Celebrating Writer Independence & I Got to Be a Cyborg

Rise of the Machines Human Authors in a Digital World, social media authors, Kristen Lamb, WANA, Rise of the Machines

This week Americans are celebrating Independence Day. What better time to release my new book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, right? Since, I’m a writer, I excel at self-delusion, so I can just pretend all those fireworks going off all week are for ME :D.

Aww, how THOUGHTFUL! You shouldn’t have. *clutches chest*

On Friday, we talked about The Democratization of Publishing and how brave colonists writers are forging it on their own without Mother England Publishing. And, right now? I’m sure there are some hurt feelings on the part of Mother Publishing. She’s cared for writers for over a century and now a handful of us rabble-rousers want to do our own thing and try new technologies on our own.

Thing is? Just like America and England eventually made up and became BFFs again, Mother Publishing will coexist with indies just fine (provided she reinvents in time, which I really hope she does). My loyalty is to writers, and, no matter which path you take—traditional or non-traditional—discoverability is a nightmare.

All writers who want to actually make money need a platform. Writers also need the publishing path that is best for their works and their personalities. I am just as supportive of NYC as self-publishing (though I have frustrations with both).

For me? I write social media books. My publishing path was chosen for me. With a lead-time of a YEAR in NYC? My new book wouldn’t have been out until it was obsolete. For the rest of you. Vive la Revolution! Now you have options. It is no longer a One-Size-Fits-All World.

Good News for NY Traditional Publishing

Indie publishing is a wonderful way for a new writer to build an audience and and learn the business side of the business. This is great for NY publishing in many ways. First, it helps mitigate Mother Publishing’s risk. Writers finally can build an audience before big money is invested getting that author into bookstores. Secondly, indie publishing trains up professionals. Mother Publishing can be more publisher than Mommy. Indies are also trying out a lot of new ideas and technologies and NY can wait and see what works. Why reinvent the wheel?

Good News for Writers

For a long time, it was a One-Size-Fits-All-World, and we saw the darn-near-extinction of certain types of writing. I recall an agent declaring, “Don’t send me a query for a poetry book. No one reads poetry.” And I thought, Um, I do. I read a lot of poetry but nothing modern. Why?

Hard to read it if no one publishes it.

We Can Be Creative with Books AND Business

Creative people are really great at…being creative. Shocking, right?

Independence from the paper paradigm has birthed a resurgence in short stories, serials, novellas, books of poetry, etc. We’ve seen new genres blossom when, in the old paradigm? They might have died (poetry) or never been born (Baby Boomer Romance). Many writers bring just as much creativity into business as they have in their writing. Daily I am astonished by the brilliance around me.

Why didn’t I think of THAT?

When I went to The Killion Group’s presentations in Crested Butte? I was…blown…away. They do covers for all types of authors (even traditional) and some of the marketing ideas? Genius. One thing they are doing is putting the first two chapters of the audio book in a QR code on the bookmark. Give a bookmark and a potential reader and listen to the first two chapters for free.

Yes, this falls under the category of Stuff I Wish I’d Thought Of.

When Jason Chatraw of Green E-Books formatted my new book? He added in relevant hyperlinks. When I talk about #MyWANA in the book? Those on a tablet can just click and join right there and see what I am talking about.

This is yet another way indie publishing is actually helping NY. Not only is the new paradigm vetting authors and weeding out the uncommitted or unprofessional, but creative people are actually coming up with a lot of cool new ideas that can benefit traditional publishing (provided they’re open to listening).

Writers are No Longer Strangled By Genre

I know that sometimes it can be frustrating being part of a world that changes by the minute. In this fast-paced society, we can easily get overwhelmed. Yet, at the same time, since writers are now plugged into a social media community, we can interact regularly with fans. Not only does this help sell books, but it also means we can write other STUFF. 

In the olden days, if a writer changed genres, she needed a pen name so as not to confuse readers. Now? Unless you are writing two types of genres that conflict? (I.e. Children’s books and Erotica) you only need ONE NAME. The same platform that is supporting your Regency Romance can support your Mystery-Thriller.

This means we can be even more creative because how many thrillers can a writer write before losing the thrill? We complain that Such-And-Such’s books just aren’t as good as her first ones. Um? NO DUH. Talk about pressure!

