cape cod beet author night



A.C. Gaughen is shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole her heart and won’t give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so she technically isn’t that mad at Scotland). She is published by Walker Books / Bloomsbury. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


Barbara Eppich Struna: When the author and her husband Tim, a professional artist, turned forty in the late 1980s, they moved from Ohio with their family to an old 1890 house in Brewster on Cape Cod. The Cape’s history, culture, and brilliant natural light drew them in; this was a place where Tim could paint and Barbara would write. A storyteller at heart, Barbara’s imagination took flight after she unearthed a mysterious pattern of red bricks under ten inches of soil behind her barn. She conjured up a connection to the Bellamy/Hallett legend, and her first novel was born.

She is currently a Member in Letters of the National League of American Pen Women, The Cape Writers Center, and two writing groups. She is a contributing writer to Primetime Magazine. Always a journal writer, she is fascinated by history and writes a blog about the unique facts and myths of Cape Cod. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


GINA FAVA: Gina Fava is a Buffalo, New York native and lives with her family in New England. A University at Buffalo graduate, she also holds a law degree, and has studied both art history and counter-terrorism in Rome. She’s the author of award-winning short stories, and is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. The Sculptor, her latest novel, is the first in her Mara Silvestri mystery series. She is also the author of The Race: A HELL Ranger Thriller. Stricken with wanderlust, she travels far and wide to research new characters and new places to murder them. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


STEVE MARINI: Steve’s second novel, Aberration, recently took fourth place in Mystery, earning a Top Ten Finisher Award in the 2013 reader’s poll by Predators and Editors. He holds a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from Boston University and a B.A. in Business Administration from New England College and has spent over thirty years in the Education/Training field, including posts in higher education and the federal government.

Although he describes himself as a “card carrying New Englander,” he lived for twenty-six years in Maryland while pursuing a career spanning four federal agencies. His background has enabled him to serve as a project manager at the National Security Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fire Academy and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, where he worked with teams of experts in various fields to develop state-of-the-art training for both classrooms and distance learning technologies.

A “Baby Boomer,” Steve has taken up fiction writing as he moved into his career final frontier. Married for thirty-eight years, a father of three and a grandfather, Steve and his wife Louise own a home on Cape Cod that will serve as his private writer’s colony for the years ahead.. GOODREADS, TWITTER, WEBSITE, AMAZON


K.R. CONWAY: Okay – so this is me. Not very exciting, though this oh-so-snazzy blog ( is my site. Click on my profile HERE . . . or just keep reading:

I’m one part crazy and one part professional writer. I’ve been a journalist since 1999, an editor, graphic designer, critique partner for other writers, and book reviewer. I also teach the devious art of telling lies for money to impressionable young people (i.e. I teach fiction craft classes for teens and adults). I write the UNDERTOW series (well, duh).

Because I believe the words “FREE TIME” refer to a parallel universe of which I am banned from, I find myself also on the Board of Directors for the Cape Cod Writers Center, a member of the SCBWI, and the driver of a 16-ton school bus. Apparently I tweet my random thoughts @sharkprose and yup – I am on Facebook, because even my BFF’s dog is. I can’t rank below a dog . . . seriously, I need more friends. The dog is killing me.

I live on Cape Cod with my two children and husband, two dogs (adept at both flatulence and snoring), and a cage-defiant lovebird that sleeps in a miniature tent. This is Cape Cod – even the animals are nuts. GOODREADS, AMAZON, and all the other links are above.

High School Reunions – Go or No?

p_6a1e074d694I’m elderly. Did you know that?

Because I bloody well didn’t realize this horrible fact until I was faced with my 20 year high school reunion.

It was like a face-plant to a sliding glass door.

Twenty YEARS? Where the hell did TWENTY YEARS go?

I mean, I could have sworn we were just being lectured on why it was critically important to NOT throw our moldy graduation caps because they would spear us in the head (a warning which we totally ignored, FYI).

Does time really flee that fast? Are decades truly swallowed up in the speeding tornado of life?

Are Guns N Roses really considered RETRO?

I’ve never been to a reunion, always finding an excuse not to go. The list was long, if not imaginative:


  1. X-Files was in a marathon of reruns.
  2. I was knocked-up.
  3. I lived over the bridge.
  4. My daughter (afore mentioned offspring) was teething. Sick. Crawling. Talking.
  5. The dog ate something weird and I had to sign my life away to Hyannis Animal Hospital.
  6. I got knocked up . . . again. Damn husband.
  7. My car needed to be washed . . . or bombed.
  8. I didn’t really know many people in high school.
  9. I wouldn’t be missed.


