Monday, May 21, 2012

Navigating The Publishing World

Since I don’t have an author spotlight lined up for today, you are stuck listening to my rant about publishing.

I’ve run into some interesting hurdles while trying to market my book. My book is through an independent publishing company, which means I’m an indie author. However, a lot of self-published authors have also started calling themselves indie authors. (For the record, I love self-published books but didn’t feel it was the right path for me.)

A lot of review and book sites don’t want anything to do with self-published authors or independent ones. I’m finding because my book isn’t published through a big-six publisher, I’m getting a cold shoulder from some book sites. They don’t bother to respond to me e-mails even though I follow their directions carefully when I try and set up guest spots. I’m not really surprised by it, because I’ve always known about the bias in publishing. Independent authors don’t get to sign their books in the same room as the ‘real’ authors at conventions and certainly don’t get the same respect by anyone in the legacy publishing business.

There are also a lot of sites for self-published authors but they usually don’t consider books published by small, independent publishers. They want stories from authors who shrugged off the publishing world and went it alone to become a best-seller. Everyone loves those kind of stories.  

I’m also limited on how I can promote my book because a lot of what I do has to go through my publisher first. They aren’t going to loose hundreds of potential sales by offering my book for free on kindle (and they shouldn’t have to.)  So how do I get the word out about my book?

I feel like I’m sort of stuck on some weird middle ground. There just aren’t many sites focused on books by small publishers. Maybe they are out there, and I just haven’t found them yet.

How do you feel about the whole Big Six vs. Indie vs. Self-published debate? Do you think there are equal opportunities on all sides?

On a side note- I'm being interviewd over at Dawn's Reading Nook. You can see the interview here.  :)


  1. Great thoughts, Alyson. Personally, I think the bias and elitism stinks. Lots of people believe there are certain hurdles you have to jump or you don't get to call yourself 'author'. Why? Because they had to jump them. They'll throw things like, "The process ensures great writing." and other such qualifiers in there, but what they really mean is, "I had to do it, so by God everyone else better do it too."

    The Internet is plenty big for all kinds of writers and stories, and I don't fault anyone for preferring one type to another based upon taste and experience. However, if it isn't based upon taste and experience, they shouldn't be so exclusive.

    I probably shouldn't say what I'm about to say publicly, but my general feeling is if I write something "good enough" it won't matter: Big traditional publishing has not been fair to writers. They've controlled the entire industry for a long, long time. They'll quickly point to all of the bestselling authors making a killing and say, "What's not fair?" but those bestsellers are the very, very few in terms of all the authors out there. The mid-list author struggles, and the crap of it all is that the distinction between the haves and have nots is often manufactured based upon what marketing and book people THINK is going to do well. That's where they put their dollars. Everyone else gets tossed into the pool and told to, "sink or swim."

    I get very upset when I read agents or editors Tweet things like, "No more vampires. The market is saturated." (Using vamps just as an example.) What market? Are readers who love vampires suddenly saying, "I'm not reading any more vampire stories this year because I've already read fifteen." I doubt it. They'll keep reading vampire stories from now until they're dead because they enjoy them. The issue is: vampire stories aren't going to draw enough mass appeal to generate a lot of money in paper book sales because there are so many to choose from. Probably true, and at $10-$15 a pop for new paper books, it's understandable why readers won't gobble up every new vampire series that pops up.

    But e-books have changed that paradigm. Small published or independently published authors can offer inexpensive stories that fans of the genres will gladly gobble up. Plus, they have access to the millions of readers that used to exclusively shop at physical bookstores. Author might not get rich, but they might be able to make a living at some point. Something, traditionally speaking, average authors haven't been able to do. Ever.

    Honestly, I think everyone (readers, authors, publishers, agents) needs to understand things have changed--for the better in my opinion--and embrace it. I think most of us love books. We love reading. We love authors. So why not just enjoy and support the most unlimited access to those things the world has ever known?

  2. You're right. The elitism does suck. I could kind of understand it when books were limited to book stores. There were only so many slots available and authors were competing for those slots. But now there's more than enough room for everyone, so I have no idea why people are still so snobbish about books and publishing.

  3. I think sometimes we feel like people are treating us a certain way or we feel like there's only "one right way" to do something. Those misperceptions lead to all kinds of problems, which is what is happening in the publishing industry right now.

  4. You're right that a lot of it is just how we take things. The publishing world is pulling writers in a lot of different directions right now and everyone is responding in their own ways.