Kath here. Please welcome guest poster Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn: Adventures in Writing, Publishing and Book Marketing. We love her postitive outlook on the challenges and changes rocking the publishing industry. Enjoy!
In the last few weeks, independent (indie) authors have hit the mainstream press with Amanda Hocking’s Kindle millionaire success. JA Konrath’s blog also continues to provide articles from other indie authors making a living selling their own books online. This has provoked a mixed response across the web. For some, there is a celebration of empowerment and a delight in new ways for creative people to become entrepreneurs. There’s also more fuel on the fire for the “death of publishing” crowd. In addition, the anti-self publishing movement has stepped up a notch with how awful it is to flood the market with books that haven’t been vetted by publishers and the lack of quality indie books out there.
There’s no doubt that publishing is changing and authors of all kinds are experimenting with new methods or combining several of them. Readers don’t actually care, they just want more stories. So let’s consider new behaviors as authors and publishers that will enable us to embrace the changes and benefit from them.
We all write in a diverse ecosystem. Check out the dichotomies of this industry that are often used as a form of snobbery. Literary fiction vs. genre fiction. Prize winning fiction vs. bestsellers. Big six publishing house vs. small independent press. Print books vs. ebooks. Traditionally published author vs. self-published author. Author selling 1000 books per day vs. author selling 1 book per day. It doesn’t stop. There is always some kind of comparison and weighing up of who is better in someone’s opinion.
Instead of focusing on differences, I’m suggesting that we celebrate success in all areas of the business. Instead of bemoaning how hard it is to write a book, or get published or sell books, we could look at the accomplishments of others and be inspired.
Many of us in the indie author world are cheering Amanda, Joe and others who are blazing a trail on the Kindle store. It’s fantastic to see authors writing books that people want to buy. These authors are not overnight successes, they’ve been writing for years and you don’t have to like the genres they write in to appreciate how hard they’ve worked.
So, instead of negativity about genre or route to publishing, try congratulating authors on their success. Leave a comment on their blog, or review a book you did enjoy. Share with others these inspiring stories and look to the opportunities for your own writing. Celebrate your own place in the creative ecosystem.
Collaborate and support.
We have to stop seeing other authors as competition. We are actually all sharing this passionate market of readers.
The marvelous thing about books and publishing is that it’s not a finite market. As book lovers we will never stop buying books, whether that is print or ebooks, it doesn’t matter. We will continue to consume them. A single avid reader can race through a prolific author’s back-list in a matter of weeks and then they will need the next fix. Since I bought a Kindle I read 3-4 books per week and I’m always looking for what’s next in the queue. We’re reading junkies!
Not everyone will like your book so recommend other authors and you’ll be surprised at how fast your own market grows as other people recommend you in turn. Try networking with other writers on Twitter or Facebook. Link to them or interview them on your blog. I have found the twitter network of writers to be a wonderfully giving group of people, mutually supportive and celebratory. This sharing attitude and abundance mentality is the basis of social media. Creating a net of like-minded people can benefit all as together we are stronger and can generate new opportunities.
Looking at successful authors, the most constructive thing we can do is model their success. What do they do that we can emulate? For example, writing a series is an excellent idea for Kindle book sales as people get hooked and want to read the whole backlist as well as waiting to buy the next one. Bestselling traditional authors like Lee Child, James Patterson and JK Rowling also know this. Do you have a character and a story you could expand into a series? Finding a genre and sticking to it also works well so people know what to expect, so which genre do you love to read?
Persistence and time in the market is also key. I keep coming back to this one as the number of books you have out there makes a difference to most authors success. Each book has to be a great story and fantastic value for readers and it takes time to build a quality backlist. But we are lucky to be writers as this is something we can do for the rest of our lives, and in fact, the authors making the most money are generally older and have put in the years of hard work. How can you model the success of authors you admire?
There’s enough room for all kinds of writing and publishing in this world. Live and let live. Let’s collaborate, celebrate and be successful together.
Joanna Penn is the author of Pentecost, an action-adventure thriller novel available now on Amazon and other online bookstores. Joanna’s blog The Creative Penn is another of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers and features articles, audios and videos on writing, publishing and book marketing. Connect with Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn