On Writing, Waiting, and the Future of Publishing

Guess what? I finished the second draft of the novel! At least, I finished transcribing (and editing as I went) everything in my notebooks. I’ve yet to incorporate the chapter intros I mentioned earlier (by which I mean, three bloody months ago–I officially hate time). Turns out I grossly overestimated how many words my handwritten pages contain, so the whole thing stands at over 95,000 words at the moment, which is probably a better length anyway.

Next, I plan to have a cheap print-on-demand version printed up strictly for my own edification (and round of minor edits), before I print up some copies for others to critique.

After that, well . . . I think I’ve gone crazy (again). I’m seriously thinking of giving the middle finger to whole traditional publishing route. And no, I am not going to pay some vanity press to make me feel good about myself. The fact is, in this day and age, it’s more of an uphill battle than ever for a new fiction writer to gain legitimate representation or get a publishing deal right off the bat. Most new writers end up wasting a ton of effort sending out their work, only to be rejected months, if not more than a year, later.

So, I ask, what freakin’ century is this? I can put my work online in e-book form and have it available to the whole world in seconds. Well, you ask, why would readers take a chance on paying for something by a no-name newbie like me? They probably won’t, honestly. So I am giving away my book for free.

Think about it. The hardest part for any new author is gaining a fan base, even if they are published. And while traditional publishers provide many valuable services for established authors, they don’t do a whole hell of a lot for the new guy. The system is completely outdated, really. Eventually, virtually every new artist will have gained a following online before he or she is signed to a professional deal, mark my words.

This way I can see if people like what I write, and they will take a chance if it is free. If they all say it stinks, well maybe it will be time to re-think things. If it is decently popular, I will continue. I could even charge for the sequel if it is popular enough. Maybe someday this will translate into a viable career, maybe not. But with some fans on board I’ll have a lot better chance.

There are already a few new writers who have done this, so I need to strike while the iron is hot; before every schlub on the planet puts his NaNoWriMo dreck on the Kindle store. So as soon as I have what I think is the most professional product I can produce without actually being a professional, my book will be available to all, free of charge, probably under a Creative Commons license.

Welcome to the brave new world of publishing.

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