Adventures In Self-Publishing

Mark A. SargentThis is a guest blog post by Mark A. Sargent, author of the newly self-published novel Clockwork & Old Gods, which originated as a story here on Protagonize. Mark is promoting his book and was kind enough to share his experiences with self-publishing for the first time. You can check out his website for more information, or buy his book on Amazon.

Mark is also giving away free copies of his ebook to 10 randomly-selected Protaggers who take the time to post their thoughts on the following in the comments below:

“Are you working on a book or other project you hope to publish someday? Are you already in the trenches, either self published or traditionally published? Or are you just writing for fun? Tell us all about it in the comments! The best thing we can do for one another as writers is share information, tips, and tricks of the trade.”

Do you have something to say that might be of interest to our members? Feel free to contact us with blog ideas, and share your passion for writing with our readers.

Hi there. My name is Mark Sargent, and I’m a self-published author. My first book, Clockwork & Old Gods: Incursion, is a fantasy/steampunk epic. It went on sale in early February. I’ve been a member of Protagonize since 2009, and I want to thank Nick for giving the opportunity to write a guest post here.

In the beginning…

Four years ago I started writing a story on Protagonize. Clockwork and Old Gods wasn’t the first thing I’d ever started writing, but it would be the first I ever finished. It would eventually become the first book I ever published. I’m pretty sure I have Protagonize to thank for that. The ratings, comments, favorites and recommendations it got provided much needed motivation. People were actually reading my work. Not only were they reading it, they liked it! Over the course of the next two years I plugged away at it bit by bit until it was finally finished. That was step one.

Step one is always the hardest when you set out to be an author, but it’s the most important. If there’s any secret to being a successful writer, that’s it – just keep writing. The more you write the better you get and the more likely you are to finish a project.

So what comes next?

Once I had my book completed I had a choice. I could shop it around to agents and publishers, or I could self-publish. After doing a lot of research, I chose to self-publish for several reasons:

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Charles Dickens: Novelist, Philanthropist, Protagonizer?

Charles Dickens, courtesy of Matt from London on Flickr

You probably know Charles Dickens as the author of holiday favourite “A Christmas Carol.” He was arguably one of the most influential English authors of the Victorian period, and retains that influence today. Other notable works of his include “The Adventures of Oliver Twist,” “A Tale of Two Cities,” and “Great Expectations.”

But did you know that Boz – his pseudonym for a time – was a big fan of collaborative writing? It’s true!

During his time editing a weekly magazine called Household Words, Dickens wrote collaboratively with numerous magazine contributors. In some cases, these stories included up to five or six authors! Sounds a little like our beloved Protagonize, right?

Well, the similarities don’t end there!

Published weekly, Household Words was the perfect vehicle for serialized fiction. Dickens’ novels were always serialized initially, published chapter by chapter, until the story was complete and a full volume could be released. This weekly or monthly publishing format allowed him to gauge the reactions of his readers, and Charles was known to change the plot and characters based on feedback received. Just like we do!

If you want to read one of his collaborative works, check out “A Haunted House,” published in 1859. It contains chapters by Dickens, Hesbah Stretton (a children’s novelist), George Augustus Sala (a journalist), Wilkie Collins (a novelist and playwright), Elizabeth Gaskell (famous for her ghost stories), and Adelaide Anne Proctor (reputedly Queen Victoria’s favourite poet). You can download a free copy in ePub or Kindle format from the University of Adelaide, as well as read it in its entirety from the same site. Enjoy this example of Victorian collaborative writing!

Which authors would you jump at the chance to collaborate with if given the chance? Let us know in the comments!

Photo courtesy of Matt From London on Flickr.


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New Plus feature: Send to Kindle

Welcome back, Protaggers.

We’ve spent the last few posts here on the blog talking about new features available to everyone on the site with the launch of Protagonize 2.0. This evening, we’re launching a new feature specific to Plus subscribers (and believe me, they’ve been patient in waiting for subscriber-specific features.)

Protagonize on KindleSo, I’d like to introduce the newest subscriber feature on Protagonize: the ability to Send to Kindle. This new option lets you send any work on the site (in PDF format, for now) to your Amazon Kindle e-reader, provided you’re a Plus member.

I’m sure a few of you are thinking to yourselves, “hey, I don’t have a Kindle, how does this help me?” — let me clarify:

  • You don’t need to own a physical Kindle device — the Send to Kindle option works with the (free) Kindle software readers for your PC/Mac, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone devices as well. Don’t have a Kindle app? Grab it here.
  • The reason we’re not supporting any other e-reader devices right now is that they don’t offer the option to easily send books or PDFs to your device via email. If other e-readers offer up the option down the road, we’ll be happy to add support. Just drop us a line and let us know, we’ll look into it right away.
Posted in General, Site updates, Tutorials & Walkthroughs | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

New feature overview: Embedding media

Nose to the grindstone! Last time, we talked about your Reading List. Today we’ll be discussing a very cool new feature of Protagonize 2.0, the ability to embed media into works and pages.

You may not have noticed this feature yet, but there are already a few of you who’ve started using it.

What’s this about “embedding” stuff?

Media embedding, you say? Let me explain.

Media embedding

Something I’ve always thought would be helpful and entertaining on Protagonize would be to allow audio and video files to be attached to works or pages within them. So while working on the new site, I took the time to devise a way to make this happen.

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New feature overview: the Reading List

We’re back today with another Protagonize 2.0 feature overview!

A couple of days ago, we talked about page markers and how they’ve been revamped in the new interface. Today, we’ll talk about another major new feature that is quite intertwined with page markers, as well as recommendations, favourites, and the authors you follow: the Reading List.

What is the reading list?

Reading ListI teased you about the new reading list feature back when we announced the Protagonize 2.0 launch date, but I didn’t explain what it is or how it works. If you’ve been exploring the new site’s features since we launched, you may have noticed a new tab on your profile and in your author menu (“You” in the top navigation.)

The reading list is meant to be a helpful pointer to stuff you might be interested in reading on the site. It’s an aggregation of your marked pages, your favourites, and your recommended works, as well as what authors you follow are reading. Think of it as a new type of activity feed or “timeline” that only contains stuff you might be interested in reading — no other distractions.

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