INDULGE ME...Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
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Saturday, July 22, 2006

I just published my novel, The Circle Cast, on

On the Lulu site you can check out the prologue and the first chapter.

The book is about a girl growing up with tremendous rage -- her father's been murdered and her mother seduced. Her rage keeps her alive. But she also has a gift -- a talent for magic. Her rage fuels the magic, and it makes her powerful. But when she is offered grace, and then passion, she faces a choice between giving up her rage and becoming someone else, or keeping it and giving up what she loves.

I've long felt that Morgan le Fay has been poorly done by. In Malory she's a vengeful witch, a nemesis, but we don't get her side. In The Mists of Avalon, she's re-imagined as an entirely reasonable, misunderstood woman. I don't believe Morgan was reasonable. I think she was an angry woman whose talent and rage made her great, and then allowed her to destroy her world.

Why did I perpetrate a novel? This is not a good story for a movie. The magic puts it in the historical fantasy genre, but the protagonist is a girl -- a very angry girl. And in the story, she's 8, and then 13, and then 17, and then 20: too far apart for a single actress, to close for different actresses. More importantly, the story is as internal as it is external. There are wars and slave raids and spells, and Dark Ages Britain. But an important part of the story is internal: how does she discover magic, what does it feel like to her?

Lulu is a nifty company that really does desktop publishing: your desktop, their publishing. You upload your camera-ready cover art and your properly-formatted text, and they make the book available on demand. For $13 -- the cover price of a book published in mass quantities -- you get a beautifully printed and bound trade paperback.

So, as William Mulholland said when the engineers opened the sluices of the Owens Valley Aqueduct before he'd had a chance to deliver his speech: There it is, take it!


Congrats Alex - mister prolific...

By Blogger wcdixon, at 5:38 PM  

I'm curious if you'd care to explain why you went the desktop-publishing route. Did you seek out traditional publishers, or did you just figure this was a faster way to reach your audience?

By Blogger Hotspur, at 9:01 PM  

Couldn't place it. I've had two very good agents try. It's too literary for genre and too genre for mainstream. I think it needs to go out and win some awards before a trad publisher looks at it.

That said, it IS a whole lot faster. I uploaded the book yesterday and today you can order it and have it within a week or two. It can take a year for a trad publisher to get a book out.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:02 PM  

Nice design.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 11:16 PM  

So how does it feel to be a writer and publisher?

By Blogger Cunningham, at 12:33 AM  

This is interesting - given the generally negative opinions in the writing community about "vanity" publishing, did you go into this more as a hobby type thing - to sell a few dozen copies to friends, family and friends of the blog, or do you really think this is a stepping stone to bigger things for this novel?

You say it needs to win some awards to become noticed by traditional publishers - but do award committees even consider POD titles?

By Blogger African Den, at 3:15 AM  

Conrgatulations Alex! And thanks for the heads up about

By Blogger Scribe LA, at 1:10 PM  

Um, when are they going to put spellchecker in for comments? haha
Con-grat-ulations :-)

By Blogger Scribe LA, at 1:11 PM  

I have no expectations at all about the book. I published it with Lulu because I wanted to get the book out there. I've got used to having unsuccessful screenplays and TV pitches get left by the wayside. I've probably written between a dozen and a score unsold spec features. But with Lulu, for the price of a couple afternoons fussing with formatting in Word, and fooling around with Photoshop and Quark, I could know that it's done, it's out there. You write, after all, to communicate.

If a hundred people read the book, I'm happy. Not as happy as if a couple thousand people read it, or a hundred thousand, obviously. But I'll feel something happened with the book. It's not the numbers. I write this blog for about a thousand people, I'm guessing. That's a hiccup in the viewership of any TV show I've written. But in some ways, the novel has more of me, personally, than any screenplay I've written.

I don't know why awards committees wouldn't consider self-published books. I think I remember that Marcel Proust self-published his first novel, an unwieldy thing called The Remembrance of Things Past. Sometimes publishers don't get it right away.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 1:35 PM  

While the overwhelming majority of self-published books are failures (in the commercial sense) there are some exceptions to this such as the Celestine Prophecy. Here's hoping that yours is one of the successes and that it reaches the big numbers in the end.

And, Lisa, it really is a nice design.

By Blogger African Den, at 2:26 AM  

A thought just occurred - is this a young adult type novel? Would Morgan appeal to primarily teenage girls?

By Blogger Cunningham, at 2:08 PM  

It might well be a young adult novel. I didn't write it that way intentionally. But we designed the cover that way, and we put "YA" on the back cover. I would definitely give the book to an intelligent fourteen year old girl and see what she thinks of it.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 3:31 PM  

What was your experience like with Lulu? I've been kicking around the idea of publishing through them - if my book doesn't get picked up, of course - but I'm afraid that a house won't touch it if it's been self-published (something about it seeming amateurish).

Also, I'm devoid of ideas on how to market it without basically turning my efforts into a second full-time job! Any suggestions?

By Blogger jinx protocol, at 10:29 PM  

Aha - devil is in the details. i didn't see the YA label on the back. I blame lack of coffee.

When I first read your idea i thought that this was the way you are going - YA. It's a good choice as this is a growth market - especially for other books like manga.

By Blogger Cunningham, at 12:10 AM  

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