Sunday, August 28, 2011

"If I Were to Become a Writer all Over Again I'd..."

"The new major pub on the block!"

...self publish.
It's true. If I were to start all over again as an author I would set my sights not on publishing with the majors or even a small indie press. I would simply plan on going DIY the entire way. With Amazon's KDP program, doing it yourself is not only easy, you have nothing to lose but the time it takes to get your writing out there. Now this isn't an advertorial for KDP, it's just me being able to take a step back and look at all the possibilities, and the most obvious for me would be KDP. Amazon has the ability to reach a huge audience while pushing your book. So if you're a newbie, go for it.

However, that established, I am not a newbie. I've been at the game now professionally for 15 years. I've been published by the majors (Random House) and the minors (StoneHouse/StoneGate Ink, etc.) and I've had my ups and downs with both. As for the former, mostly downs and the latter, almost entirely up. As you all know by now, I believe that a full-time author in this day and age should take advantage of all the publishing, marketing, and audience building opportunities by engaging in three kinds of publishing:

1. Major Commercial
2. Small Indie
3. Self-Publishing

It makes sense to go with the majors at least for a couple of books since they can reach out to the masses like no other. While your audience expands they will also get you reviewed by major media darlings like The New York Times and The New York Post (The New York Post called THE INNOCENT "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" That's the kind of review you can cherish for a lifetime).

Publishing with the small indie presses won't garner huge reviews from the major media outlets, but it will afford you a very personal experience that could never be achieved with the majors. If you are lucky enough to land a great small press they will become like family to you. They will ask and indeed come to rely on your creative input every step of the way. Not only about the writing, but about book design, cover, marketing, and more.

Going indie won't get you any of the above (although by investing in a virtual tour you'll nail some reviews from the mommy blogs and expand your audience. I invest in virtual tours no matter how I publish...), but it does allow you the absolute freedom to write, edit, and publish precisely how you want to publish. And in the end, the cash you earn is yours alone to keep. No publishers to pay, no agent percentages to honor. It's all about you and your work. Like I said, if I were just starting out with zero track record, this is precisely the route I would take. If I ended up selling a million copies of my e-books like John Locke, and I were to attract a major publisher like Simon and Schuster in a huge distribution deal, then I would go from happy to ecstatic.

A lot has changed in the past year. Lots of bestselling indie authors who've previously been published by the majors like JCarson Black, Scott Nicholson, JA Konrath and even yours truly have come full-circle by once more signing on with a major publisher for some of their books. The major pub we all have in common is Thomas and Mercer, Amazon's new publishing arm. The move makes sense for us all, since the outfit is new, filled with brilliant editors, open to new ideas and let's face it, Amazon has the marketing power to position your books in the marketplace like no other major publisher. I couldn't be happier about it.

But that doesn't mean I'm giving up on other publishing opportunities or lessening my marketing efforts. In essence, going back to the majors means I'll be working all the harder. Stay tuned!!!!


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