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Welcome to May Trope Mayhem 2024!

A graphic with a pale blue background. The header reads "May Trope Mayhem: A Multi-Fandom and Original Work Creation Challenge 2024 List." Below this is a numbered list of 31 items. The Duck Prints Press logo, surrounded by rainbow duck prints on two sides, with the white dux mascot on the right and the words "we print diversity" below that, is in the lower right corner of the image. The full list reads: 1. Secret Relationship 2. Mistaken Identity 3. Accidental Ownership 4. Space Western Setting 5. Marriage Before Love 6. Time Loop 7. Wound Tending 8. "This is our get-along shirt." 9. Reincarnation 10. Mutual Pining 11. Forced Proximity 12. Sentinel/Guide 13. Vampires 14. Outsider Point of View 15. Monster F*ing (censored in the image) 16. Foodservice Setting 17. Meet Cute 18. "Keep your dog on a leash." 19. Mecha 20. The Soulmate Goose of Enforcement 21. Steampunk 22. Love Requited Too Late 23. Bottom Storage 24. Werewolf/Shifter Character 25. Fake Relationship 26. Reciprocal Idiots 27. There Was Only One Bed 28. OMG They Were Roommates 29. Soul-Bonding 30. Homoerotic Swordfighting 31. Free day!

May Trope Mayhem is a multi-fandom/original creation event open to writers, artists, and creators of all kinds! We’ve put together a list of 30 of our favorite tropes (plus one free day!), one per day through the month of May, and we encourage creators to join us for this month of fun tropey mayhem.

Our goal is to promote motivation and help with habit building, so we’re encouraging authors to keep their ficlets under 1,000 words, artists to stick to making just a sketch, gif makers to only do a single image, etc., as applicable to whatever you’re making.

This event is primarily held on Tumblr, but you’re welcome to participate anywhere Duck Prints Press has an account (you can see all our current platforms here) and we’ll keep our eyes on our tag everywhere!

How can you participate? It’s easy! There’s just a few simple rules:

  • write a ficlet or a poem, create art, make a gif, or create any other content that you want, aligned with the prompt for the day!
  • post your correctly tagged fills to Tumblr, and we’ll reblog them! We’ll reskeet works on Bluesky, retoot those on Mastodon, you get the idea. Note: we do not use Twitter.
  • you must tag warnings such as gore, MCD, sexual content, etc., so that people can make informed decisions!
  • please also tag fandom and ship, so people can find what interests them!
  • we ask that you put the tags at the top of your post, so they’re easy to find.
  • if you write more than 1k words and post the whole text on Tumblr or wherever, please use a read more if the platform allows.
  • if you create something with NSFW content or potentially triggering material, please put the entire work under a read more.

Ping us (duckprintspress) or tag your creations “#may trope mayhem” and so we can find them! We’ll reblog all fills that follow the above rules and are posted between May 1st and June 8th, 2024.

If you post to AO3, you can also add them to our collection there!

You don’t have to sign up for May Trope Mayhem, just post your fills. You don’t have to be a member of the Press nor do you have to be following us. You don’t have to be part of a specific fandom. We’re open to all ships, genres, formats, etc.! You don’t have to post fills on the corresponding day, though we ask that if you’re creating for a day that hasn’t happened yet, please wait for that day to post.

Participating in May Trope Mayhem? Want to chat fandom, books, creation, and more? Join our Book Lover’s Discord Server!

This is a low-pressure event, held in good fun, and we look forward to seeing what you create!

MAY TROPE MAYHEM Prompt List, with some links and definitions for ones we were worried might be confusing or challenging for folks!

  1. Secret Relationship
  2. Mistaken Identity
  3. Accidental Ownership (Character A accidentally ends up the owner of Character B)
  4. Space Western Setting
  5. Marriage Before Love
  6. Time Loop
  7. Wound Tending
  8. “This is our get-along shirt.”
  9. Reincarnation
  10. Mutual Pining
  11. Forced Proximity
  12. Sentinel/Guide
  13. Vampires
  14. Outsider Point of View
  15. Monster F*ing (censored in the image)
  16. Foodservice Setting
  17. Meet Cute
  18. “Keep your dog on a leash.”
  19. Mecha
  20. The Soulmate Goose of Enforcement
  21. Steampunk
  22. Love Requited Too Late
  23. Bottom Storage (or however you feel like interpreting it!)
  24. Werewolf/Shifter Character
  25. Fake Relationship
  26. Reciprocal Idiots (like idiots to lovers, or however else you feel like interpreting it!)
  27. There Was Only One Bed
  28. OMG They Were Roommates
  29. Soul-Bonding
  30. Homoerotic Swordfighting
  31. Free day!
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Upcoming Event: A Big Gay Market!

