SJB Gilmour Writes

…and rants and ruminates…

Month: September, 2012

5 Reasons I Self-pub

My platform is growing.  As it does, and I get more reviews, I’m also getting asked to do a few interviews on blogs.  One question I’ve been asked in various forms, and I’m sure I’ll continue to be asked, is why do I self-pub?

The answer involves lots of points:

  1. I got fed up waiting for the whole query/submission process to grind through its motions, only to get no response or rejections.  (I have four rejection letters I now keep in a file above my desk.  They were for Golden Mane.  I didn’t bother submitting Renegades or Kitchen.)
  2. I believe that while traditional publishing will continue to have a market presence, it’s no longer the only option for writers who wish to be taken seriously.  I was urged to do it myself for a good two years before I did eventually self-pub. I waited until I heard the dogs barking about the gatekeepers falling and began seeing self-pubbed writers being lauded alongside their trad-pubbed contemporaries.
  3. Time.  Once I’m happy with my book, I can pub it in ten minutes.  One of my new favourite authors has to wait until next September for her publisher to release her next work.  That’s appalling.
  4. Money.  I’m not paying an agent and  I’m getting more per book than any trad-pubber would pay me.  If my work is good enough, (and judging by the reviews I’m getting, which are good and coming in more frequently now), and I think it is, if a trad-pubber was interested, and if I decide to go down that route (as you can tell by this post, there will be a lot of deal-breakers for me before I ever sign anything), I sure as hell won’t need to pay an agent 15% of my cut.  That said, as my sales increase, there’s now a very real possibility that sometime in the foreseeable future, I’ll be able to ditch the day-job and write full-time.  Once that happens, there won’t any discussion.  I’ll keep self-pubbing and only consider the trad-pub route if there are a fucking lot of zeroes after the $ symbol on the offer.
  5. Control.  I control how my book looks.  Another author I like once tweeted she wept when she saw the cover for one of her books.  I’m not going to have that happen to me.  I also decide what goes and what stays as far as content and style.  Granted all writers need editors — something I believe in most firmly — I’m not going to have someone else tell me how to tell my story.   Also, I have almost complete (Amazon does keep some secrets) live access to all my sales information.

Now these five reasons are the main points.  I should also point out that having worked in the publishing industry many years ago, and having witnessed the arrogance of publishers and the disdain with which they view writers, I have a pretty dim view of them.  I’m sure the industry (and its attitudes) will change.  It has to.  When it does, my attitude towards it will change also.  But until then; schadenfreude.  The gatekeepers are falling and it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of bastards.


And I brag some more…

Wow! Today’s the day for 5 Star Reviews! One more for Golden Mane and one more for The Borrowed Kitchen!

For Golden Mane:

“SJB Gilmour unleashes his fantastic imagination to great effect in Golden Mane. Populated with a wide variety of likeable characters (as well as a few odious ones), the world of Golden Mane is rich with humour, action and well thought-out magic. The protagonist, Sarah, is a refreshing blend of humility and power, but it was Gilmour’s detailed – and often hilarious – world-building that appealed to me most (I’ll never look at a plate of broccoli the same way again!). An excellent choice for fantasy devotees looking for something fresh and original.” (Chiyo Harima)

For The Borrowed Kitchen:

“This work of fiction is a murder-mystery-paranormal-erotic-romance of culinary delight. Did you catch all of that? Let me recap. There is at least one murder mystery to be solved, a lot of titillation with gourmet food and sex, ghosts and social issues. Congratulations Mr. Gilmour on an excellent read with particularly good editing and I recommend this book.” (Angus)

Now I have one bigass sloppy grin on my mug.

5 Stars to The Dragon Dimension (Caught in the Dragon Cove)

The Dragon Dimension (Caught in the Dragon Cove), the debut offering from Ressa Empbra is just brilliant. She’s created a world I’m looking forward to visiting again, so I hope she’s got more up her sleeve! That shouldn’t be hard because she’s created a world rich with almost limitless potential for both high-tech sci-fi and traditional swashbuckling epic fantasy.

Empbra’s style and dialogue are great. For anyone who fell in love with Anne MacCaffrey’s dragons of Pern and their riders, The Dragon Dimension will also be an instant hit, only they’ll have to cope with Empbra’s free use of profanity. Her protagonist, Iax (eye axe) swears. A lot. And that’s one of the things that instantly drew me to her. Empbra’s use of colloquialisms and frequent use of ‘real’ language by Iax contrasted perfectly with the slightly alien language from the other characters in the Dragon Realms. Well done.

