Friday, August 10, 2012

Tweaking Dreams

The publishing world is constantly changing, and it is important, I think, for every writer to constantly re-evaluate their options. The urge to write, and to be published for many of us is the culmination of a long held dream, and as such an emotional one. But when it comes down to publishing today, there are more options available than ever before - so we must examine our dreams, and if necessary, tweak them!
When I was starting out, my dream publisher was any publisher that would say yes to publishing my book. I had my sights set on the Big 6, because that was where every writer wanted to be published back then.

Unfortunately, the Big 6 didn't feel the same, they weren't clamouring for my first book, or even my second. But smaller publishers were interested, and I signed up. The dynamic was one of an eager writer, excited and delighted that a publisher wanted to sign my books up. I was looking for approval, wanting validation that my writing was good enough. The publishers chose me! This approach couldn't be more different from my approach today.

Currently, I have six novels and one book of short stories available on Amazon. Two are with a small publisher, two are backlist titles, previously published and now self-published, and two I chose to self-publish. All the novels have been professionally edited, with good looking covers, created by a professional cover artist.

My self published book, The Morning After, is my biggest seller, and has the most amounts of reviews, the majority of them good ones. I love this book, and loved writing it. And instead of looking for approval from the publishing industry, I took it straight to my editor for her feedback. She loved it too, and our feeling about the book have been reflected by the most important people in the whole process, the readers.

My backlist titles have done way better sales wise since I self-published them. I'm in KDP Select, and have found that this avenue has revitalised them in a way I never could have dreamed.

So today, I urge every writer looking to sell their book, to re-evaluate their options. Instead of thinking "will a publisher like it?" think, "which publisher gives me something extra, something I can't achieve on my own, by self-publishing?" This could be whatever you need it to be: global reach, popularity, validation, money, publicity.

If I were choosing a publisher, I'd be looking for a transparent, fair cut of the royalties tied to a good, strong publicity machine, that will help discoverability. I would also be interested if the publisher could offer me a presence on shelves in bookshops, and a marketing plan that utilised the power of the internet to significantly build my presence in secondary ebook markets.

I don't need the validation of the Big 6 anymore. Self publishing has given me feedback from my readers, which is much more important. I may self publish all my books from here on in, or work with a publisher on certain projects. I write because I want to. Because I need to. But once a book is finished, I want to share it with readers. And if I don't choose carefully, readers may never find it, amongst the sea of books out there. This has been a long post, I could have said it all in one line:

You are the writer. You choose.


Rhoda Baxter said...

An excellent post. I think you make some very valid points. Publishing is changing. It used to be that the publishing houses were (almost) the only way to get your book into a bookshop. Now you can get to readers via online platforms.
I think having an editor is vital, but you don't need a publisher for that. There are plenty of good editors around who are freelance.

Great advice. I'm going to bookmark this for when I'm feeling bruised by rejections. It will remind me to think of all my options.

Maya Blake said...

Fabulous post, Sally!!!

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's what is so nice about self-publishing. The consumers have more of a say in what they want to read now.

Sally Clements said...

Glad you found the post helpful, Rhoda.

Sally Clements said...

Hi Maya - there are so many ways to go these days, I'm so glad there are more options available! Glad you liked. x

Sally Clements said...

Hi Jennifer! Self publishing isn't by any means easy, but I find it very rewarding, in all aspects. And I'm glad to have the feedback from readers, that's the most important element for me!

Sally Clements said...

Rhoda - meant to add a "great to meet you at the conference!" to my comment, but half asleep! *Waves!*

Christina Hollis said...

Great post, Sally. If you've got a good story to tell and can tell it well, then there's no end to your opportunities. After that, as Rhoda said, all you need is a good editor

Sally Clements said...

Hi Christina *waves* I also think it's well worth employing a great cover artist, every book deserves a good cover!