And the biggest one . . .




So, here’s the deal about my list. All are basically true, but #10 is NOT a given. Life, I have realized, is breakable. I’ve known this since childhood – seen it too clearly, flirted with it too closely. And yet, it took these past few years to really understand HOW fleeting time can be. How fragile life is.


We are who we are, not because of four years we spent inside a high school together, but because of the twenty years since.


I’m going to reunion this November (and dragging my BFF with me), not to compare my classmates to who they once were, but to meet them as they are now. I’m going so I can learn of all that they have seen and done since the day we threw a bunch of cherry red caps into a brilliant blue sky. And, damn it, I’m going because at our core, we were all Raiders . . . and wicked Rebels.



Stormfront in free on Amazon

Today (October 13th) I am placing STORMFRONT for free on Amazon as a huge thank you to all my readers!!!

Go grab the sucker while you can!



Writing Prompts for the Terminally Stuck

C&HEvery once in a while a storyteller can’t think of . . . well, A STORY TO TELL. That’s when writing prompts come in handy.

Below are a few jumping-off points for potential story ideas (some from me, some I found online).





You wake up feeling refreshed, a new day a new— wait your favorite pair of pants is missing. Darting up from bed you hear a noise outside. A woman is wearing them and looking straight at you. What do you do?


Being a famous rock star is hard. Especially when an alien invasion hits mid-concert. As lasers and abductions abound, do you think your sick beats can stop this catastrophe? Write about how you attempted to fight off the aliens and whether or not you succeeded.


You wake up in—wait this isn’t your room. Confused you step to the mirror and see that you’re Tony Stark . . . and his Iron Man suite is leaning against the wall. What would you do?


You’re a pirate on a small pirate ship that consists of only you, one other pirate and a captain. Recently you ransacked another ship and found a treasure map. After weeks of following it, you’ve finally found the island where “X” marks the spot. Write a scene where you find the buried treasure, only it’s not exactly the treasure you expected to find.


It was a Halloween rules since childhood: Never eat the cookies from Mrs. Hazel’s house. You broke the rule to impress a classmate and now you are growing scales. What will you do?


Your computer won’t shut down when you are getting ready to leave work at five. Instead, it is looping a message, and then attempts to tell you something. What is your computer doing?


You and three classmates end up locked inside the Mall – do you try to get out or do you party like rockstars?


You’re a struggling musician who is playing small clubs on a summer tour across the country and who generally sleeps in your van. But one night, in a small town of Hyannis, a concertgoer offers to let you sleep on his/her couch. You take the offer, but by morning you regret it. Write a story that explains what happens.

Who Killed the Scream Queens

KR Conway:

From my friends over at the Scream Queens!!! Check out their contest!

Originally posted on Story Rebels:

A Chance to Win a casket full of horror and thriller books from the SCREAM QUEEN authors!

Read on . . . if you dare . . .

CONTEST: Who Killed the YA Scream Queens?

Now it’s up to you to solve this whodunit.

It’s a tragic thing, really, a horrific thing: 9 authors of YA horror who all died under bizarre circumstances. Cat, Courtney, Dawn, Hillary, Jenn, Lauren, Lindsay, Sarah, and Trisha—not one was spared. Whether turned to ash or stone, stabbed with a special blade or found frozen in the mountains, the deaths of Scream Queens are decidedly mysterious … and literary.


It seems as though authorities are pointing the fingers at other YA authors of horror and dark fiction, and a suspect pool has been gathered.

First, this week, from October 7-12th, learn how the Scream Queens perished on this blog

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Indie author life and other forms of torture

001Last night I had an epiphany.

One would think it would have been obvious to ME for a while now, but it wasn’t.

You see, I am a self-published author, though I refer to myself as an “Indie” mainly because I operate like a business – like a small press. I am also a professional writer, and I don’t say that off the cuff or because I’ve written two novels.

I’m LITERALLY a traditional working writer, so I will admit that gives me a bit of a leg-up in some aspects. And I’ve been a professional writer for nearly two decades – a paid, published, prolific, oh-crap-I’m-on-a-deadline, writer.

Because of my professional background, I WAS a publishing snob – I believed that to be a legitimate success, you needed an editor to praise your work and a Big Six publisher to fork over the dough. I thought you needed the stamp of approval from the publishing gods and a few lines about the deal on Publishers Marketplace.

