State of the Jazz Union

You may have read this in multiple parts in rant form, but a much more cohesive version of why I gnashed teeth over Yoshi’s and Jazz Fest West, and any festival apart from my beloved Capital Jazz that went more than 25% R&B, is live up at Detroit Jazz Magazine, where I’m an occasional journalist.

Link: http://detroitjazzmagazine.com/Articles/stateofjazz.html

You may be wondering why I’m rehashing this. And I will tell you in no uncertain terms: because someone has to say it. Someone has to say it and someone has to keep saying it. Until and unless we all come together – promoters, bookers, artists, photographers, fans, and journalists – then we will really not have very much in the realm of what the jazz scene has to offer.

And a genre that has been alive, evolving, and robust in every iteration for a hundred years deserves better than to be pushed by the wayside.

K.G.

On Events & Behind the Scenes

Or, better put, the viewer’s perspective on what makes events happen.

First things first, though, I’d like to thank everyone who read my epic rant on Jazz Fest West. It’s probably my most-read post in the entire five-year history of the blog, no joke. I have had plenty of excellent discussions all over social media on this topic. Thank you, one and all.

I am following up further on the topic and bringing it into a different vein, on account that there is something else that has come to mind.

As before, I won’t name names outright. If it’s you, then by all means, lace up the shoe and wear it. Also, please note that what I’m writing in this blog is simply no more and no less than my personal opinion. You’re free to disagree, but as an independent, I’m free to express it as I like it.

My biggest problem with a lot of jazz festivals, or “jazz” festivals, better put, is the over-dilution of R&B. Capital Jazz is the exception to this. Why exception? The two genres – jazz and soul/R&B – are largely sequestered throughout the festival on their own stages. Jazz is at the big Pavilion Stage, and the soul and R&B are at the Soul Stage (or Symphony Woods stage, as it was this year). And that is fine. People enjoy both genres equally across the board, and know what they want to see.

However, if you have only one stage, then the genre mix does not go over well. Not with the jazz fans, not with the R&B fans, and while I can’t speak for the artists, I can’t imagine either side of the divide is happy either.

But right now, I’m not going to wax ranty about the genre divide too much. I’m going to wax philosophical about event production, and what does and doesn’t contribute to event success. To many of you, this is basically preaching to the choir, but to some of you, this will be a quick Event Production 101.

The thing that any promoter needs to know is that artists always talk. They talk between themselves, and they talk to their friends. So when a festival promoter is getting a bad rap from the people behind the scenes, I tend to look askance at the event altogether. If people I know are getting mistreated by a promoter, then I will avoid the event. Why? I see it as unethical to give money to someone who doesn’t treat my people well. Likewise for working with such a production. I will give most people a chance, but you best believe that I won’t so much as put my camera battery into its charger unless my contract is ironclad and my deposit is in the bank.

And let this be a message to every event promoter or club owner: if the people you work with have something to say about you that is not a praise, this can, and inevitably will, affect your venue or event. People will not come to your event if they feel that their friends are mistreated in any way, and they will certainly tell other people to avoid it if they will get any sort of bad treatment.

To note, I know I’m not immune from this. If anyone is setting out to work in any enterprise that thrives on word of mouth for its survival, they too are subject to the same rule. I try my best to do right by my clients, but I know that there will be some people with whom it won’t go well. And I know that how I handle such a situation will very much affect how my business will continue. That’s the risk I run by working in music – and you know what, that’s the responsibility I have to take.

But from the event perspective, word of mouth is hugely important. Event production falls into the category of “spend money to make money”. For every festival event, the venue needs to be booked, insurance needs to be acquired, artist contracts written, deposits paid, and so on and so forth. Depending on your event, there’s a lot of outlay there. The event producer will make a profit by recouping the costs in a total amount greater than the initial investment.

So word of mouth, especially positive word of mouth, is the single best insurance for attendance, which in turn is a single best insurance for the promoter recouping costs.