A graphic with a simple background in orange, blue, and purple. It's entitled "A Big Gay Market" followed by a heart with the colors of the Progress Pride Flag on it. Beside this, it reads "Next Market: Sunday, April 28th, Washington Park, Knox Street Mall, 11 AM - 3 PM. Rain Date: Sunday, May 5th." In the middle of the image is the Duck Prints Press logo - the business name, with a rainbow of duck prints on the left and bottom sides and the white dux mascot on the right. Beside this is a purple circle around a duck print with rainbow stripes. At the bottom of the graphic, in the lower left it reads "Our Beneficiary: Unirondack Queer Youth Advocacy Retreat" and "Current Sponsors: Gabriella Romero Democrat and Iovo." In the lower right, it says "Learn More Below: www.abiggaymarket.com."

This Sunday, April 28th, we’re thrilled to be among the 100+ vendors who will be selling their wares at Albany’s quarterly A Big Gay Market! We’ll be there with our latest books and merch, and all our old favorites, and a few new never-before-seen things too, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Washington Park on the Knox Street Mall in Albany. The forecast is looking gorgeous – high of 73, partial sun, chance of showers in the afternoon and evening. Definitely a day to wear sunscreen!

Even better? 10% of our net profits will be donated to Camp Unirondack!

So, if you’re anywhere near the Capital District of New York and are looking for an awesome opportunity to do some shopping, get some fabulous stuff, and support a great cause, make sure to come say hi (and claim your very own free tiny duck…)!

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Coming Soon: May Trope Mayhem 2024!

A graphic with a pale blue background. The header reads "May Trope Mayhem: A Multi-Fandom and Original Work Creation Challenge 2024 List." Below this is a blurred out area with a swirl of thin black lines, with the word "SOON!" written in large bold letters. The Duck Prints Press logo, surrounded by rainbow duck prints on two sides, with the white dux mascot on the right and the words "we print diversity" below that, is in the lower right corner of the image.

It’s almost time for May Trope Mayhem!

What is May Trope Mayhem? It’s Duck Prints Press’s annual multi-fandom/original work creation event! Our creators have shared their favorite tropes, and we’ve picked 30 (+1 free day!), one per day of May to make an awesome, fun, diverse list of prompts to inspire your creativity. Come May 1st, we invite everyone to create a ficlet, artwork, gif set, photo montage, or whatever else they feel like, inspired by the trope of the day. We’re open to any fandom or no fandom at all, original characters and old faves, any ship (yes even that one) or no ship or reader inserts or, or, or… basically, if you can imagine it, we can accommodate it!

This year marks our fourth-annual May Trope Mayhem. Curious about the event? You can learn some by checking out our previous three years!

The rules for 2024 will be about the same as in the past, so the only big change will be in the tropes – some are repeats, some are not. And of course day 31 is still a free day – we’d love to know YOUR favorite trope, especially if it it doesn’t end up our list for this year!

The 2024 list goes public on May 1st. Mark your calendars, tell yours friends, and get ready to create with us! And follow us on social media to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Backers on Patreon can see the list early! It’s up now – become a backer and check it out.

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10 April Releases from Duck Prints Press!

After a couple slow months, we’ve come back raring with ten new releases in April so far (and more to come!). Join us now and learn all about ‘um.

Website Releases

A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Blue triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duck Prints Press logo. The title of the book is "Foundation" and the author is Johnathan Stern. Text below the title reads: Science Fiction * F/F * Academia Setting * Meet Cute

Title: Foundations
Author: Johnathan Stern

F/F, Science Fiction, Meet Cute on Mars

Addison is browsing the stacks of the Valles Marineris Coprates Chasma University Memorial Library when she’s shocked to find someone looking for the same obscure book about the history of space travel that is.

Buy it now!

Title: Worlds Apart (but Still Close)
Author: Sanne Burg

F/M and M/M to F/M/M, Urban Paranormal, Confessions of Mutual Attraction, When in Doubt Fuck it Out

Flo is consistently frustrated with how her boyfriend Arthur’s bodyguard Kacen is always watching her suspiciously. But when she discovers Arthur and Kacen in bed together, it casts a whole new light on the relationships between the three of them, and Flo finds herself considering possibilities that had never dawned on her before.

Buy it now!

A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Red triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duxxx Prints Press logo. The title of the book is "Worlds Apart" and the author is Sanne Burg. Text below the title reads: “Modern with Magic * F/M/M * Infidelity to Poly * The Only Solution to a Love Triangle Is..."

Patreon Releases: General Imprint

A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Blue triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duck Prints Press logo. The title of the book is “Glass Slipper: A Dance” and the author is Cedar McCafferty-Svec. Text below the title reads: Fantasy * F/NB * Cinderella Retelling * Getting Together.