And even after I decided to jettison my brain and self-publish UNDERTOW (mainly because I wanted to write the story I wanted to write for the first time in my life . . . and I may have been nuts), I was still seeking “traditional” approval. I wanted an agent or a publishing house to suddenly fall on me and say, “Oh YEAH – we want a piece of the action!”

I wanted their approval because I thought I needed it.

I thought I needed their watermark to designate a 10517515_10204074355157117_3745391590896232070_nbook as worthy — as great. The reality is that it is still a total gamble. I’ve read AWESOME traditionally published books and ones that are total junk. I’ve read lots of terrible self-pubbed stuff too, while others are phenomenal . . .  although the kicker is I look AFTERWARDS for a pub imprint on the fabulous books. I know . . . the irony is sick.

And it’s true – to get reviewed in the big newspapers, you DO need such a mark. Many places will scoff at you and ignore you if you say you are self published because in their head, all that matters is a traditional publishing deal. The comments of fans, the rave reviews from book bloggers, means nothing. I take comfort in the fact that so many books come out constantly, that I find book sellers also don’t have a solid grasp on who an author is, even if the author has signed a huge deal and is a screaming success among fans. Seriously – if this describes you, don’t take offense by their lack of knowledge – they are hurled books and press releases all day long. Those writers with the biggest marketing buck are the ones they finally stock.

I am blessed that the UNDERTOW series gets a LOT of action. I owe that almost entirely from the one group of people who I had never really aimed for before as a journalist: fans. I started earning fabulous, dedicated fans and more importantly, they were buying Eila’s story, posting pictures to Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram. They were talking about it, writing fan fiction on it, shooting my crazy story to the top of the Amazon bestseller heap. Teens even started recognizing me IN THE MALL, which was waaaayyyy out of the norm for me (and I don’t put my photo in my books).

10547525_10204064149141973_5852230812710315923_nYes – I wrote UNDERTOW for those teenagers of the Cape (I used to be one when dinosaurs still wandered the earth). I wrote for Cape Cod, but the professional writer in me also sought that “publishing deal” even though I KNEW I had taken myself out of contention the second I self published the book.

So last night, as I was cranking out pages for CRUEL SUMMER, my professional brain kicked in and I started thinking if I should query the manuscript (send it to literary agents). I started wondering if I should throw my hat into the ring with the publishing gods, even though CRUEL SUMMER is a spin off of my books.

But then a message popped up on my author page on Facebook.

It was from a fan. Someone I had never met who lived in Ireland and was head over heels for the series. She said she went to her local bookstore, who refused to order STORMFRONT because I didn’t have a snazzy imprint from the Pub gods. But to her – this random fan who was strolling the streets of a foreign country — it didn’t matter, because she went online and bought it anyway.

And THAT is when I finally realized that those publishing imprints mean nothing to readers. My background as a professional writer, means nothing. The fact that my name is not in Publisher’s Marketplace, means nothing to readers. Hell, sometimes MY NAME means nothing because they never looked at who wrote UNDERTOW.

To the industry, however, those things mean everything.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 10.25.03 AMIt was then that I realized, that while my professional self wanted to stay in the professional pat-on-the-back track, it was my READERS who made my day. It was their reviews and their thoughts, that counted. They PAID me, and paid me well (thanks BTW!). UNDERTOW will eventually make the same amount as an average publishing advance, not because one person from the right business said, “yes,” but because thousands of readers said, “HELL YEAH!”

For me, that knowledge is humbling. My readers have entrusted me to not let them down and to focus, not on my professional Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 1.24.45 PMpast, but on my rebellious Indie future. They want characters that they scream for, stories that keep them awake at night, and a crazy author that will aim to always please them.

Yes, it is true that I would like an agent someday and I offer outrageous applause to those awesome friends and writers who DO have publishing deals (and I will push your books into the spotlight as much as possible). But for UNDERTOW and all the books that live inside that world, I will write for my fans and keep it in my control.

My readers may not be from the Big Six publishing houses, but they gave me their stamp of approval . . . by the thousands.

What more could a storyteller ask for?




It’s WIP WEDNESDAY! Show Us your screen!

KR Conway:

From the other site I run – Story Rebels

Originally posted on Story Rebels:

Vibrant Wooden RoomSo, today (being Wednesday and all) is known as #wipwednesday for those writers that are goofing off while trying to write.

