The thing that kept me going is the fact I don’t give up, and a fabulous community of self-published authors on at the Writer’s Cafe message board at Kboards.com. I run to my self-publishing brethren that punches each others arms, post writing threads to beat out 1K a day, and marketing tips and algorithm discussions about the Big A (Amazon).
But something is happening this year. The winds of change are starting to surface. I think the world of publishing is starting to take notice of the little bohemian group of writers that are making self-publishing work.
Thankfully, I’ve been taking notes, and trying out some of the ideas. Back when the free book backdoor idea surfaced, I gave it a try. I had over 9,000 downloads in a month. From 10 downloads a month, this was a big difference. So, some things have worked. This last year, I tried marketing locally to bookstores and started writing in a new genre. Write more, write more, start a new pen name and build the love of your readers. OK, pushed the button on that. Now what?
I would suggest starting with a book called Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and John B. Truant. The ideas I recognize from discussions on Kboards.com and at the back tables of conferences. It was developed from Sean’s and John’s Podcast show on self-publishing. The information is amazingly fresh and forward. Ideas like keep writing, funnel your readers, and be in it for the long term give me hope. I made a right choice over 5 years ago. The more I write, the more I’ll make over the long term.
But wait, there’s more. Today, the overlord and general hero of the community bohemia of The Writer’s Cafe on Kboards.com published a blog post about what he’d do if he was the CEO of HarperCollins. His name is Hugh Howey. Hugh has impressed me before. I’ve written about him in other blog posts on self-publishing, because he champions self-publishing. There’s been a year of screaming from the mount that this way of publishing works. But this time, it’s coming from someone that has proven it.
Hugh wrote Wool as a serial that took off. Of course, it is a good book. Add a traditional publishing deal, movie in the making with an European book tour and you get an idea of what I’m talking about. He’s making self-publishing work for him, and this is just in the last year.
Thankfully, he’s still coming back and visiting on the board. He’s a bit of a celebrity regular now, but he is still modest. No really. Plus, a couple of things have stuck with me for what’s he’s mentioned in posts on the board. The fabulous thing is that he’s still giving advice and even started a project in which a lot of regulars on the board are creating an anthology for charity. But the good ideas haven’t stopped there.
Hugh created a list of ideas that might shake the foundations of publishing. If you’d like to see his original post, here is the link to: Don’t Anyone Put Me In Charge. I’ve listed some of the highlights that I think are going to blow the traditional publishing community out of the water.
He starts with several suggestions to help give a foundation of artist community to authors. “1. The first thing I would do would be the most important, and that would be to form a community among my stable of HarperCollins authors.” So true. I agree, I have watched the magic of creativity form on the Writer’s Cafe board for several years now. I’ve been affected and benefited by the artistic community it creates. Plus, show monthly sales and pay royalties monthly is suggested. Most self-publishers love this freedom. I know how many books I sell and take home 35% or 70% depending on the price point of my book through Amazon. Not to mention being addicted to checking sales daily. There is nothing like seeing your book selling in Japan.
“Like the editors. We’re going to save the editors (and hire more) and get rid of the sales reps.” Really, I agree with Hugh here. Get rid of the huge overhead so publishing houses can keep up with the speed of change that the 21st century can allow for innovative ideas. The brave new world of self-publishing will create a bigger bookstore on-line not to distributors for books. Yes, in 10 years, books will mostly be in the hands of the older generation. I see the eagerness of young people ready for ebooks. It will happen.
Hugh suggests moving the publishing house to Houston out of New York. “Business will be conducted much as it already is: by email.” Really, who wants to live in New York right now? Florida? California? No snow? Houston? Lower costs will help everyone.
These are just a few ideas I gleaned in the dawn of this new age of publishing. I am excited to be on the ground floor to witness the innovation at hand. Hopefully, with effort, hard work, and a little luck, I might be able to eventually retire. But until then, I’m ok with waiting 10 years and writing those good books to earn royalities after decades of service teaching children. After all, the biggest thing I’ve learned as a self-published author is to be patient and keep writing. There is hope in the distance, and it’s called the digital age with self-publishing the key to a writer’s success.