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Let's E-Publish a Book: Step one: Deciding What to Publish

Let's E-Publish a Book

Step One: Deciding what to Publish

By Charles Atkins

Every journey begins with a step...at some point I'll Google that and find out who said it.  But here's the journey...or at least the goal.  I've decided to e-publish a book, and to recreate myself...a part of myself?...as a writer of urban fantasy.  To start, I've been very fortunate in my writing career.  No, I'm  not a best seller, but I've had quite a few books published.  This is a big deal, in the passing age of publishing with its crushing rejection, where getting an agent and a book deal(s) were hurdles that many authors were never able to clear.

This is all changing, perhaps it already has.  With the radical shift in the publishing paradigm from 'few can get published, to everyone and their granny can get e-published' it's time to rethink my life as an author, what I want to write and how I'm going to get it to readers.  So, the journey starts.  I may take some short cuts, but I know I'm not the only one figuring this stuff out.    

Here's the plan.   And yes, I find it's good to map these things out, like writing an outline for a new novel.  The plan may go to pieces, and the steps taken can diverge wildly from what was intended.  Still, a map is a nice way to get started.

Step 1.  Decide what I'm going to publish:

I've got a few ideas on this one, but two books that aren't far from being publishable spring to mind.  First is a Faustian tale of a young doctor who creates a pill that alleviates all human suffering.  Sadly, it comes at a cost and the devil--yes, Lucifer himself--will have his due.  The other is a lovely--albeit meandering multi-generational saga where once a generation a child is born with the ability to heal.  It often doesn't go well for that child as the book dips in and out of a beautiful fantasy realm based on Gypsy--and other--folklore.  Those are the two front runners.  And clearly where I'm taking some serious short cuts--I've got a couple books ready or near-ready to go. 

Choice A, entitled--GO TO HELL--is essentially ready.  It's with my agent and has received quite a bit of rejection.  That said, the rejection has been strangely positive.  One editor wrote back, "if this had been ten years earlier my answer would have been different."   Other comments have been similar, no form letters saying thanks but no thanks.  All thoughtful responses about why they're hesitant to give the green light.  At the end of the day it's because they're not certain the book will make money.  People are nervous and publishing books--at least the old way with paper and ink--is expensive.  E-publishing--at least in my naive head state is cheap, just format, post and publicize.  For the sake of these blog pieces I'll be meticulous about actual costs.

Choice B--My multi-generational sage will require a rewrite.  I've written and rewritten this one so many times, I just need to pull my head around two ways it can go, commit to one and haul my butt through its many pages to smooth and tighten--about a month's work...maybe two.

I've a third choice as well, but this book is not yet written and I just finished a fifty--or so--page outline, which needs lots of work.

Clearly, the easiest is to go with Choice A.  Yes, baby has just taken his first step.  I'm going to e-publish GO TO HELL.  Now what?