Disparity Within MWA: Trad-Pubbed vs Independently Pubbed

As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from blogging for a little while. It’s not that I don’t love you, I do. I’ve had to deeply focus my time and energy into to writing and research. I also attended Sleuthfest this past weekend.

street-signs

On that note I have something to say that may not be popular, but I’ve got to get it off my chest in order to feel settled about it and the only way I know to do it is to put it out there. When asked on an interview if there was anything I hated about writing or the industry, I found it difficult to use such a strong word to describe anything about the process. I love it….everything; writing, researching, editing, the whole shebang. But there is one thing that bothers me most.

I don’t like how people put down the self-published without giving authors an opportunity. They ridicule without even having read the author’s work and lump all exclusively self-published authors into one pile of trash. Yes, I understand there is some crappy work out there by independent authors. There are also lots of crappy work out there by the traditionally published. I wrote a good book. I worked hard to build a team to beta read, professionally edit, design a cover, professionally narrate the audio book, publicize the work and did everything I know to create a nicely polished product to present.

I’m happy to report Naked Alliances has received glowing praise from authors and book reviewers across the nation. Some top magazines like Midwest Reviews and The Island Reporter have featured either myself as author or the book.

Yet, many writer organizations won’t represent the work as it is self-published. I’m not allowed to enter their contests or sell my books in affiliated book stores because it’s not traditionally published or doesn’t meet the “must prove they have sold 5000 copies of their books” requirement.

I haven’t joined some popular organizations because of these restrictions. Until they change their attitude toward the independently published I won’t and I’ve let them know it. Send in high membership dues, provide time and energy fully supporting and promoting their organization when they won’t do the same for me? How hypocritical of me to do that.

I’ve attended Sleuthfest two years. It’s sponsored by Mystery Writers of America. I have not joined their organization for these very reasons. Maybe if I did, and became more active, I could help change the attitude they have toward self-published. I was planning to act as an official volunteer at Sleuthfest last year. I was told that only MWA members could act in the volunteer capacity at their events. I decided to check them out first, before making a decision to join.

I read their entire web site and decided against joining until I could see how my book would be published as their rules for self-published authors are far more stringent than those for traditionally published and contests are only open to those who are published by a MWA approved publisher.

There is no hint of equality.

This year, I was told that non-members could be on panels, so I signed up for one. Then I received a letter informing me that panelists had to be published by a MWA approved publisher. I contacted the Murder on the Beach Bookstore that sells attendees books during the conference and was told, yes, they do carry books by self-published authors, provided they are on a panel.

Do you see the problem here?

Time went on and I sucked it up and decided I would go to the conference and enjoy myself. I even made a FANtastic Florida raffle basket to donate. There was more than $250.00 in merchandise in that basket for some lucky ticket holder.

I could still learn a lot and promote myself and my book, maybe even sell a few copies out of a box in my room. (Which I did.)

However, a few days before the conference, I received a personal message from the chairman of the volunteer committee. They were short on volunteers and could use my help. Maybe this was a golden opportunity to step up to the plate and demonstrate that I was a bigger person. I asked, if I volunteered, could they place my books in the books store?

Nope. Can’t do that. “But I’m on the board now and maybe things will change for next year.” (And maybe not.)

I declined to volunteer. Call me anything you please and tell me how I could have made a wonderful impression on the powers that be, but no. Independently published authors shouldn’t have to suck up or meet special criteria to qualify for perks of membership. So no, until things change, I won’t be joining your organization.

There are so many organizations out there that provide due respect. It would be hypocritical of me to join one that doesn’t. I’m happy to pay membership dues and actively participate in those that do.

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Progress and a Clever Crime Writer: Tim Baker

I have been working on writing this crime novel steady since May 4th, even though I had the first three chapters, which I rewrote, done back in November. The ideas for this novel have been in my head for about ten years. I trashed all that—the three chapters not part of the current novel—keeping an old file of those first person chapters. The original was in the murder victim’s husband’s POV…which made no sense. But I knew that character and the plan was to have a murder mystery, not a crime novel. I pull little details from that file from time to time.

