Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Next Great Adventure – Self-Publishing

I, like every other writer, have long heard all the negatives about self-publishing. It was almost enough to put me off of the idea, but things have changed in the marketplace and it’s time to rethink a few things.

First, there has always been a stigma to being a self-published author - with good reason. There are a lot of crappy self-published books out there. However, the still-prevalent feeling that if you can’t interest an agent or publisher in your book it probably isn’t publishable is no longer true – for a couple of reasons.

The prospects for a successful book, whether fiction or non-fiction, is much reduced over a decade or so ago. With the advent of the computer age, slowly printed books have taken a dive, and most recently that dive has been off the proverbially cliff. Bookstores, our traditional outlet for reading material, are suffering badly, and not just the Mom-and-Pops. Borders filed for bankruptcy last month, in spite of rumors of a planned acquisition of Barnes and Noble.

Being a former journalist, I’m more than aware of the decline of print news media. It appears that all printed reading material is now being challenged by the vastly available online products or the electronic readers.

So, what’s a writer to do? Well, how about jumping into the mix instead of standing hopelessly on the outskirts of successful publishing, wishing and waiting for the tide to turn your way?

That’s my plan. Instead, of continuing to collect very positive rejections from the agents who’ve read my manuscript, “Red Mojo Mama”, I’ve decided to offer it as both a Kindle and Amazon Print-On-Demand book. Then I’ll branch out to the other electronic reader outlets.

I have the same plan for two non-fiction books I haven’t even attempted to market to agents – “Leases, Landlords, and Locations” and “Tell Them You’re Fabulous.” I’ve spent so much time and energy on breaking through the maze of traditional publishing; I hadn’t had the time to pursue marketing these two books yet.

Here’s the thing – we writers hold on to our completed projects like they are the last thing we’ll ever do. “Red Mojo Mama” is just the first novel I’m truly satisfied with and want others to read. There are so many other novels inside me fighting for my attention. As I’ve waited for Red to hit, I’ve become immobilized – a waste of time and energy. I’m not giving up my dream of being the next big Random House author – oh, no. Instead, I’m moving forward, hoping for some small success and writing again. I want to do a trilogy of books based on Lydia “Red” Talbot, my heroine and hope that someday all three will be picked up. But in the meantime, if I can get 150 people to read Red and fall in love with Lydia, it’s all good; anything more than that will be a huge success in my mind.

So, I’ll chronicle my experience, here on the blog, and hopefully it will be so positive that others will choose to give it a shot. I’ve got books coming – from Amazon – that will help me to market my books on social media sites and in other ways. So, I’ll pass along any tips I can.

All you aspiring authors – stay with me. It promises to be an exciting ride.

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