Title: Glass Slipper: A Dance
Author: Cedar McCafferty-Svec

F/NB, Fantasy, Dating Royalty is Hard Even if Your Stepmother Isn’t Evil, Attraction at First Sight, Getting to Know One Another

Going to the ball was Marienne’s dream, but it still never occurred to her that she’d catch the eye of the Royal Heir Apparent. Their dance is a dream come true, and their walk around the gardens together helps demonstrate they could have a future together even putting perfect first-dances aside, but that doesn’t mean things will be easy.

Become a backer at the $5/month level (or higher!) to read this story!

Title: Fool’s Gold
Author: Eliot Lovell

M/M (Pre-Relationship), Fantasy, Dragon Hordes and Lifelong Dreams, Hurt/Comfort

When Tomas sets off to defeat a dragon, he does so despite the aches and pains of growing older and a bum hip. Little does he expect that his attempt to be a valiant hero will be derailed prematurely when he’s set upon by wolves. After they leave him unconscious in the woods, the last thing he expects is to be rescued and nursed to help. But he has one burning question: who found him, and why?

Become a backer at the $7/month (or higher!) level to read this story!

A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Blue triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duck Prints Press logo. The title of the book is "Fool's Gold" and the author is Eliot Lovell. Text below the title reads: “Fantasy * M/M Pre-Relationship * Dragon x Human * Nursing a Stranger to Health."
A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Blue triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duck Prints Press logo. The title of the book is “Into the Wyvern's Lair” and the author is Mikki Madison. Text below the title reads: “Fantasy * Action and Adventure * F/F Pre-Relationship."

Title: Into the Wyvern’s Lair
Author: Mikki Madison

F/F (Pre-Relationship), Fantasy, the Inherent Eroticism of Being Competing Mercenaries After the Same Mark (and the Same Pay Day)

Usually, Kella wouldn’t take a job from a tiny podunk town in exchange for the risks of facing wyvern, but they’re offering 25 gold pieces, and that’s too much to resist. She doesn’t expect the job to be that hard – it’s not her first time facing a wyvern – but she also doesn’t expect competition, in the form of a stubborn mage who has been hired by the same town at the same rate. But what she really doesn’t expect is the wyvern…

Become a backer at any level to read this story!

Title: Washer Wars: A Laundromat Feud
Author: Samantha M. Piper

F/F, Contemporary Romance, Meet-Awkward, Sometimes the Only Difference Between Fighting and Flirting is Point of View

Every Saturday morning, before the crack of dawn, Dee goes to the laundromat to do her laundry alone and in the quiet, with her pick of the available machines.

Until the morning she’s not alone anymore.

Truly, she doesn’t know what’s worse: the loss of her solitude, or that this intruder has taken the biggest washer.

Become a backer at any level to read this story!

A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Blue triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duck Prints Press logo. The title of the book is “Washer Wars: A Laundromat Feud” and the author is Samantha M. Piper. Text below the title reads: Modern Romance * F/F * Misunderstandings * Getting Together
A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Blue triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duck Prints Press logo. The title of the book is “Coffee For My Valentine?” and the author is Cedar McCafferty-Svec. Text below the title reads: Modern with Magic * F/F * Meet Cute

Title: Coffee For My Valentine?
Author: Cedar McCafferty-Svec

F/F, Contemporary Romance with a Splash of Magic, Bookshop-slash-Coffee-Shop Meet-Cute, Heat Resistance for the Win

Valentine’s day is invariably a disaster for Nissa. And when she starts this Valentine’s work day by spilling coffee all over a new customer?

Maybe she should have just stayed in bed this morning.

Become a backer at the $7/month level (or higher!) to read this story!

Patreon Releases: Explicit Imprint

Title: Georgia Rain
Author: R. L. Houck
This is a sequel to the Patreon-exclusive story “Pretty 7 Days a Week”

F/NB, Contemporary Suspense, Reunion after a Long Separation, They Work Hard for the Money, You’ll Never Guess How This Sex Romp Gets Interrupted…

Four years after the events of Pretty 7 Days a Week, Tomas, who has changed their name to Aster, has built themself a new, better life no longer working on the streets.

The last thing they expect is for Lydia to come sweeping back into their life. It’s also the last thing they want…or so they keep trying to tell themself…

Become a backer at the $7/month level (or higher!) to read this story!

A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Red triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duxxx Prints Press logo. The title of the book is “Pretty 7 Days a Week” and the author is R. L. Houck. Text below the title reads: “Modern * F/F/F/M/NB Orgy * Non-Binary Character Point of View * Sex Work * Power Dynamics.”
A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Red triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duxxx Prints Press logo. The title of the book is “Old Kings and New” and the author is Lyonel Loy. Text below the title reads: Fantasy with Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics * M/M Omega/Omega * Conquered x Conqueror * Bodice Ripper Vibes.

