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Friday, March 19, 2010

Frances Pauli on Electronic Publishing-And Her New Release

Science fiction romance. It's not just space opera. Author Frances Pauli stopped by to visit me today with news of her new release Roarke, just published by Divine Destinies.

They have to be lying when they tell her she was dead. With no memory of her past, and no idea who she actually is, Nora has few options. Alone, and at the mercy of the Mercenary Defense Conglomerate, she searches for clues into her past, and the truth about her supposed demise.

If she is a prisoner, robbed of memory and held against her will, then she must trust no one. If she has, in fact, returned from the dead, then who could possibly help her? Armed with only her wits and her inexplicably sharpened senses, she is forced to play along, to search for the holes in their story, and to piece together the flashes of memory that serve only to taunt her.

But the visions seem to confirm the impossible. The man who is supposed to be her fiancé seems bent on confusing her, and the one person she is desperate to be near may very well be responsible for her death. If the silent Roarke is her enemy, why do her visions draw her closer to him? And why, when nothing else seems remotely familiar, does Nora find herself remembering, or wanting to remember only him?

Roarke is an e-book. Frances, do you have any thoughts about electronic publishing? I've had both electronic and print publications. While it's nice to hold a book in your hand, I think the electronic versions enable readers to get their hands on stories quickly and easily.

I am an author of electronic books. I also happen to be a reader of, and big believer in e-books. I’ve sold my stories to two different royalty-paying electronic houses, (three imprints) one of which solely deals with electronic formats, and the other which produces both print and electronic books. None of this was easy. Neither was it without risk, though I’m happy to say that the houses my books are contracted with are fantastic, professional and legitimate, and I am thrilled and proud to be involved with both of them.

If you’ve decided to try for electronic publication, or if you’re just considering it as a possibility, you may soon discover that the world of electronic publishing can be complicated, confusing and sometimes misleading. Aside from the wealth of solid, upstanding publishing houses, sharks and scams abound. Unfortunately their prey of choice is the aspiring author.

Anyone looking into electronic print would do well to learn as much as possible about the industry. Learning from other authors and industry professionals isn’t difficult, but it takes time. E-book author groups and guilds, author and publisher blogs and web pages and online articles can not only save you time, but they can save you from making a costly mistake.

While I’m not anywhere near being an expert in the field, I can start you out with a few pointers and some warnings about what to watch out for along the way.

#1 Don’t deal with anyone you haven’t Googled. A simple search of a company’s name saved me from signing with a very shady organization early on. If you get any kind of interest or offer from anyone, just punch them into a search engine of your choice. In my case, the first forty or so entries contained words like: scam, hoax, lawsuit…you get the idea.

#2 The money flows to the author, NOT from the author. If a company, publisher, or agent is asking you to pay for anything, be wary. Most likely this is not a legitimat e-publishing situation. The only time I think industry standard approves of the author paying for anything is in the case of self-publishing. As we’ll see, in that arena, the author pretty much pays for everything.

#3 Learn the difference between POD and Vanity Publishing. The first is a legitimate printing model. The second is usually a way to steal your money. (see number two)

#4 Self published is not a dirty word, but it won’t likely make you rich and famous either. For some books--small run, niche markets, specialty interests—self publishing may be a good idea. However, deciding to self-publish should be an educated and well-understood choice. Self-published doesn’t mean inferior, but it does mean a long, hard and expensive road for the author. While self-publishing an e-book can be done for a lot less money upfront, thanks to a host of online services, there is still an uphill battle to follow. All the marketing, sales, and promotion will be the author’s responsibility. Unfortunately, there is an abiding stigma against self-published books, and the author who chooses this route should be aware of this at the start and willing to face down and deal with a lot of prejudice.

#5 Use the resources available. The Internet is a universe of helpful information. Find Preditors and Editors, Writer’s Beware, and other scam warning sites and monitor them. Find author’s you like and follow their blogs. Do the same thing with publishers. The advice they give may just get your foot in the right door. Look for books with covers you like, with designs and exposure that you’d like to have and then check out who publishes them. Join a lot of groups, forums and boards and listen. Ask questions. Make friends. Perhaps most importantly of all…

#6 Relax and take your time. Don’t rush this process. The author in a hurry is more likely to sign with the first fly-by-night Vanity Publisher that finds them. Don’t think you have to be published any time soon. Enjoy your journey, have fun and take things slow. While you’re waiting—and there will be waiting—write your next book.

In either the electronic or print publishing industry, there is always waiting. Practice patience and persistence (I’m awful at both) and have as much fun as you can along the way. I wish you the best of luck!

About Frances Pauli:

Though she always held aspirations to be a writer, Frances originally chose to pursue a career in visual arts. Her stories, however, had other plans for her. By the time she entered her thirties, they were no longer content existing solely in her head. Compelled to free them, she set aside her easel and began to write in earnest

She currently resides smack in the center of Washington State with her husband and two children. When not writing she dabbles in insane things like puppetry, belly dance and playing the ukulele. She collects rocks, and is a firm believer in good wine, fine chocolate and dangerous men.

Her short fiction has appeared in Alternative Coordinates magazine.

More about Frances and her writing can be found at

She offers a free online serial at


  1. Good morning, Frances and everyone. I have an epublisher all of whose titles go to print, so that is a nice option. But honestly, most of my readers want Kindle, a smart phone ap, or a PDF. It's a short story, so that might be a factor.

    Personally, I have to have a book in my hand so I prefer print and like the option. But then again, I'm a Luddite.

  2. Even if you get a traditional publishing deal, we still have to do our own marketing.

    I have a friend self-published who does very well. He sets up tables at grocers, etc ... He says he's had way more success with getting out of the bookstore.

  3. I've hustled to market my latest releases, both print and e-pubs. Honestly, the print publishers did very little for me after printing the book and having it listed on Amazon, Fictionwise, etc. The editing was very minimal.

    Eternal Press is the only publisher that did any promo, including setting up and soliciting reviews, providing a forum for a live chat and selling the book on their website. Gorgeous cover art and I had input-lots actually.

    The print publishers (all small and literary presses) couldn't help get me readings in chain stores. No payoff. I've been going door to door to small shops which fit the market niches.

  4. Thanks Carole Ann, that's a really good point and I'm glad you brought it up. A lot of folks think, if they go the traditional route, then the publisher just takes care of everything.
    Hard truth, the smallest percentage of a house's authors get the largest share of any marketing. The vast majority of us have to do this on our own regardless of how we're repped.
    It's a good thing it can be fun and introduce us to so many great people!
    Thanks for having me today.