“Write forty books. Oh and each one needs to be BETTER than the last one and about the same stuff.”

*Falls over and DIES*

Independence is Scary

Yes, it is terrifying going out on your own, but rewarding as well. I know I could very well fail, but I get to at least try *shrugs*. I hated the boring prototypical NF covers. My demographic is WRITERS and we are worse than bass fish. OOH SHINY! I wanted a cover that appealed to creative people and that stood out to the point that it almost looks misplaced. It’s a gamble, but in the end?

I GOT TO BE A CYBORG…and that’s all that counts anyway :D.

What do you like about the new paradigm? What scares you? Have you taken on roles you never thought you could do? Have you grown in ways you never thought you could?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale, but I am updating them and will re-release. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. 

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!


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    • katyasozaeva on July 1, 2013 at 9:03 am
    • Reply

    “Since, I’m a writer, I excel at self-delusion, so I can just pretend all those fireworks going off all week are for ME .

    Aww, how THOUGHTFUL! You shouldn’t have. *clutches chest*”

    *laugh* I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that! Since my birthday is the 5th, I just pretend everyone is really excited for it and wanting to start celebrating early… X-D

    You always write a great blog! Thanks.

  1. A very good point re -more Mommy than Publisher – I am definitely learning from my own mistakes as an Indie. If my histfic ever makes it into mainstream – and I see that histfic is one of the strongest e-genres, so maybe I’m wasting my time trying that route – I will have a much greater respect for marketing, if nothing else!

  2. Woohoo! Congratulations! ROM is an awesome book, and I hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunity to learn from you. 🙂

  3. Congrats!! I’ve been looking forward to reading this since I first heard about it. I’m so thankful you decided to put it out on your own.

    I LOVE that we’re now able to write in more than one genre. I’m a big nerd and have ideas for science fiction and fantasy books, but I also have ideas for mystery/thrillers. I enjoy reading both so it makes sense that I would write both.

  4. Congrats on your new book! You could give Seven of Nine a run for her money. I’m rather new to the whole publishing industry and blogiverse and so I’m wading through trying to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve just contracted with a new publishing company and I hope for the best. I’ll have to save up money and buy your new book.

  5. Love the bit about writing forty books about the same stuff. The surprising success of my first two crime thrillers has certainly put a new kind of pressure on the third. Comedy or SF for me next!

  6. CONGRATULATIONS on your new book, Kristen! LOVE the cover. You make a great Cyborg! Very relevant post.

  7. I really am looking forward to your new book! Thank you so much for this positive post today. There were two bits of particularly sad news today when I checked in and your post definitely lifted me up. I think the thing that I struggle with the most regarding the new paradigm is that it enables us to be involved in many things at once (blog, fiction, articles, guest posts on other blogs, etc) and if you tend towards being scattered (like me) it’s super easy to become more scattered.

  8. I am so looking forward to your new book. Definitely eye-catching. I like my small publisher for the moment. If I make enough with them, I may self-publish one day and I know your books will help guide me to success. 😀

  9. I’m excited for your new book! I love the cover.

    • Jennifer Cole on July 1, 2013 at 10:01 am
    • Reply

    Great post again Kristen! Thank you as always for your insight. Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2013 14:00:52 +0000 To: jlynncole@hotmail.com

    • Melissa Lewicki on July 1, 2013 at 10:04 am
    • Reply

    I will never look at fireworks again without thinking of you! Congratulations.

    1. Awwwww *HUGS* THANK YOU.

  10. Congratulations on the new book! Your posts are always hilarious, relatable, and full of great advice. (Especially for newbie bloggers like me!)

  11. Congratulations on your release. Awesome cyborg cover.

  12. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your insights and ideas. I agree that the hardest part of the battle is simply visability. I still haven’t managed to get my friends to visit my blog. I can’t imagine how much harder it will be to get strangers to buy my works!

  13. Congrats. I plan to grab your book as soon as its for sale. So WANA & Are You There Blog are no longer available? I guess I will need to edit a few post to mention you are revising & add a link to your new book, huh?

    I love when links are properly embedded in books so I can run out and see what the author is talking about. The options available to writers today are great. It’s too bad more authors and publishing houses aren’t making use of theses features.

