• Sequel to SAVANT, coming early 2015

  • A boy and his twin sister discover they are descendants of ancient gods…

  • Telepathic teens struggle against a tyrannical government in a dystopian future…

  • A father goes to Hell to save his daughter’s soul…

  • A young man must make his way through a zombie infested small town to find medicine for his dying father

  • Five Chilling Short Stories…

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Good R’s and Bad R’s: Why Newbie Authors Should Query Literary Agents Before Self-Publishing

 

laptop on desk

Rejected again.

I’ve been writing novels with the intent to publish for eight years now. I spent the first half of that sending letters and manuscripts to literary agents, who consistently rejected my work. At the time, I was bitter about it. But now that I publish my novels independently, I look back at it and thank my lucky stars that it happened.

Back when I was a 23-year-old MFA student, I wrote a collection of short stories as my final project. I thought it was good enough (and my teacher agreed, that big old sweetheart) to submit to literary agents and find a publisher. One of my strategies was to get several of the stories published individually in literary journals. I had minor success there with a few publications, but mostly I gathered rejections, probably close to a hundred from literary journals and agents alike.

It was the beginning of what would become the greatest learning experience of my career—an education even more valuable than I received from the MFA program that cost me $40,000.

Read the full post »

Chip Away at Your Passions Before They Poison You

The worst feeling, in my opinion, is having a stimulating idea or desire in your mind with no outlet.

In my case, it’s stories. I come up with an idea for a story and I get increasingly more anxious if I can’t do something with it, like write it down and get it out to an audience. My excuses range from “I’m too tired after work,” or “I just don’t have the time” or “I’ll get to it on the weekend.”

The result is stress, anxiety, and the fear that someday you’ll regret not having done more. But what can you do when you work full-time and you have friends, family, kids who need your attention? What about all those bills you have to pay and the money you need to save? Wouldn’t chasing a dream just get in the way of those things and cause more stress?

That instrument you want to learn, movie you want to produce, deck you’d like to build behind your house, relationship you’ve been aching to find, invention you’ve always thought was a great idea…

Those things can wait, right?

Read the full post »

My New, More Personalized Blog On Writing and Life (www.rdenoncourt.com)

typewriterFor those of you following this blog, you know that I tend to write about both publishing and my personal life. I’ve decided to split these two subjects into two separate blogs.

The new one, located at http://www.rdenoncourt.com, runs on the awesome SquareSpace platform. Right away it looks more like a personal blog. The one you’re reading now, Self Land Publishing, will be strictly about self-publishing and my efforts to get my writing out there to an audience.

I won’t share writing tips here. I’ll share them at http://www.rdenoncourt.com

“Self Land Publishing” will be strictly business. Here you’ll find publishing advice and hear about numbers and sales.

“Rdenoncourt.com” will be a place for me to talk about my life as a writer and as a regular guy trying to make his way in the world. I’ll discuss society, psychology, relationships, and travel as well.

As always, you can sign up for my mailing list to hear about new books. I’ll announce those here as well.

Thanks again to those of you who have followed my posts. I hope to write many more in the future, and be more consistent in my posting schedule. And if you have any questions for me, or ideas for posts, contact me at richard(dot)denoncourt(at)gmail(dot)com

Best,

Richard

How 6 Pieces of Self-Publishing Advice Led to Averaging $1,250 a Month in Book Sales

I’ve been at this self-publishing thing for a year and a half just about, and it’s been one of the most expensive, time-consuming, and anxiety-ridden journeys I’ve ever undertaken. I’ve spent anywhere from $6,000-8,000 out of pocket to put my work out there in a form I could feel proud of. I didn’t need to spend that much, but I was a newbie with no idea what I was doing.

Then I started seeing what worked and what didn’t.

I published my first novel, Trainland, last March of 2012 and spent months watching my sales go from 0 to 5, then 0 again, then maybe 5 or 10, and then 1 or 2 again. Those were monthly sales. I think I sold around 50 books in the entire year of 2012. At the time, Trainland and my collection of dark short stories, Peltham Park, were the only two books I had for sale.

Now, three novels later, I’m earning an average of around $1,300 per month. This past August, I sold 619 books. Not a staggering amount, but the two best sellers, Ascendant and Savant, (which account for 85% of sales) are priced at $4.95 with a 70% royalty rate, which means I was able to net $1,600 in August alone. That’s up from around $900 in July, a month after I published the two big ones. (UPDATE: Prices may have been lowered for marketing purposes).

And you know what? The hard part was writing the novels and honing the craft. But publishing them and selling copies? It’s not too difficult when you understand which mistakes to avoid and which guidelines to follow.

Here’s what I hold to be the most important lessons I’ve learned about indie book publishing, and I’m going to be incredibly blunt. No sugar coating. Read the full post »

Why Reading Outside Your Genre Makes You a Better Writer

The most successful published authors out there tend to stick to one genre.

If you look at people like James Patterson (thrillers), Dean Koontz (supernatural thrillers), Nicholas Sparks (romance), Stephen King (horror) and George R.R Martin (fantasy), you’ll see that the genre in which these writer become successful is the one that continues to define them, and as a result, they rarely stray from the conventions of that genre. There’s a reason for this.

Writing novels for mass consumption is in many ways like turning your business into a franchise. Walk into any McDonald’s or Starbucks and you’ll be treated to the same atmosphere, menu, and aesthetic scheme that you encountered the last time you entered one of these stores. Authors do something similar when they produce novels in the same genre; after a few books, readers know what to expect and they continue to buy the author’s books in hopes of experiencing the same thrill. A good “genre” author gives them that thrill again and again just as a good franchise offers the same quality of taste and experience customers have come to expect regardless of the store’s physical location.

Because they’re a pretty safe bet for readers, genre authors sell thousands, if not millions, more copies of their books than “literary” novelists who choose to structure each novel according to a different theme or method. When a literary writer chooses to structure her latest novel around the exploration of narcissism in daily suburban life, most people won’t know what to expect story-wise and therefore won’t always take the risk or pay the money to find out. But literary authors also enjoy a special level of prestige and acclaim that can make their path worthwhile, regardless of the hit they take financially.

Ultimately, successful authors–whether their success is financial or critical–tend to stick to the field/genre they’ve chosen. And that’s usually a good thing. It lets them grow better over time and lets you, the reader, feel comfortable buying anything they write as long as you’ve already enjoyed their work in the past.

But regardless of whether you write literary or genre fiction, there’s one mistake all authors should avoid: it’s the mistake of only reading books in your genre. Read the full post »

The New Year for Writers: It’s All About Daily Goals

How hard is it to write a book a year?

It depends on who you ask. Writing a book a year–assuming you’re serious enough about a writing career–can either be an incredibly stressful and demanding assignment, or it can be one of those accomplishments that you barely remember doing because it just happened so fast.

Let me explain. Read the full post »

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