If you didn’t read my last two posts on this topic (Monday, June 6, 2011 and Wednesday, June 8, 2011), this one won’t make sense to you. Just so you know.
In August 2010, after researching how to publish with Amazon Kindle and seeing months of startling sales figures from Joe Konrath – who is always clear to say he doesn’t guarantee anything for anyone but does point to a lot (a LOT) of people making more money than he is selling ebooks on Kindle — I knew the odds of matching or exceeding his success weren’t even, not by a long shot. Still, how many people would read my work if I didn’t try? I decided the numbers were in my favor. It was, after all, free. Since I’d been unemployed since November, 2008, and it was August, 2010, I decided I didn’t have anything to lose. It was time to at least give it a shot.
I formatted my book into an ebook format easily digestible by Kindle, uploaded it and … that was it. No fanfare, no tickertape parade, no cheers from the throngs. Nothing. I just uploaded the book and it was there, waiting for approval by Amazon.
I used a collection of short stories as an experiment because short story anthologies are laughed out of the industry by gatekeepers, so publishing them wouldn’t hurt my chances if ebook self-publishing turned sour on me. The only thing I’d lose is some blog posts because I pulled them down to make the book.
By October, I’d created a second one and put it up too. I didn’t get much in sales. Not much at all. But the experience was exhilarating and fun.
I got a job later that year. I also edited my finished book within an inch of its life. It’s not really a book anymore. I have a lot of work to do to get it there. And I’ve not gone back to my WIP either (remember, since May of ’08). So three-plus years have passed since I did any serious writing. I’ve also learned a new method of story planning, learned a ton about story structure and how to make a salable manuscript with a single pass and polishing, and have also started a PubIt! account to publish on Barnes and Noble’s Nook platform. I’m going to be looking into Sony eReader too, and Kobo. I already have those formats available on Smashwords.com, but the more the merrier, right?
I planned out several novels in 2010 before I started working, and have those plans ready to fire off when I finish my latest non-fiction endeavor. It will be some time before I go after another technical book for this publisher, I think. There are a lot of reasons for that, and most of them are because they now behave like gatekeeper publishers and are looking for ways and finding new avenues to try and take advantage of me. I love my agent – no two ways about it, he’s honorable and full of integrity and not at all predating on me – but this publisher has left sort of a poor taste in my mouth.
But the biggest reason is I want to write fiction again.
And I know, in my heart, there will be no other path I’ll take than ebook self-publishing unless and until that business model becomes less than wonderful. Right now, it’s better than any POD or self-publishing options I’ve ever seen, requires less effort to create a good, quality product, and is free. If that changes, maybe I’ll change my mind about it.
Until then you can expect me to crow about the nails in the gatekeeper coffins. I’ve been hoping for a sweeping change to that methodology since 2007, and now I’m seeing it come about and I can’t be any happier. And I’m even more the arrogant snobs running it are having it collapse on their heads as the new technology crushes them in a rushing hot volcanic floe.
Maybe they’ll find time to read their “slush piles” when there are no more writers willing to come to them for representation. If you’re a writer, I have news for you – you don’t need an agent. Hell, you can be one. There’s no qualifications standard for them. No certification process. They’re not any more “professional” at their work than you are at the same job. You may have even read more than they do.
But you don’t need them anymore. You can do this yourself. And yes, you can “what if” yourself into oblivion if you want. But here’s a couple of “what ifs” for you:
- What if you tried it and enjoyed it?
- What if you succeed?
- What if you don’t ever penetrate the gatekeeper system?
- What if the gatekeeper system just… goes away?
Think about it this way. What have you lost if you try it my way and it doesn’t work out? Maybe some time learning how to format and publish, and learning to promote your work. But what will you lose if you continue to bang your face into the glass wall of the gatekeeper system and nothing happens? You’ll have lost years – years – of time you could have spent developing your business and getting your work into the hands of your readers. Readers who want to read your stuff. You’re someone’s favorite writer, you know. You just have to find out who that person is and get them your stuff.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.
Copyright 2011 DarcKnyt, All rights reserved