Free books!!!: Smashwords is running a promotion this month, in honor of summer in our hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. A whole bunch of books are available for free, or for cheap, with the coupon code SSWIN. Both Seized and SwanSong are in the free category. Tell your friends -- and stop by yourself to pick up some new books.
The guest blog roundup: I was very excited about my three -- count 'em, three! -- guest posts this week.
- At Indies Unlimited, I posted part two of my series on writing news copy into your fiction -- and this time it was about broadcast style.
- An opportunity dropped into my lap late in the week to do a Fourth Wall feature at Cabin Goddess's blog. "Fourth wall" is a theater term that refers to the virtual wall between the audience and the actors onstage; when actors talk directly to the audience, it's called "breaking the fourth wall." In the feature at the Cabin Goddess's blog, the author of a particular book gets to meet his or her characters. So I arranged a little visit for Naomi, Joseph and me. It was a lot of fun to write. I hope you get a chance to stop by.
- And just today, I kicked off the first monthly column at the newly revamped Indie Exchange. Donna has merged the original blog with the Book Bloggers Collaborative. I'll be providing a post for them on the 1st day of the month from now through December. (I picked the 1st so I wouldn't forget....)
Industry news: One of the reasons people sometimes give for not wanting to go indie is that it's difficult to get libraries to buy copies of any book that doesn't come through traditional channels. Libraries are just beginning to adopt e-book lending in a big way, partly because the big publishers have typically put all kinds of restrictions on the practice -- to the point where you can borrow an e-book from your local library and end up a week later, when the borrowing period expires, with a file you can't open that's stuck on your e-reader. (Not that that's ever happened to me or anything.) Yet library purchases can represent a big chunk of a book's revenues. Smashwords is coming to the rescue. The company announced this week a deal with Califa, a consortium of 220 public libraries in California, to deliver books published by Smashwords to those libraries, as well as libraries in other states. If this works the way Mark Coker usually does business, I think readers can expect lots fewer restrictions on e-book lending from their local libraries soon.
Califa will be taking delivery of the top 10,000 sellers at Smashwords to start with (alas, none of my books has reached that lofty height yet!), but it's expected that the program will grow. Overall, this appears to me to be great news for both indie authors and library patrons.
Last week, I offered a pep talk for those of you who have been, y'know, kinda sorta thinking about doing something with that book you've got sitting in a drawer. Today, I'd like to offer you an out.
If you haven't gotten around to publishing your book -- or staging an exhibition of your art, or setting up an Etsy site for your crafts, or getting the band back together -- by now, you probably have a good reason for it. Maybe you found that you were better at something else than you were at (shelved project). Maybe life intervened -- family obligations, work obligations, whatever. Or maybe you're stymied -- you don't know where to take the work from here, and are letting it sit while your subconscious works it out for you.
Those are all valid reasons for stepping away, and it's pointless and kind of ridiculous to beat yourself up for doing it. We all have different talents; we all have obligations. I set aside my fiction writing for most of the 20 years I worked as a journalist and raised my kids -- parenting sucks up a lot of free time. And I admit that I used to own a couple of ambitious needlepoint projects that I carted around with me through various moves over the years. I finally got rid of them because I knew I would never finish them. I felt bad about doing it, but I realized that I've moved on from needlepoint (as I had moved on previously from other crafts). And that's okay.
As far as letting the work sit for awhile? I do this all the time. I call it "letting it ripen." Not only is it a valid editing technique, but it's even recommended.
My point is that there's absolutely no reason to castigate yourself. People start stuff all the time and then bail. There's no reason to believe you're any different from the rest of humanity. If you tried (creative outlet) and decided ultimately that it wasn't for you, or if you've set it aside for purely practical reasons -- and you're satisfied that that's all it is, and that none of the psychological barriers we talked about last week are to blame -- then you have my permission (if it helps!) to just move on.
I'm Lynne Cantwell, and I approve this blog post.