There is a lot of grumbling that today is a difficult time to be a writer yet was it ever easy? The publishing world is definitely in an evolutionary period and it’s never been a better or easier time for an author to get their word out. No longer does a writer have to be a slave to the whims of what a publisher deems to be good writing. If a story is good, it will sell. If it starts off as independently published and makes a big enough splash, it will attract the attention of a publisher. Yet, is that really the direction an author wants to take these days?
I have been told repeatedly that traditional publishing in not the way to go anymore. Sure, if you are lucky enough to land a plane successfully in the Hudson, win an Olympic gold medal or run any flavor of presidential campaign- publishers may line up at your front door waving money like stock traders and their Wall Street trading sheets. However, as the yet to be discovered writer, even if a publisher does pick up your work, it will probably be years before your story makes it to book form. Will there even still be book stores by the time the finished published copy is available to the public? The image of your precious story being properly placed at eye level in a store is almost as likely as being signed to play in the NFL.
The treasured “Advance” is rumored to be shrinking proportionally to the national debt rising, and is just a loan on future earnings. More and more, writers are expected to do their own marketing and public relations and with a publishing contract, they may sign their rights away or may feel as if they are selling their souls. Without the right agent, they may have waived their rights for cover designs and even book titles.
In one sense, it would be great to have a big company taking care of all the little details. It’s like the days of the mighty record companies. The best bands aren’t necessarily the ones that were being played on the radio- those were the ones who were lucky to have someone paying off the record execs for air time. Such is similar with the “Best Seller” lists. Got money (yours or publisher’s)? You too can get on that list even if the book is of little talent. There are enough lemming readers who base their entire reading selections from those Best Sellers lists.
It seems that the “Go Green” and “Buy Local” attitudes that are starting to catch with consumers, have yet to evolve to supporting local writers. There are amazing stories in our midst whatever large or small community we live in. Just because a book doesn’t contain a label from a publishing company doesn’t mean that it’s not worth your time. If the subject is something that you find interesting, take the leap and jump off the lemming train. Support a local writer! It keeps money in your community and may be helping that writer evolve to evenen greater heights.
I can honestly say that one of my proudest moments was while extricating the first copy of my book Working for Peanuts: The Project Linus Story out of its Createspace packaging. The thrill of seeing it in print and actually holding it for the first time has to be similar to that of cradling one’s precious baby. It didn’t leave my side for the first 24 hours. I was overjoyed to share it with my friends and family. Like raising a child, writing a book, takes a village. There were so many who helped make it all possible and were every bit as as excited as if I had just returned with a cutie from the labor ward- possibly more! It would still be years, if ever, that I would be able to experience that magical moment if I’d gone through a traditional publisher.
Until that big call comes from a reputable publishing company, I’m more than happy to put my time, talent, money and name on the line to let the world know about my unique adventure and empowering others to make a positive difference in this world. My baby, Project Linus, has been featured on the likes of Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams & People Magazine. Publicizing a great story will be anything but a walk in the park but I’m not afraid of a little hard work. It’s said-” It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” For now, I’m happy to have my story published in my time and in my way. There’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in that.