Title: Old Kings and New
Author: Lyonel Loy

M/M, Fantasy, Omega/Omega, Middle-Aged Characters, Bonding Over Shared Favorite (Rape Fantasy) Books

No one in their right mind would name Isemund king, but he’s the only heir left, and so the council names him and then flees before the conqueror Caith can seize the castle.

Isemund is prepared to die at the hands of the invader.

Caith has other plans in mind.

Become a backer at the $25/month level to read this story!

Title: Escape
Author: Sanne Burg

F/M + F/M Established Relationship with Partner Swapping, Contemporary Romance, Middle-Aged Characters, Friends with Benefits to Lovers

Anxiety means that it doesn’t take much to push Liam into needing some quiet time to himself, and he’s so appreciative of his wife Alice taking the initiative to get him that quiet time.

He’s slightly less appreciative when their friends-with-benefits partner-swap married friends Dan and Lola show up, especially considering that it was finding RPF fanart of him and Dan having sex that triggered Liam’s anxiety in the first place…

Become a backer at the $7/month level (or higher!) to read this story!

A book cover. The background is a mottled tan parchment tone. Red triangles in each corner bear a simple motif resembling a very stylized peacock. An ornate decorative graphic with elegant swirls is centered at the top. At the bottom is the Duxxx Prints Press logo. The title of the book is “Escape” and the author is Sanne Burg. Text below the title reads: Modern * F/F and M/M * Polyamory * Friends to Lovers.

Duck Prints Press publishes 6 short stories every month to our Patreon – love short stories? Better become a backer now!

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Become a Duck Prints Press Patron and Help Us Pick Our Next Anthology Theme!

The Duck Prints Press Patreon includes a lot of awesome perks for people depending on their backer level, and one of the coolest? Every single backer, from the lowest $3/month level to the highest $25/month level, gets a say in deciding themes for our anthologies!

Starting yesterday, and for the next week (ending April 19 2024), we’re running a poll to pick the theme for our next General Imprint anthology!

What are the choices?

The common element is cozy. We love our debut anthology Add Magic to Taste, and we wanted something with a similar feel-good vibe for this collection. With that in mind, the DPP staff discussed a lot of options, and we narrowed it down to five – and picking between those five is where the backers come in!

  • cozy cottagecore (cabins and farms count as “cottages” – think Stardew Valley and Slime Rancher vibes)
  • cozy critters (any setting, cozy stories that include non-human characters)
  • cozy libraries/museums/colleges (take the central idea of “dark academia” as a genre…and turn it cozy. “Light academia” if you will)
  • cozy vacations/travels/trips (let’s take a journey together, and it’s soft and happy, and includes a lot of tropes like There Was Only One Bed)
  • cozy sword-and-sorcery/action adventure in a fantasy setting (self-explanatory. 😀 )

Which will win?

A screen capture of five options in a poll, with circles for voting - indicating that each voter must pick one. The five listed options are the same as already listed earlier in this blog post.

Time will tell!

Want to vote? You can! Become a Duck Prints Press Patreon supporter TODAY!

Interested in applying to contribute to this project, once we’ve settled on a theme? We anticipate opening recruitment for this anthology in July, 2024. You can make sure you hear about it when we do by signing up for our mailing list!

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Proposed Changes to the Duck Prints Press Patreon

Visit our Patreon to read the full break down of proposed changes to our Patreon.

Y’all may recall that we asked for your feedback a bit ago on ways to potentially change our Patreon offerings, and we’ve made some decisions. The link is to the full proposed changes, and is available to the public (you don’t have to be a backer to read it).

The TL:DR is:

We’ll be adding one art piece as a reward per month, and those art pieces will also be used to compile a calendar and some form of art portfolio. The calendar will be a freebie for highest-level backers, and both calendar and art portfolio will be available for sale to backers and non-backers alike.

We’ll be adding one convention-esque panel per month, where people involved with the Press who have topic-expertise hold a talk and Q&A on topics selected by the backers on Patreon. We are tentatively planning to offer recordings of these for sale to non-backers, but we’re not yet sure there’d be demand for that.

These new offerings will begin in August 2024.

It’s always a good time to become a backer of the Duck Prints Press Patreon!

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Answered Asks: Publishing Without Using Amazon?

Cross-posted reply to an ask received on Tumblr.

hey, i’d like to just throw this out to you, since you’re a press so i have a feeling you might know. if i was seeking to publish a book but i didn’t want it to ever be sold through amazon, what would my options be?

I’m assuming you mean you’re interested in self-publishing? If yes, then yeah, I can give you at least some information about your options. 😀

If you don’t want to use Amazon, you definitely still have some options for self-publishing a book. I can sympathize with this sentiment; we hate Amazon and I’ve done what I can to keep our works off there (and, ultimately, failed, but still kept it to a minimum).

