous KilljoysIt’s 11:58pm as I write this.

I’m sitting in bed, propped with my back against the wall. My laptop is sitting on a breakfast-in-bed tray and my wife is sleeping next to me (she has a cold). I’m wearing headphones which have just finished pumping out My Chemical Romance’s newest album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, and have now moved on to Neon Trees’ album, Habits.

My intent was to power through a ton of words on The Veil. Instead, I’ve read Neon Trees - Habitsthrough a number of posts on Twitter, signed an Internet petition (which you should do as well if you’re in Canada & don’t want to see us gouged further for Internet use http://openmedia.ca/meter). Also through Twitter, I went over to Regan Leigh’s blog to check out a guest post on writing book reviews when you want to be a writer. Great post with some decent insights to keep in mind. I left a comment stating my overall love of the article & then finally opened The Veil.

I’ve written maybe 100 words of actual story. However, I’ve also written a number of editing notes on the earlier chapters.

I’m not prepared to let myself edit The Veil until I’ve finished it. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had ideas as to how I want to change some of the earlier chapters. So I’m taking advantage of my writing software and leaving notes on the chapters as to the edits and new scenes I’m thinking about.

Now I’m here at the blog. Writing an entry that really is just blathering about how I spend my time when I sit down with my laptop to write. And probably explaining why it’s taken me so long to only get 76% of the way to a complete first draft.

So don’t be like me. Stop wasting more time on the Internet. Go write. Now. Like I’m going to try and do.

Clock says it’s 12:14am. Hoping to remain conscious until 1am to at least crank out another 300-500 words.

TTYL

The Decepticon Shockwave

Shockwave toy from Transformers Dark of the MoonIf you’re an old-school transformers fan such as myself, then you had to be a little excited when it was announced Shockwave would be the main big bad in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

While Shockwave in the cartoon didn’t do too much for me, his comic book iteration was badass. I mean, this is the guy who burst in at the end of issue four of the classic Marvel run and by issue five had iced every Autobot and had Optimus Prime’s head, literally! Shockwave was this large and incredible menace that for many issues stood at the head of the Decepticon army. Too bad Ratchet and those pesky Dinobots had to mess everything up ๐Ÿ™‚

The question remains, will this third Transformers film manage to deliver, or will it be the crude comedy, racial sterotype, lack of plot piece of crap the second film was.

Based on the two toys we’ve seen so far, it at least looks like the visuals are going in the right direction. I mean, Shockwave is PURPLE!! How awesome is that?

Please, please Michael Bay, don’t make this film suck.

Visit Tomopop for more images

Twitter – Time to get Social

First, a little disclosure.

  1. I am not a master of social media.
  2. I have made no money from Twitter.
  3. I have not sold a book via Twitter.
  4. I have a small number of followers (approx 300).

So, I’m not going to give you keys to the kingdom or anything; which is fine because that’s not what this article is about.

Instead, I want to talk about some things I notice as a Twitter user. Will they help you succeed in whatever endeavors you have? Maybe. At the very least, it should help you have more fun and see more value from Twitter.

Say Something

First off, Twitter is a social network. So why not get social? There are some amazing people on Twitter who are very giving, supportive and willing to go an extra mile for complete strangers. There’s people on Twitter that I’ve never met in the flesh, but I would trust their opinions when it comes to critiquing The Veil. If all you’re going to do is lurk about, you’ll never gain the full benefits of Twitter.

Are there great people on Twitter that you can just sit back and listen to? Yup. I’ve learned a ton from following people who have never actually spoken to me. But those who have really helped me, the ones I hope and pray will one day make the Veil a book worth reading, are the ones I speak to frequently. So for goodness sake, don’t just sit there, speak to people!

Fill In Your Bio

Another piece of advice, take advantage of the bio section of your profile. You don’t need to chronicle your life or anything, just say who you are and what you do. If someone new follows me and they say they are a writer, I automatically follow back. Not everyone does, but I do because I figure we have our writing in common and I might learn something from them.

On the other hand, if someone follows me and they have no bio, I don’t follow back. I know it may be some old school type of paranoia, but what do you have to hide? Are you so lazy you couldn’t take ten minutes to tell us about yourself? Heck, Neil Gaiman and his kin are uber famous, and all of them have a bio.