The second and very important part of event production is how to price it.

Consider this: every production is an investment-first endeavor. Even the most basic of concert shows. When a producer wants to put on a show, they have to rent the venue, pay the performers, rent the backline, get the insurance – because few if any venues will ever allow a show without insurance – and then and only then set the prices at a rate enough that will break them even, or at least minimize the loss. Of course, the objective is to make a profit – keep that in mind, always.

Similarly with festivals. The difference is that there are more performers, higher venue costs, and therefore higher ticket price.

That explained, there’s one major, major thing to note: if your event is not priced to sell, it will not. This is especially true for any event that sees out-of-towners in attendance on a regular basis. If your ticket prices are not appealing, then you can trust that a chunk of the audience – usually the chunk where the event travel is longer than an hour by car or by subway – will not attend. If they can get the same or similar lineup elsewhere, for a lesser price, what motivation will they have for attending your event? The price has to be right.

I’ve encountered this with more than one festival, and it’s part of why I’ve gotten very choosy with the events that I attend. Some of the best jazz fests are, typically, out in CA. I always look at the performers, the price, and the promoter in charge, in that order. There are some performers for whom I will gladly hop on a plane for, and likewise some that I would not travel very far to see. The price is a major deciding factor: if I can get a cheaper ticket somewhere closer, that’s what I will do. And the promoter in charge: how does he or she or they treat the people they work with? I want to know that my people will be treated right. I want to know that I will be treated right if I’m working for the event in question or for someone affiliated with the event. I cannot tell you how important that part is for me, not as a viewer/audience member, but as someone who works behind the scenes of a lot of events.

When a promoter for a festival decides to do a charter cruise, all of the above plays into the event’s outcome.

Putting on a charter cruise is easily the single most expensive thing an event producer can ever do. I’ll certainly commend the producer in this case for being ambitious, because I know the accounting required in such an endeavor. It’s a lulu. What I will, however, ask, are three things:

1. What’s the lineup trying to accomplish?

2. Who’s in charge and what do I know about them?

and 3. How much?

Answering Question #1 is a mixed bag with a recent cruise endeavor that I’ve spotted rolling out. I don’t mind genre splits on a cruise, because that way, I can actually have a cruise. This is, again, why I love Capital Jazz very much: if I’m not a fan of an artist, that is perfectly okay – it means I can go for a massage, have a steakhouse dinner, or just plain relax and sleep in the meantime. It’s nothing against the artist, of course, but for myself, as a fan of jazz first, I have little interest in R&B. On the years where it’s less jazz and more soul/R&B, I actually got to have a vacation. But I’m looking at this recent cruise and I’m seeing major R&B/soul headliners…and what looks to be all major jazz headliners from the past 3 years’ recent fests and other cruises all thrown into the same bag. Okay..? Is the emphasis on the R&B or on the jazz, then? I’d probably love such a cruise, because the jazz event is wholly satisfying for one like myself, but the overall purpose of the event looks muddled, which in turn makes me ask how well it’s actually organized. With CapJazz, it’s clear that they want to present two sides of the genre divide that they built their brand on, and they make the day-to-day operations work. What’s the purpose with this event?

#2: Yes, I know who’s in charge. But I will ask references from people who had worked with them before. The references are important. My observations are one half of the puzzle. What people tell me is the other. And yes, if I don’t hear good things about Le Grande Fromage who’s putting the entire thing on, then you best believe that will play into my decision to go or not to go.

#3 is the most important of them all. How much does it all cost? I looked at the pricing and it was a case of sticker shock. Yes, I know charter cruises aren’t cheap. For me especially – because I travel alone. This is the thing: cruises don’t like people traveling alone. If I want my own cabin, I have to buy it out. Some productions have singles pricing, others allow me to pay 150% plus double the port taxes to buy it out. So already, I’m at a disadvantage. I expect a price disparity from one cruise production to another, but if I can get a single-price cabin and at whatever rate it is, it’s still less than the per-person price of a cabin elsewhere, then I will most certainly go where I keep more money in my pocket.

