Monday, November 23, 2009

Guest Post: Chris DeBrie author of Shakespeare Ashes

Chris DeBrie, author of the book Shakespeare Ashes, stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.

For those of you thinking of self-publishing, print-on-demand is cost-effective these days. Depending which publisher you use and how much input you want into the book and promotion, you'll spend anywhere from 500 to several thousand dollars. If holding your own book is enough reward, then anybody should do it who wants to. If it's your life, and you have characters dying to be born, then it is plenty work. And the hours spent doing everything except writing was surprising at first. So be aware, or beware, that you'll put in more than you get out at first (unless you get lucky and hit the right note).

When i was young, writing stories and creating homemade comics, i had this sense that i wasn't getting past the traditional gatekeepers with my stuff. I remember reading little ads in magazines, from vanity presses, and ordering their brochures. Just out of curiosity. I was too young to afford their fees. I did end up ordering a few of their books, which were substandard, but the writing was usually good. This was 10 or 15 years before the Internet and POD. I'm blessed that I live in a time where anyone can get their creation into hands around the globe

I've published with several POD publishers. For Shakespeare Ashes I used Infinity Publishing. I've also worked with Booksurge and Xlibris. These kinds of publishers can go from manuscript to 'for sale' in a few months. The common perception is that the quality suffers, and it's been true ever since I ordered vanity press books back in the '80s. Admittedly, sometimes that opinion is based in truth. Maybe that stigma will go away in the next decade or so--the learning curve for digital printing is still rising.

Music is a few years ahead of the book industry right now; Napster and all the rest of the file-sharers changed so much. There are ways for any little band to get noticed now, and all these major musicians are bypassing the labels, selling their own. I've heard complaints that so many new musicians would dilute things, but people who have talent and strong will... they're going to rise. The impression I get from big house publishers is that signing up would mean a lot of waiting for stuff to go through lots of hands. Whether big or small, it's up to the author to promote. They have the infrastructure to advertise and connect with the real industry players, but POD is truly current. In Ashes I make a note of President Obama's inauguration, and the book was out a few months later. No way does that happen with a traditional house.

You pick your own poison.

About the book:

Donna wonders how she can forgive and forget.

Charlene doesn’t quite know what she wants.

Robbie is usually thinking about which honey he plans to bag.

And Erven just does his best to obliterate the world…

Their lives and histories interconnecting, these characters navigate that uncertain time between classrooms and the wide-open world.

About Chris:

Chris DeBrie was born in North Carolina, creating comics and stories as soon as he could hold a pencil. He wrote the millennial love story As Is as a ninth grader, publishing it a decade later. Selective Focus was the result of those homemade comic screenplays. With Shakespeare Ashes, he pulls the reader into the raw thoughts of four very different characters. DeBrie is a fan of photography, learning languages, and clean water. He lives in Virginia.


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