Thursday, March 24, 2011
Business Strategies for Beginning Writers
There is a crazy amount of talk in the news and around the blogosphere about the MAJOR changes going in the publishing industry right now and how it could affect writers. The changes are very exciting, and I believe if approached correctly mean more opportunities for us writers. However, the difficulty is that their is no longer just one road to publishing and writing success, and we writers (especially the newbies) need to have a certain level of business savvy to negotiate properly and make the decisions that are right for us.
And there are plenty of big decisions to be made. On the one hand, Big Publishing is still the best way to get your book out to the largest number of people; on the other hand, you maintain so much more control and higher sales percentage if you publish yourself. On the one hand, Big Publishing says it will not accept unagented submissions; on the other hand, there are horror stories about agents ruining writers careers, and some people are saying that writers should submit to editors directly anyway. On the one hand, self-publishing and all the marketing, design, etc that self-publishing entails is really hard, risky, and there's that stereotype that writers are bad at business and need to be taken care of and left to work on their art; on the other hand, in todays publishing world, whether you are self or traditionally published, the writers who will have the most success, make a good living and not get screwed over are the ones who put the time and effort into the business side of their writing career.
So, what is a beginning writer to do? We don't have the benefit of a long backlist like the mid-lists do, who get to put that backlist back on the market thanks to ePublishing and print-on-demand, and get to keep most of the rights and money for themselves. Agents and editors are tuning in to this awesome source of revenue that they missed out on and trying to keep more and more of those out of print, ebook rights from us beginning writers who are just signing on. So, does that mean self-publishing is the better idea? But what about really getting your book out there? Though its becoming more and more workable, there are still very few exceptions to the rule that self-publishing doesn't really bring in much. The decision is up to the writer which risks to take: try traditional publishing and risk getting jipped, or try self-publishing and risk getting nothing.
This is all based on what I've been hearing on blogs and in the news. If I am inaccurate or missing any important information, I would love to know. Based on everything I know about todays publishing world, the plan I've decided on for myself is to try a mix of both traditional and self-publishing. I would like to go the traditional route for my first novel at least, and plan to fight until that works out. I will be the smartest I can be about contracts with agents and editors, but the risks involved with this route are worth getting my book out to as many readers as possible. Once I have done everything I can to set myself up in the traditional publishing world, and once my name is out there, I hope to start self-publishing books alongside the traditionally published ones, so I can see how that works out and keep more rights and a higher sales percentage for myself. This means writing a lot and fast, and I'll do the best I can with it.
I hope this all makes sense. What are your thoughts? Beginning writers, what do you plan to do? What can you more experienced writers tell us beginners?