Choosing sides of the fence
There’s been a lot of buzz about self-publishing lately. (Understatement of the year, right?) And while I dabbled in the Indie market with One Night to Remember, my plan has always been to stick with Big 6 publishers and land my books in bookstores nationwide.
After moderating a self-publishing talk with my local RWA chapter, I’m starting to realize how intense the shift from traditional publishing to self-publishing is going to be. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
A few years ago a writer friend of mine sold her tenth book for a traditional print run. The nine books she’d written before the one that sold sat under her bed, in her drawer, locked away on her Mac, whatever. Now, that tenth book hit BIG. I’m talking paint the sky big. What happened to the nine books under her bed? Her agent sold them. And now they’ve broken the sky wide open. Now that the skyline in publishing is changing, I’ve heard all kinds of writers say if they write a book they love, can’t find a place for it in with the Big 6, they’ll simply publish it on their own.
But where does that leave agents? And where does that leave work that may’ve had a chance in the spotlight given the chance? Do those books flounder in the self-publishing market? Do they soar anyway? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Can a writer have a career with both self-published and traditionally published works?
One of the speakers at the self-publishing panel said no. Not likely. She said writers are more likely to have success sticking to one platform or the other. When focus shifts, readership falters.
I’m sure that statement has something to do with the fact that in self-publishing, the writer is the creative mastermind, the cover artist, the editor, the marketing and publicity team, the galley submitter, the formatter, etc, etc, etc. If you’re wearing a thousand hats, time spent on other things (like copy edits for your NY release, for example) simply isn’t there. If you’re writing your heart out for NY (so that your releases are timed 6-9 months apart) and if you’re publicizing the way you should (blog tours, commenting on reviews, etc), where is there time to don the hats self-publishing requires?
The publishing world is shaking up. There are people dying to get in to Big 6 publishing houses (:waves from northern Cali:) and there are people leaving them like they’re on fire, fighting to get their rights back. There are also people straddling the fence, covering their bases, publishing in both venues. I’m not sure which group will come out on top or what the landscape will look like when this world finally stops shaking.
But I figure this: as long as you have a solid grasp on your goals (and are willing to put in the time and effort and heart it takes to reach them), you’ll come out on top.
As for me, I just turned in Last Vamp Standing (Vampires of Crimson Bay #3) to my editor at Avon on Monday. I have a Harlequin Cravings release in July. I’m plotting a “new but different” paranormal series to pitch to the Big 6 this summer. And I’ll let you in on a little secret…if it doesn’t sell, I’m not going to self-publish it. I’m going to hold tight to my dreams, put in the time and effort and heart it takes to reach them, and hold my breath.