Hybrid Publishing: An Experiment

2075040_screen-shot-2013-12-19-at-17-15-55-pngIn my school days, I was unimpressed by science. Now that I’m older and know a mere fraction of what I did as a teenager, I’ve changed my opinion. I’ve dusted off my white lab coat and decided to conduct a pseudo-scientific experiment in publishing. My analysis of results will be totally subjective, a fact I’m willing to guarantee.

After six books with a traditional publisher, I’ve decided to self-publish the next one. Am I the first to do this? Of course not. But I’ve always been one of those kids that learns by doing. Don’t tell me the ice is too thin, the cliff too high, the dive too deep, the shark too toothsome; let me discover those things for myself! It’s an impactful approach—I have the stitches and mended bones to prove it.

So, why the switch, Diana? There are two reasons:

One is timing. In my totally unqualified opinion, it takes a loooong time for books to cycle through the traditional process. I’m in no way attempting to minimize or disparage the role traditional publishers play. I understand that producing a quality book is careful, painstaking work. Editors and publishers know their business and bring immeasurable value to the process and product. As a new writer, I depended heavily on their expertise and learned tons about the business. The editorial feedback made me a better writer. That’s a fact…in fact.

That said, traditional publishers have multiple clients—it’s not all about me! Can you believe it? Since my name isn’t George R.R. Martin, I’m still a publisher’s long shot. Yep, I’ll admit it. I have to respect priorities and get in the queue with everyone else. My publisher is currently working on my Dragon Soul Trilogy—a sequel to Myths of the Mirror—and honestly, I’m too impatient to slide a new book to the bottom of the pile for a 2016 release.

The second reason boils down to a desire to experiment with marketing. Even with traditional publishers, particularly small presses, marketing falls heavily on the author’s shoulders. This seems to be the norm these days, and whining about it hasn’t improved my sales one red penny. I’d like to experiment with discounts, pointed giveaways, and other pricing strategies that I currently have zero control over. My hope is that more aggressive sales of The Bone Wall (due out this month) will result in readers picking up my other books, which is good for me AND my publisher.

I suspect that I’ll ultimately end up doing a hybrid of traditional publishing and self-publishing. And my experiment is just starting. It may be wildly successful, a total bust, or make no difference at all. I’ll be sure to give everyone an update on results. I might even cobble together a chart!

The Bone Wall will be available this month, initially via Kindle…

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.

The Bone Wall

image from futuretimeline.net

image from futuretimeline.net

With a few books wading through the publisher’s queue, I’ve started my next fantasy novel, titled The Bone Wall.

What possessed me (literally) to pen this dark tale is a mystery to me. I’m a nice person. A mom, granny, volunteer, and past-mental health counselor who worked with grieving children. I baby my pets, cherish my hubby, and haven’t a violent bone in my body. I get teary at the occasional TV commercial and that’s pretty darn maudlin if you ask me.

Yet as an author of works of fantasy, I travel often down the road of “what if.” Sometimes that journey is light-hearted and happily-ending, and other times, when the news of the day makes me fear for our world, the path I wander is much darker. This is one of those grim trails.

The human journey through time is sunbathed and shadowed with remarkable advancements, some clouded with secret and not-so-secret costs. What if we continue to poison our land, water and air in the name of progress and profit? What if we continue to blast our way through conflicts on a global and personal scale? What if we abandon compassion, no longer our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers? What becomes of us when righteousness is blind?

This book is a work of fantasy in a world without vision or concern for consequence. A broken world.

The Bone Wall – Prolog

My sister stands by her window in the moonlight, the only light in the stone chamber. Carved of alabaster, she’s a statue whittled by a master’s artful hand, naked skin pale, shadowed, wraithlike in its translucence. Her hair gathers moonbeams, corn-silk draped over shoulder-bones, free of the blood staining her face and hands. Gray eyes honed with steel study a landscape of gnarled trees, skeletal limbs clawing with broken fingers from a dead land. All around her the world dies. She is blind to the fragile greenness of new leaves.

Her clothes lie in a heap on the floor, the reek of battle, sweat, and blood thick in the folds, threads of terror woven into the very fabric. She will dream in blood, wear those clothes without respite, glory in the gore of shredded flesh. My sister is demon-born, exquisite in her purity, and Death’s Devil has his grips on her.

I am her twin, one and the same, and this is her story.

My tale begins in Heaven…