Basically, people like me.

What is super cool though, is that you get to read other people’s WIPs (works in progress) – sometimes they are funny, sometimes scary, and sometimes down right weird (so you end up questioning the writer’s sanity).

Luckily it doesn’t matter WHAT your WIP is (it could even be a music clip or art work), because if you #wipwednesday, it means you are WORKING as a storyteller. Well . . . except when you cruise over to Twitter.

So put your twisty mind to work and pound out a few sentences and then screen shot the suckers over to Twitter for #wipwednesday, because A: we are all storytellers at heart, and B: I don’t want to be lonely on Twitter.

Seriously . . . don’t make me…

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Book Review – The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

18309670While I do not have a sister, the idea of giving up one’s whole existence for the sake of another is both poignant and painful to absorb. In The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver, readers travel through Ella Lawton’s life – that of a semi-outcast whose popular twin sister, Maddy, has cast her aside for the sake of the “in-crowd.” It is a shunning that Ella finds horrifically painful, but she deals with it by shutting out many people, her parents included.

The one friend she has is Josh, a fellow art-addict and equal misfit.

All Ella wants is to leave the cliques of high school life behind with Josh at her side and reinvent herself at Rhode Island School of Design. That’s their plan . . . until one night on an ice-covered road leaves Maddy dead and Ella devastated. Mistaken for Maddy, Ella takes everyone’s relief and joy that MADDY is alive as a sign that maybe she should leave herself dead, and take over Maddy’s flawless life. She believes everyone will be better off if she buries herself and her dreams, but she quickly learns that Maddy’s perfect life was built on lies and insecurities . . . and staying dead may not be possible for long, especially when Josh begins to suspect that his beloved Ella is not really six-feet-under after all.

Great story with fabulous characters who walk off the page. A sister story unlike anything I have ever read and guaranteed to grab onto teen readers and keep them turning pages late into the night! My 13-year-old daughter would devour this!

Why a NYT Bestselling author gave the money back.

cover52683-mediumI get asked all the time about being a self-published author. Why I did it, how hard was it, etc.

I did it for many reasons, but like Karen Traviss,  I too was a professional journalist for nearly 20 years. I was paid to write the story THEY WANTED ME TO WRITE. With UNDERTOW, I just wanted one chance to write the story I wanted to write and stick to my guns about it.

I wanted to test the waters and see if I really knew what readers of my genre were looking for. Did I really know them? Was I going to give them what they wanted? Would they howl for more?

The answer is on Goodreads (MAD THANKS to all my fans).

But would I someday like to also be traditionally published? Of course, because I’d like to be able to list myself as a hybrid author (self-pubbed and traditional). Do I think publishing houses need to broaden their understanding of the indie market? Absolutely.

As a business woman, it would make sense to seize on those self-published books that have a screaming fan base and acquire them in larger publishing houses because, well, those books are a sure bet. There is no risk because the book has proven itself to its audience.

But books that have NEVER been published, and therefore have yet to meet everyday paying customers, have yet to confront the true litmus test of on-the-street readers. Basically, every traditionally-pubbed book is a financial gamble for a publisher. Readers are fickle. What is lauded among some reviewers and agents can crash and burn once it hits the shelves (and vice-versa). Sadly, poor sales /  reviews can cause the author to crash and burn as well, because the publishing house didn’t make the bundles it wanted to make. Remember – it’s not about the story. It’s about money.

I know of only one publishing “house” that has caught on to this idea of grabbing well-reviewed, self-pubbed authors (who are flying under the radar), and acquiring their stories: Alloy Entertainment, who is basically the younger sibling of Warner Bros. Studios.

It seems I am not alone in my assessments . . .

The following article is from NYT bestselling author, Karen Traviss. I’ve reposted it below from


“Publishers thought they were the creators of books and that their customers were the book stores. They forgot that that authors are the sole source of books and that the only paying customers are readers. Everyone else in the food chain is replaceable.”

“Nobody else is going to do it for you.”

It was deceptively simple advice given to a group of aspiring writers at the MSU Clarion workshop. The wise words about taking charge of your own career came from author Suzy McKee Charnas: and one of the writers was me.

Brace for a few numbers. I like numbers. After 24 novels with Big Five publishers, 12 of them NYT best-sellers, I took Suzy’s words to heart and withdrew my 25th novel – Going Grey – fromthe schedule of a Big Five house and released it independently. The whole Ringer series will now follow the same route.

