Did you ever wish you had a traditional publishing contract? Count your lucky stars. Since our pandemic began, traditional publishing has gone off the rails.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch breaks it down for us on her blog. It all began when she tried to order a book in June and was informed that the book would ship in September. Surprised that it wouldn’t arrive sooner, she looked into why that should be.
And guess what? It turns out that traditional publishing isn’t all that nimble when it comes to crises. Here’s the story.
What the heck happened?
When the pandemic hit and bookstores closed, some publishing companies moved their biggest spring and summer releases to the fall, hoping that the situation would have recovered by then. But as the pandemic dragged on, the schedule fell apart, because the fall schedule was already mostly full. Continue reading
This week, Justine and Jeanne shared their reasons for deciding to opt for indie publishing instead of pursuing the traditional route. Next year I’ll be joining them on that journey, and I decided to use today’s post to explain why.
It’s interesting that none of us are doing it because we think we’ll make more money (though wouldn’t that be nice?). For Justine, it’s about having control of the process. For Jeanne, it’s about being master of her own fate. For me, it’s both of those things, but also—mainly—about the time and investment I think I’ll need to give myself the best chance of success.
I’ve never been much of a first impressions kind of person. In my business life, I rarely wowed interviewers or clients in the big meeting. I’m more of an acquired taste, though as I worked with people, I usually grew on them. Over time, I built up a network of trusted connections. In a thirty-year professional career I changed employer just three times, and all my opportunities came through personal recommendations.
The same pattern holds good in my personal life. I’m still married to the man I met aged 18, and I have a small group of close friends, accumulated over a long time. The 8 Ladies were classmates for a stressful, labor-intensive year. We knew each other pretty well by the time we started this blog.
Told you that to tell you this: I suspect my slow burn style is more suited to indie publishing than trad, and here’s why.
In the years since indie publishing has gotten a toe-hold, there has been a debate raging in the industry about the quality, viability, and even the right of this form of publishing to survive. Traditional publishing has trumpeted the importance of selectivity, of professional gatekeepers who keep unskilled or ‘not-ready-for-primetime’ writers from taking up readers’ valuable time and physical bookstores’ coveted shelf space.
Indie publishers, who are themselves authors, have decried a system that depends on just the right story in just the right genre crossing the desk of just the right gatekeeper on a day when said gatekeeper hasn’t had a fight with his/her spouse or child or family pet…you can see where this is going. The odds of getting struck by lightning often seem higher than those of being plucked out of writing obscurity and dropped into a publishing contract. It is not only poor writing keeping writers out of the market, indie supporters argue; it’s also publishers with myopic vision who tend to chase one trend to death, then drop it like a hot potato for the next must-have trend.
And even for writers who’ve made it past the gatekeepers once, what are the odds of getting struck by lightning twice, in the form of a decent marketing budget and time to build a name and a following? Not great, and getting worse by the day, along with the onerous terms and conditions of publishing contracts.
And among all this hub-bub and hallabaloo are the readers, who have taken a firm stand in the traditional versus indie Continue reading