It’s the first Wednesday of the month, time for
I’ve been participating in the IWSG for a year now, and, in that time, I think most of my posts have been complaints about one thing or another, usually about how discouraged I was feeling. Yes, I know, that’s kind of what it’s for, but, besides being a place to vent insecurities, it’s also a place to support those writers who need it. I just always seemed to be on the receiving end. But not today.
Today, I’m here to tell you, you CAN do it. I’m living proof. And if I can do it, so can you. For whatever reason, writers are incredibly insecure. All we want is for others to read our words, and, for most of us, that means we want to publish those words, get them out into the world for all to see and, hopefully, love. But with the industry in total upheaval, it seems quite daunting. There are dues to pay, rules to follow, a platform to build, and a craft to learn and perfect. And to make it even harder, we have to get past those pesky gatekeepers, because…well, that’s the way it’s always been done. Right?
As my dear friend and fellow author, Jennifer Hillier once told me, there are many paths to publication. Some of you have chosen the self-pub route. I commend you on that move. Contrary to what some might think, it’s not the easiest way, at least not if you want to actually sell your book to readers. It takes endless hours of hard work to promote a book on your own. I know I could never do it myself. And it’s not just about not having the marketing expertise either. I simply don’t have the drive. Even if I hadn’t sold my novel, I know I never would have self-pubbed because it’s just so blasted difficult. Kudos to those of you fearless enough to take on that brave new world.
If you’re more like me and, for whatever reason, only consider traditional publishing, take heart. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pursue the traditional path. With the explosion of ebooks, and with traditional publishers—namely the Big 6—not really knowing how to forecast, let alone deal with what the future might bring, many small presses have popped up.
These independent publishers are focused and built on the very foundation of ebooks, as well as the old standards. They’re start-ups with marketing and business plans developed around this new formula, with the ability to change with an industry in flux. They aren’t dinosaurs trying to survive what they see as a world apocalypse. And while the Big 6 and all their subsidiaries and imprints throw 99% of their marketing budgets behind 1% of their authors, the indies are not only willing to cast their money and reputation behind new talent, they thrive on it
Most of these establishments understand that the old blueprint is not the only way to find this new talent. They don’t rely solely on literary agents. They know writers don’t always choose to seek representation, and that even if a writer hasn’t been able to land an agent, that doesn’t mean their work is not worthy of publication. It just means many agents overlook talent while pandering to the T-Rex.
I spent a few months seeking the Holy Grail, and while I only tapped the top of the well and had planned on digging deeper, I didn’t limit myself. In addition to sixty or so agents, I chose to query one small press, which resulted in a deal. Yeah, sure, I would love the validation that goes along with representation, but ultimately, publication was what I sought. And I got that. Without an agent. It is possible. In fact, I have several friends who’ve done the same recently. I stand behind it so fiercely, I convinced another friend who seemed dead set against it to finally submit to my publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing. Why the hell not? His book is every bit good enough.
So to all of you who feel ground under the heel of Godzilla and his minions, fear not. Embrace change and snuggle deep into the bosom of revolution. It’s your time. You just need the ability and desire to break free from dogma of conformity. The publishing industry is headed that way regardless. Why not tag along for the ride?
This is my last IWSG post before my debut novel, The Mistaken, launches on the 18th. After that, I might be seeking consolation for utter and total failure. But I sure hope not!
BTW, if you were here on Monday, you know I’m out of town at my first writer’s conference. Because of this, I probably won’t have time to make the rounds until I get back. But thank you so very much for stopping by. It’s the support of friends like you that has enabled me to make my dreams come true.