Once upon a time, a down and out writer sent query letters via snail mail and waited up to three months for the, what seemed inevitable, rejection form letter. She knew her book was a romantic page-turner. It had all the elements she wanted in a great romance – a good plot, a bit of suspense or crisis, humor, and a terrific, curl your toes sex scene (or three). But no one in the traditional publishing world agreed. So, the forlorn writer put her masterpiece away, at the top of the closet, and closed the door on her dreams.
Flash-forward twenty years and the publishing world is turned on it’s head by a new way to read books, specifically, downloading onto computers. The technology even spawned a new industry for writers – independent publishing. Those passionate writers that had been so callously turned down by traditional publishers, now found a way to self-publish, thanks to corporations like Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. Writers and readers rejoiced! It was a win-win for all, but especially for the companies that had the foresight to embrace the change.
And change it did! Today, traditional publishers are scrambling to keep up with the trends set now by independent authors and their fan base. Even the traditionally published authors have jumped on the bandwagon of self-publishing, producing works that were once rejected by the publishing powerhouses. Hybrid authors (those both traditionally and independently published) are now climbing the best seller lists alongside independent authors at a phenomenal rate. Readers are ecstatic that there is more and more to read. Their e-readers can hardly keep up! Thousands of books are being downloaded daily, waiting to be read. New-to-them authors are hoping for a spot on a reader’s one-click, must-have list. How far would this magnificent windfall go?
Well, what goes up must come down. Supply exceeded demand, so authors began pricing their works lower in an effort to entice readers. Soon, it became the norm to price an older book as perma-free to get a little slice of the publishing pie. While this caused a bit of an uproar in the industry, it definitely grew the fan base of indie authors. But once again, with everyone on the bandwagon, it slowed to a crawl, so new marketing techniques were needed. The big publishing houses with an enormous marketing and publicity budget, soon began to invent algorithms to see just where the money flowed. It cut some book categories, backlisted others, and together with social media, made it virtually impossible to make decent living from independent publishing for most writers with limited funds and less than stellar marketing experience. But do not despair!
Remember the down and out writer? Well, she self-published that rejected book and made the Top 100 on Amazon’s List for Women’s Fiction – Humor. Take that traditional publishing houses! And while not every book she writes makes it to the Top 100, and no, she hasn’t made the USA Today or the New York Times Best-Seller list (yet!), and she still has her day job, she’s doing okay. She has time to write which makes her soul sing, and she makes enough in her writing that she can meet the fans and friends she’s made on social media at book events and conferences. Would she like to be traditionally published? Sure! That would be a hoot! But for now, she sits at her computer, dreams her stories of happy ever after, and puts them down on paper for the world to enjoy as well.
And as for changes, well, she’s gone from shy wallflower to a topnotch salesperson because who knows more about her books, her characters and her future, than she does. What does that future hold? For now, she’s looking into the newest trend for book marketing – video blogs. So, stay tuned. You never know what this author is going to do or write next!