Posts filed under 'Indie-Publishing'

A Writer’s Life for Me?

More and more I’m considering that writing is best as a hobby than a career. Rats in the Slushpile makes a convincing argument based on the fickleness and random nature of the publishing industry, but (as if that weren’t enough) I came across the TIME magazine article How Writers Live. It paints a realistic picture of what awaits the majority of writers. Here’s my salient & sobering synopsis:

  1. The number of books published per year has doubled in the last 100 years. Fewer than half now sell more than 5000 copies.
  2. Author royalties are dropping, from 20% a decade ago to an average of 12% now
  3. Advances are smaller than a decade ago (average $1500)
  4. As a result of all this, the number of part-time authors who want to create, but don’t want an impoverished existence (like myself) is on the increase.
  5. As a result of that the average length of time to produce a novel has moved from one year to three years.

All in all, it sounds to me like there is a shift occurring in the publishing industry. The shifting strategy adopted by the publishing industry seems to be to sign-up many authors quickly for as little as possible and drop them just as quickly when they yield no profit, and to adopt ghost writers to pen to order cookie cutter clones of marketable fiction or celebrity non-fiction. Could it be that this strategy is inducing a shift in strategy by authors too, authors who are no longer content to create for such dubious rewards, but rather choose to empower themselves with the new tools of the internet and a flexible part-time writing lifestyle?

Could it be that the publishing industry is killing the golden goose? Or perhaps publishers are simply taking the steps necessary to ensure their survival in a global, competitive environment. On the face of it, it could be claimed that this is leading to a suffocation of human artistic endeavor, but upon closer examination, I think that it is a positive thing because it is leading to a profusion of cottage industry type publishing.

A diversity of many creative voices, which would otherwise be stifled by commercial homogeneity, can only be a good thing for our future.

Add comment July 9th, 2008

Judge a book by its cover?

Well – do you?

Broken Evolution Cover

Add comment December 2nd, 2007

A turn in strategy

I’ve always considered self-publishing as an option, but didn’t think I would resort to it quite so soon. Over the last few months, while working, some agent submissions have been doing the rounds in the background with no positive result from any of them.

I used to think that I would consider self-publication after 50 rejections. I am now resorting to it after just a dozen. Why? Put simply: time and cost.

I could spend years waiting for the illusive pick-up from an agent. I’ve calculated how much the submissions and rejections have cost me so far and have concluded that any further money would be better spent on the self-publication process. It would also give me control of the timeframe, so I don’t have to wait an indefinite amount of time for an indeterminable result. At least in the end, I have a gaurantee of my novel in publication. Even if the orders are low, at the given margin the process should pay for itself over time.

There is also a second advantage. Once a book is published, it attracts the attention of far more people in the publishing world and far faster than I can reach on a one-to-one submission basis. It is a way past the gatekeepers of the publishing world; it has happened that other self-published authors have been picked-up this way.

It is, in modern slang, a ‘no-brainer’.

Quite apart from all that, the story matters to me a very great deal. Time and money are secondary to the need to share it and have people read it –people other than agents’ readers, that is.

I’m also getting quite a kick out of designing the jacket for my first book! I look forward, once again, to holding the completed article in my hands.

Thanks to Rats in the Slushpile and the folks at Booksurge, I feel I am taking control of this project again … and can shortly bring it to you too.

Add comment September 19th, 2007

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