A few weeks ago I travelled back in a time warp. I attended a writers festival and discovered there are still some rickety, old fences being propped up by the pomposity of the old gatekeepers.
The writers festival in question is truly a magnificent event. It’s held at a library and the organizers are exceptionally generous in giving time to self-published writers alongside agents and publishers from the traditional world. This was the second year they’ve invited me to speak and a few months previous the same group even hosted me one evening to give a reading. The organizers offer a balanced blend of information for writers. These are progressive people who understand the current state of books and publishing. I sat on an early morning panel and there were five of us. Four were self-published authors and the fifth was a well-known local traditionally published writer who was a nice addition to the group. For sixty minutes we talked about connecting with our readers, working at our craft and producing professional product. We answered questions from the one hundred and fifteen audience members and tried to pass along the information that has been so freely given to us. Continue reading “Are Traditional Publishers Avoiding the “R” Word?”
I was talking with another author, DV Berkom, yesterday about indie publishing. Both of us wrote as staff of Indies Unlimited and both of us agreed on a major reality of self/indie publishing.
Namely, that there was a “Golden Age” when everything came together at once and it was a virgin New World ripe for the taking… but that’s changed.
A lot of the people whose advice we take on publishing–largely because we see their big successes as meaning they know what we should do–were very encouraging because of those successes, but it’s important to realize that the environment in which they achieved them is no longer the same. Some might even say, no longer exists. Continue reading “After the Gold Rush”
Every month or so we get another outcry against self-published fiction. Some are aimed at the Beast of Amazon, destroyer of standards and scourge of literature, like George Packer’s bitter lament in The New Yorker (“Cheap words,” February 17, 2014) or Thad McIlroy’s anxious number-crunching on his blog (“How amazon destroyed the publishing ecosystem,” March 12, 2014.) Others, like Donald Maass, rail against self-publishing in general, on the grounds that it produces far more chaff than wheat (Writer Unboxed, “The new class system,” February 5, 2014.)
This dire transformation, this destruction of literature, is blamed on new technologies which have made it far too easy to produce a book, drastically lowering the necessary barriers to publication that have kept the riff-raff out for centuries.
I saw this meme on Facebook and thought it perfect to use for the title of this post. Why? Because it expresses how I’ve felt for the past two months. It’s difficult to be shoved into turbulent waters just for making a decision someone else didn’t approve of. It’s even harder to keep your head above water while trying to find a way out. But it isn’t impossible. It can be done.
Two years ago, I was a budding new author who just finished my first book. Like many others who begin this long road without a map, I automatically took what I thought was the safest route. I signed with a small press publisher. Now, before I go any farther and some readers get their undies in a bunch, let me say that this is my story, my experiences, and they are in no way definitive. However, every day I hear from more and more writers who managed to get off at the intersection of Scam and Misrepresentation and have their own dark stories to tell. You may want to pay attention. Trust me, once you turn down the wrong road, it can take years before you find another byway. Think Twilight Zone. Continue reading “Throw Me to the Wolves and I’ll Return Leading the Pack! (part 1)”