There is a lot of advice streaming over the internet (where else) about how to avoid (or dump) traditional publishers and produce (and sell) your book yourself. This is still early times for such action (I think) but the times do change and they change fast. I would personally prefer to have a traditional publisher, but they do seem slow on the uptake.
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How to become an e-book sensation.
by Beverly Akerman
This is a story about the end of the gatekeeper. About the movement spreading throughout media, from which book publishing is hardly exempt, as readers of Harry Potter, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have made all too clear.
It’s about the reading public – the great unwashed, the hoi polloi – no longer letting tastemakers decide what’s worth reading. It’s about the masses seizing the means of publication.
In short, it’s about choosing for ourselves.
Publishing is an injured beast, but it was mortally wounded before Amazon attacked. And the injuries themselves are partly self-inflicted.
The proof? The vast majority of top-heavy legacy publishers’ books – agented, edited, sales-managed, otherwise massaged, and only then published – tank, sinking with nary a trace. Conversely, some books, refused by dozens of publishers, go on to achieve rockstardom when some kindly soul finally deigns to bring them to market.
Which means only one thing: Despite their vast education, experience and good taste, publishers have only about a quarter of a clue what the public really wants. For publishers, it’s “the end of the world as they know it.”
And I feel fine.
How’s this for a story?
Mild-mannered Vancouver recreational-vehicle sales manager hits midlife and decides it’s time for some changes. Big changes. He sobers up, gets a divorce, takes up running, remembers he’s always wanted to be a writer, and enrolls in community writing courses.
Five years later, his mixed-genre coming of age/romantic suspense novel, My Temporary Life, is making the rounds of agents and publishers.
The book is rejected nearly 130 times.
For three more years, our hero perseveres, because that’s what heroes do. He has a businessman’s “buy-in” to the process, accepting that his product could be judged unsalable. (Nothing personal.) Aside from all those professional reader rejections, he’s receiving an endless stream of compliments from every real, live, non-professional reader his book encounters – relatives, writing-class co-conspirators, friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends. He keeps going because he’s just this really swell, grounded guy, seemingly without a resentful bone in his body.
You know, like most writers.
Maybe it’s the 12-step program
Ultimately, our hero decides – is forced – to self-publish, which, being who he is, he welcomes. “It was either quit and not do any more with it, or self-publish,” he says.
His e-book went live in December, 2011. In January, he sold $100 worth. Two-and-a-half months later, he embraced the strategy I’ll spell out later: Readers have since snapped up 86,000 copies. A Canadian bestseller is 5,000 copies.
At Amazon.com, our hero is the e-book equivalent of an implanted, spray-tanned, maple-syrup-smeared Playboy centerfold, earning $45,000 in February alone. E-book sales approached $5,000 in March, with another 16,000 giveaways.