“Hey Mister, where you headed?
Are you in a hurry?” –Green Day Hitchin’ a Ride
The thing I hated about trying to break into the world of traditional publishing was the time it took to do everything. You live and breathe on someone else’s schedule, and you wouldn’t be human if it didn’t start wearing you down.
These are troubling times in the publishing world. The lines have been firmly drawn, and each side has loudly declared the other the loser.
They seem to hate each other right now, but one day I think traditional publishing and self/indie publishing are going to need each other.
POPOSTEROUS you say! Well lets think about this shall we.
If sweet little Mary Sue, has her book published by Random House; how did that come about? Assuming she started her novel writing career as a nobody it likely went like this.
Mary Sue writes a book---> Revises and edits a book---> Submits a query letter an lit agent (or thirty lit agents)---> Is picked out of the slush pile.
Lets stop right there. WHY was she picked out the slush pile? Probably because of one or all of these reasons:
1.) Good story
2.) Good writing
3.) Agents personal preference
4.) The chance that it will be sold based off of Market trends as the agent interprets them.
So many decisions in the publishing world are based purely on speculation. What an agent thinks will sell to a publisher. What a publisher thinks will sell to a particular audience. So I guess the million dollar question is, do they really know?
Publishers aren’t really reinventing the wheel these days as far as content goes, and when they decide it’s out, it’s out.*
So what if we could take speculation out of the publishing equation?
IMPOSSIBLE! You scream.
Just shut up for a minute and let me connect some dots for you. As I am sure you have read all over the internet, amazon e-book darling Amanda Hocking scored a SWEEEEEEET traditional publishing contract earlier this year.
Do you think she followed the same formula Mary Sue did? Of course not she is Amanda Hocking! There was a HUGE bidding war, you know why? Because no one had to speculate on whether or not she would sell books. She has a ginormous fan base, of course she is going to sell books. Personally I LOVE Amanda Hocking, I love everything I have convinced myself she stands for (which is probably not at all what you think she stands for)
So what if it could always be that way? What if they always knew who would sell and who wouldn’t. The answer is, they could, they just don’t want to change their business model.
I have some vary simplistic beliefs when it comes to self or indie publishing. I believe if you were destined to be great you will be great, if you were destined for mediocrity you will be mediocre, if you were doomed to failure—which likely has more to do with your worth ethic than anything else—you will fail.
The path no longer needs to define an author. You don’t have to be driving the bandwagon, you just have to learn to be alright with hitching a ride. Sometimes it’s smarter to take the wheel and drive, and sometimes it’s smarter to fly, this is one of those few instances in life where the destination will mater more than the journey.
Where do you want to end up?
*More on this in my Vlog at the end of the month. Vampire Money Coming June 29th