Interesting to see how someone feels being in the industry for years, as I’ve only just started none of these have effected me as of yet. When the marketing process begins properly I shall refer back to this article again.
I’m very much involved in the thing people seem to call ‘The Waiting Game’ at the moment in terms of publishing. I feel that phrase is trying to trick us, the use of the word ‘Game’ makes it sound fun. It isn’t fun. The final manuscript has been sent off, and now it’s up to the publishers what they do to/with it. After reading the post I’ve linked to (click above), a small concern creeps into my mind. This is mainly because of the authorial voice of my little novel, and the fact that it is certainly prone to wandering off in bizarre and unexpected directions from time to time. This is because the narrator is very well meaning, but does sometimes get a bit distracted. He (even though it’s never established what gender the narrator is, in my head he is a he, I’m afraid) is always keen to point out how very important all of this is, but then he gets a little bit lost. I just hope the editor doesn’t try and reign that in too much. I’m very rarely a perfectionist, I’m relatively easy-going, particularly when I’m napping, but this is something I spent a fair amount of time on, for no other reason than to amuse myself, and the thought of someone steaming in and ripping it apart has suddenly struck me as horrifying. But I suppose I should stop worrying and just play the waiting game. I hope I don’t lose.
For those that weren’t aware of this blog from the beginning, or could not be bothered to read the excessively long first post, you may not know my route to getting published is certainly not a conventional one.
The conventional publishing process, I was always told, revolves around a series of fixed events and a whole load of luck:
Write A Book, Edit, Send off manuscript to agents, Receive rejection letters, Edit, Send off more manuscripts to agents, Receive rejection letters, Send off more manuscripts to agents, Get married and have three children, Get lucky and get an agent to represent you because one of your children’s friend’s father knows a guy who knows a guy, Edit, Wait for your agent to find a publisher, Edit, Receive lots more rejection, Edit, Finally get a publisher, Sign publishing contract, Edit, Send off final draft, Get Published (which obviously consists of lots more stages within itself, but that’s not what this post is about).
In my limited knowledge, I think that is a process that has stuck partly because the publishing industry has been doing a decent job of what it does up until now, and it is still doing it well enough. It is an industry filled with uncertainty, predicting reading trends, and investing money in projects that may fail, so these stages are there because an agent and a publisher want to make sure they’re going to make money out of an author’s book/s.
But then the internet came along. And self-publishing changed from something that someone with a decent amount of savings and a stony-faced belief in their book could do, to something someone could do on a lazy Sunday for the cost of an internet connection.
And so this was my process:
Write a Book, Edit, Upload Book to Completely Novel, Send off manuscript to agents, Receive rejection letters, Edit, Send off more manuscripts to agents, Receive rejection letters, Forget about it for a while, Receive message on Completely Novel from a start-up publisher who has read the book online and would like to publish it, Sign publishing contract, Edit, Send off final draft to publisher.
Again, there’s more stages to go, but that’s where I am now.
But the point of this, if there is one, is the lack of an agent in the second process. An agent is there for representation, and they take a cut of the profits, and they are no doubt very useful. However, I would tentatively venture towards saying that the internet can be your agent. It can’t completely take the role of the agent, it won’t work hard for you off its own back, you need to use it properly to do that yourself. The internet, however, has transformed authors’ works from a subtle mutter in a back room to a chatter in a pub. By this I mean it increases presence, it allows unknown people to share the same medium as the successful. That isn’t to say it’s easy work, it’s still a competitive place, but it’s a competitive place filled with so many different avenues of exploration. The old model of publishing is a rigid, one track way towards getting published or getting shunned. That isn’t to say it is a dead way of getting published, I think perhaps it would be a bit presumptuous to say that model is dead, or even dying, it is just that it isn’t the only way now.
I don’t want to seem as though I’m getting ideas above my station, after all the publishing company that wanted to publish my work is fairly small, and there’s no telling how many people end up buying the book. Macmillan and HarperCollins will probably continue to use the old model for the foreseeable future, it ensures the money they are investing is going into a book that has been ratified and thought over in-house. The reason Knightstone (my publishers) are exploring these new avenues of publishing is precisely because they are a new company, they can see the direction of the industry and are exploring one of these many new avenues. It could be a risk, but for now we’re both entrusting the Digital Middle Man.
Might I ask how you happened to find my blog, and why you decided to follow? You don't have to post this question but I have wondered for a while and finally decided to ask. If you would rather email just let me know. Thanks [:
Hi. I can’t remember exactly how I found it, but I think it was probably on the directory under ‘Creative Writing’ or something. I’m reasonably new here, but I thought seen as my blog is about Creative Writing and things like that, I should follow other people whose blog is about writing. I’ve enjoyed your poems when they come up on the feed, so that’s why I’m still following. Keep it up!