Just as an example: I can get a single cabin on one cruise, all to myself. Add in port-tax and gratuities, and it’s a grand total about $3K – yes, steep, but if you’re considering that in addition to cabin cost you’re also paying admission to no less than 40 shows/jam sessions/events, then you’re getting a pretty good deal. However: that same 3K on another cruise is just the per-person cost for the cheapest inside cabin on board – and if I want to go on that cruise, I’d have to pay double that to go alone. Of course, this means I’ll go with where I can get more bang for my buck – in this case, with the single cabin that costs less. Because, with the other production, if they’re generous and let me buy out at 150%, I’m still going to be paying no less than $4,500! That’s the cost of my entire trip with the other guys – including flight, hotel pre-cruise, and onboard spending! Yes, I will concur the lineup won’t be the same, however, I am not made of money, and I am going to go where it costs me less in pure out-of-pocket expenditure.

I wholly understand that prices have to be at a certain rate for the promoter to recoup initial investment costs, but if enough people say, “That’s too much money” and not go as a result, then the entire event is in jeopardy. Not enough ticket sales = significant loss = less money to the promoter to reinvest in future events = future of the entire production is…? This is how and why the All Star Cruises had closed their doors; I was lucky enough to have been on board the last sailing, and the price was rockbottom – lucky for me, but in retrospect, it’s a sign of desperation on the cruise line’s behalf if they gave me my cabin for the rate that they had. They were trying to fill the ship, and no, they didn’t fill it. So the line had closed its doors after that last one, and I understand why: the promoter must have taken a hell of a bath. It was an amazing ship, a fantastic all-jazz lineup, but if they couldn’t manage to pull off a full ship, then yes, I wholly expect them to shutter it.

Likewise for festivals. Doubly if the cruise and the fest are put on by the same person. Because whatever the festival reputation is, it carries into the cruises. This is why you see Michael Lazaroff’s production consistently sell out – whatever my opinion on Lazaroff is, Smooth Jazz Cruises are, last time I checked, a driving force behind Seabreeze Jazz Fest, which is one of the most sold-out East Coast events after Berks and Cap. It’s extremely likely that the Breeze attendees pack in en masse for the cruises: they know what to expect based on the fest. Same for CapJazz’s continued success: people know what to expect from the festivals, and go on the cruises – and vice versa.

To sum up, I will say this: we all look out for each other behind the scenes. I can’t count the number of times a fellow photog or musician had done me a solid, and I’m more than prepared to do the same for them in return. There are some promoters I will always work with, because I know that they will treat me with integrity, and that they will do right by the people they book. Likewise to contrary. And the number-one thing a promoter needs to keep in mind is exactly that: what references will he or she or they receive after the event is said and done? This is on all sides of the divide: performer, manager, booker, photographer, attendee, vendor… References come from everywhere, and a huge contributing factor to the continued success of a production is making sure that the positive outweighs the naysayers.

K.G.

Good News!! – Magazine is out!!!

There is good news today as well, and this has come as a surprise out of my blog stats…

Earlier this year, I met Bridgette Lewis of CA, who’s a media maven on all accounts, who asked me to write a bit and for usage of my shots. To say I cannot recommend Bridgette Lewis enough is an understatement.

Today, the magazine is up!!!

LINK: http://issuu.com/ms.bridgette/docs/ctjm_winter2013

You will find my photos, with some cover words, on P. 43, and one of my George Duke shots in his tribute article as well.

