Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What’s worth most?


When I started to write, I didn't think much about whether people liked what I wrote or not. I had to get the stories out of my mind. But as soon as I reached the point where I decided to have a career not a hobby, I looked at published stories in my genres. Yes, there were moments when I thought 'How could they publish this rubbish' but more often I wondered why no publisher brought anything different from what was there.

Then, J.K. Rowling proved to publishers that readers do read stuff that's different and filled with new ideas. I thought everything would change now -- far from it. Again, publishers were chasing trends, this time in Fantasy. My (enthusiastic) agent has offered five different manuscripts to German publishers, and even when the editors liked it, we got a polite "No thanks, it's too different/wrong time" (depending on the genre).

Frustrated, I began to hone my English and started writing my stories in my second language. Lo and behold, I got recognized. Readers of samples, flash and short stories told me they loved what I did. I even got shortlisted for two awards. So, when the eBook revolution opened a whole new set of opportunities, I took my chances. My first eBook "Urchin King" sells slowly but continually. I'm not earning millions, but I get feedback from readers who love my story. This pushes me to write faster, so I can publish another one soon.

Sometimes at night, I am wondering. I read an online article recently where an author's contract was canceled because she self-published with amazon. Would it have been better to wait for "The Deal"?

I don't think so. Sure, I'd have gotten a lump payment up front but what then? I'd have to start writing my stories the way my publishers want, and if readers need time to find me and connect with me, traditional publishers won't give much time to me. They pulp books if they don't sell fast enough. Where does that leave the midlist and the longseller?

What do you think? Are authors better off on their own? Or with a traditional publisher? Or is a mix of both the best option? I love the independence eBook publishing gives me, but I'm not fully set against tradition publishers. After all, money is tight in these times.

Tell me your opinion.


Miranda Hardy said...

I no longer think it's taboo to self publish, but I'm not apart of the big six either. I do think the writing is what's important. If the book is great, the publishers will want it regardless if you've self published, but I may be wrong. I just hope I'm not. I'd hate to miss out on a great book.

Cynthia said...

This is a hard question to answer. It really is a personal journey. For myself, I'm holding out for an agent. I don't know when it will happen, but I know it will someday. For me I'd like an agent on my side to help me learn the ropes and look out for my best interest. Both ways are right. What are you most comfortable with?

Michael Offutt said...

For me I thought I'd benefit more from a traditional publisher than self-publishing. So I went with one that specializes in sci-fi.

Cat said...

Currently, I am favoring a way that includes both. I know I will write stories that aren't a good fit for traditional publishers -- those I will do on my own. But for the rest, I would love to get an agent and a publisher who are interested in building a career for their authors.