I'm a writer, struggling in "middle age" with a cranky, overly selective publishing biz, to find some measure of success at what is now an avocation. One should never do things just for the money - that was the lesson of the past forty years to at least one generation of Americans - and I'm not necessarily looking for Midas-like riches from my writing. But there must be a method to anything I take on if I hope to achieve readership and recognition.
So what's my method? What's my prototype?
I'm writing long fiction and short fiction, as well as some essays and memoir-like pieces. The short stuff is to gain publication in litmags. I've been fairly successful at that and now have a list of publications I refer to as my writer's resume.
Then there's the long fiction. I have two previously published novels, but quickly sank into oblivion - mostly because I didn't understand the writer's current responsibility to promote one's work. I also have three novellas written. Despite the reemergence of this form, publishers seem reluctant to take a chance on them, so I'm planning to self publish the three. I'm taking on critique work and selling e-book versions of these three to finance print versions. But then there's the sales aspect.
Booksellers are now just beginning to take on self-published works, and there are blogs and review agencies available for promotion. I'm in the process of finding the best of these for my work and making use of them. Also there are book fairs and innovative marketing techniques appearing for self-publishers. The trick here is finding them and finding ways to take advantage of what they offer the writer.
I also have two full-length novels written. These I'm trying to market conventionally to the industry. I keep promising myself that with the hours spent on these, I won't self-publish them. One has to draw the line somewhere, you know? Besides readership for self-published books is a bit strange. Readers will buy these on impulse, but they won't spend twenty or more dollars. And they usually won't buy the lengthier books. So, in order not to waste time, energy, and money, the longer works should gain an advance and whatever other benefits there are from a conventional publisher.
Over a period of time any reasoned strategy for publication will bear fruit. You just have to persist, write, persist, write...
But all will go for nothing without a strategy that accommodates your growing readership and whatever the book business has to offer in the ever-changing publishing landscape.
Causes Bob Mustin Supports
Native American culture. Education. Creative writing.