Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Times Are Changing

I remember when I decided to listen to my family and give publication a shot. It was terrifying. I did everything I thought I was supposed to. I Googled, I researched, I started following editor's blogs, I went to Barnes and Noble and studied the manuals that would help me create a query letter. It took a good month before I had the information necessary to give it a shot. Afterward, I started the process of submitting my material. Many agents wanted electronic submissions. I can honestly say that hitting "send" was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. My palms were sweaty, my breathing was stinted, and I felt lightheaded. I'd chosen ten agents, submitted to them, and waited.

Some of the agents rejected with a blanket statement, others praised my voice but stated I should continue writing to improve my craft, others never responded at all. It was incredibly disheartening. Believe me when I say a dreaded "R," especially the first, is hard to take. It was around this time that I discovered e-publishing. At first, I wasn't sure. It was an entirely different market. Would people truly want a book in that format? Was there money to be made? Could I make a career out of it? I wasn't sure. It took several weeks to decide I had nothing to lose. Braced for the worst but hoping for the best, I submitted Crimson Moon to The Wild Rose Press and waited. I received word that they wanted the story, but with a revision -- a sex scene. I wrote the scene, got my contract, and I went from being a writer to an author.

Nowadays, trying to decide which is best -- agent, NYT, or e-publishing -- is a difficult choice to make. Yes, I would like to have an agent and be accepted into one of the big six. Will that ever happen? I'm not sure. However, at this point, I'm not certain if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Don't know what I mean? Take a look at the image below:

The photo was snapped in a California Borders bookstore. As you are aware, they are going out of business in many cities. The money simply isn't there. There is also word that Barnes and Noble continues to try and find a buyer for their franchise. This is something everyone in the publishing community is taking note of.

Most like to blame Amazon.com.  Amazon provides merchandise at a low cost, ranging from books, to movies, to clothing (kinda reminds you of another corporate giant who put grocery stores and similar chains out of business. Got to love one stop shopping. Right, Wal-Mart?).  I think this trend is only going to continue. Right now, you can pay a yearly fee and have all the things you order delivered to you free of charge, sometimes receiving the item the very next day. With the cost of gas increasing, it would make sense to order and wait.  Not to mention, now there are reading devices created just for books. It's no longer necessary to drive to your local bookstore. You can get what you want with a click of a button.

Where am I going with this? Simple. I'm not certain where the large NYT houses and agents who supply them with clients will be in the future. This isn't to say I'm jumping on the self-publishing bandwagon. Rather, I'm stating that indie e-publishers such as Ellora's Cave, Samhain, Carina, Loose Id, Liquid Silver, etc have already put themselves on the map. Why would an author need or want an agent when they can do the work themselves and keep their entire cut of  the profit?

Don't get me wrong. I still want an agent. I think all authors do. But I've come to the conclusion that if it doesn't happen, it won't be the end of the world or my career. I'm curious to see what the industry is like in ten or fifteen years.  How about you?

Now, for the weekly eye-candy!

3 comments:

Sharon S. said...

psst, I don't think he has any pants on! .

If I was a publishing house and wanted to make sure the authors I picked would be sucessful. I might troll the e-book stores to see which authors are doing really well in the indie department and then approach them. I have seen quite a few indie authors that spent time at the top of a kindle list get agents not to much later.

J.A. Saare said...

Hey Sharon,

Most of the self-published authors (a lot of self-published like to call themselves "indie" but the title actually pertains to presses who are small versus the big boys) have a very difficult time. If you're curious, email me jasaare at gmail dot com and I can share the link of on in particular. But yes, I agree. You would think they do that. But I don't know if many do. I still have a difficult time subbing (and receive rejections). And Dead was a best seller.

Anyhow, the market is strange. Thanks for commenting!

Sharon S. said...

You are right! I need to be more careful with my use of "indie" vs Self-published. Thanks :)

I am sending you an email, I would love to see that article.

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