So its been a while since I managed to get anything up on here, unfortunately. But on the up side, I am working on a few writing projects that I plan on unveiling over the next week, including a fairy tale and mythology anthology (with a kickstarter) and the rough drafts of the first chaptersof my next two books (one of which is a YA).
Until then though, I actually wanted to talk about my first book, The Real Folktale Blues. I never mentioned that it was now free for the time being, until I hear from Harper Voyager on whether or not they are going to pick up my series. You can find it on Smashwords free as a digital copy, unfortunately I can’t do physical copies for free due to publishing costs, but I don’t mind that, because honestly the only people have really bought physical copies are myself and people I know personally and like two other people who I don’t know at all.
Still it made me think recently about whether I wanted to actually go through with filing my book with the United States Copyright. I’ve already marked it as being copywritten, because it is, but if I ever had to prove that in court I’d be screwed. Not that I ever will need to prove that, because honestly if you can take my stories and make them your own and make it successful enough that it becomes an issue then fuck, you win.
But I was reading some things on Ksenia Anske’s blog about copyright and that she was going with a creative commons that let people use and manipulate her work in any way so long as it wasn’t then commercialized and as long as she was cited for the idea coming from her. Which is an awesome concept, and something I would totally consider, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m mostly looking toward traditional publishing directions (and at the same time not really). This means that if I went the same route, my books would literally be unsellable because you can’t make money off of creative common things. Ksenia Anske manages to get around this by asking for donations from her MASSIVE reader following. And she lives off of that. And honestly I’d be okay with that direction too, giving people my books for free, self publishing and asking for money. Hell, Amanda Palmer had recently done a Tedtalk on that; we should be asking for money from our fans, rather than demanding it!
The issue is, where do you start with that kind of thing? Ksenia already had this huge twitter following before she fully invested in writing her first book, she had tons of people willing to essentially invest in her in the same way crowdfunding worked. For someone like me though, who barely talks to a soul and occasionally interacts with a few people here and there on social media, going that route for me would get me in tough shit fast. And I just got out of all the tough shit.
That’s okay though. Because no matter what I eventually run with, which will probably come down to whether or not Harper Voyager actually wants to take a chance on me, I’ll still continue writing, I’ll still continue releasing my stories, even if they are free, and I never make a dime off them. Believe or not, I actually haven’t made a cent off of The Real Folktale Blues. I’ve given it away, and let people have fun with it, and I’ve actually spent tons of money on it that was my spending money. In a way, writing these books is more of my hobby than my job now, and if I can keep it at my books being free and taking longer to get around to writing, would it be better to keep it my hobby, and survive with a different job?
I’m not sure. I’d rather write what I want and have fun with my novels for my living, but it wasn’t until a couple of reviews and emails I had gotten from readers of my first book. Like… it’s so weird thinking that I have readers… me? It’s just kind of… wow. And not just people who are like… this was terrible, I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. It’s been positive, really positive. I enjoyed writing the book, and it showed with the people who have read the book, enjoying reading it. And honestly… I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.
Who knows later down the line, things will always change, maybe I’ll get a deal with someone, maybe I’ll just keep releasing these on my own and hell, running a kickstarter for it would be interesting. I mean, if I kickstart an entire series of nine books, which I have the first book done, and the second one well on the way, would that crowdfunding method really be any different from what Ksenia is doing? That might be an option I might really consider. I’ll have to hype it up before I run with it, but it’d be interesting to see.
Anyway, back to my readers though. I recently had one person email me and I wanted to share their emails because… this is honestly what every writer wants to see when they have written a book. If every writer could ever get even just one review for each book they wrote, this would be it:
I have just finished reading “beyond ever after” and I had the need to track you down and thank you. I rarely if ever leave reviews despite being an avid reader but I am making an exception in this case to tell you what a wonderful read this book was. The plot is extremely well done, the characters are so well developed and I loved the humor! I have been searching for a good sci-fi/ fantasy lesbian book since forever and almost despaired of ever finding one until I stumbled on this gem. So thank you
And thank you for making it easy to obtain. I am one of the unlucky people who live in a country where being gay is against the law (yes sadly these still exist), so having access to such a good quality book online is quite the treat.
