Class: Writing in the Publishing Industry
I don’t know any traditionally published authors, and I’m pretty shy so if I can avoid talking to strangers, I probably will (a major problem in my professionalism that I am working hard to rectify).
My friend Robert wrote and self-published a novella last year called The Anzhelin Legacy: Fire, which I edited. It made the most sense to interview him. I’m certainly glad I did; as expected, he gave some extensive, well-thought-out responses to my questions.
A: Why did you decide to self-publish instead of go the traditional route?
R: I’ve read and seen the success stories of several self-published authors—Amanda Hocking, David Dalglish—and looked at their work, and thought that I could do a comparable job. I’m intrigued by the direct connection authors can build with their fans through 21st century social media, and I must admit that I’m attracted to the concept of having direct control over my work. Also, for me—ironically, due to my educational background – it isn’t about the money. It’s about creating a world for people to venture into and forget their own realities for a while. Traditional publishing doesn’t guarantee economic gain, of course, but it has more money behind it under normal circumstances. Beyond that, I’m interested in the economics of price points and what consumers will buy—do consumers want to spend $12.95 on a paperback at Barnes & Noble, or do they want to spend $3.99 for an electronic version of the same book?
A: Does this mean that you believe the printed books are going out of style?
R: No, not really. I actually just bought 20 or so books at a thrift store on Monday, for $3.61. I don’t believe it’s about sides, per se. I read physical books as frequently as I read digital books. It’s about convenience, really. When I’m out and about, being able to use my phone or e-reader to read thousands of books is much more convenient than carrying those books with me. When I’m at home, seeing a library of books physically present in a room can be quite a lovely sight. There’s room for both mediums, but the electronic market is torpedoing the paper market.
I do think that we could see physical books taking on more of a special significance—perhaps presents and such—as opposed to the everyday form of reading.
A: Do you have any advice for those interested in self-publishing?
R: In fact I do—and it’s something I became lax on myself—Amazon’s Kindle boards, their forums, are a place an author, or even just someone who wants to learn more about self-publishing, should visit. Many discussions go on there, especially in the Writers’ Cafe, and many self-published authors post there. I used to post there but have not been on in a while. You’ll probably see me there again soon as I get back in the swing of things.
Perhaps, also, decide what you want from your writing. Do you want to make a career out of it? If that’s what you want, doing it as an author via any route is an uphill battle, and self-publishing has its own unique backdrop: You have to be your own advertising department, your own marketing department, and your own public relations department. You have to spread the word about your work through any means you can find, and it is something that I started doing, but as my writer’s block hit, it permeated every other aspect of my publishing.