First, some gratuitous self-promotion. LOOK TO YOUR RIGHT! See that link there? Where it says RISING is Coming Soon? It’s a sign-up for publication information on Rising: Book One of the Adept Cycle. SignUpNow! 😀 Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post….
Last February, I had the extreme pleasure of attending the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. I met industry professionals, published authors and a host of aspiring newbies like myself. The experience was entirely worth every penny spent. I came home convinced I was going to traditionally publish. After all, I’d attended the Agent Speed Dating session, and picked up several cards from interested agents.
Then I got home. And I mulled it over. All of the information sank into my brain as a cohesive whole, and it dawned on me: Literary agents are, indeed, awesome. However, most of them made mention of the fact that the industry has shifted so significantly that even agented new authors mostly self-publish at this point. In other words, the agent and resulting publisher are using the same exact tools that are available to me personally. The only big difference is the little stamp on the spine that indicates a major publishing house.
How often do you look for a specific publishing house image on a spine when you buy a book… especially when you’re downloading said book to your Kindle?
In my post-conference months, I realized that traditional publishing offers something very substantial to anyone who has neither the time nor the funds nor the aptitude — or simply the desire — to be her own publisher. Traditional publishing typically comes with a built-in editor, typesetter and cover designer. That’s a potential (probable) cost savings. Traditional publishing used to come with a publicity team and industry clout. Yeah… not so much anymore. All the agents at SFWC said basically the same thing: Do thee thy own publicity! Unless you’re John Grisham, we’re going to give you a paltry offering.
And you don’t get industry clout unless you earn it… With good writing… No other way.
Moral of the story: You still have to make your own success when you’re starting out, regardless of your publishing path.
Then I attended the Romance panel with Tina Folsom. She said, “If you can’t say cock and pussy, don’t write romance.”
No, wait… not that. Yes she said that… but… what she said was, “I’m entirely self published, and I’ve made two million dollars in the last three years. All it takes is — well, first and foremost, good, quality writing — but then it takes dedication and a lot of hard work.”
So I ask myself (talk to myself… whatevs…)
“Hey self, do you have some good, quality writing?” Damn Skippy, I do!!
“Hey self, are you dedicated?” Fuck yeah, I’m dedicated.
“Hey self, are you willing to burn the midnight oil to make this happen.” When do we start?
I also gathered another tidbit of wisdom from the conference that I can’t discount: I, personally, am technically adept. I write software. I can code and host my own websites. I understand the digital publishing platforms, and can visualize the code behind them. I understand the algorithms behind the ad servers. I actually designed and wrote an ad server that adapted itself to people’s browsing habits before said technology existed.
If I can’t be the driver of my own success in a self-publishing arena, then it’s only because I’m being lazy.
But I’m willing to constantly and continually learn.
I have a great network of know-how around me in the form of meet-up groups, Internet friends, and other-authors-I-hang-with, and I’m dedicated to ALL OF US succeeding. I love diving into the unknown and coming up from its depths with a whole new host of know-how. I especially love sharing that learning with others, and allowing the hive-mind to flourish.
So yes, I’m willing to pay an editor, typesetter and cover designer. I’m actively learning about marketing and self-promotion. I’m dedicated to being my own advocate and best cheerleader. I’m willing to put myself out there, try, fail, learn, try again and succeed. I’ll count my blessings when I see them, and I’ll learn from my false starts. I’ll keep going.