There’s two overarching questions you’ll need to consider when deciding how to proceed:

  • What formats are you selling? Are you doing e-book only or e-book + print or print book only? What about audiobooks? Which will influence your choices.
  • Are you mostly interested in direct sales (as in, you personally sell the book to the customer) or sales-through-an-intermediary (as in, a bookstore sells your book to a customer) or distribution (as in, you list the book with someone who acts as an intermediary between you and other vendors)?

As briefly as I can, first, here’s what Duck Prints Press uses:

  • Ingram – e-book (and, once we have one – we’re working on our first! – audiobook) distribution. Ingram is the biggest book distributor in the US and has a virtual monopoly on distribution. Even places that aren’t technically Ingram, such as draft2digital, usually use Ingram. Because they’re a near-monopoly, Ingram has a lot of ability to, well, screw people, and one way they’ve tried to screw people is they keep making it harder to get into their better services, pushing people to their much-less-supported service IngramSpark. I managed to get the Press grand-fathered in to Coresource, which is their e-book and audiobook distribution system, even tho we don’t meet the current minimums for number of titles for that product. I CAN’T get into Lightning Source, which is their better-supported print book distribution service, because we don’t have enough titles (we’d need 30, we currently have 10ish). If I wanted to use IngramSpark, I’d have to ditch Coresource, and I don’t want to do that because Coresource works great and has good customer support, and so I had to settle on a compromise I don’t love until we meet the minimums for Lightning Source – I use Coresource through Ingram for e-book distribution (and don’t distribute to Amazon), which is…
  • draft2digital – print book distribution. This was my work around for not losing Coresource in the name of getting Ingram print on demand (pod), and it came with a price: d2d doesn’t let me opt out of Amazon, much to my irritation. So the three titles we currently have pod on ARE on Amazon.
  • our webstore – e-book and print books, directly sold to the public. Our website lets people download e-books; I package print book orders made through the webstore myself and mail them myself.
  • in-person sales – I started vending at events last year; this year I’ll be doing about a dozen.

All of which goes to show, even trying to publish while avoiding the most evil places is really hard and a source of frustration. If anyone knows a good option for ethical publishing distribution, I’m honestly all ears. Competing with Ingram is extremely David vs. Goliath (see also the recent death of Small Press Distribution).

So: remembering that Amazon is easily the worst but that there’s still basically no ethical consumption or production under capitalism…

Ingram

Of the places I’m familiar with, the best-known option with the widest reach for self-publishing distribution is IngramSpark. As mentioned, I don’t use Spark, but Coresource lets me completely customize which of Ingram’s partners (vendors, wholesalers, libraries, etc.) I actually distribute with, and I’ve assumed that other Ingram products are the same. I believe IngramSpark is currently free per title; they get paid by charging fees per sale and because they get better listing deals with partners than an individual would get (like, Ingram might get charged x per title they list with, idk, Barnes and Noble, whereas you as an individual would get charged y, where y is larger than x, and Ingram pockets the difference).

I know a lot of people who use IngramSpark and my impression is that when it works, it works really well, but when it doesn’t, getting help/customer service can be a nightmare. Virtually everyone I know who has used them has stories about late titles, support taking a week+ to reply, that kind of thing. I believe they have an option to pay for better/more rapid responses from customer support, which I feel kinda tells you everything you need to know about IngramSpark.

Draft2Digital

Another option is draft2digital. They use the Ingram distribution network, but again they can do so cheaper than an individual can because of their bulk sales through Ingram. They also offer e-book, audiobook, and print distribution. I use draft2digital for print and I’ve been quite satisfied with their customer support, but their print distribution doesn’t allow opt-out of Amazon. HOWEVER, I believe their e-book distribution does. At minimum, there’s a checklist on d2d about “steps you have to take to distribute e-books through d2d” and I’m assuming if you just. didn’t do that checklist. then you obviously wouldn’t get your books distributed through them. The other big thing I don’t like about d2d (which may also be true of IngramSpark, idk) is that they charge after the first revision. Which is to say: you put together your book, you upload your book, you get it all set… and you notice a mistake. Okay, fine. You fix the mistake and re-upload. Re-uploading uses a “change token.” You only get one free change token per title per six months. So, you notice another mistake you feel you have to fix a few days after that first? That’ll cost $25. I’ve personally just kinda… tried to find all my mistakes right off and fix them, and anything I spot after that, I keep a log and will update all of them at the six month point. (I understand why they do this, btw – they have actual humans doing set-up on their end, so if you revise eight times in a week, that’s a lot for an actual human, and charging for the tokens forces people to be careful, helps ensure people submit books that are actually ready in good faith, and helps keep costs low. That doesn’t mean it’s not annoying, though.)