Enjoy! And have a coffee!
:)
Kat

CD Review: Marqueal R. Jordan’s Catalyst

CatalystI will preface this review by saying that while yes, Marqueal is a longtime friend thanks to Capital Jazz Cruises, you guys should know by now that knowing me doesn’t give anyone any special perks. In fact, if I know someone, then they’ll have double the pressure to prove their moxie and merit. I do not do favors for folks I know; I double down on them more than I would on complete strangers.  If they’re friends of mine, they know they need to stand to merit.

That said…

Marqueal Jordan’s debut album is interesting, and titled quite aptly. The definition of the term is agent of change, and if you’ve ever taken chemistry, then you can apply this to music. Indeed, Catalyst is an album that will change the way you see a person.

Chicago local sax slinger and vocalist Marqueal Jordan is no stranger to changes, and nor is he a stranger to versatility. You see him on the tenor sax, and you hear him sing, and usually you catch him on tour with Brian Culbertson. But pop this CD into your audio device of choice and you suddenly see him in a new light. The tenor sax takes on a whole variety of flavors between 2am and Maracas Beach, which push at a more straight-ahead flavor, and Chillin’ with MJ, in which Jordan calls on Chris “Big Dog” Davis and stews the same tenor sax in a sauceful of R&B. Between the Sheets is an immediate introduction to Marqueal as a vocalist independent of anyone else’s show, and while I know his voice well, something about the way he sounds is interesting. Engaging, easygoing. Somewhat reminiscent of Dwele. Featuring Brian Culbertson on When You Smile, Jordan firmly crosses into the R&B boundary, and does so in such a way in conjunction with the rest of the tracks on the album that you will not only not notice the shift but want more of it.

Whether or not the listener gets that, I won’t tell you. You just have to find out on your own.

A catalyst indeed: a catalyst for mixing genres, lyrical style on both vocals and tenor saxophone, a catalyst for propelling Marqueal Jordan out of the sidelines and firmly into a spotlight all his own  – any way you slice it this album is something you need to hear if . If you like your Euge Groove, if you like your Dwele, if you like Brian Culbertson, and don’t mind a Stanley Turrentine-gone-modern flavor to your instrumentals, then you need to pick up a copy of Catalyst  by Marqueal Jordan. Right away, if not yesterday.

Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1bx4SAW

Also on iTunes and CD Baby.

A Whole New Different Project (and question for my folks)

It’s NaNoWriMo time in about three weeks, and while I’m right about ready with what I know I’ll be writing – another installment in The Index Series – I have started thinking about my other love: history.

When I was about nine years old, give or take a year, I read a book that was de rigeur in my mother’s generation. It was the autobiography of Alexandra Brushteyn, an author, teacher, and pioneer of literacy in days of post-revolutionary Russia. Mrs. Brushteyn wrote the story of her fascinating, multifaceted, challenging and all-in-all astounding life in several autobiographic books. The specific book I read was a trilogy that encompassed her childhood and school years, which took place in pre-revolutionary Russia of the late 1890s-early 1900s.

To say that this story was amazing is not to give it anywhere near the accolades it deserves. Through the eyes of a nine-year-old growing into adulthood in that period and place in history, you get to know an entirely different world. Who in the US even knows US history of that era, never mind Russian pre-revolutionary history? No one ever considers that before the epic political and historic mess that Russia had become, it was a world that, all considered, didn’t differ that much from any other country in that time.

And lately, I dove right back into the book, having found it – and all the others that followed it – in e-book format.

And it occurred to me, especially in the wake of the current state of affairs that all the lessons that Mrs. Brushteyn learned as a girl of nine, and continued to learn well into her life, are effectively the same lessons applicable today.

Now, the book is in Russian. I speak the language fluently still, though a proud New Yorker of most of my life. And I wonder…what if I translate it? What if I translate and have it released in English?

I posit to you, my readers – and crucially, my fellow authors – a major question:

What are the copyright/rights issues to keep in mind when translating a published work, especially if the work is, technically, out of production?

