What I’ve Learned

In an interesting post today on G+ John Ward ask us “What have you learned, and where did you learn it?” He wanted sources. The idea is that others might learn from that source as well. It’s a fantastic idea, but I’ve got a LOT of sources, so I am going to list them here on my blog instead of in a reply on G+.

Self Publishing

So the big one, self publishing. I didn’t know self publishing was really an achievable goal until I ran into The Self Publishing Podcast. They introduced me to several other podcasts like The Creative Penn, Rocking Self Publishing, and The Sell More Books Show. All of them are fantastic resources on the publishing mindset, marketing, and strategies to get known.

Publishing the Traditional way

Before self publishing there was traditional publishing. I actually went through quite a bit of that back in 2000 trying to get that prestige. (I’ve had several articles and a short story published in magazines, mostly Queensland Fantastic that use to be in Australia.)

To figure out how to do all of this I relied mainly on one book. How to get Happily Published. It was the most informative step by step book, letting me know exactly what to expect, what steps I needed to take, some helpful suggestions on getting the words right, and how to format the manuscript correctly. Great resource, if you are going trade publish I highly recommend it. The Writers Guidelines is also useful to find various publishers/addresses/etc, but a lot of that is also available online.

World Building

I love world building. From sketching maps, to creating new races and creatures. I love building up a society from the ground, and making the world flow together. BUT! In order to do all of that you need to have some basis in reality to build upon. You need to know how land and weather work. How different ecology’s boarder each other, and creatures might develop in those places. You have to figure out how governments, religions, and societies work together.

The only classes I felt really helped me in college were the classes regarding history, and anthropology. But I’m not going to recomend you go to a college when you can learn the same thing via documentaries and books.

One of my favorite books about the simplest thing is Salt: A World History. It’s amazing how much of our history of exploration, war, expansion, and industry revolved around this simple mineral. On the same vein, How Beer Saved the World (video) shows how man may have gone from hunter/gatherer to agriculture because of this wonderful thing called beer. Again showing how the small things effect the grander scale.

I also enjoyed books on competitive religion, astrology, mythology, astronomy, physiology, economy, ecology…. Just everything. Non fiction books and documentaries are wonderful treasure troves when fleshing out how own world and I found that every time I read/watched something new I had a little tid-bit to add to my worlds. This isn’t something you get all at once, it is from a lifetime of gathering little bits of information. Watching, observing, and internalizing, and eventually it just congeals on  your own story. It isn’t as though I plan for certain aspects to come out, they just often are there and only later do I realize that it was inspired by a specific thing I read long ago.

I’m not sure what else anyone else would be interested in. If you have any specific thing you’re looking for a refrence for let me know, I might have come across it at one point.

Also, I do have a page of references available here with some other little things I didn’t mention.

The Importance of Diversification 

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I enjoy the Self Publishing Podcast. They are probably one of the big reasons I finally have books up on Amazon. They are probably also a huge reason I keep plowing away at this novel that I’ve been working on since October. That, and the support of my friends, and my boyfriend, who all keep telling me I can do this thing.

The guys over on SPP talk about email lists a LOT. And they aren’t the only ones. Several of the authors interviewed on SPRT, Rocking Self Publishing, and Story Telling Podcast all say you should have an email list.

I resisted for a while, mainly because I didn’t think I could do a good job of it. I enjoy doing my blog, and sharing things through this medium. I figured if anyone really wanted to know what I had to say they could read my blog, or hit the subscribe button above, or at the very least subscribe to twitter where I announce everything. And lots of people do.

But it was something Johnny said on one of the latest SPP’s that really hit home. By not having a list I am risking everything going away, and none of my fans or readers will be able to find me. What if Amazon suddenly decided they didn’t want to do indie books anymore? Or what if they changed the terms of service and I couldn’t stand them anymore? What if wordpress just up and lost all of my old posts and accidentally deleted my blog? It could happen.

So really, I’m doing a disservice to my readers by not having a main mailing list where you can get basic information each week, or every other week.

Plus there is just the idea that diversification means more opportunities for us to talk and get to know one another. Spreading out my cyber wings, so to speak, and letting people get more chances to see something new and interesting.

So.. I’ve got a mailing list. Sort of. I signed up for it, and I’m figuring it out. Hopefully it will be available within the week.