The Long And Largely Overdue Author Update!!!
Wow, it sure has been awhile since my last post. Last thing I did was inform readers (if I even have any) was that I was going to Tri-Con. That was last June...
SORRY! I am so, so sorry that I've been gone for so long (at least I wasn't gone as long as the last time I let this blog go quiet [three years, for those who are wondering]). All I can say is that it just got away from me, where Life just kept happening, getting in my way and making me not feel the need to get back to blogging. For one thing, my computer died... Took a little while to get a new one. Then my truck broke down. Then my tablet, which I was using to type my next story, stopped working, so I had to get a new one. Throw busy time at the place that I work (sadly, these books do NOT put food on the table), any down time I had was just dedicated to catching up on a whole lot of laziness. Know what I mean?
Bottom line: Blogging is like exercising. If you let yourself stop for even a little bit, that little bit will eventually turn into months of putting it off.
Well, now is the time. This is me getting back into my exercises. I'm going to keep blogging until detailed posts for each of my books are up, maybe some more pictures, and updates of what I've been doing/working on for the last year (remember the aforementioned tablet?).
However, and this is a big one, there's something of a problem that I need to share with you all. For those who don't know or can't recall, my first five books were published through a little company called Publish America, which changed its name a few years ago to America Star Books. They took care of everything for me after I handed them the manuscripts. The conversions to book format, the covers, the printing, all of that stuff that I have no idea of doing on my own. And they were nice... for a little while.
Maybe I should have seen the warning signs at the beginning, but then again, the beginning was over nine years ago, when I published my first book, Path of a Hero. It was a different time then. I don't think I've even heard of Kindle at the time, nor can I recall at the top of my head just how old Kindle is. Anyway, they seemed fine at first, even if their pricing of my book seemed outrageous. I did it with a gleam in my eye and a dream in my heart that I would be able to make something of myself so long as my story was in book form, ready to be bought by the masses. Heck, I even saw Publish America's author discounts (where sometimes they would give them up to 90% off!) was a good enough bonus for me to buy my own copies and resell them at a fairer price.
But... that feel-good and I'm-Now-A-Published-Author drive wore out, and in more recent times, after my publishers changed their name to America Star Books, I had a powerful longing for something better. I thought that I would keep publishing with them until the Five Year Pilgrimage series was done, but shortly after publishing Book IV: Fu, I just couldn't shake my unease with them or get excited like I used to.
By that point, I had finally caught up on my internet and found out that Publish America/America Star Books had a... less than stellar reputation, and their track record was actually growing worse. So, after publishing Book IV: Fu with them, I decided (after reading some blog that I can't remember that highly motived me) to try my hand at self-publishing through Amazon... and let me tell ya, I wish I had gone with them a long time ago.
Don't get me wrong. Amazon hasn't made me able to quit my day job, but I now know that they are exactly what I really needed, a service that in honesty should have been America Star Books M.O.
I can publish my books completely for free at Amazon, both paperback and Kindle (yes, it may shock you to know that America Star Books actually charged you to convert a book that they published for free into an ebook. I really, really wish that I had know what B.S. that was a long time ago now). Not only that, but I can set the price myself, and they don't have be to outrageously expensive. Whereas America Star Books would charge somewhere between $20 to $30 for an average sized book (say, about two hundred pages), I can set the price for $10 or even less (but I won't get as good as a profit margin, so that really is the best I can go without charging too high). In the end, I am incredibly happy to have gone with Amazon now, even if it is a little late to the party.
And frankly, it is a damn good thing that I made the switch, because sometime in the Fall of 2017, America Star Books has... vanished, I think is the best way to put it. "Have gone under," is another way of putting it. "Have emptied their safes full of money and gold bars and fled in the dead of the night so as to avoid prosecution for fraud," is yet another, more cynical way of calling it.
This is why I'm not sharing a link to their website. Not because I no longer wish to the give them the traffic... but it's Gone with a capital G.
Like I mentioned earlier, their reputation wasn't that great to begin with (and yet I remained loyal and hopeful), and it only got worse as time went on (where I became less loyal and more dissatisfied). And in all honesty, I have no idea what the Hell happened. When I looked into it about a month ago, they just seemed to have disappeared, and this leaves a conundrum for me.
Now, before they went under/fled, I exchanged some emails establishing that I wished to pursue self-publishing, with the Kindle version of Book IV: Fu being my first foray into it. Remember, America Star Books only published the paperback version, opting to sap me of money to do something that I could, as it turned out, do for free on my own. This is why there are two different book covers for the same book.
Another thing that I made clear with them was that I wished for my contracts to expire when their time came, because terminating beforehand would cost me $99 per book, which really, really sucked.
But that was before they disappeared. Now, I have no idea. Following the links to my older books show an unpleasant picture. Despite that America Star Books seem to be no more, the books they had published are still available on Amazon, but things are wonky. For example, Book III: Ka is being priced at $440! What the Frack?!
So, here's the problem that I face: If America Star Books is truly gone, does that mean all of my contracts with them are null and void? Can I, with my rights as the author, take my original manuscripts and just start all over, publishing Path of a Hero and all the other A Hero's Path books through Amazon?
Or will America Star Books decide to come back like a bad cold and sue me for breaching the contracts? The very ones that I can't even terminate now because I have no way of contacting them?
If by some miracle a legal expert reads this, please, do not hesitate to send me a message. Otherwise... I'm definitely leaning in the direction of taking my chances. After all, I did tell them to let the contracts expire, meaning that we had an agreement for all rights to return to me. The way I see it, them disappearing just bumped the expiration date up to last Fall.
Well, I think, I rabbled on long enough. Hopefully, I am indeed back, and I will get posts about The Five Year Pilgrimage book series up within the next few weeks. And, more importantly, I'll be able to get the series republished, but that will take a bit of time, seeing as I'll have to make my own book covers now.
And lastly, I am happy to share that sometime between Tri-Con and now, I published the last book of The Five Year Pilgrimage! I give you Book V: Ku! Available in both Kindle and paperback. So, if you're interested, give it a go! Remember, reading the previous books are not required! Like the others, this is a standalone adventure with very little references to past events, and nothing that's worth knowing in order to follow the story (I mean, it's not like I have one or two character's death haunt our hero, right?)!
Do me a solid... because I now have truck payments to make.
|Maybe one day, I can get a paid illustrator, 'cause my sister has a day job, too!|
Until next time then, this the author, signing off!