After I decided on a crime novel (NOT police procedural) and put the novel in the private investigator’s POV along with Brandi’s, the sidekick he doesn’t want to have, she also needed a POV.  I don’t stick exactly to an alternating POV, but their chapters, thus far, have been clearly and specifically their chapters.

They haven’t been together much for the first half of the novel. Now it is coming upon a part where they will need to be. I am hoping their voices are well developed enough by this point not to be too confusing. The narration is third person, so I’m feeling pretty comfortable.

I now stand at 26,439 words, and I am about half way through the story I am telling. My husband is over eager. He has helped me along, when asked for details, but only read the first chapter, so far. He is an avid crime novel /murder mystery reader and loved the last one, but likes this rewrite much better.

My word count comes to about 2644 per day, over ten working days, but I am writing on weekends too, so it’s really not that many in a day. Add five more weekend days and you get more like 1767 words per day. I know some days it is only 300-500, and others are well over 3000, so who is to say what a word count is worth?

I do try to keep chapters to around 1500 words for short ones and around 3000 for a few longer ones. That has more to do with the rhythm of the read and the pace than anything else. So far, I am up to Chapter Thirteen and about in the middle of that. I am guessing less than thirty chapters.

An author my husband, the rocket scientist, has been reading is Tim Baker. His work is similar to Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen. Both authors I love. In many ways, I think Tim Baker’s work shows more cleverness. The rocket scientist reads me chapters out loud from time to time, and I am anxious to read his work myself. I’ll be reading and reviewing later.

One thing he did, and I plan to communicate with him about this, is published a short story written by another author at the end of one of his books. The story was the result of a contest he held. I am supposing he already had a fan base built up, and beta readers, or other bloggers who were interested enough to participate.

The story was knee slapping hilarious and was like a piece of fan fiction relative to his characters, but using a topic he selected.  The topic was “death”. The writer who won the contest and was published in his work made fun of what might have been a plot hole, his use of commas (or improper use), and other such sillies. It involved a dead body left to rot in a character’s house. How much fun is that!?

I don’t know how he would feel if I stole his idea. I would like to mull over the details on how he set that up with him and see if he would mind if I tried something like that in the future. I would need a fan base first. So I am talking way along in the series.  It really shows the camaraderie of self-published authors to promote and exchange ideas like that. I love it. It’s exciting to see that sort of mutual support. The story was great and I can’t wait to download his stuff on my iPad. I’ll never get my husband’s away from him.

Here are some of his titles if you want to check him out. We found that we have to put both his author name and the title into Amazon to pull up some of his older works. There are a few authors by that name so make certain you have the correct Tim Baker. I really don’t know if he’s still writing. I think his last novel was published in 2011. Of course, he could just be serving time somewhere. Ha!

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Dream-Tim-Baker-ebook/dp/B0033AHLX8/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1CY7EDQ7DY59RJ3A415C

http://www.amazon.com/No-Good-Deed-Tim-Baker-ebook/dp/B006YSD8BA/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=0Y3PSK2931Y3QTJPQ361

http://www.amazon.com/Pump-It-Up-Tim-Baker-ebook/dp/B008WVVO5E/ref=pd_sim_kstore_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=1PY6NGQ7HM9CSSJN8MRW

http://www.amazon.com/Water-Hazard-Tim-Baker-ebook/dp/B00756IBHG/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0023ESKWEGDSMQQSQK9F

http://www.amazon.com/Unfinished-Business-Tim-Baker-ebook/dp/B00DPK3III/ref=pd_sim_kstore_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=19V6EP4Z6HWEJXK0FEVV

http://www.amazon.com/Back-Seat-Justice-Tim-Baker-ebook/dp/B005DN7872/ref=pd_sim_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1AB97YWKDWC6AYD05HP4