This book is old. It’s about 53 years old, and it’s not been in print for as long as I recall. Right now, the e-book transcriptions I have were a fan project – that I know of – and I am not sure if there’s an English translation done already; I’ve not been able to find one. I am not sure if I should treat this story as public domain, or if I have to query someone for permission to translate. The only people who may have a stake in the translation may be the author’s descendants, but I haven’t the foggiest as to where they are right now.

I would really, really enjoy doing the translation of this story. It’s about 500 pages of grueling work that’ll test my knowledge of both languages, but it’s a story that I feel, especially in this place and time, needs to be told.

Chime in, author folk.

K.G.

An Open Letter to Simon & Schuster

This is why I’m writing it.

 

Dear Simon & Schuster,

Whom, precisely, do you think you’re fooling by your so-called self-publishing solution? Do you really think that we have that short a memory, us indie authors, from the time that Penguin had decided to jump on the bandwagon with Book Country?

I didn’t.

And not likely to forget.

So I would like to know, once again, Simon & Schu: whom do you think you’re fooling? Do you really think that we cannot tell the difference between self-publication and a vanity press?  Oh wait. That’s exactly what you’re thinking because you’re making this service available to the public. Here’s a big hint: most authors who are going to self-pub are not going to fork over $1,599 for your services. Why? Because they can achieve the same thing for. free.

No love,

A self-pub who has done her research.

—–

 

I’m sure you got the gist just based on this short little open letter, but long story short, S&S is presenting a “self-publishing” option to the world, with a package price from $1,599 to (and I’m not kidding) $24,999 (see article linked in first sentence for reference). Okay…what the HELL? I understand that the sundry services with the most expensive one are top-notch, but let’s be realistic for just a minute and ask ourselves: what self-publishing author has that kind of money?!

Yeah.

Let’s revisit a cardinal law of publishing a book. I shouldn’t have to repeat it by this time, but I have to. There is only one single cardinal rule when it comes to having a piece of writing hosted in a readable medium, be it in print, digitally, etc.

It’s a simple little rule. It’s been around for centuries.

What is it?

Money flows TO THE AUTHOR.

This is non-negotiable. You may pay a little for services rendered in the production of your book (i.e. pay an editor, a graphic designer, etc) but when you publish, you should never, ever, EVER pay money up front to publish. The terms of the royalty splits should leave you with getting some cash as well. Under no circumstances are you to pay money to publish up front, especially when it comes to digital edition.

Moreover, what’s the catch about copyright with this option? You’re shelling out all this money to go through Simon & Schu; are they letting you retain distribution rights? Are they claiming distrib rights? For how long? Are they claiming your master copyright? If so, run the other way. Remember this, ladies and gents: your master copyright is your lifeblood. You will thank me later for not selling it for an advance that you’d never earn out or break even on because a publishing house hadn’t delivered its marketing as promised.

In the previous rip-apart of Book Country (linked above), I also mentioned Writer Beware as asserting that there’s no difference between vanity press and self-pub. WRONG. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Self-publishing does not take money up front, unless it is for reimbursement of production costs, i.e. hard-copy proof. If you believe to contrary, then you may have either been reading the misinformed writings of Victoria Strauss, or you just hadn’t done your research.

Seriously. Smashwords, KDP, and PubIt are all free to use. I’ve used them all at one point or the next, and stuck it out with KDP Select, which had turned out to be the best venue, since most of my sales are Kindle. I might un-enroll from Select just so I can go for the Nook market again for a stretch, and see how I do. But really, have I shelled out money for KDP or PubIt? No.  And get this: CreateSpace introduced an online proofing system, which…eliminates the need to order a printed proof. It’s something I still recommend; it’s worth the $8, but it’s no longer a prerequisite. Guess what this means: if you go through CreateSpace, the cost to publish your book through them is zilch. 