Bookvault

Bookvault is a UK-based print-on-demand option (so NO e-book distribution, just print) that has recently started offerings in the US too. They currently have a relatively limited distribution network, but they’re growing, and especially for UK-based people they’re a strong alternative. I’ve heard a lot of positive reports about their printing in a FB group I’m in (Kickstarter for Authors – do recommend, lots of great info there), but I’ll own my personal experiences weren’t great and I’ve decided not to keep using them for now. However, if what you primarily want is print books as print-on-demand, and some limited distribution choices, they’re a good choice, and they can help with option five below.

Do It Yourself Lite

A fourth option that’s a LOT of work is…you add it everywhere yourself. Most places will let you. For example, here’s how to sell on Barnes and Noble.com. When I self-pubbed a book a few years back, before I ran the Press, I submitted my work by hand to several different options (B&N, Kobo, Amazon because I still used them then, Smashwords, to name a few). However, doing this isn’t the same as distribution – it only will sell through that specific vendor – and as far as I know there are no options for doing print-on-demand those ways (I THINK, tho I’m not sure, that Amazon is the only place you can set up both e-book and pod through a single vendor – it’s not something I’ve researched tho, cause with the Press, doing single-title-at-a-time entry across so many different vendors is simply not realistic).

Side note on this: I don’t believe there’s a way to list self-pub books on Bookshop.org, but don’t quote me on that.

This method also doesn’t work well if you want to get your title in with libraries. I researched this a bit well over a year ago now, so I don’t recall all the details, but before we signed up for Ingram I DID try to see if there was a way for us to publish and get in libraries especially without involving them, but there…wasn’t really. Places like Overdrive that handle e-book-to-library distribution don’t really have a way for individuals to submit; I have this vague memory I found a way to do it that involved paying per title but tbh I can’t even find that now (though while I was looking I did find this decent-looking article about how to get your self-published book out in the world, echoing a lot of what I say here).

Do It Yourself Difficult Mode

Your fifth major option, and what we originally did as a press, is: do it all yourself. You can get your own storefront (ours is through Woocommerce + WordPress). You can do your own crowdfunding. You can run your own newsletter (I use Mailerlite), do your own advertising, etc. You can do your own printing (we currently use Booklogix and I’m quite happy with them, their customer service is A+++). You can vend at events, you can market to local bookstores, sell through bookstores that do consignment, etc. You can learn to format your own e-books (I use a combination of Affinity software and Calibre, with an assist from Daisy to improve the accessibility of our e-books). You can get access to stock images and vector art to make things look nice (I use vecteezy). There’s a LOT you can do entirely on your own. And that’s what I did for myself before I ran the Press, and what I did for the Press for the first couple years we operated.

The reason I changed how the Press handles things? I hate to say this but the sad truth of publishing is that not using Amazon is utterly crippling to a publisher. As of 2 years ago, Amazon represented 67% of all book sales in the United States. Not selling through Amazon means accepting you’ll simply be completely unable to reach more than half of the people reading works in English all around the world (works not in English may be different, I don’t know that market since I publish in English). And for myself, alone – for my works? I could make that choice. But the Press currently works with well over 100 authors, and I ultimately felt I couldn’t make the same choice to them. I tried so so hard not to compromise this, but refusing all distribution, when we were also avoiding Amazon, meant completely hamstringing the ability of authors we work with to market and sell their books. It meant, to work with us, people would have to sacrifice so much of their ability to earn money from their words, and it just didn’t feel right to continue in that avenue as we grew. So, I was forced to compromise: first to use Ingram, which I did on the condition that I’d be able to reject Amazon specifically, and then by having to use draft2digital, including their goddamn Amazon print-on-demand, at least until I qualify for a better option, which as soon as I can do? You bet your butt I’ll be switching and opting out of Amazon again.

The current climate makes these choices really hard, and I didn’t make them lightly, nor did I make them alone – there’s about 20 people on the DPP staff, and they all contributed opinions and voted on the final decisions I implemented for the Press in these regards.

(and sorry, I know “what DPP does and why” is a bit to the left of your actual question, but I felt like it’d be weird to make a list of recommendations without including the decisions I’ve personally made and why – like, why would I recommend you something I don’t do myself with the books I publish? So sorry for the info dump.)

The TL:DR of all this is, as far as I know, and as I’ve been forced to accept as part of the realities of running a small press in the modern world of publishing, is that avoiding one Big Evil (Amazon) with any hope of achieving even a modicum of success basically requires partnering with at least one other Big Evil (Ingram especially). It’s a very hard game to win.

HOWEVER, you are doing this FOR YOURSELF, NOT for all the people involved in a business larger than just you. If you’re willing to put in the extra work to figure out a lot on your own and manage your own marketing, you can theoretically build enough of an audience to go it alone without Amazon OR Ingram OR places like Kobo/B&N/etc. You’ll have to outlay more out of pocket – things like webhosting cost money – and you’ll have to be a lot more careful – if you’re running your own website instead of using someone elses, you gotta go above and beyond making you’re in compliance with privacy rules and such – but it can be done.