When my first book was published ten years ago, the technology to do that didn’t exist. _-Gears-of-War-3-Writer-Karen-Traviss-_The ability to sell e-books, paperbacks, and audio editions globally without the need for a middleman is something that’s only recently become a realistic alternative. If you’re a musician, an artist, or you work in comics, independent production’s been part of your professional landscape for much longer. Nobody thinks third-party validation is necessary; everybody knows it’s about creator control.

But mention indie publishing – direct publishing, self publishing, call it what you will – and you’ll still trigger knee-jerk frothing among writers in opposing camps. Some of that is fuelled by partisan reactions to Amazon, the main driver of the rapid growth of the independent sector. One camp claims Amazon is the evil empire that destroyed bookstores, and all the indies it’s spawned are people who can’t get published any other way: the other camp says Amazon has dismantled the Berlin Wall of giant publishers and retailers – “Big Publishing” – to give more freedom to more writers.

Readers rarely care or even know who your publisher is, though. Why should they? Publishing is packaging and distribution. Consumers’ rational concerns are what’s in the package and how much it costs.

Going-Grey-by-Karen-Traviss-188x300I’m in neutral territory, or at least I’ve seen both sides of the razor wire. I’m a commercial author who’s sold a lot of books through the Big Five. But I’m also an ex-journalist with a critical eye on big corporations, and I’ve had my share of bad experiences with traditional publishing. What follows is a non-partisan account of why more writers like me are finally waking up to another way to do business.

Initially, my decision to publish Going Grey independently related to a specific problem; it was taking too long to get it on sale, and I wasn’t willing to wait any longer. It was only after I acted that I realised how much the industry had changed, and how naive I’d been to think Big Publishing would look after my interests because I made money for it.

The traditional publishing industry is getting a serious kicking these days. It’s a common pattern in business. An industry enjoys a protected existence for years, mergers force the eggs into fewer baskets, and the players get complacent and flabby. They overlook new technologies and bolder business models creeping up on them – in this case, Amazon. Publishers thought they were the creators of books and that their customers were the book stores. They forgot that that authors are the sole source of books and that the only paying customers are readers. Everyone else in the food chain is replaceable.

Pulling Going Grey from the publisher was a straightforward choice with a specific aim. After a number of changes in the schedule, I was now looking at a 2015 release for a book that I’d already had to rewrite because real-world events kept overtaking it as time dragged on. I couldn’t risk more repeats of that. I needed the book out ASAP, by which I meant summer 2014, still six months away.

The publisher said they couldn’t do it so I handed back the money and walked. I found another publisher who could get the book out on time, with a profit-sharing deal instead of royalties. But a chance conversation I’d had the year before made me hesitate.

I’d been talking to someone at Audible, a chat which led me to investigate all the other things that Amazon did. I realised a little late that I could publish Going Grey myself. Suddenly all I could see was ten years of being jerked around on someone else’s chain with little to show for a lot of sweat. I needed to do it myself just once, if only to feel I had some control over my career again.

Let me put this in context. I’ve had some unpleasant experiences with publishers, including breached contracts and books left marooned “in print” but unobtainable, but I’ve fared better than many other writers. I’ve never had to languish in a slush pile, I’ve had advances well above the average, and I’ve never really been stopped from writing what I wanted. I never reached the stage where a publisher wrecked a book or buried my career, unlike friends I’ve seen sunk by inexplicable decisions and foul-ups.

But I’ve made more in royalties from one moderately successful, short-run franchise comic series than I’ve made in ten years of royalties from novels, more than half of which were best-sellers. That illustrates the reality of traditional publishing even for apparently successful authors. Unless you’re one of a small handful of mega best-selling writers, you’re not the one getting rich off your work.

Big Publishing was a gatekeeper, not for quality (boy, that’s a feature on its own) but for distribution. It effectively controlled entry into the big book chains, especially in the USA, the largest English language market. Without Big Pub, you were going nowhere. Now the chains are vanishing, e-books are booming, and Amazon sells it all anyway. It was my wake-up call: it wasn’t just Going Grey I had to worry about. I now had to consider whether publishers could do anything for me in the future. All I could see was an industry getting slower, clinging increasingly to what worked in the past, and doing less for authors.

I’d spent more than 30 years in different branches of the media. As well as writing and editing, I’d served my time in PR, marketing, production, advertising, and corporate branding. I’d been a TV producer and I was used to working with voice artists as well, so I could handle an audiobook. Hell, I even had a retailing qualification that I’d completely forgotten until then. I could process a book in any format from the first word on the page to the finished product. I just needed to get a grip and harness all that for myself.

