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Editorial & Giveaway (US/Int): Sci-fi author Sara King on what Indie publishing can do for readers and why to “go indie!”
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Editorial & Giveaway (US/Int): Sci-fi author Sara King on what Indie publishing can do for readers and why to “go indie!”

by davincikittieJuly 2, 2013

Please help me welcome the Great Overlord Sara King, ruler of many loyal minions!

Let me start this article by saying that I am a successful indie writer.  I just went on a trip to Scotland, all expenses paid by my rabid, screaming fans (who are totally, utterly awesome and I bow to them).  [DVK insert: “fans” = the “minions”, totally loyal and adorably enthusiastic in their support of their Overlord!  Seriously, check out Sara’s Facebook pages!]  I can put food in my stomach and clothes on my back due to the happy-go-lucky babble that comes out of my mind.  After three decades, I have finally achieved my dream, and I am currently making more money than I could have made with a traditional publisher and am my own boss, decide my own deadlines and work-hours, and run my own business.  That said, I have a point to make about the massive changes that are happening in publishing today:

Everyone knows an aspiring writer.  They’re everywhere—your next-door neighbor, your sister, your mother’s best friend.  And some of you even know aspiring writers who have taken the next steps to full-blown professional publication (i.e. have finished several novels, enlisted unsuspecting friends or family to give feedback, or have even taken that all-important step of looking for a suitable agent).  Unfortunately for those starry-eyed new authors, professional publication is pretty much a good ol’ boys club, with only a bare handful of new authors initiated each year.  Getting in has approximately the same odds as winning the lottery.

[quote]…for those starry-eyed new authors, professional publication is pretty much a good ol’ boys club…[/quote]

For you the sci-fi reader, this means that the selection of new novels you get to feast upon each month is limited to that which has passed through a max of approx. 8 editors that more or less control traditional publishing.  Everything that is published in the major houses nowadays goes through those eight minds.  And, further, those eight minds are catering to the all-important Dollar, which basically means they are going to be chasing fads in order to impress the men and women with the purse-strings.  You ever wonder why so many of the books that come out are carbon-copies of each other?  That’s why.  The traditional publishing business isn’t necessarily looking for good books—they’re looking for books that will sell.  They want the next Harry Potter or Twilight.  They want to ride trends and make sales based on what is doing well right then.  They want books that will fall into a certain set of pre-determined criteria, stuff that has a good chance of going viral.

[quote]They want to ride trends and make sales based on what is doing well right then.  They want books that will fall into a certain set of pre-determined criteria, stuff that has a good chance of going viral.[/quote]

How do they decide on what will go viral?  Unfortunately, these men and women running traditional publishing—who have to ultimately show a profit in order to keep their jobs—only have history and past successes to look at, so they try to find algorithms and patterns that seemed to work in the past.  That, by its very nature, keeps the genre stale, based on history and not potential.  And anyone who has looked at science fiction lately has to be utterly blind not to see how stale the genre has become.  Science fiction sections that once dominated bookstores, taking up more space than any other genre, now represent only a tiny portion of the present offerings.  In some major bookstores with hundreds of bookshelves, it only claims a shelf or two.  Most traditional publishers claim this is because sci-fi isn’t interesting to people anymore.  I say bullshit.

It is my opinion that, in chasing the Dollar, the traditional publishing system has almost killed Sci-Fi.  They don’t bring new sci-fi authors into the Good Ol’ Boys club very often because currently in sci-fi, there is very little money.  Because the selection has sucked.  Because the editors have been given such a tight budget.  Because those with the purse strings can only look at (recent) history and see dismal sales, and thus plan for future dismal sales, and thus only allow a few (if any) new sci-fi authors into the system each year.

Here’s where I believe independent publishers are changing everything.  Take small and underappreciated genres like sci-fi, genres with huge potential (just look at the 1960s!!) and very little traditional publisher backing, then throw independent publishers into the mix.  These men and women are more often than not extremely hard-working folk who have been rejected time and time again not because their books sucked or their writing was otherwise sub-par, but because their books aren’t commercial (read: like previous bestsellers) enough or the editors just had no space to take on another author that year.  These authors are often frustrated, having tried for years—or even decades!!—to get into that club that is traditionally-published writers.  To a lot of them, it’s not some hobby or passing whim.  It’s something that they’ve been working toward their whole lives, and they’re being passed up for the next Harry Potter lookalike or Twilight copy because publishers think that’s where the money is.