In regards to the bio, understand if your bio says you are a marketing type person and you follow me, I won’t automatically follow you back. Now if you start talking to me and I realise your focus is on book marketing, I’m your new friend! Like I said, get social.

Profile Picture

I know, not everyone wants their mug thrown on the internet for all the world to see. If you’re one of those people, do something creative. Use one of those “Create an Avatar” sites to make an anime version of yourself. Or take a picture where you use crafty methods to hide part of your face. In either case, having a profile picture that is original goes a long way toward me thinking you’re here for a good reason. Default pictures are all too often the domain of the Spambot.

Content

You’re going to read different opinions everywhere on the net. So here’s my opinion of what I, a normal average guy, like to see. Feel free to post personal stuff, to an extent. If there’s some movie you love, or even food you like to eat, I’m good with that. I don’t need to know where you are every second of the day.

Feel free to write about the things that influence your writing. Feel free to write about the books you’re reading. Please write about your trials and tribulations as you work on your Work in Progress. If you find something useful or interesting on the net, say so.

In short, let me get to know you, as a person and a writer. That’s part of being social.

Twitter does not have to be solely about building a money generating machine. In fact, if that’s all you’re doing, I’m unsubscribing.

Twitter can be a great tool to learn, network and get suggestions. In order to do all those things, you need to be honest, yourself, and put forth some effort. All good relationships need those things.

Zone of Enders gets some Revoltech Love

My love of anime, and therefore large, powerful robots, dates back to my childhood. At that time, shows like Robotech, Grandizer, Gaiking, Getter Robo & Voltron were the center of my world. Little wonder then that I was also a Transformers, ahem, enthusiast.

As I grew older and my geeky interests expanded, I found myself in possession of the PS2. I wasn’t as much of a gamer when I was younger. I was the moocher who hung out on his friends’ couch playing Nintento & Colecovision, but never owned a system myself until I was in my 20s.

The first system I owned was the original Playstation. The reason I had to own it? Final Fantasy 7.

I had become hooked on Final Fantasy playing my girlfriend’s Super NES (It’s cool, we’re married now, so I didn’t just mooch & run). So when I saw the glory of what was to be Final Fantasy 7, I had to own it. Funny story, I actually had my copy of Final Fantasy 7 prebooked before I even owned the Playstation.

So where am I going with this? Ummm, yeah, that single game turned into a gaming love affair. So when the PS2 came out, I had to own it.

One of the games that blew me away with its graphics and enjoyable gameplay was called Zone of Enders (given to us by the gaming genius of Hideo Kojima) . It didn’t hurt that you ran missions using a giant mech called Jehuty (that’s why I mention the mecha love earlier. See, it all ties together).

Jehuty was a great mix of the streamlined aesthetics of the modern era, but with the chunky boosters, missile launchers & sword of the mecha of my youth. I loved the design of Jehuty.

And now I can own him!!

Kaiyodo, those creators of awesome mecha toys, are releasing a Jehuty as part of their Revoltech line in April. Wonderful toy site Tomopop had the official news today.

Click on the link to read Tomopop’s article on the Jehuty figure.

I mean, c’mon, this lets you show your love for mecha & gaming all in one! I’m thinking this will be gracing my desk sometime in May.

Happy New Year

So we have survived another year.

What will 2010 be remembered for? Recessions? Job Loss? History will one day tell us, but I don’t think we need to wait to say people are eager to leave 2010 behind and greet the new year.

With New Year’s eve comes the inevitable question of a resolution.

What is it that we want to accomplish in the new year? What challenges do we want to set for ourselves.

This usually results in the banal answers of “lose weight,” “exercise more,” “eat a healthier diet,” etc.

Like most other authors, my goal this year is to write better, to increase my writing output and complete my novel.

But I also want to do something different.

So here’s my plan. I will finish the first draft of The Veil by the end of February. My edits on The Veil will be completed by the end of August.

But during the editing phase, I want to work on something new and different. I want to create more of a multimedia work, something that combines words and imagery. Do I know what it will be? Nope. I just have the desire to branch out and do something different. My intention is to also use this website as the place where that work is published.

Of course, I have all the other resolutions to do as well. I need to lose weight, eat better and get exercising.

What are some of your resolutions?

What do you hope 2011 has to offer you?

And most importantly, do you think you’ll accomplish your resolutions?