The writing and publishing world has blown up the past week mostly due to the break-out news of writer Amanda Hocking and her incredible publishing story. The amazing part isn’t that she got her books into the hands of millions of readers but the fact that she’s NOT published in the traditional sense. You can read more about Amanda’s story from the link above but the gist is that she went down the ‘correct’ path and after getting one-too-many rejections on her umpteenth book she decided to go the self-publishing route. She now holds multiple spots in the Amazon Kindle top 100 sales and one of her books has already been optioned for a movie. Incredible.
This of course is another wakeup call that I’ve been hearing a lot lately about self-publishing. J.A. Konrath talks a lot about self-publishing and how he makes more from eBooks than anything in print. The biggest fault people find in his argument is that he’s an established writer and he has a fan-base already in place to buy those books. This theory has been blown out of the water by Amanda’s success.
So where does this leave us? Most of us are trying very hard to get our best work written and then queried out to agents in the hopes we are picked up. There’s always the chance but we all know the reality that it’s very difficult. You also can’t just give up and place your work online for self-publishing because that is a disqualifier for most agents and publishers when looking at a book. They want work that’s never been published in any form. I would LOVE to put Spirit Hackers into Kindle and all other stores out there, podcast it via podiobooks.com and do anything else to get ‘out there’ but then I’ve shot myself in the foot on a book that’s taken me over 2-years to complete. Setting Spirit Hackers free isn’t the answer, at least not until after it’s been queried everywhere and then rejected. If I’ve explored all avenues and can’t get it sold, then I will seriously consider putting it online myself.
Can we have our cake and eat it too? That’s what I am going to try. Amanda’s story has pushed me to the realization that self-publishing CAN work if the story is good. So this is my plan to have the best of both worlds: I’m writing two books. You all know Loopback is my new WIP. That book will be written for the traditional route of writing and querying. As with Spirit Hackers, if I exhaust all publishing options I’ll consider putting it online. In addition to Loopback, I plan to develop and write books that I’ve decided will be self-published from the get-go. I don’t know if it will be a short story, novella or novel but there will be work out there and available for everyone. I’m throwing some ideas around and figuring out how to do this but it’s going to be a lot of fun. I plan on working out some of those ideas later today. In addition, if I’m able to write quick enough, I may release it chapter-by-chapter as the book is getting written to make it even more exciting.
Of course this puts a lot more on my plate but I’m focusing on the big picture: getting published one way or another while preserving certain works for a shot at the traditional market. I figure if my self-published work takes off, it may sell to a publisher anyway. It worked for Nathan Lowell, so it can work for me.