    I love the cyborg cover. It’s so you. 😀

    1. Yeah, they needed to be updated anyway. Was a little surprised the publisher took them down so quickly. They are WAY more efficient than I am for sure!

  14. I’m a ditz. Book bought & marked on Goodreads as currently reading

  15. I have Amazon Prime, and while I appreciate that your book is available to check out for free, I bought a copy. Why? Because I want to support you. You’ve given me so much through your blog – at no cost – that purchasing the book was important to me. I’m sure I’m not the only Prime customer who felt that way, and that just goes to show that you practice what you preach, and it works. Congrats on the release!

    1. Awww, Lee you are SOLID GOLD! Thank you. I appreciate that SO MUCH. The cool thing is the WANA Way? Even if it didn’t sell as many books as POWER MARKETING, it’s way more fun and attracts the best people (case in point YOU). Thanks so much!

  16. Kristen, your cover looks great, and you did a great job describing the benefits of self-publishing. I’ve only recently started to recognize the potential of this publishing path. It’s a really exciting time for up-and-coming writers to have different options for getting their work out there.

  17. Your book is going to be fantastic, because I’m already in love with your blog. And I found out that Cory did your cover, and he’s doing mine. That’s so awesome.

  18. Book sounds wonderful. I’ve been following. Please release it in trade or paperback because I don’t own a Kindle and don’t see one in my future. Please, please,please.

    1. Formatting for paper. Paper will be out soon :).

  19. I love the new paradigm because it gives me a back-up plan. If I submit my novel to traditional publishers and get rejected at every turn, I know I still have the option to self-pub. I can go to the writer community for help in ensuring that my story is actually publishable, and then I can turn around and just DO IT. It would be scary and probably not the easiest thing I’ve done, but the option is there. I know that having my book in print can and WILL happen, even if Mother Publishing says no, and that is a HUGE deal for me. 🙂

    • Denise McInerney on July 1, 2013 at 3:25 pm
    • Reply

    Just bought your book, can’t wait to read it! Could have done the lending thing, but you’ve been so generous, a terrific inspiration and source of help to me (not to mention my dose of morale-boosting ‘funny’ for the day!) I was very happy to purchase. WANA, right? 🙂 Going to ThrillerFest for first time next week and will be at your workshop. Ok if I come up and introduce myself after? You go girl!

    1. Thank you so much and I SO look forward to meeting you! Of course it’s okay. I love meeting my WANA peeps in person. Makes this job worth it, especially on the hard days.

  20. I think the cover is a gamble that will pay off for you. Can’t wait to get the paper copy too. I love reading my electronic books, but I enjoy having the actual book on my shelf so I can say, “Guess what? I know the author'”.

  21. I will definitely be checking out your book, but i’m wondering if you got a call from Arnold Schwarzenegger? LOL if not, I do a pretty good impersonation (believe it or not)

    The cover and synopsis remind me a lot of Terminator 3. Hold on, don’t tell me… you’re starting to work for Cyberdine? Your secret to your amazing abilities and success is that you are a learning computer? a T-1000? Do you know this boy (hands over photo) LOL

    Do you need someone to do an Arnie style voice-over for a book trailer? 😀

    Okay, I could go on like that for a long time… *slaps myself*

    This looks really good, and I would like to know what is in this book for me to learn, for a reader who has devoured your previous two books? Previous books no longer for sale? *horror* Are they going to be re-released as-is? Are they totally unpublished?

    Tell me more, tell me more…

    1. I will probably update them and re-release them. Facebook IS Cyberdine. I thought you knew 😛

      1. It all makes sense. My world began to cave in like a whirlpool as the truth floated to the surface. Kristen Lamb was sent from the future, to prevent bad writing from happening. The apocalypse of terrible books and blogs has already been realised as a possible future. Kristen is our only hope.

        Join the resistance. WANA needs you!

        1. LOL. LOVE IT!

  22. I have noticed some of the biggest encourage self-publishing – Harper Collins and Macmillan and guessing Random House as well. It is because the demand is too great and there are so many talented writers. They (publishers) have limited budgets and limited in selection. They can only work with a certain number of authors so they would stay with their guidelines of proven success. Those that can meet the guidelines become the chosen few. Think of the best as watchers. We might have to prove ourselves first and those, which can self-publish, have a chance to prove it with personal sales. The best selling self-published novel sold on an Internet venue would probably be contacted to consider traditional. Self-publishing is like getting an agent, except you become the agent proving that you know talent and it is you.

