Self-aware. Self conscious. Self induced.

15,624 Reasons to Self-Publish

There is nothing bad about getting back to writing and frankly, I already mourn its imminent loss again as I pick up the next round of Things to Do. Last Sunday was when I sent out the latest draft of A Watchful Eye to some beta readers. Since then I’ve been overhauling book four and re-titling it – twice so far. I’m keeping the title to myself until I’m pretty sure it’s the right one. No – I’m pretty sure it’s the right one, this time. I’m keeping it to myself until I’m pretty positive. Or something.

Anyway – so far I’ve cut about fifteen pages, completely re-organized the narrative that I am keeping intact, and lo and behold – the story is much more interesting, the bad guys are much more dangerous, and it’s all coming together much better than it was in the previous draft.

You can see why, in the midst of this excitement and pain-staking work, I might find this post on marketing at All Indie Publishing a little, oh, what’s the word… disheartening. Lemee get this straight – you want me to market a book before I’ve even started it? Okay, where do I begin? A) I’m not so disciplined a writer that I know exactly how my five books are going to dovetail together. Hell, I wasn’t even sure how Eye was going to resolve until I got there. That’s because B) discovery is fun and exciting. Fine, fine – I accept the premise that I should at least be thinking about marketing already. But, damn.

Then there’s this from Anne Allen on how some agents are beginning to troll the e-book lists for selling authors. The problem with writing in the past (and this is similar to theater and film) is distribution. The writer (of plays, screenplays, or novels, in these cases) may have written a Masterpiece. Art, right? Well, here’s the thing – distribution tends to be more about business than art. The novelist has to convince the agent that s/he wants to represent said writer. Said agent has to convince an editor that this book can sell. Said editor has to convince a couple of committees…

And you thought after getting an agent the hard work was over?

This morning’s blog roll brings me my next gem, this time from D.L. Orton, guesting over at Pimp My Novel. I haven’t followed her links to check her math, but using the sources she found, she arrives at the following conclusion: “(T)he chances for a debut novel to see the light in any given year are: 1 in 15,625.” Ho-lee….

Meanwhile, Joe Konrath and his guests say – several times a week – screw publishers. Self-publish and keep more of the cut for yourselves. Konrath’s an evangelist, of course he’d say that.

So here’s the thing. Just like with music and movies, ye olde Intertubz are simplifying distribution. It’s a lot easier to get around the gatekeepers that publishers have put into place. And sure, that means there’s some real self-published crap out there – and of course, there’s some real “officially” published crap out there, too.

I remain torn about which route to go. But then, I’m only 1.3 books into 5, so I’ve got a little time to be thinking about this. You? Preferences for one or the other? Is prestige a big deal? Is it the imprimatur of Somebody Official? What?

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4 responses

  1. Here’s the link to the data behind the 15,625 number: http://querysharkbait.dlorton.com/rotten-rejections/

    March 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    • thanks for that!

      March 9, 2013 at 4:52 am

  2. clickerbug

    I just came across this: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/an-authors-nightmare/

    It’s a few years old; wonder if/how things have changed in four years?

    July 19, 2011 at 1:04 am

  3. clickerbug

    I admit I haven’t read a lot of self-published work. I’ve picked up a few self-published poetry books at independent bookstores, flipped through them, and put them back, uninterested.

    The most recent self-published book I read was a friend’s, whose extremely promising first draft I had read, which I had whole-heartedly encouraged him to keep working on and to get published. You can imagine my disappointment when I finally read the finished product, which he had self-published because his efforts to get a publisher to take it were unfruitful. It felt unfinished. Chapters abruptly ended without wrapping up the points within. Some of the stories rambled. I *liked* the stories in the first draft, but they still needed finessing. They needed the final touch. I felt the entire book needed an editor, which it didn’t get.

    I’ve recently started another friend’s Kindle-edition novel, but I can’t speak for it as I’m only a few pages in.

    SO, all that is to say that I hold the pre-prejudiced opinion that I’m less likely to be interested in a self-published book because I believe it has not gone through the trial by fire of another set of experienced, professional eyes.

    What you say, though, about agents trolling book lists for authors who are selling sounds pretty awesome. it seems to me that if people are buying your book and talking about it, it must be good enough. It’s gone through enough eyes to weed out the garbage.

    The world is changing, and whatever method throws the spotlight on quality writing is fine with me.

    July 15, 2011 at 11:30 am

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