Now that your Work of Genius is complete, it’s time to find it a home, and in all actuality, you should be thinking about this stuff BEFORE your work is complete. What choice is right for you? Good question, and it depends on your ultimate goal and what you intend for your business. Remember, I told you writing was a business, and if you want to be successful at this writing thing, you’d do well to keep that in mind as you progress in the Maze That is Now Modern Publishing.
Personally, I have been agonizing over the decision of what to do with my material for months. Let’s face it, once you’ve finished your project (or projectS), the submission process to traditional publishers is like staring down a black abyss. Do you get an agent or try to submit without one? What about those thrice-damned queries, or the dreaded synopsis? How long will your book dangle in time, waiting on word from an agent, editor, or publisher while you chew your fingernails down to the bloody tissue? How long can you wait before you start seeing some kind of financial return on months of work? What happens when the rejections start coming in and you’re ready to take a face-plant off a high cliff?
And say you decide to bypass all that hoopla and publish yourself. What are you looking at then? You’re looking at conquering several learning curves, unless you are extremely blessed and have friends that can help you handle technical requirements such as formatting, book covers, and a professional edit of your material. You’ll have to figure out how to format for different venues such as CreateSpace, Amazon, Kindle, Nook and several hundred more you may be unfamiliar with at this time. You’ll have to think about marketing strategies and pimping and hoping like hell someone other than people related to you by blood will buy your product.
This is my take on the matter, and I will admit I have been heavily influenced by following Dean Wesley Smith. One recent post in particular has caught my attention — with some excellent advice about harnessing both traditional publishing and self-publishing. It doesn’t have to be an “either/or” situation, and actually, it looks like it is detrimental to look at it that way.
The reason Dean’s approach appeals to me is because it is very similar to the freelancer’s business model for non-fiction. For instance, I have preached forever about filling your basket and creating passive income streams. The same philosophy applies to fiction — what a concept! Once you realize that, several things click into place.
So, here are my thoughts — and remember, I’m a struggling writer just like you. I’m trying to find the best way to make this career a success, just like you. I have questions, concerns, nightmares, and doubts just like you. I am confused, excited, overwhelmed…just like you. These are some of the questions I’m asking myself.
1. Is being published by a traditional publisher what I’m looking for? For so many years, mostly because there were few other options for me, I dreamed about being picked up by a Big House and then I’d be successful. However, that’s no guarantee my book won’t end up in the bin at the local dollar store even if I was successful in landing a contract and no guarantee I’d make decent money. Stories like the success of Peter V. Brett, wherein he scored not only a contract for three books and is swiftly taking over the universe, but had his material optioned for movie rights, are like finding the Holy Grail.
2. Speaking of contracts, I’ve heard so many horror stories about stinking contracts that screw a writer over it makes me wonder if I’m better off going the maverick route.
3. How much effort am I willing to expend in publishing myself? I’m not worried about the “stigma”, because I honestly don’t give a rat’s ass about that as long as I can become established as a Writer of Excellent Stories and make money doing it. But, I’m not getting any younger and my brain cells actually start SMOKING at the thought of yet another (or dozen) learning curve to add to my repertoire.
4. Where do I start? Do I serialize it on the web, publish on demand, publish electronically, or say screw this and send the manuscript to an agent and sacrifice a chicken and start working on Book II while I wait and wait and wait?
So, my poppets, that’s where I’m at. I wish I had definitive answers to offer, but sadly, I’m fighting the hamsters nightly, just like you. My mind is literally a-whirl with the possibilities, the angles, and the plethora of options available. I’m looking hard at success stories, failures (because you can learn as much by contemplating what is NOT working as by what IS working) and taking notes. I’m helping writers I believe in as much as I can, picking the brain cells of those who know much more than I do, and at some point, will make the jump.
Which way I’ll jump is open-ended at this juncture of my career.
What do you think?