If you're a writer, you have to ask yourself at some point if you simply want to see your book in print or if you want to go the distance and get published traditionally. As Agent Smith from The Matrix says, "It is inevitable." But here in the real world, we can't slip into the Matrix or create an alternate reality!
Or can we?
With the onslaught of e-book readers and the endless websites that publish digitally (Amazon, B&N, eBook.com, Smashwords, Google ebooks, etc), it is very tempting to throw some words on the screen and ship them off to the Kindle store, hoping to not miss out on the Kindle, Nook, iPad craze. And honestly, if you're as impatient as I am, it's extra tempting to rush that book into print.
What to do in this crazy publishing environment - so many voices - so many unknowns.
Amid all the chaos, the real question is, can writers gain credibility in the new ebook marketplace, with a good format, cover, and good editing, without the agent and big Pub backing? Can we pay our dues, and build our platform successfully on our own? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm asking, because it is quite clear that the world of publishing is changing rapidly and I am very interested in how it's going to pan out for authors such as myself. Authors have to market their work on their own anyway, unless you're a proven best seller, so why not go it alone?
Historically, traditional publishing is the best way to gain credibility as an author. The problem is, it's getting harder to get a manuscript into the right agent or publisher's hands. Therefore, I'd like to propose a theory.
I believe that a well edited, self-published author can use today's ebook market to get a book deal by building a following, little by little, gaining new readers with each new book, and proving his or her ability to sell. You have to build your platform first anyway, or so it seems, so why not develop a following, slowly, until publishers and/or agents have no choice but to notice you, hoping to get a piece of the action. Think of the experience you'll gain writing and producing your work and learning the publishing business, all the while gaining fans and making more money per book! Heck, it's all about the money to the publishers anyway.
They may disregard you today...but show them the money, and guess what they'll be kissing?
Examples of self-publishers who are doing this, according to JA Konrath are: Viki Tyley, John Locke, D.B. Henson, and Steven Davison among others. Konrath has a "Top 20 Self-Published Authors" list that is filled with top 100 Kindle authors who are doing as well as or better than he is in sales. This is very encouraging for me, because honestly, I have a lot of stories that I need to get out of my head, my readers like what I write, and I want to give them more.
I'm not sure if I want to wait until Hell freezes over before I get a contract.
My thoughts are: If you have to go it alone, building your platform one fan at a time, you have to ask yourself; do I really need the publishers anyway? In the words of Trinity from the Matrix, "The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to."
CASE IN POINT: I wrote this post a few months ago. Since that time I have had my supernatural thriller, REUNION, edited, published with my own publishing company (Nexgate) and scheduled a 45 day blog tour. The result: REUNION is getting an incredible response from reviewers across the country.
To see those early reviews go to: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10467702-reunion