And maybe they’re right.  Maybe that’s where the money is.  For now.  But it’s not where the spirit is.  It’s not where the soul of the written word is.  You’re not going to expand your horizons by reading 100 Twilight remakes or a dozen attempts to replicate what made Harry Potter great.  What the traditional publishers aren’t seeing is that what makes a book great—and ultimately, what makes a book go viral—is originality, life, and soul.  Readers appreciate something they’ve never seen before, something that grabs them by the ass and makes them feel every single moment as if they were standing there, watching it, smelling the fields of lavender or shivering in the drizzle of blood. To get books with soul nowadays, you have to avoid the commercial hype, the cardboard cutouts intended to follow some media trend.  The best way to do that is to go indie.

[quote]To get books with soul nowadays, you have to avoid the commercial hype, the cardboard cutouts intended to follow some media trend.  The best way to do that is to go indie.[/quote]

While they do have some problems of their own (typos, anyone??), independent publishers have one enormous, utterly undeniable thing going for them:  They aren’t constrained by the perceived market.  The good ones aren’t following the dollar.  They aren’t briefed on exactly what’s popular that week or that morning.  They’re telling a story, something they feel in their very soul, and that’s going to come across on the page.  That’s what’s going to transport a reader to a breathtaking new world, and that is what is going to make characters and scenes that are utterly unforgettable to those who read them.  Sure, the traditional publishers are making millions each month on the next Shades of Grey copycat, but they’re not telling a good story.  While it’s true that you’ve sometimes gotta dig through copious amounts of trash to find a gem with the independent publishing system (no, a sixteen-year-old’s half-finished masterpiece detailing his last Dungeons and Dragons game is not a good story), when you do find a gem, it’s going to be something you’ve never seen before.

And that, right there, is reason enough to go indie.

About the author

author Sara KingSara King was born and raised in Alaska, giving her a rather unique outlook on life. Add to that the fact that she has lived a good part of those years “Off the Grid” in the Alaskan Bush, more than thirty miles from the nearest road, and that view becomes even more unique. Adding her brilliant imagination to her life experience in the Alaskan bush, this little writer has brought a marvelous new world to our doorstep in the form of her first book in the Alaskan Paranormal series, Guardians of the First Realm: Alaskan Fire. Never slowing down, this wonderful little Alaskan Hillbilly, fingers flying across the keys of her laptop like greased lightning, brought us the second volume in that world, Guardians of the First Realm: Alaskan Fury, less than two months later. Both are five star books according to the readers responses in The Kindle Store, where they are up for sale. With the first of her many Science-Fiction worlds, Millennium Potion: Wings of Retribution is out in The Kindle Store. Once she finished that, she was off and running on an edit of one she had backlogged, bringing her fans another romance, this one set in the distant future on a world far from earth, in Terms of Mercy: To the Princess Bound. And now, at long last, the first book in the series is out! Outer Bounds: Fortune’s Rising has finally been released.

So, grab a book cover and pop on over to get one of her novels now, or head to our own bookshelf and look through the other novels we have to offer. Interested in what else this little fireball has planned? What story she is going to pull out of her sleeve next? Then click her picture and head on over to her website at KingFiction.com. Her Current Projects are kept up to date, and the rest of her site is there for perusal at your leisure.

Sara has previously been featured on GraveTells when we reviewed Alaskan Fire during Indie Week 2012 and then interviewed Jack, Blaze, and Sara in a GT Signature Interview with DaVinciKittie.

Connect with Sara KingFacebook | GoodReads | Amazon | E-Mail

About the publisher

Our mission here at Parasite is to help great authors, editors, voice actors, and artists come together to produce novels, graphic novels, audiobooks, comics, and swag.  Our theory is that if you get enough great minds in one spot–and pay them all a fair share for the work they do–you’re going to produce something that not only has readers screaming for more, but will allow those with the talent and passion to succeed in the entertainment world to do something that they love, while at the same time making a living off it.  Two things that, sadly, don’t often come hand-in-hand in today’s corporate world.  Parasite is looking to change that.

Find out more on Facebook 

Giveaway (US/Int)

Sara is giving away 5 e-book sets of Forging Zero and Zero Recall (the first two books in the fab Legend of Zero series) PLUS a $50 Amazon (amazon.com or amazon.uk) gift card to commenters today’s post! To enter to win, leave a comment or question for Sara, then fill out the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Indie Week giveaways and spotlights

Check out our special spotlight of Sara’s wildly popular Forging Zero, the first book in the sensational Legend of Zero sci-fi series, here! That’s also where you’ll find today’s Indie Week Sponsor mega-givewaway entry form.

