I’m not sure if I got into publishing at the right time or a really difficult time.
On the one hand there are more publishers out there looking for stories to publish. On the other hand there are more publishers out there looking for stories to publish. This means that an author has so many choices of where to send their baby. But it also means with the ease of setting up a digital publisher that there are some who are here then gone. Scary. There are nightmare stories of authors not receiving royalties, times when publishers simply shut their doors holding the rights to books and now another slap to authors–publishers cancelling series books because they didn’t sell enough.
Yep, it’s happened more than once. An author (and agent) who believed the publisher would publish a set number of books in a series.The author writes the stories, spending months and creative energy working to meet a deadline, only to find out the second and sometimes the first book didn’t quite meet the publisher’s expectations. It has nothing to do with the quality of writing. Often times these books have received glowing reviews from both review sites and readers. It has everything to do with money.
The sad thing about this is that authors used to be able to focus on their writing. Agents and publishers took on the role of marketers. That’s not the case anymore. Authors are now the ones going out pounding the pavement shouting to anyone who will listen that they have a book out there. That means talking to potential readers on twitter, facebook and goodreads. It means blog tours and Yahoo loop chats to share excerpts. It means buying ads at review sites and newsletters. Many publishers suggest authors make themselves available for teaching or panels at conventions. Of course with the print books there is also the booksigning which can both be fun and mortifying at the same time.
With so much going on some authors have turned their marketing over to promotion companies. I have my own opinions as to the effectiveness of this, suffice it to say, I didn’t hire one. Not that I’m poo-pooing this as an alternative to an author spending all his/her time marketing and not focusing on writing. It’s just that I have only so much marketing money in my budget and I choose to spend it on marketing items I can give away at conventions.
Does any of this work? Obviously not as well as we’d like. With so many books out there I think readers are spreading it over more publishers and more authors. This means indivduals are making less money and this could translate over many authors to losses up the line to the publisher. It’s quite a high wire act, trying to balance everything expected of an author.
*sigh* Still not sure if I’ve hit the market at a good time or not.