The plot is fun and though familiar for the romantically inclined (as so many die-hard fantasy fans are but won’t admit to being, heh), not predictable, which made it a joy to read. Buy it. Read it. You’ll love it.

You can find this review also posted on Amazon here.

I can gloat now

This just made my day.  Another 5 Star review for Golden Mane!

“I have to say I was caught right from the beginning. What an enjoyable book. Read it to my grandchildren (8 and 10)also and they really liked it. Just enough fantasy and suspense to keep you reading. Can’t wait to read book 2!!” (MammaSheree)

MammaSheree, whoever you are, thank you!  You’ve just given me a grin that’ll last me all day!

Social Media Manners

Now this little post might get me kicked out of a Facebook group or two.  You know what?  Great.  I’m in too many as it is.

Social media is great.  For me, since my books are only available in digital format and I’m doing no advertising in conventional media like papers, mags ans radio, my online presence is all I’ve got.  So, I need it.  And, I use it.  I try not to push too much because if I unfollow/unfriend/uncircle/etc/etc/etc a pushy profile, I reckon others will do the same to me.  Some people don’t get that.

Joining groups and forums online can be fun.  It’s meant to be fun.  If you join a group and say something like:

“G’day everyone! Thanks for having me here. Always up for new contacts, so feel free to friend me if you like:)
I’m also on Twitter: @sjbgilmour and my FB Author page is

— which is an actual introductory post I put in a Facebook group.  That’s fine.  It’s a hello and a simple, non-pushy intro with links.  People can use them or not as they see fit.  I won’t chase them, but I may thank them if they choose to do so.  It’s cool.

Here’s a tweet that’s not so cool:

“@(name withheld) Hi, (name withheld), I’m (name withheld) with (group withheld). I’ve followed you, and if you could follow back, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.”

Fuck me.  It’s pushy and I’m deliberately not following this profile because of it.  I’m never going to tell or ask you to follow me or re-post anything I say.  You should not make such demands of me.

Now when it comes to self-promotional posts, I feel the same way.  Spruik your product!  Go right ahead.  I really am interested in what you’ve created.  Since I mostly follow people in the lit/art world, I want to see such posts because there just isn’t enough exposure for them in conventional media.  Just don’t overdo it.  If all I see are ads for you, rather than actual posts, even if they’re just about what you ate for breakfast, I’m not going to follow you for long.

Maybe adopt a promo to general post ratio.  Or just post news about your product as it happens and leave it at that.  When I get a review, I post about it.  If I’ve released a new work, or a current work is on sale or free for a promotional period, I’ll post about it.  But I try not to do so too often without some general “me” stuff in between.

Same goes for requests for RT’s, shares or re-posts.  Bitches, please.  If I want to share your fucking post, I will.  Telling me to do so is the best way I know not to get me to do it.

There.  That’s my two cents.

Goodreads, Reviews, And Me

I’ve just about had enough of Goodreads.  The reader network app through Facebook is a pain in the arse.  Goodreads’ little spat with Amazon which resulted in Goodreads not listing Amazon’s books is fucking ridiculous considering Amazon’s grip on book retail market share.  And, well, I’m just not getting anything out of it.  It’s about as useful to me as LinkedIn, BranchOut and all those other crap sites – which is to say not at all.  I’m sick of logging on and seeing Harry Potter and Katniss dominate the fucking place.  Jesus H Christ, it’s supposed to be Good-reads, not What’sPopularAndNothingElse-reads.  I’m all but washing my hands of it.

Sure, I’ll continue to list my own books and books I’ve read there – for now.  Sure, I’ll continue to rate those books – for now.  But that’s it.  Fuck ’em.  I’m pulling all the reviews I’ve written.  I’m not seeking new Goodreads friends.  I’m not joining groups or entering discussions.

As far as reviews go, I’m going to do them on two sites: This blog and Amazon.  And, I’m only going to publish reviews where the book in question gets four or more stars out of five.  Books that rate less than that will only get the stars without comments, though if I read someone else’s bad review, I might comment on that or even post a link to it here and there.

Now, some of you may be my author friends whose books I’ve read and reviewed, and may be disappointed that I’ve pulled my reviews of their work from Goodreads.  Sorry about that.  If you’d like a guest spot on this blog, sing out and I’ll slot you in and wax lyrical about your literary genius.

Grill’d Crispy Bacon & Cheese on regular wholemeal bun. 7/10 Greasy Napkins.

