As some of you may know, Cecilia and I began writing as a fluke. We joined a role playing group back in 2010 and were a mated couple back then. We had never met before until September 6, 2010. We were both green behind the ears and aside from my writing when much younger and Cecilia's technical writing for work, we had not written anything.

We jumped into writing erotic scenes for the group as if it was second nature. Our partnership took off smoothly and readers began to prompt us for new posts. In December of 2010, after months writing solely for RP, we left the group. It was a hard decision to make back then but yet needed. At that time, we worried we would not find any other avenue for writing together as our only experience had been with group writing and with writing another author's characters. After writing so many emotionally charged scenes you get attached—very attached. We wanted to continue to write as a team but felt we needed a less constringent field to play in.

That's when Countermeasure was born.

One night, I had a very detailed dream (which became Countermeasure's prologue) and discussed it with Cecilia at the very first opportunity. It didn't take long to put a semi-plot together based on that dream and we agreed to develop the characters, make them into Role Play characters, and develop a more solid plot, storyline for RP. We did just that within a week and the result became To Russia With Love. We began posting To Russia With Love on Facebook on January 3, 2011, as an experiment but within a month or so, we had a small but steady following. The more we wrote and posted, the more people asked for the next chapter.

By March, a publisher approached and sent us a contract for TRWL before the story was even finished. We were extremely flattered and excited but at the same time we balked at signing.. It wasn't fair to the publisher nor to us since we had no idea how the story would turn out or even if we could finish such a long project at the time. The publisher expressed an interest in any other work we might have and we submitted two of our many short stories written during our group RP days. Those two shorts were accepted and published shortly after. And that's when our journey toward publishing took a turn.

The average boilerplate contract of traditional publishers (based on discussions with multi-published authors and publicly posted articles on the subject) do not include marketing budgets. In the old days, they might have had advertising and promotion as part of their responsibilities but as the times changed, that responsibility was switched over to the authors. Digital publishers have an even harder clause. Promoting and advertising is somewhat compulsory for authors and part of contracts. If authors don't promote, that might be just cause for termination.

In the meantime, while the shorts were being published, we continued to work hard on finishing TRWL and had just began writing Countermeasure when the short stories finally hit the e-shelves, which meant, no time for promotion, and, in turn, it meant not many sales.

To be honest, we had no experience with book promotion , I suck at sales, so the task of getting the shorts promoted was a tough one for us. But as usual, we tackled it as a team. We realized we needed to get in the groove of what authors did and how they did it to succeed in the wildly changing publishing market. We joined several writer's organizations, attended workshops, seminars, discussions, and the more we did that, the more we understood the traditional publishing world was being swallowed whole by self-publishing and e-publishing.

Traditional publishers have not changed their contracts to fit the changing times and we still see authors getting a disproportional amount per item in relation to the amount of work done by the author/writer in comparison to the work done by the publishers to get on e-book out on e-shelves. Most publishers only have promotion budgets for big names that are a sure sell. Others are left to fend for themselves in a very tough business.

After reading exhaustively, studying about the two sides of the story, and weighing our options, we decided to jump in the fray with open arms and open minds.

We agreed early on that we would not spare expenses with Countermeasure. That we would take all the steps, do all a traditional publisher does, to get a book out in the hands of readers: edit it professionally and thoroughly, copy edit and proofread it to death, never take anything for granted. We did all that and then some.

The advertising is still the toughest part of the business but that would fall on our shoulders whether or not we had decided to self-publish. I have since noticed that the popularity of a book is directly connected to the popularity of the author him/herself. Once you build your name, your brand, and the quality you represent is known, the books will sell well independent of being published by a traditional publisher or via the indie route.

The key seems to be getting your face out there and maintaining your core attitude toward publishing positive and uplifting. I often equate publishing a book with standing in the middle of an intersection naked, waiting for people to start pointing at you and commenting about it. Many will feel outraged by the stunt, some will be all depends on the eye of the beholder and the mind behind it.

Personally, I believe the only two differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing (for those who take the time to do their job and invest in the important steps to get the book published) nowadays is the stigma attached to self-publishing and the high royalty rates that come with the indie route. I consider it hazard pay for taking the most dangerous route.

We know it will take time. We know it will take work. We are in it for the long haul.

At this point, we just hope to share the stories as they come to us and that our readers will enjoy them as much as we did when we wrote them. The monetary compensation is secondary to the pleasure of reading reviews like the ones we have received of late. A big thank you to Becky Condit for the warm feeling her awesome review left inside us. It still lingers. Thank you for being a good sport and giving us the greatest reward.