Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh, My! How The Publishing Game Has Changed!

About 16 years ago I made the decision that to better be able to enjoy writing that I would pursue it as a hobby as opposed to a profession, despite the fact that it had always been My dream to become a published author.  The main reason I made that decision all those years ago was that writing was a hard business to break in to, as I shopped around for potential publishers for Whispers Of Darkness.

As I am sure many struggling writers know, back then writing and publishing was one of those games that was pretty much reserved for the rich, or at least those who had a significant money to blow.  If you didn't have the money to self-publish through a vanity press, then you had to take the real hard road.  Publisher did not want to hear anything from you unless you had an agent.  Agents were not willing to represent you unless you had already been published.  Hell it would have been easier for a 15 year old to get an unsecured credit card than a serious writer with a stack of manuscripts to ever get his first book published.

Since learning at the beginning of the year how easy it was to have an eBook submitted and published, and actually publishing Heather's Journey: The Sound Of her MASTER'S VOICE only a matter of weeks later it made Me realize that the game had changed, as eBook publishers like Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, Smashwords, Lulu and dozens of others have effectively cut out the middle man.  What more could an independent and budding writer want?  No scraping and bowing to publishers over content.  No need to share fractional royalties with parasitic agents when many eBook publishers allow upward of 80% royalties dependent on the selling price.

Yes the game has indeed changed, and today that became even more apparent to Me.

This morning when I opened My mail box I found the most unexpected thing.  A letter from a publisher.  In it the publisher stated they had discovered Me through researching the Library Of Congress and noticing that I had a work now registered there.  Which seems to me is a clear indication that publishers are now trolling the archives of the Library Of Congress because the eBook market is putting a hurting on them.  I was also offered the chance to have My work reviewed by them, and I could send them a typewritten copy (oh, how quaint) to see if they would be interested in publishing it.

I had to laugh to Myself a little.  So this is the latest thing that I am going to be bombarded with?  Publishers coming to Me and wanting a chance to look at My work to see if they found it worthy of publishing?  I laughed a little louder, realizing that this publisher was in turn cutting out their own tried and true middle man, the literary agent.  I called the lady vyle and told her, saying "If all it took to get published back in the day was to send a copy to the Library Of Congress I would have done it.  However, back then publishers wouldn't have bothered."

Did I find the offer a little bit tempting?  Maybe just a little.  But I had never heard of Dorset Publishing before, plus I was sure that My content would not have been what they were looking for.  Were it Random House or Balentine or Berkley I would have probably been a little more tempted.  But then again, despite the fact that I'm not sitting on a huge mountain of money, or planning My retirement from My day job because the things I have published are selling so well, I kind of like being the Master (not sure if a pun is intended there or not) of My Destiny.  It's a lot of stress in some ways, because self-promotion in just that, Me promoting Myself with the help of a few friends such as Marabelle Blue, Nicola Matthews and Jason Darrick.  But on the other side of the coin I have the power to write My own jackets, to design My own covers, control all of My content and set My own pace.  After being overlooked and neglected by publishers I find that I'm not ready to give up My independence, or even consider it seriously if there was a mainstream publisher that wanted to put My work into print.  Were I vain, I would have went out and bought a printer and paper, and had a print copy ready to send out by the end of the week.  But I'm not.

I love the status I have as an independent writer.  I'm proud to be published, even though it is only in eBook format.  People look at you differently when you tell them you published an eBook.  You can tell that the average person on the street doesn't see that as being as glamorous as being published in print.  But, I don't really thing that attitude will last too much longer.  The world is changing by the month with the development of new technologies.  The publishing game has changed.  Print publishers and literary agents no longer hold the power.  The power is in the hands of ePubs and independent writers.

Where's the proof?

Well, I found the proof in My mailbox this morning.

Master Vyle

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