I’m surprised you weren’t aware people would like it that much. I even got that feeling, don’t know how to really describe it, you know the one you get after reading a good book that has a universe of its own… where you feel for a couple of days after that you’re still partially living in that universe. Wow 9 more books! I have so much to look forward to!
As for living for a country where being gay is illegal, it sucks. Being homophobic is actually the accepted norm. Things are changing, but too slowly.But it is still much better than the surrounding countries. Weirdly, it felt relieving to hear someone totally unrelated condemn it.
I wish you all the best in your book series getting picked up. You truly deserve it.
Please don t stop writing!
Now, under normal circumstances I would have mentioned the person who had sent these multiple emails to me, but due to keeping anonymity for this person who could very well be persecuted with a death sentence or any number of terrible things for simply having my book, I am all over making sure to protect this person’s freedom to go anonymous.
It’s because of things like this that create the very reason I write my stories. Continually I’m learning to express more and more diversity and variance with my characters and plots and I can’t say my writing is brilliant or that my stories NEED to be heard, because one: my writing is terrible, but I’m learning. And two: These aren’t my stories. I write these stories so that there can be a story out there for everyone to feel exactly like this person does. So that they have a story to go to and see that not everything is terrible, not everyone feels the same way as so many people around them do. These aren’t my stories. They are everyone else’s.
And thinking about that, only makes me wonder whether I should actually follow through with going toward a creative commons licensing and start doing the same thing as Ksenia Anske. It’d let me share even more stories and it would let me share them for free, for everyone, and for anyone to get access to them. I mean, that’s the same reason I’m interested in a big publisher picking up my book, so that everyone can get them, but through a big publisher the reach may be further, but it won’t touch the people who can’t afford these things or in the case of the reader above… can’t even buy these things or else they would be killed.
This is same reason Sarah Diemer had mentioned that the majority of people who buy her novels and sustain her are straight people, despite all of her works having gay characters as the main ones, if not all of them. Why? Because the people who want to read gay young adult books can’t always buy them, or even be associated with them. There are still people in America and even the UK today that are punished and persecuted for being gay, and if you’re seen with a book that is clearly a ‘gay’ book you are screwed in that sense.
And it’s a horrible notion to think of, but it is so true. If I’m writing stories directed toward all the ‘outliers’ in the world, how would they be able to get a hold of my book, when my book could literally be banned from that country or that home.
In the same vein, if my books somehow fell into the mainstream like with Harper Voyager picking this up, then would I be helping those people in the outlier areas? Would I be showing that characters that are gay, or trans, or racially different can get along, be friends, have good lives, and deal with all the same fucked up shit that everyone deals with in our lives, would that make a difference?
Fuck, I hope so. I used to say fiction is actually a large portion of what decides people’s knowledge and actions in the real world, especially fiction from a young age, like young adult literature. Don’t believe me? There was one book that incited a Philippine revolution, another (the bible) that has been the go-to literature to wave away human rights from anyone that wasn’t straight, white, male and Christian. Want more? How about the book that led to the persecution of thousands of people as witches and how you kill them.
Sure, you could argue that all of those books weren’t technically fiction, but most of them were about history (or what people consider history) and there is always some fiction when history is written. And I didn’t even touch on facts like how J.K. Rowlings books led to many Christians finally realizing it was okay to read a book about fictional magic, you wouldn’t burn for it. Then she went and tossed em a screw ball by saying the major, awesome mentor through the whole series was actually gay. Which was probably the biggest fuck you in mainstream media that still makes me laugh. And you know what, I’d love to do the same thing. No, I would want to do more than that. Because as long as my books aren’t able to be part of the mainstream then neither will being gay, or gender-non-conforming or whatever race you may be.
They will always be on the outlier, just like my stories. And I want to change that.
Finally, a note for the person above and all those who might fall in the same situation:
I love you. And no matter who you are, I will always love you, and I will always continue to write. Always continue to provide the stories that I know people out there want to read. But most of all, I hope the world changes. I hope the hate runs dry, and I wish so much for people to be able to just be people. No matter who they love, what they look like, or how they act. We are all people, and nothing can take that away from you, despite so many people thinking they can.
So keep loving, keep reading, and keep living. Because just by you being alive and living your life to the fullest, you destroy the power anyone else can have over you. Believe in yourself, and believe that no matter what, I love you. All of you. And best of, the reason I love Love so much… it is one of the few things that doesn’t deplete the more you give it away.