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Friday, March 9, 2012

Author Guest Post + {GIVEAWAY!}: Annie Oldham

The Burn by Annie Oldham
Pages: 234
Genre: YA Dystopian
BUY IT: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That's what Terra's father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right.

She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. When she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, she has to decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or The Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.

Is There Really a Villain Here?
By Annie Oldham

I don't know how many of you, dear readers, have read anything about the wild 'n' crazy self-publishing movement going on. Self publishing has been going on for years, but it hasn't been until a few authors earned fame and fortune (Amanda Hocking, anyone?) through self publishing that your neighbor and their cat and their goldfish decided to jump on this bandwagon and try their hand at writing a book. And it helps that there are so many easy ways to do it.

With the ease of self-publishing, people (too many people, in my opinion) are questioning the value of publishing houses. This coming from the perspective of a self-published author, and I can't bring myself to play the publishing-house-hating game. It's just not fair.

Here's a list of some gripes against publishing houses:
  • They offer small royalties
  • They pay itty-bitty advances
  • They retain rights to your work for a long while (relatively) so you can't do anything with it
  • It can take upward of a year and a half or more to see your book in print once it's been accepted
  • The competition is brutal to get anything published

These are all true. But here's the part that most people don't talk about:

Publishing is a business.

They're not in the market to sift through the masses of queries (which is why hardly any publishing house accepts unsolicited manuscripts these days); they're in the market to sell books. Publishing houses aren't sitting at their desks tapping their fingers together a la Mr. Burns and saying “We shall refuse new, extraordinary talent. We will offer authors the least possible royalties so we can swim in riches. Bwa ha ha!”

Publishers have to think about what will be the next best seller (even though you may think it's drivel). They have to carefully question how big of an advance they can pay because the simple fact is that most authors don't sell enough books to even cover their advances. They have to schedule out the releases of books to fit their production timeline.

Publishing is a business, and sad but true, they have to remember their bottom line. Not very romantic, but very practical.

So I frankly get tired when authors who have failed to get published traditionally (or if they have, had their romantic notions dashed) go on a tirade about this, saying that publishing houses are crooked, or out of touch, or greedy, or whatever other unkind thing comes out. Publishing houses aren't. They're just trying to stay afloat when the world of publishing is seriously changing.

Because here's a fact: very few traditionally published books go on to become best sellers just the way very few self-published books go on to become best sellers.

And so, with that sobering truth, ask yourself what your goal is. If your goal is a book deal with a big six publisher, then go for it, all the way. But if your goal is simply to be published, to have your book out there, why not try the alternative: self-publishing. Instead of complaining that so-and-so agent rejected you and so-and-so of the big six publishing houses offered you that piddly little advance, self publish.

Because regardless of how you chose to publish, writing is work. There is writing and rewriting and editing and aggravation and frustration and self doubt no matter what venue you go. And at the end of the day, if you've created the best story you can, there will be people hungry to read it.

Annie Oldham Online

I adore writing and reading YA novels. I grew up with an insatiable desire to read and then came the insatiable desire to write. I've been blessed to have both of those in my life.

Away from my writing, I'm the mother of the two most adorable girls in the world, I have the best husband in the world, and I live in the hottest place in the world (not really, but Phoenix sure feels like it). I love to cook, sing, and play the piano.


Rules & Guidelines:
  • Must be 13 or older to enter.
  • Winner will be chosen at random and emailed, and will have 48 hours to reply back, or a new winner will be chosen.

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  1. Very insightful article. I've never heard any authors complain about self-publishing because they don't like big publishing houses, but I do agree that writing is writing, no matter how you go about getting published.

    As for self-publishing, I believe there are different levels. A lot of self-published books aren't worth reading because the writing may be underdeveloped and because of editing issues. On the other hand, I've come across a few self-published books that take me by surprise because they're near perfect. Those are the ones that get pushed to the bottom of the ranks because a chance won't be taken on them. In short, self-publishing is a great way to put books out in the market that are unique, but sometimes the quality takes away from the value of those books.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Definitely want to read this book!

    I'm self-published myself so I am strong supporter of it.

  3. Thanks, Ashley, for the great event! I've been honored to be a part of it.

  4. It's a great way to get your book out there!

  5. My opinion is that it must be hard work but it feels satisfying that people out there have a chance to read your work

  6. My opinion on self-publishing is a little hit-or-miss. On one hand, I think it's really great that there are authors out there with that can-do attitude who take publishing into their own hands. On the other hand, I've read some horribly edited and just overall terrible self-published novels. I'm always willing to give them a shot, though, because I think it's commendable that self-published authors have the confidence in their stories to get them published.

    I also commend Annie for self-publishing because she had a story to tell and wanted to get it out there instead of just trying to rake in money. It's really refreshing to hear from an author like her.

  7. Thank you for taking the time to do this giveaway :) I don't really have an opinion on self publishing other than if you are going to take that leap, make sure you have an editor go through your works. There is nothing worse than having a great story be ruined by little mistakes that could be easily corrected.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Love it when I find a new author. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. I think self publishing is a great opportunity for authors who otherwise wouldn't be able to get their name out there to do so. Especially if they take great care in making sure the book is the best it can be. And i love finding new authors and alot of the one's i am finding lately are self published. So i think its a great platform for writer's to get their name out there and possibly make a big name for themselves.

  11. I think self-publishing is a good opportunity for writers who want to make a name for themselves, and if a self-published writer is successful enough, writer sometimes signs a contract with a publishing house and get their books printed in paper. Whether somebody get's their book published by a big company or do it themselves, I applaud them for actually managing to finish writing a whole book and taking all that effort to get it out into the world!
    Rachel C.


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