Happy Humpday Y’all!
Today I have a guest post from David Sobkowiak. David has started to dive into indie publishing after writing for years.
As usual, I’m not gonna prattle on. I’ll let David’s words speak for themselves. Or for himself. Or for someone… 😉
David began his vocal career at the age of six in the bedroom of his parent’s home, recording what would today be called analogue podcasts in to his Radio Shack cassette recorder. His voice and production work can be heard in many of the works at BrokenSea Audio (www.brokensea.com).
His writing began at an early age as well, penning the adventures of a comic character named only “Urchin Man” composed of a circle with legs and arms (and a cape).
He is half of the creative team at Scrivener’s Circle (www.scrivenerscircle.com) which has produced the podcast novella Prisoners of the Alliance and the upcoming Absolution.
Recently David has focused his creative efforts on short stories and longer works. His newest release, “Goodnight, My love” is the tale of a not-so-typical family’s bedtime routine, and the lives of a not-so-typical family.
You can contact him at email@example.com and find him on twitter @dsobkowiak.
When I first started thinking about getting my fiction published, I must have been about ten years old. I had no idea what it might take to get my stories in to the hands of someone who could turn it in to a book, and so most of the time, I took some cardboard, to make a cover, and tore up the typing paper edges to look like the old King Arthur book my brother had on his dresser with the stylized page edges. I glued/taped/stuck it all together with gum and had myself a novel. Those stories are long forgotten, but I still have the thought to have my work published someday. The only thing is that nowadays, the concept of publication has taken on a completely different meaning.
I have choices.
It is true that I can still follow the tried and true practice of writing up a novel/story/etc and editing it, revising it, editing it again and finding an agent willing to represent me who then sends the book off to various publishers to see if they are interested. If so, I’ll likely get more edits from their editors and then sometime in the future (months to years) I will have my book in print. That is unless something happens like the book agent jumps ship and leaves me hanging in the wind, or the publishing house takes a header in to the toilet. It might not have seemed a reasonable fear in the past, but the way that traditional publishing is running these days, would I be surprised if it did happen? Not so much.
So I have other choices.
I can self-publish my works through print-on-demand houses. I can create ePub versions of my works and self-publish them on sites like Smashwords, Amazon and many others. I can also just give it all away to the masses from a website in the form of a podcast or even as a PDF. My choices today are nearly endless.
With all these choices how do I make a decision as to which one to go with? Well, that’s the catch isn’t it? I’ll still need to edit and revise and hock my works. Maybe not to an agent or a publishing editor, but to anyone who might want to purchase it from me. Chuck Wendig recently made a point on his blog that the more things a writer does to market his material himself (or herself) the more time he is spending away from the effort of their main activity Writing.
Is it really worth going through all the trouble associated with self-publishing? Editing? Marketing? Walking the interwebz like a streetwalker cruising for a fix? At least with an agent you’d have a pimp and the chance to score some good junk every once in a while. So what if they took a big chunk off the top from your John. What do you care? You’re high on the junk you craved; publication. They’re looking out for you. Aren’t they? Maybe they are. Maybe they’re busy looking for their next big fix.
When I asked myself these questions recently I had to honestly consider them for a long time. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of self-publication. To get caught up in the thinking that you can take your glorious work of words and place it online and that millions of readers will just magically find your story. You’ll be the next Stephen King, the next James Patterson the next Joan Collins. The next Jake…err..nevermind.
While it might work that way for a very small percentage of authors, there is likely a reason for it. It is probably that they have spent years honing their craft to a sharpened edge where only one draft is required of all their works. This gives them the ability to crank out more fictional stories than Nathan Lowel on a meth bender. What’s even more probable is that they’ve chanced upon a social focal point like glittering werewolves or harmonious bodily fluids. Whatever the reason for their success, it’s not a sure fire guarantee that by self-publishing your work that you’ll become an overnight success.
Back to the question at hand though: Is it worth it? I’m going to need you to tell me if it’s worth it to you. It’s all about you this time (unlike those times when it’s about someone else, despite your best attempt to make it otherwise).
There are dozens of reasons to self-publish. Higher earnings from the sales of your works (no middle man to take money off the top), a closer relationship to your readers (face it it’s got to be personal. You’re selling yourself, not just a story). The uncertainty of today’s market makes the idea of taking your future by the reigns a more attractive proposition.
Our friend Jake here is publishing his works online himself, and I know that he talks about his experiences regularly. Use his advice, and the advice or countless others to temper your opinion on whether to dive in to the publication pool, be it traditional or self-publishing.
You do have a lot more choices than your predecessors when it comes to getting your words out to the world. Think of what writers of the past would have done had they had the opportunity to represent themselves. Would they have died the lonely alcohol soaked social outcasts that their lives spiraled down to? Okay, you got me there. They probably still would have ended up the same, but that doesn’t mean your life needs to end up that way.
Some great points made by David. I think it really can be summed up by his overall theme: choices. Never before have writers had more choices before them when it comes to getting their work out there.
While I have completely embraced indie publishing my writing, I also have an agent and she will be shopping my YA zombie novel to the major publishing houses. Why would I do this? Because I can! I think that is the key that all writers should look at: it’s not all or nothing. There’s no line in the sand except the ones we draw ourselves. Publishing is in such chaos right now that there aren’t any hard and fast rules. Publishers that draw lines will lose, as will writers. Keep your options open! Explore every avenue! Make smart choices! Do not box yourself in!
I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I do have a lot of questions. Be patient and make sure the questions you have are answered, or at least addressed, before you make a choice that will close you off from opportunity. You, the writer, are in control!