Sure, go ahead and tell me how there’s no difference between vanity press and self-pub. Vanity presses charge you up front. What they offer varies, but they all charge you. Self-pub doesn’t, so you automatically turn a profit, however meager. With a vanity press, you have to at least make enough in your sales to break even on the costs of what you paid to use their service. The max cost is about 24K. Let me ask you this, realistically: do you expect your work to make that much money quickly enough so that you can turn a profit? If you’re hesitating, you’re doing so with good reason. A lot of self-pub work doesn’t make much money. I’ve not made much money, even though I tripled my prior year’s revenue from my books. But I shelled out all of $10 to publish my current work, and that was the proof copy rush shipping. And I more than recouped it. I even recouped the cost of the sets of books that I had printed up as giveaways. But again, I shelled out $10. If you, say, shell out $1,599 – first of all, can you afford to invest that much? – and you have absolutely no guarantee that it’ll break even, how do you expect to make a profit?

This is just plain Business 101 here.

And Simon & Schuster, of all the houses, is thinking that hey, we’ll make a mint off the authors if we can no longer make a mint off the readers!

Uh, no. No thank you. And Simon & Schu, I’m quite disappointed. Of all the houses to jump on the bandwagon of vanity presses, I didn’t expect you to be in that number.

K.G.

E-book vs. Print Book

Or, better put, more on the “real book” illusion.

You may have noticed that a lot of self-pub authors are not releasing print versions of their books anymore, but instead are going right to the e-book process. As a result, they are apt to hear, “But it’s not a real book!” for various reasons. I’ve addressed the genre-based prejudice of the “real book” here. But now let’s talk presentation medium.

In 1440 or thereabout, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Prior to this, books have been handwritten, hand-copied, and the more effort put into a copy, the more it cost. As such, they became signifiers of wealth for the longest time, until the printing press enabled mass production of print material, making books more easily accessible. The Industrial Revolution took over and made print reading material available widely.

Until the e-reader was invented, people just could not conceive of a book being presented any other way but printed.

That was in 2007.

Think about that: the e-reader has been around for only five years, and it already changed the way books are presented, and 562 years of precedent is shaken up. Just like that. With a page-sized electronic device.

However, think about this. That’s the e-reader. Not necessarily the e-book. The Internet has, inadvertently, made us all online readers since e-mail became the norm. E-reading is the same thing as what you’re doing now, except it’s on a handheld device.

Think about it. You’re reading this blog right now. I have enough entries in here to publish it as a book in and of itself. If you’ve stayed with it for some years, you’ve effectively read a book online already. If you’ve read a draft of a story online – congratulations, you read an e-book. Just not on an e-reader, but an e-book nonetheless.

No matter how solid a printed book feels – and I will be the last to deny a printed book’s effect; I have paperback versions of every book I’ve published so far – it doesn’t take a print version to call a story real. A story is real by the simple virtue of being written, as I’ve explained in the linked post above. Someone had spent weeks, months, or years of effort into making this story happen. It is completed and released. That alone, in and of itself, makes a story real. What we’re discussing here is a presentation medium, and having the presentation medium be electronic does not – contrary to whoever tells you otherwise – does not take away from the story being real.

That said, let’s discuss the print book as a medium. Apart from the solid feeling of having it in your hands, the “new book smell” – yes, it’s a beautiful flavor…come on, you know it! – it’s also not as likely to sell for an independent. Personal experience: I moved more Kindle copies per month, invariably, than my CreateSpace prints. When I run a promo on any of my books, the other books sell right alongside the free one. For a self-pub who’s new on the scene, this would mean that e-books are a more viable way to market and make revenue. And, considering that uploading is usually at no cost, it’s a guaranteed profit. To release a print book, you may pay for a proof (or not, since CreateSpace introduced an excellent digital proofing option). You would have to wait for the proof to land, read it, send it to the editor again, make the corrections, lather, rinse, repeat until it’s perfect – a standard that is extremely subjective – and then release it. And then there are the shipping costs in sending out review copies. And then the rigmarole of getting a bookstore to carry them.

