The Good Old Days, No more

What happened to the good old days when all you had to do was write a novel?  As if that weren’t enough.  These days, if you want your story to reach the public, you need be a web expert, a marketing expert and a publishing expert.

I have been trying to complete the second draft of my Civil War novel, but I keep getting sidetracked by all these articles about how I have to have a web presence, network hither and yon, be prepared to promote myself on Facebook, Twitter, various writers’ communities, etc., etc.  Then I must decide whether to go for a paper publisher, ebook publisher, or self-publish.  Then there are three different ways I might self-publish, depending.

“The Writer” magazine’s January issue contains an article about whether publishers should pay authors for promoting their own books.  We are expected to do our own promoting, you see.  Instead of them.  Only the cost comes out of our own pockets.

Then there is this blog.  It was originally going to be about writing.  Perhaps I should get back to that and worry about publishing when the writing is done.  First things first.

For those of you ready to publish, the newsy sites are on the sidebar.  Right now, I have to clear my head for writing.

Advertisements

The Author – An Anachronism?

A web friend of mine recently published her first book – an eBook.  She is thrilled.  I would be, too.  She also has a very fun blog that interviews her characters.  This is not only clever, but shows she is aware of one of the most current methods of marketing her book.

One of the recent articles on Digital Book World is by Don Linn, former owner/CEO of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, entitled, “Caught in the Middle, Publishing’s Other Customers.”

The cost of hardcover books is going down.  Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it.  It is for the reader, which I suspect applies to most of us.  He notes that authors like Stephen King will not suffer.  They and those like them can self-publish and will still sell the same number of books they always have.  Even us newbies may do all right, as long as we do not seek to make a living from our writing.  I add, as long as we are willing and able to do all of our own marketing, delivery, follow-up etc., etc.

What about “those who fall between these two groups. They are the people who write for a living and who bring us the workhorse books in their categories (from literary fiction to genre fiction to all manner of non-fiction). Their advances have historically been relatively low and their sales relatively modest. They write for major publishers and independents. They write books that backlist and, in a small but very important number, they write really important books that either break out commercially, or say something significant that might not otherwise get said.”

Yet another consideration in this age of transitions.  Will the future look back on us and declare we produced nothing new, nothing of worth?  For the lack of funds, art suffered?  No more authors, only people who “write on the side.”

You may want to check out his article.  More food for thought.

Scary Things and EBooks

I was not sure, but NanoWriMo is a good thing.  Once again, I have found that the things that scare me are the things from which I learn.  Things.  Such an all-encompassing word, one most of us cannot do without.  My things, your things, whatever you wish to put in that mammoth open bag, or box.  Imagine what you will.  That is why we write, isn’t it.

I am writing better.  Each day.  Pushing for those 1,677 words.  I knew it was true.  I declared so earlier on this blog, and I have proved myself correct, at least for me.  It gets easier, too.  After the sixth day I noticed a difference.  Write every day.

I was writing before, sporadically.  Trying to “get out” short stories for those magazines and epublishers.  “They” said, those who supposedly know, that a writer should include a list of all previously-published stories when submitting a query along with all the other information that agents and/or editors generally require with a sample of your novel.  They want to see that you are successful, that you have previously been published.   So I am trying.  Only I am not a short story writer.

Some are.  So many wonderful short stories out there, anthologies and all that.  All those literary magazines.  All those popular erotica sites on the web from which you can buy something to turn you on from one to five dollars.  How do I know about those?  No comment.

I love novels.  I love to get deep into a character and watch him or her grow.  I love to go somewhere else and live there for days or weeks.  I love to learn about other times, other places.  I practically never read short stories, never buy an anthology, even at the used book store.  I appreciate a well-written short story.  A few have amazed me; others have made me chuckle.  Only they are not my “thing.”

I am so much happier writing my NanoNovel.  I live it.  I think about the characters.  My writing is more fun and it is improving.

It remains to be seen whether a publisher will take a novel on its own merits.  Maybe this is another place where ebooks offer more possilities for us all, particularly yet unpublished writers.

Another New Thing

Here is another new thing – Bookserver

“The BookServer is a growing open architecture for vending and lending digital books over the Internet. Built on open catalog and open book formats, the BookServer model allows a wide network of publishers, booksellers, libraries, and even authors to make their catalogs of books available directly to readers through their laptops, phones, netbooks, or dedicated reading devices. BookServer facilitates pay transactions, borrowing books from libraries, and downloading free, publicly accessible books.” [more…]

The Book is Dead

“There are also the people who say, quite rightly, that writing and publishing a “real” book is still the big dream, and people will keep chasing that dream no matter how much we all argue that the book is dead, that times have changed, that no one reads any more, etc.”

This excerpt is taken from Jane Friedman’s blog (Writer’s Digest), and I suggest you read the rest of her post here.

I realize I am not posting what I said was next, but I have been reading so much about the future of publishing all over the web, that I thought writers ought to be aware of what is going on out there in the publishing world.  The state of the economy is only making the transition to digital publishing happen sooner rather than later.  Here is what I have been discovering:

It is cheaper for a reader to buy a digital book than a printed one.  That is a fact.  People in third world countries, people with less than many of us in developed countries, are getting access to the web and to the ability to read digital books.

It is also cheaper for publishers to publish digitally.  The quality of the writing of digital works has improved.  Many magazines that publish only on the web are getting as much respect as anything published on paper.

Barnes & Noble has just developed their own digital reader with more books available than Kindle.  Apple has announced their development of a digital book reader.

We are in a major transition period of which you must be aware if you want to publish.  If you are writing a novel, short stories or poetry, you cannot ignore the web or eBooks.  This includes marketing yourself and your writing.

Stay tune.