The downside; I’d have to rebuild my readership because I was shifting genres from straight SF to techno-thriller, but that would have happened whatever route I took. I had to kiss goodbye to advances as well, but those come at a near-Faustian price. Big Publishing wants all your rights for the lifetime of the copyright. That’s 70 years after you’re dead. Marriage may last as long as ye both shall live, but even death won’t release you when you wed yourself to a publisher. And if they screw up, you can’t normally take your business elsewhere without an expensive lawyer.

So what about distribution and exposure in stores? E-books were a level playing field; no problem there, then, and at very least, paperback editions would be available via Amazon and B&N’s site. But I’d forfeit a short time on the shelves of B&N’s dwindling number of branches – short because most books don’t have long before they’re removed to make room for new titles. Eventually, customers end up having to order online or via a store anyway. So if I published direct to Kindle and iTunes, and used Amazon’s CreateSpace printing and distribution for the paperback edition, Going Grey would be as visible as it would have been after a few months via the traditional route.

The only issue left was money. For e-books, I’d get 70% of the list price. For paperbacks, the income varied depending on the channel, but the bulk of my sales are the US market, which appeared to give me double the royalty rate that I’d get from a publisher for a hardcover. Number crunching showed me I’d only need a small fraction of my usual sales to break even on what I’d lost from an advance. It would be spread over a longer period: an advance is paid in three or four chunks over a year or more. So I had little if anything to lose. In fact, I stood to make much more.

As an indie, you can see every sale accounted for individually each day and you know exactly how much you’ll get. It’s a percentage of the list price that you decide to set and can choose to change at any time. It’s not derived from discounted prices you have no control over, don’t know about, and can’t check, and it’s not that mystery figure called net. Unlike the average royalty statement from a publisher, the data is transparent, and the terms are straightforward and available to everyone. So I opted to self-publish all editions of Going Grey except audio. Audible boughtthe audiobook rights for a fixed term and optioned the rest of the Ringer series.

The only new skill I had to learn was using graphics and typography apps at short notice when the book designer I’d hired didn’t deliver and I had to do the covers and interiors myself. A web designer friend gave me a crash tutorial in vector graphics and kept a watchful eye on me. I added it to my skills list and enjoyed doing it.

That was in June. I’ve now published two indie books. It’s too soon for a verdict because this is a long-term game, and you learn every day and tweak your operation accordingly. It’s not a panacea: getting readers to discover books is just as tough as in traditional publishing. The whole thing takes effort and a mind-set some don’t have or even want to have, but you can hire freelance help for any part of the process. The point is that the decisions are entirely yours to make.

I realise some writers want the validation of a publisher. Please take it from someone who’s had it that the only approval that counts is the reader’s. It’s the point at which free market economics meets the pleasure of storytelling. Even minority interest books that no publisher wants because the market’s too small can be viable for indies. It’s a time of creative freedom for writers and choice for readers. Amazon (because it really is Amazon that led the charge) has done more for creative diversity than the most high-minded New York publisher.

People warn that Amazon’s dominance might send it down the same author-unfriendly path as Big Publishing. Yes, it would be better if its rivals upped their game. But even if it turned into a kitten-eating monster, the technologies that underpin this tectonic shift are here to stay. You can build a mailing list and sell digital editions from your own web site if the worst happens, and readers are smarter than ever at finding what they want. That’s the real change. Distribution’s been taken from the hands of a few big-budget players and made available to everyone.

So until the next publishing upheaval, I’ll probably take my chances as an indie. The only difference readers might notice is an absence of my franchise novels – buying licenses for those is the preserve of publishing companies. I’m writing more comics and scripts, though, and I finally have enough control over my schedule to write all those original books I had to put on hold.

Producing Going Grey was immensely satisfying. Now I’m enjoying writing the sequel, Black Run. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been able to say that about any book. As we say in the UK; result.

British author Karen Traviss is a military novelist, games, and comics writer whose credits include Halo, Gears of War, Batman, G.I. Joe, and Star Wars. A former defence correspondent and TV journalist, she’s the author of the award‑nominated Wess’har books and is currently writing Black Run, book two in her new techno-thriller series.


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The lunatic, the lover, and the poet are of imagination all compact...

The Artist's Road

Creativity, Writing, and an Art-Committed Life


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