  23. YAY!!!! Huge Congrats, Kristen, and the cover of your book is AWESOME!!
    I’m not ready to self-publish yet…it’s soooo scary to me. I have loads of friends, you included, who’ve gone indie and have done great. They’re people all over the place saying, “You’ve gotta go idie, Tamara. You’ll make so much more money.”
    I know there’s truth in that, but I’m still terrified. Plus, I LOVE my agent and I want to give her a chance to try and sell my book traditionally first. I’m nearly done with the edits, maybe two more days of writing tops. Then I’ll send it off to her and we’ll see how it goes.
    If it doesn’t work and traditional just won’t work for me, I’ll have to get over my fear and take the indie plunge.
    Happy, happy for you!!!! Best wishes on dynamite sales!!!!
    Hope you’re feeling better, too.

    Have a great evening,

    1. Hi Tamara,

      Don’t be afraid of self publishing. I went from a publisher to indie, and am happy to provide advice for any step along the way. You can do it!

      In terms of “You’ll make so much more money”; don’t expect miracles, but you certainly will cut out the middle man.

      There’s publishers and publishers. I had one that did nothing to promote me or my books, and it all depending on everything I was doing to promote my novels. If that’s the case, why bother getting a publisher? You’re doing the same as doing it yourself, except giving money to them whenever you make a sale.

      I also found that my publisher greatly restricted my freedom in design, etc.

      Peter Koevari

  24. What I like about the new paradigm is that I will have a chance to make it. With the traditional path you have to be hooked up to the right people in the publishing houses to get a good solid start. There are things to learn either way and thanks to those like you who want to help us we can find out the ins and outs of the business. Keep up the good work Kristen!

  25. Great post Kristen! It’s refreshing, as always, to read your blog as well as your books. And I must say, the cover is awesome!

    • Yvette Carol on July 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm
    • Reply

    Yeah, I think this is a good point to make, as Peter just mentioned, that if you are going trad. check out what it says in the contract about what the publisher’s going to do re marketing. I’m looking for a trad. publisher at the moment, and one indie house has shown interest, and have asked to see my marketing plan. I felt like, well hang on a minute, first show me your marketing plan!

  26. I think it’s interesting that a lot of the talk around this subject treats it as if there’s one traditional approach and one new approach and that’s it. I know we often simplify to make a point, but actually there’s a lot of diversity in approaches to publishing right now, and some interesting stuff going on in the middle ground between the supposed old and new paradigms. For example, check out the (somewhat controversial) big publisher electronic-only publishing discussed in this article:

  27. I will be getting this one. Thanks Kristen!

  28. Congrats, Kristen! I <3 the cover!

  29. Congratulations Kristen!!!

  30. I’ve always been a bit skeptical of self-publishing, and couldn’t see how it benefited traditionally published material. You’ve raised some great points I had not considered, Kristen. And I loved the comparison of indies to colonists versus traditionalists representing England. I hope you are right and that one day the two embrace one another. That would be the best of all possible worlds for readers and writers alike, IMO!

  31. I’m late to finding this post, but I’m so excited about this book! Just bought it, and like the other person above, I paid for it instead of using the Prime option. You work hard giving us such great advice. Even though I don’t comment often, I love reading your posts. Looking forward to reading the book!

    1. THANK YOU!

  1. […] (provided she reinvents in time, which I really hope she does)”   See the full blog post here  and if you aren’t following her, do it now. The woman has more insight in her fingers about […]

  2. […] Kristen Lamb continues to spread the word that We Are Not Alone with her latest outstanding guide to social media for New York Times Bestsellers and New Writers, alike. Rise of the Machines will have you connecting with others on social media in ways that boost your platform and increase your sales. Read about it at Celebrating Writer Independence & I Got to Be a Cyborg. […]

  3. […] is too funny as Kristen Lamb sounds off on traditional publishers and the self-published, making use of Independence Day. She did crack me up AND make an excellent point about the indie […]

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