Friday, November 16, 2012

Where Are You, Really?

Tip of the Day: I'm trying to learn how to cook, so instead of wasting money on cookbooks, I'm trolling Good Morning America's website. They have tons of great recipes - for FREE - from famous chefs.

I like to have a plan. I'm willing to change my plans, but I need to have one in place before I make a move. Lately I've been doing a lot of questioning about the publishing industry.

Do I want to keep self-pubbing? Do I want to submit to agents and editors? Where do I want to be in a year?

I don't have solid answers to any of these questions. For me, both paths have so many pitfalls and traps that I almost want to stop writing. But I can't. Because if I stop writing, my brains will explode. Or I'll drive my husband and kids nuts because I would simply go insane.

I continue to write, to dream, to invent with words. What should I do with those words? I can self-pub next year, but the waters are now filled to capacity. The pool is overflowing. It's almost impossible to get noticed anymore because every person with a word processor is screaming, "LOOK AT ME!" I've spent most of my life hiding, using Jedi mind tricks to get them to NOT notice me. It goes against every bit of my being to put myself out there.

I could go traditional, but then I'm selling my rights for peanuts, unless I'm one of those lucky breakout authors. I'd be better off playing Powerball. Chances are I'd end up with a small deal, relegated to the midlist, be forced to promote my own how is that any different than self-pub other than the honor of having that little label on the spine of my book? (Don't talk to me about editing and development - that can be bought from reputable freelancers. Some of the big NY editors are doing this on the side. Some of them not-so-secretly.)

It's always been common wisdom that every person has a story to tell. It's an integral part of the human condition. We want to be recognized and remembered. We want to be heard. Now, with digital publishing every single person with access to the internet can be published.

So where am I? On a road with a million others. We're like a horde of zombies, pressing down the freeway, looking for our next meal. Instead of moaning "brains," our chant sounds more like, "readers." We're all looking for a person to connect with our work. To remind us we are valid and we're not wasting our time.

I keep saying I'm going to take a break from publishing as soon as I'm done with the current series. I'm going to try to hold myself to that. Come mid-December, I'll be free from deadlines and commitments for the first time in two years. I'm not sure where I'll emerge afterward in regards to publishing. All I really know for sure is that I will never quit writing.

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber


Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Writing is difficult. Publishing (no matter how) is difficult.

But nothing is as difficult as finding readers.

I've seen many people complain about gatekeepers, by which they meant agents and publishers and chain bookstores. But even without those gatekeepers, the biggest gate of all is the fact that readers have so much reading material to choose from: they can't even find every book in the world, much less read it! I'm an avid reader, and I have piles of yet-to-read books next to me, and lists of books I want to get but will not buy until I get my TBR pile under more control.

I think the near future of publishing is going to be most authors doing a combination of traditional and self-publishing, and that the future of reading is going to involve readers going to a their favorite websites for new-book features and recommendations. Those sites may become the new gatekeepers.

Kristina Springer said...

I agree with Jen. I think most authors are going the way of "hybrid authors" like in that article I posted about yesterday. I think taking a small break is great for you because you work yourself to death. But then I think opening yourself up to a wider range of possibilities is a great idea. Keep at indie YA because you're already established and doing great there. Submit your middle grades traditionally because the readers (for now) seem to still be with in-hand books. If you want to dabble in adult, maybe take yet another pen name (poor Meg/Michelle/Isobel! Did I really just say that?) So many authors are writing under numerous names now.

DeenaML said...

I agree with Jen and Tina. Plus, we all need an extra day during the week just to plan what to do with our writing!