But the print book has also been around for 562 years. The e-reader and the idea of having a library on a portable device is still about five years old. You know how they say that old habits die hard. The e-book and e-reader are still new, and they’re a splash in a very established and very stalwart market. We’ve seen the decisions that B&N and the Big Six had made in the wake of the growth of self-pub. Things are not going to change swiftly, but they are changing, whether the people like it or not.

Again, let’s not discount the main crux of it all: the story itself. You’re getting a book, whether or not it’s in printed form or in a file on a reader. It is real, any way you cut it. Any distinction of “more real” or “less real” based on presentation medium, genre, author’s background, publisher or lack thereof, exists only in the head of the person making the statement.

There was also an address of quality control in self-publication, with the assertion that self-pub books are poorly edited, poorly formatted, etc. I won’t deny that such books exist. However, they exist across the board. Major publishers sometimes do not format their e-books well, and proof to the fact are my copies of Philippa Gregory novels and Gone with the Wind. Great stories to read, but the formatting on the e-version, honestly, sucks. I own Philippa Gregory paperbacks. Why is there nothing wrong with the layout, but the e-version lacks paragraph breaks in several locations and is more expensive than the printed version? Let’s get real: if we’re going to do quality formatting, then let’s do quality formatting across. the. board. Don’t tar self-published books with a brush unless you are willing to put all books under scrutiny.

Self-publishers sometimes do work alone. Thusly, the editing quality may lack until they gather enough to hire a professional editor. I will be the first one to admit that someone’s first book will not be edited anywhere near as well as the subsequent books (um, guilty, and not ashamed to admit it). Understandable conditions, right? Right.

Let’s be real, people. Writing, editing, formatting, printing, publishing – being an author is a human endeavor. Human errors will happen. We are becoming a reading culture because, with our digital immersion, we’re reading a lot more (screens, but still: reading words is reading words). Human errors will happen. If that is a deal-breaker for you, that is fine, but you may want to step back and evaluate what’s more important to you in picking up a new book. Some of my favorite books (self and trad alike) are not perfect, but the story is so good that I couldn’t care less about the editing/formatting job. Conversely, some books I had were edited and formatted to perfection, but I just couldn’t finish them worth a damn. While I will never deny that editing and formatting are crucial, none of us are so perfect ourselves to have imperfection be a deal-breaker.

The bottom line is this: a book is a book. How you prefer to read it is entirely up to you, but there is no contest with which one is more “real”. They both are. Whether you like it printed or downloaded, you’re still reading a book. That is what should be the first thing to note in the e-book versus hard-copy debate.

K.G., who has both paperbacks and a Kindle.

http://www.amazon.com/author/katherinegilraine

Some Retrospect on Book 4

Over the weekend, the proof files got approved and I bumped up the release date a little.

In other words, please welcome my baby: the wrap-up of the first arc, and the fourth book in The Index Series: Revival.

Press Release

Hard Copy

Kindle

I released four books since 2009. And now that I’m back to the usual daily grind of promo, day job, studying, photo-retouching, and all those other things I do, I’m starting to slowly realize that I released four books, and I’m somewhere between surprised and having a conniption about what I’m going to do next.

This series, this story of non-human people in outer space dealing with very human problems on their scale and in their lives, has been something that I wanted to write since I was a kid. The fact that the story is written and published is more than a little surreal. In fact, I feel like I should pinch myself, just to make sure that it’s happening. Even though the hard copies of the books are all within my line of sight, it’s still difficult to believe that yes, I’ve actually stopped just dreaming and started doing all of this.

But there we go, and here we are. So now what do I do?

Well, first things first…PARTY! It’s the first complete arc. Instead of one volume, I have four to offer, and two more waiting in the wings to get released. This has been a labor of love, and a whole mess of work for more than just myself. My editor, Gayle F. Moffet, has labored over every installment since the second, and I have half a mind of having her overhaul the first, if only to have it up to par. This series, right now, is as much hers as it is my own, because if not for her eyes and red-pen feature on Acrobat, I shudder to think of what would’ve happened to my books otherwise.

