Ethics in Self-Publishing : An Indie Author’s Manifesto

I just read a very interesting post by Porter Anderson on the topic of ethics for independent authors. (Original article: I think there is a great deal to be said for elevating self-publishers and independent authors to the point where our work isn’t dismissed out of hand by so many.

It is our job as independent authors to show that generalizations of poor quality and sub-standard content are just that…generalizations.

I’ve always prided myself on the way I conduct my career as an independent author. I work very hard to put out a quality product that I, myself, would be willing to pay for. As such, I’m willing to take up the gauntlet of the ethical challenge for independent authors.

This manifesto is my answer to the question of ethics and I share it openly with both my readers and my fellow authors in hope that more indies will step up and make a public declaration of their intent to stand head and shoulders above the common denominator.

My Independent Author Manifesto

I promise:

1. I will: always strive to produce and release a professional, complete, and error-free final product to my readers and listen to their feedback on any issues that should be addressed post-publication in the event that errors (as they often do) slip through the best laid plans.

2. I will: always treat my readers with the respect they deserve, regardless of whether or not they like or agree with what I write. When an independent author interacts with his or her readers in a negative way, it impacts the reputation of all.

3. I will not: resort to dishonest, underhanded, or manipulative ways of gaining an advantage over my fellow authors.

4. I will: allow my works to stand on their merits, accepting gracefully the opinions rendered by my readers and associates.

5. I will not: review other author’s works and I will strongly discourage other authors from reviewing my works, in an attempt to maintain the integrity of the review cycle. There are plenty of readers to go around. Authors shouldn’t need to review their peer’s works.

6. I will not: purchase reviews for my works, unless such a purchase is made from a legitimate, respectable, industry-standard source of reviews, such as Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, etc., wherein the reviews can be dependably counted on to be objective and assess the complete work on its merit.

7. I will: make every effort to ensure that readers I interact with know who I am, what I’ve authored, and that I am representing myself in an “official” (for lack of a better word) capacity when frequenting the same circles (social media, forums, etc.).

8. I will not: employ fake accounts, sock puppets, shill accounts, or any other deceptive means to manipulate reviews, rankings, or ratings of my works, promotions, or other endeavors.

I understand that any attempt to impose ethics onto a group is likely to be ignored by those most in need of the guidance. However, it will at least provide an outward signal to readers and our fellow authors alike that some of us take our ethical duties as professionals seriously.


Removing The Swordmage Trilogy Bundle from Smashwords

TrilogyLittleI don’t suspect this is going to affect very many people, but I wanted to mention it anyway just to be thorough. I’m in the process of removing the Swordmage Trilogy bundle from Smashwords, so if you want to get a copy of it there, or at any of the retailers they distribute to, you’re going to want to go ahead and do it now.

I’ll be republishing to other retailers manually, so the bundle will eventually appear in those places, but I won’t be using Smashwords for any further distribution.


Enter to Win – Signed Copy of Volinette’s Song

You can enter to win one of five signed copies I’m giving away via Goodreads. This giveaway is open to residents of the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. If you’d like to enter to win, head over to Goodreads and sign up.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Volinette's Song by Martin F. Hengst

Volinette’s Song

by Martin F. Hengst

Giveaway ends August 31, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

The First Long Terrifying Step Into The Void…

OffTheCliffThere is something about the blank white page that is both terrifying and exciting. The whole world is hidden there, waiting for my words to reveal it. All I have to do is sit down and put the words on the page that will bring my world to life for all of the people who don’t live inside my head.

I’ve never jumped off a cliff, or out of an airplane, but I imagine that there is a similar rush that we crafters of the written word get to experience when we finally spill blood, sweat, and tears onto that first blank page and watch as our world, our characters, and our ideas are formed out of nothingness.

I started the rough draft of Pirates of the Siren’s Sea yesterday and worked on it more today. The word count is slowly climbing as the characters take their place on the stage and say their lines. I haven’t gotten much done yet, but it’s a start…and starting is always exciting.

Are you looking forward to Pirates of the Siren’s Sea? Stop by the comments and tell me what, or who, you most want to see in the next installment of the Swordmage saga.


The Last Swordmage – 99 cents Very Limited Time Only

SwordmageLittleBook2For a very limited time only, you can get the book that started the Magic of Solendrea series for 99 cents. If you haven’t yet read The Last Swordmage, or have family or friends who enjoy sword and sorcery fantasy, now is an excellent time to grab a good book for a great price.

The Last Swordmage – 99 cents @ Amazon

Dangerous Bonds – A Magic of Solendrea Single – Now Available

DangerousBondsSingleCoverFollow Torus and Tiadaria on a training mission that goes horribly wrong. Dangerous Bonds is an exclusive Solendrea Single that isn’t available on Amazon, or any other ebook retailer for that matter. The only way you can get your hands on this Solendrea tale is to sign up for my newsletter.

Head on over here and sign up to get your copy and start reading today:


Limited Time Only – Back to School Sale – 25% Off


Load up your Kindle before you head back to school with five pulse-pounding tales of sword and sorcery. The Last Swordmage, The Darkest Hour, The Pegasus’s Lament, Volinette’s Song, and Quintessential Tales are all ON SALE NOW for 25% off. This offer won’t last forever. If you haven’t caught up on the tales of magic and adventure from the Solendrea universe, now is a great time to do so.

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Pirates of the Siren’s Sea – Kickstarter Relaunch

After the original Pirates of the Siren’s Sea Kickstarter campaign ended, I was contacted by several people who wanted to know if I was going to be relaunching it. For all of those people and for anyone who might have wanted to back the project but missed out the first time, I have good news. I’ve learned from my experiences with crowdfunding and made some changes and relaunched Pirates of the Siren’s Sea for a second go around.

When it was launched, it reached 33% funded within two hours. I’ve lowered the target goal amount and retooled some of the backer rewards to make them more accessible. If you’d like to show your support, you can do so by backing the new project. The link is below. You can also help out by sharing the project link on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

As always, thanks for all your support. You guys are the best.