Want to see the GraveTells Indie-Pendence Week 2013 schedule? Click the badge below!

GraveTells Indie-Pendence Week 2013

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About The Author
davincikittie
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for GraveTells.com. Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at DaVinciKittie.com.
25 Comments
  • July 2, 2013 at 5:08 am

    I have being seeing a lot of scifi writers have a issues with publication especially women which is ridic in 2013. I must admit I am not yet one of your minions but I am always down for a good scifi and your post def made me want to check you out. I do love independent authors I always say there hustle is unmatched and they do appreciate the fans.

  • Mary Preston
    July 2, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Hail The Great Overlord Sara King!!!

    I obviously need to work on how I want to be addressed and adored.

    An excellent post thank you. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read any of Sara’s works yet.

  • July 2, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Great post, Sara!! I’ve been following a lot of the posts lately about the “Boys Club” in sci-fi, and about the women not putting up with it anymore. With all of this going on, what drew you to write sci-fi? Was it a genre that always appealed to you?

  • Susan W.
    July 2, 2013 at 5:53 am

    I wonder when the “boy’s club” publishers will realize that readers want original and fresh stories not just an overload of genre copies. When a series is promoted as “the next Harry Potter or Twilight” I don’t even bother. I want stories that are their own not based on an existing series by another author.

  • Liz S
    July 2, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Enjoyed your post very much. What book are you currently reading?

  • BookLady
    July 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Hi Sara! Great post. Thanks for sharing. Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?

  • nurmawati djuhawan
    July 2, 2013 at 9:18 am

    thx u sara for hosting this giveaway..
    and thx u for the chance of reading ur new book ..
    congratulation 🙂

  • Mary G loki
    July 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Ty great overlord for these holy gifts! XD

  • Lani
    July 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Great post Sara! Can you share your thoughts on going to a small publisher vs self-publishing (for an aspiring author)?

  • Hanna
    July 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Awesome post! Big time companies have been publishing such awful stuff, while I’ve found many gems like yours that have been independently published. I’m glad you’re making a lot of money, and hope many others will find your wonderful work! You deserve it!

  • bn100
    July 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Do you have plans for July 4th?

  • Kai W.
    July 2, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Sarah, Thanks for the great insights in the publishing world. I have always wonder how do they know what books will make it out there.

  • Kim B.
    July 3, 2013 at 3:24 am

    Sara,
    Great piece, written in Over-Lord style, fresh to the point, with the truth about traditional publishings control of what we are allowed to read.
    What first grabbed me with the first book I read (Alaskan Fire) is that your writing was unique, new, character driven and therefore totally unexpected. This woman can write.. opps not supposed to happen in Sci-Fi, as to perhaps that is why traditional publishers would not break out of their molds to give us fantastic books like yours. Another case to prove your point here of why Sci-Fi was being killed off by them. As they are scared of change, as they cannot control it. But the winds are picking up, the minions are growing, gathering, and spreading the word, Sci-Fi lives and Sara King is bringing it back to life!!!…..brouhaha World Domination will be yours 🙂
    Rock on Sara, and may Parasite Publications grow and overcome the dying “good old boys”.

    PS.
    Oh , I so do wish you would detract from the label of hillbilly, as you are an Alaskan PIONEER instead.

  • Leo
    July 3, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Well said! I have been a reader of Sci-Fi since I was a teenager – and have found much of what I pick up today is trash. As you said – there are a few story lines that are “allowed” through the publishing houses – and nothing else. I wonder if the likes of Heinlein or OS Card would even be published today!

    For me personally – I am also bothered by the crossover of sci-fi and horror…I am tired of vampires in space!!! (actually…of vampires anywhere!!!) (and come to think of it…zombies too!!!) Sci-fi used to be about futuristic thinking, wonderful machines, and how people interacted with them!!! Exploring different ideas and thoughts and morals in a universe populated by aliens whose morals may be completely different! And…great space battles!

    So…I say GO SARA!!! I look forward to the next Zero book…get back to work!!!