And if you don’t want to go that route, and your only real “to avoid” is Amazon specifically… use IngramSpark.

Sorry I’m long-winded. I hope this helps! Good luck with your publishing goals!

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Become an Advance Reader for Duck Prints Press!

A graphic that says "ARC Readers Wanted!" Below this is the cover of a book as shown on a tablet reader; the book cover is "Aether Beyond the Binary: A Duck Prints Press Anthology" and features two people, one light skinned, one dark skinned, engaged in doing magic/science with a floating flower. Additional text on the graphic reads: "Join Duck Prints Press's Reviewer Program and apply to receive an e-ARC of our upcoming aetherpunk, genderqueer anthology: Aether Beyond the Binary." The background of the graphic is white with green-blue and gray swirls and circuit board motifs.

Reviews are essential for showing prospective readers that we’re publishing awesome books that they want to buy and read. We’re looking to recruit an active group of people who post reviews of our work, and to do that we need your help! For the first time, we’re offering Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of one of our projects: Aether Beyond the Binary, our most recent anthology, featuring 17 stories of characters outside the gender binary exploring modern-esque aetherpunk worlds.

How it works: You see this post. You think, oh, I love reading! I love leaving reviews! I want to join the Duck Prints Press Reviewer Program! Then, you go and read the rules for our Reviewer Program. And, if everything there sounds like something you can do, you fill out the form, and – we’ll be in touch! Even better: this program isn’t only for Aether Beyond the Binary, and isn’t only for “advance” titles. Our reviewers are encouraged to claim titles that are currently released, too, to help build up a robust collection of reviews of Duck Prints Press titles!

Requirements:

  • You must be over 18 years old.
  • You must be prepared to post reviews on Goodreads and/or Storygraph.
  • You must also post the review on the appropriate listing on the Duck Prints Press webstore (for advance titles, you’ll have to wait ’til we list them there).
  • Upon acceptance to the program, you must join the Duck Prints Press Book Lover’s Server.
  • Reviews must be at least 100 words long must and engage with the actual content of the work being reviewed.
  • Reviews must be left within 6 months of claiming a title, or you will be removed from the program.

What isn’t Required:

  • That the reviews be positive. Reviews are for readers. We require that reviews be honest to your own experience of the work, not that they be glowing.
  • That you post the reviews to social media. Doing so is definitely a bonus, but you don’t have to.
  • That you associate yourself publicly with the review-leaving (beyond using a valid Goodreads and/or Storygraph account). As in, you don’t have to say, “I, (your name here), reviewed this book” or link your book website accounts with your existing social media presence or anything like that, nor do we request any demographic information beyond confirmation of your age.
  • That you purchase anything. Absolutely no purchase necessary!

What You Get:

  • A e-book copy (ePub and/or PDF) of the work you’re reviewing. We do not provide physical ARCs.
  • After you post your first review, you’ll get a coupon for 10% off a purchase from the Duck Prints Press webstore!
  • For every ten reviews you post, you can claim a freebie sticker from among our sticker offerings, if you want. (You’ll have to provide a snail mail address to get this, of course.)
  • A community of fun book-lovers to hang out with! (You can get that even without joining the ARC program, though – our Book Lover’s Discord is open to everyone.)

We’re accepting applicants for claiming Aether Beyond the Binary ARCs through April 10th, 2024. On the 11th, we’ll randomly select 25 of applicants to receive ARC copies of Aether Beyond the Binary. Everyone else will still be entirely welcome in the program and invited to start with a different, back-catalog book or story to review. We’ll make another pool of Aether Beyond the Binary ARCs available in May.

So… those are the basics. Interested? Go read the full rules, then apply to be a Duck Prints Press ARC reader TODAY!

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Meet Some of Duck Prints Press’s Transgender Authors!

A graphic showing 10 book covers over stripes in pastel blue, pastel pink, and white - the colors of the trans pride flag. The graphic is labeled as "Transgender Day of Visibility: 11 reads by Trans Authors x Duck Prints Press." The book covers are: Aether Beyond the Binary: A Duck Prints Press Anthology; Of Loops and Weaves by Catherine E. Green; Sarisa by N. C. Farrell; Whispers of Atlantis: A Tale of Discovery and Belonging by Neo Scarlett; Chrysopoeia by Zel Howland; Many Drops Make a Stream by Adrian Harley; A Shield for the People by Puck Malamud; This Treatment for Chronic Pain has an Unbelievable Side Effect! by Xianyu Zhou; And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing"; and LA Photographs Itself by YF Ollwell.

Today, March 31st 2024, is Transgender Day of Visibility! We’re celebrating by shining the spotlight on 11 trans authors who’ve published with us, and three more who are contributing to projects that are in the pipeline. Duck Prints Press works with many trans creators, but we never disclose such information without explicit permission – there are way more than 11 trans folks working with us, but the people highlighted in this post all opted in to be included: they’re here, they’re trans, and they’re happy for y’all to know that about them!

