I have been thinking a lot about the publishing industry over the last 2 1/2 years since I started down my path to becoming an author. There is a plethora of cornicopias of information on this subject and it keeps getting larger by the day. This post included.
The reason that I am writing about this is I am still a newbee, but there may be people with even less information than I have and are starting down their path.
To start, I currently have next to no knowledge of how the traditional publishing world works. What I do know is from what I have read from other authors who have gone through the process and have tried to gain what knowledge that I could from that. I only have one book and novella self published, and I am currently working on my second. Some of what I have heard about traditional publishing was very disheartening. For instance, JK Rowling with the first Harry Potter, took over a year before some one thought it “might be” good enough to sell. So I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Did I want to subject myself to the littany of rejection that is traditional publishing or try self publishing, which at the time was receiving a lot of unfavorable press. I could brace for rejection or just throw my writing on the pile. Really, that was the choice I gave myself.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I though that my story could be as good as other traditional authors, and I would be one of the lucky ones that didn’t get all of the rejections, but I was still afraid. I had heard rumors that some big name authors submit their work to their agents just to see if it gets through under a different pen name only to get a rejection letter back.
I went to all of the big names that were out there, that I respected as authors. Brad Thor, JK Rowling, Dean Koontz, George Lucas, and others, just to see how they got their start. Each had a story similar to how I was starting, and because of that I was really heavily starting to lean toward submitting queries to agents, fortifying myself for the incoming rejections, and started praying.
Something stopped me from writing that first query though, well someone, my best friend Kyle. Kyle is a lot like me, we like to know a lot of things about a lot of things. He had recently been listening to pod casts and reading information about self publishing and how it was changing the face of the publishing world. So I decided it was at least worth a look, since there had to be more information about it out there somewhere.
When I started to look into self publishing back in 2011 it was referred to like a disease, and something to be avoided. I pulled up a pod cast I was listening to and they started talking about self publishing. It was the Sword and Laser Pod cast, a book club, and for that particular month they were reading a book simply called, Wool. The book, by Hugh Howey, was an amazing read, great characters, story, and it had a gravity pulling at me to turn the digital page after digital page. Tom Merrit and Veronica Bellmont were talking about how Hugh self published and how it was a growing thing.
That got me interested and I started looking more into exactly who he was and why he chose this path. I wanted to read someones perspective from the aspect of success in the self publishing area.
I felt like I was being pulled in different directions and didn’t know where to turn. Thanks to Hugh, Jon Acuff, and Dan Miller with everything they have written it showed me that I have to choose my own path. That there is an inherrent love of what you do that will drive you to do it. You can’t just do something because you think it will make money. You have to do it because you can’t think about not doing it.
Making stories, worlds, and entertaining people is what I really enjoy. After figuring that out it was simple to see that writing was going to be in my future one way or the other. I chose self publishing because I wanted to have complete control over everything I have created. I didn’t want to give away my ideas to get a pentance back. That is what I thought at the time.
I have now come to realize that it is really a matter of what you want out of your writing. I want to connect with my reader, I want to have a direct relationship with them and have a conversation with them. Writing for me has become a past time that I love. My whole life I have used my imagination to conjure up different realms of reality so that I might get away to a new place, or have a new adventure.
With the help of my wife Christine, she opened my eyes to the idea that life was meant to be lived happily, and we have the ability to do just that. You just have to choose to chase your dream whatever that is. If it’s writing, publishing, exercising, cooking, inventing, or what ever idea you have, get the facts. Look up what it’s all about and see if it’s something you want to put time and effort into. For traditional publishing look at what a contract might be like, how will you be paid, how they will advertise for you, and what they will do to get your name recognized? If you self publish, how will you get your name out there, how much money do you want to put into the book? You need to have it edited, a book cover, maybe a website? What will your platform look like, who will build it, and maintain it?
Writing is work and it is worth it to me, but if nothing ever comes from it, I will have still made stories that I want to read, and that I can control where it goes, and I love that.
I have gotten all of these really great ideas from the fantastic writings of Jon Acuff, Hugh Howey, Matthew Mather, and Tim Gruhl.