Monday, April 2, 2012

Persistance and (im)Patience

Some authors are very vocal about turning their back on traditional publishing. JA Konrath is almost iconic in this sense. Here is a man who has slogged through the mud of the old process, as it were. He went through the whole Published Hero's Journey: The Call to Agents, the Endless Refusal of those calls, the Supernatural Persistence (wrote multiple novels before he was published), Eventual Representation, Continued Rejection (by publishers, this time!), and finally the triumph of netting that big author advance and becoming the real deal.

... and now he's advising people not to do all that, but to self-publish instead. Okay, I don't actually remember if that's what he is advising - I only remember that that is what HE is doing. Has stated he will never attempt to traditionally publish again, because he makes more money as a self-published author.


Now, I'm sure there are still advantages to going the traditional route, even if they all amount to one basic thing: An air of legitimacy. Your work has passed muster with the people who make their living in 'the biz' and that gives you bragging rights.

There is, of course, a fine distinction to be made. Being published by a traditional publishing house means that somebody, somewhere, thought your work would sell.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's good. I'm sure we can all think of some examples.

Without getting too far into what separates the 'successful' from the 'good' (A strong case could be made, I'm sure, that they are really one and the same!) let me just state the point as it pertains to me: Just because something wasn't accepted by the agents and publishers doesn't mean it wasn't good. It means they didn't think they could make enough money off it to justify the work.

Independent publishing changes that. You don't need teams of people. ePublishing, even more so. Now we can publish books with an overhead of precisely nil. Zero. Donut. That means that even modest sales are profit.

There remains, though, that issue of validation. Sure, I can go it alone. Stop chasing the traditional route. Dedicate all my writerly energy to self-publishing. It'd be easier in the short term, certainly. There will remain, though, a question lurking in the back of my brain:

Am I self publishing because I think it is a viable route and better in the long run - or because the traditional industry rejected my first attempts?

After all, I am no JA Konrath. I have been submitting one novel - my first novel. Plenty of other folks did that, got rejected, and wrote their second novel. Then the third, and fourth, and so on until they were published (I will live forever or die trying!).

Then again, if the self-ePublishing option had existed back then, would they still have done the same?

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