Most of these authors have published more than one work with Duck Prints Press; we’re mostly highlighting one story each for this post, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to read!

Aether Beyond the Binary is our most recent anthology (Kickstarted in January, expected to go up for sale in late spring or early summer). About half the contributors are transgender or genderqueer, including four who volunteered to be included in this post!

  • S. J. Ralston, who contributed the story Razzmatazz, about a dystopian Hollywood where robots of long-dead stars are forced to make movies, and about the non-binary mechanic who services them.
  • Kelas Lloyd, who contributed the story True, about a non-binary teen going to a remedial camp to help them learn to channel aether.
  • Catherine E. Green, who contributed the story To Hold the World Close, about an established non-binary couple working together to try to take down a corporation that’s trying to control access to the world-wide aether network.
  • Zel Howland, who contributed the story Flower and Rot, about a world where channeling aether causes human bodies to sprout plants, and about the people who sprout fungi instead.
  • Meet the other contributors, too!

All of our anthologies have had trans contributors; highlighted here also is And Seek (Not) to Alter Me: Queer Fanworks Inspired by Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” contributed to by Adrian Harley (a character study of modern-day Benedick’s coming out as a trans man) and Nickel J. Keep (a wlw historical story about the characters returning home after serving in World War 2).

You can read about all the contributors to Aether Beyond the Binary here.

And other works by our trans authors…

And we’ve got upcoming projects featuring even more trans authors!

So come check out Duck Prints Press, an indie press that works with fancreators to publish their original works, and support some awesome trans creators this Transgender Day of Visibility!

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Now Available: Hockey Bois by A. L. Heard

A graphic for advertising a book. The background shows an icy water surface, like a rink, in a gradient from deep blue to nearly white. The ice is cut up as if people have been skating on it, and it reflects light. A book cover is centered over the background graphic. The title of the book is "Hockey Bois: A Beer League Romance" and the author is "A. L. Heard." The image on the book cover shows two men from the back. They are in a loose embrace, one with an arm over the other's shoulder, the other with his arm around the first's waist. They're wearing hockey helmets and jerseys that read "Jensen 68" and "Porter 12," and there are hearts in red, white, and blue floating around them. Text above the book cover reads "Hockey Bois: A Beer League Romance by A. L. Heard." The book cover is surrounded by arrows that point to text. This text reads: "hockey players are sexy af" "meddling friends and family" "emotionally constipated idiots to lovers" "m/m" "grumpy x sunshine" "mutual pining" "slooooow burn" At the bottom of the graphic, text reads "Now Available!"

Our successful crowdfunding campaign for Hockey Bois by A. L. Heard has been fulfilled, backers have their awesome rewards, and that means now, even if you missed the December pre-order window, now you can get your copy of this fun contemporary hockey slow-burn mlm novel!

Nick Porter has always loved hockey. Ever since he can remember, it’s been his favorite thing in the world. It’s too bad he never learned to play, he’d tell himself, but it was too late to do it now. Adults don’t just magically learn to skate and join a hockey team. That’d be ridiculous.

Except maybe they do? On a whim, he decides to sign up for an adult beginner’s class. He learns to skate, joins a team, and meets a really hot teammate… and it’s pretty much a disaster from there on out.

Available in…

  • e-book from our website, major retailers, and through the library e-book app of your choice!
  • trade paperback from our website and major retailers, and you can request it from your library or bookstore of choice!
  • hard cover is only available through our website, and only while supplies last. We have about a dozen copies left and will not be printing more so if you want the hard cover, get it while you can!

Want even more? Don’t miss the merchandise!

A graphic with words and art over a photograph of ice. It's entitled "Hockey Bois" Merchandise and includes images in three categories: "Magnets," which shows chibi artwork of two chibi men in hockey uniforms skating while holding their hockey stickers; "Two-sided Bookmark" which features the same two men, but not in a chibi/cute style, as shown on a bookmark with a white background, and "Stickers," which has artwork of five stickers, including the same two chibi images as in magnets, then artwork of the two men embracing from behind, another of them chibi and standing side by side, and a last piece of them from the waist up with arms over each other's shoulders as they clink beer bottles.

And that’s not all! Can’t get enough and Nick and Brady? We have short stories by A. L. Heard for that!

Brady Jensen vs. Haunted House: a “what if” alternate take on if these characters went to high school together!

Brambles, Pollen, and Other Natural Disasters: a sexy “what if” college setting version, with sex pollen!

Snowbound and Love Sick: another sexy alternate take, this time snowed-in together in a cabin – what could possibly go wrong?

And you can get EVEN MORE on A. L. Heard’s ko-fi!

Come on over to the Duck Prints Press Webstore and Get Your Copies Now!