  • Mona
    July 3, 2013 at 6:41 am

    *kowtowing* Each book I’ve read of Sara Kings has left me wanting more. Good Sci-fi is pushing the imagination and writing what some won’t touch..which can be gritty. Sara has done that magnificently and she is Sci-fi at it’s very best. There have been authors over the years whose books I have enjoyed, but lose interest in because their next book or sequel doesn’t come out for another year or two. Great job Sara..

  • Bonnie
    July 3, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Makes sense, Sara! And discovering lesser known/independent authors on Amazon is why I’m reading sci-fi again – now there’s some excitement! Loving your books and so glad you write quickly!

  • Chyrel Coffman
    July 3, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I love having new SciFi authors and books to read, hence my appreciation for indie publishers and especially Parasite Publications. Thanks to Sara and all the authors and supporters of Parasite Publications.

  • Cyndi Bogin
    July 3, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Dear EO (Evil Overlord), you are wonderful! What is underneath a Scotsman’s kilt.

    Seriously, I started reading Indie authors because of budget. I first purchased a kindle, because books were less expensive. I am a voracious reader, going through about 20 books a month. Then, Penguin Publishing did their thing, driving up ebook prices. I was furious! So, I started reading indies. Boy, I felt like I had found the Templars’ treasure! As Minion #82, I am proud to say that our EO cares about her readers. She asks for our feedback, keeps us informed, and respects us.

    She is a jewel. And I am glad that I found her! Oh, and her writing! It is great, too!

  • Vickey M
    July 4, 2013 at 12:37 am

    Great description Sara. You had your vacation and sounds like you made it home ok, which we are thankful for….When can we expect the next book out? Going into withdrawal here.

  • July 4, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Great Overlord, your Gravely Momentus minion #5 revels in your illustrious presence on her humble site and eagerly awaits the honor of your voice! We love Zero! You are awesome! That is all. *grin*

    PS – thanks for being one of our featured guests for Indie Week!! <3

  • Aly P
    July 4, 2013 at 8:40 am

    This was a very interesting post. I had no idea that it was so bad for SF female writers!

  • Juanita de Campos
    July 4, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Congratulations to All. To Grave Tells for featuring Sara King and to Sara and davincikittie for declaring both Independence and INDIEpendence while the spirit of great pioneers reaches out to welcome new entrepreneurs once again.

    To all who read this with no knowledge of the great work Sara has been doing, I urge you to check out Parasite Publications! There are a few other works I am still reading in this realm (thank goodness since I don’t want to run out), but start with Sara’s stories Alaskan Fire and Fury. I fell for the wide open spaces and am planning to see Alaska for myself now. Although the scenery is vital to the story, there’s a whole world of myth expanded in those wild places she describes so well. I will cautiously check all the flora and fauna for hidden depths and creatures otherwise ancient and unknowable in our age each and every time I go into the woods now. Sara has brought them and lots of terrific action and adventure to life in new surroundings.

    Once you’re hooked on those two, move on to Zero. What a guy! Kidnapped with half the youngsters of his hometown and flung into war and space and other planets where there’s nothing you expect. Gritty with realism but full of heart and soul and people you root for and cry for because they could be you or your little brother or sister. It brings the concept of world domination to a familiar plane (HOME) as you begin to overlay our very real current chaos onto this saga. Isn’t that what really good sci-fi always does? You have to admire the pioneering spirit of survival in this epic creation from the mind of Sara King.

    I am happy to support INDIES and especially Parasite. The more I read and learn about this grassroots effort, the more I commend it.

    YES, I am a proud minion but I speak for myself! My overload did not coerce me to say this.

  • Shannon Squires
    July 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    “Thank you” is so inadequate . . . By persevering through the indie route to share with us the crazy goings-on in your brilliant mind, you’ve helped us create a family of sorts. You allow us to be a part of something special (e.g. your Facebook post re: the email from Andrew) that we would never know about otherwise. I look forward to reading your books and your posts (the kilt “expose” was great!) for many years to come!

  • JanD
    July 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    I’m glad that there’s an indie route because even traditionally published authors are using it as an avenue to tell stories.

  • August 11, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Congratulations to Alina P, Nurmawati D, Liz S, Hanna M, and Mary L on winning the ebooks of Forging Zero and Zero Recall! Alina P. also won the $50 gift card from Amazon!

    A big thanks goes out to Sara King for her generous prizes and taking the time out of her crazy schedule to be one of our featured guests during Indie Week. Thank you also to everyone (especially the Minions!!) who came out to chat and support Indie publishing!

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