And second things second, I have to think of the next arc. It will be three books; I have to start on rewriting the fifth one sooner rather than later (because holy plot holes, batman), and of course…artwork!

And speaking of the artwork…

You may have noticed that Jenna Bacci was billed as the original artist for the cover of Revival. That did not turn out to be the case, and instead, the back cover of Revival features the artwork of Tiffany Chaney, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This is due to circumstances beyond my control; Jenna is getting ready for college, and working on all of that has been her priority. I’m cheering her on, whichever school she will attend. Tiffany Chaney has been hired to work on the character art for The Index Series, and she will work on the second arc as well. The front covers of Lineage and Revival have both been created by Marion Meadows (yes, the same Marion Meadows who’s on stage with the sax), and hopefully, he will stay aboard as the cover artist for the upcoming arc.

There’s a lot more research to be done for the second arc as well. I will not give away what I’ll be researching just yet, but let’s just say that if you think that this is the last you’ve seen of Morrhia, you’re wrong. And if you’re gleefully thinking that she’ll be back…well, I can’t really tell you what she’s up to, can I? :)

The most important retrospect, though, is how self-publishing has grown since 2009, when I released my first book. Think about it: 2009 wasn’t that long ago, only three years. And if only a year earlier I would’ve said that I’d be going self-pub, I would’ve heard, “That’s great if you want to have your books gathering dust in your closet.” Heck, I actually heard that from a published author as I was tossing the option around. But if I were to be a first-time self-pub right now, the amount of information about self-publishing is astounding. When the Kindle got cheap, it’s like someone poured Miracle-Gro on self-publishing, and suddenly, its view has shifted into a very viable, very lucrative, and very freeing way to get your stuff into print.

It’s been a hectic, madcap, exciting, and completely exhilarating three years in the publishing world, and know what I say? Full. Speed. Ahead.

K.G.

To Jump the Gun, or Not to Jump?

That is the question, and the answer will be decided by majority opinion.

This is the thing. Revival, the fourth installment of the series, is finally done. It’s been rewritten, professionally revised, has a gorgeous cover courtesy of two amazing artists, and is good. to. go.

The print version…ain’t.

This is the thing: I was setting out to release the print book and the e-version at the same time. But while working on formatting the file for e-release, I found and fixed very tiny errors. Which means that the book has to be re-uploaded for print.

Which sucks, but what can I do? Perfectionist me is a perfectionist.

The e-book is fine. I did a sample conversion to check how it would look in Kindle format, and it passed with flying colors. I had to splice in a couple bits (Letter to the Reader, series list) and futz with the layout, but it should be fine, and it’s ready to get released, well…immediately.

You can see my quandary, can’t you?

So, ladies and gentlemen, a poll for you. Comment with an option.

Option 1:  Release the e-book now, then release the print version whenever CreateSpace approves it

Option 2: Release both at the same time, as soon as the print version is up to par.

Option 3: Release both on the scheduled release date, May 13th
Yes, I’m actually letting my fans take charge of the book release! The option with the most votes gets done. Have at it! Comment and tell me why, if you’d like.

K.G.

PS: Gayle, your vote is tallied.

Call for distributors!

No, not the book kind.

But! I got some gorgeous postcards to advertise Book 4 with. The launch is coming in two weeks, and looks like I might even manage ahead of schedule, which would be AWESOME!

But…need to boost me some exposure.

So, ladies and gents, if you’d like to help me out and leave some postcards in your neighborhood cafe, bookstore, hangout, something – please comment with your address and I’ll mail you a bunch. Comments are moderated and will not be un-screened containing your information. 

I shall do the same for you if you send me yours also.

Any takers?

K.G.