Grill’d Crispy Bacon & Cheese on regular wholemeal bun. $11.95

Generally, Australians suck at making decent hamburgers.  The dismal excuse we have for choice of chain restaurants here almost guarantees that your burger won’t look like the one in the poster, and won’t be anywhere near as satisfying as you’d hoped.   Even good pubs and bistros rarely get it right.   Now get your feathers down.  I know what I’m talking about.  I’ve been eating burgers all over the world for decades.  To date, the best I’ve ever had have all been from the USA.  Now, this burger from a local independent chain called Grill’d is a bit of an exception.

Let’s start by looking at the ingredients.  “Lean grass fed beef, crispy trim bacon, tasty cheese, salad, relish & herbed mayo.” – taken verbatim from the menu.  Sounds good, right?  It was, *burp*.

The meat was good.  Not too dry, as lean beef can often be. Most importantly, it was thick and roughly the same diameter as the bun.  That’s usually the first mistake made in pubs and bistros, though oddly enough, it’s usually the one thing fast food chains get right.  Well, the diameter bit anyway.

The salad was just fresh tomato, cos lettuce (in leaves, not shredded, thank God) and red onion, and there was plenty of it.  Great.

The cheese.  It tasted good, but it was hardly tangy enough for me to call it tasty cheese.  It was more like a mild cheddar.

The relish and mayo.  These made it for me.  Lots of sauce means good drip-factor.  Burgers should be messy.  The relish was especially good.

The bun.  The only real let-down.   It should have been toasted.

The burger could also have done with a little more kick in the way of pickle, or maybe more than one slice of cheese.

So, how did it fare?  Well, I waited twice as long for it to be made than I spent eating it.  That’s usually a good sign.  It’s now about half an hour after I ate it and I’m not hungry again yet – something McDonalds really could learn from.  Will I have another burger from Grill’d?  Yes, and next time, I’ll see if I can ring through my order or maybe even order it online then go pick it up. I give it 7/10 greasy napkins.

A man without a blog no more!

So I had this little blog.  It was nice.  It did what I want, which was mostly provide me with a quiet little spot for me to rant about this and that.  Everything was a-okay.  Then things went south.  I wanted to add widgets to it, linking to my Amazon Author page and Facebook and Twitter.  Nup. I wanted to add a customised banner.   Sorry pal.  Blogger wasn’t that kind of girl (though I’m told she’s loosened up a bit since then).  Not even if I was ready to pay a little extra.  So, I shelved it.  Whammo.  Deleted the whole thing.  I was a man without a blog.

Oh, I made do with Facebook and Google+ and Twitter, but it wasn’t the same.  So, I sought out WordPress.  It took me a while, but I’ve managed to finally find a place I think I’ll be able to call home.  Well, that is until I’m making enough with my writing to afford a bigass German car to dress up my driveway, and also pay some nice young geek to create a site for me.

So here I am.  Hello.  Pleased to meet you all.  I’m still feeling my way around this blog, so it might seem a little lumpy at times.  Don’t worry.  I’m working on it.  Now, a few things I’ll say right off the bat:

I swear.  Not a lot, but I do let the odd profanity rip.  Also, I tend to rant a bit about things that irk me.  If I offend you, or my opinion differs from yours and you don’t like it, close the window.  Thanks for dropping by.  Leave a comment if you like, but remember; you chose to read my blog. I didn’t force you to read it.

There, now that’s out of the way, here’s what you can also expect from my blog, apart from the random stuff I blog about on a day-to-day basis (which  could be about how I’m feeling at the moment.  It could be about family.  It could be about ice-cream or that itch I can’t seem to scratch without turning myself into a pretzel.  You get the idea).

Reviews.  These will fall into three main categories.  Books, Movies, and Things I Ate (mostly hamburgers and other junk food).

My Two Cents.  This will usually be a few brief lines outlining my take on whatever current issue has me fired up at the time.

News.  This will usually be completely self-promotional stuff.  If I’ve released a new book or short story, I’ll post news of it here.  If any of my work gets a review or is being discounted, I’ll spruik it.  If I’ve been a guest or interviewed on another blog, yep, you guessed it.   I’ll announce it here.

Guest spots.  Occasionally, if a writer I know has caught my eye and they have the time, I might feature them here.  There’ll be a few questions and answers, as well as links, snippets of their work as well as other random pieces and bits.

So there you have it.  Looking forward to seeing you back sometime soon.