Sometimes it's necessary to take another look at the dream.
I love to write, and as I've said, while I enjoy having a few people read my work, of course I would love to have it reach a broader audience. The traditional route for accomplishing this goal goes through a literary agent to a publisher who transforms the manuscript into a book that is distributed to book stores. And that's the route I've been seeking.
But what if that's not my path?
Of course, we've talked about self-publishing before on this blog. It's not what it used to be; it no longer holds quite the stigma that it did years ago. But there are still some inherent issues involved in self-publishing. It requires a relatively significant outlay of cash with a very uncertain return. Most authors who self-publish understand that their books will reach a much more limited audience than they would through a traditional publisher. There is simply not the PR or marketing help available in self-publishing.
It's not a wrong path; it's a just a different one.
However, there is another option out there, and it's garnering a great deal of interest among authors. It's e-publishing.
E-publishing is attractive to authors because it is inexpensive--sometimes even completely free. (Barnes and Noble offers PubIt free of charge.) It only requires the uploading of a manuscript, and then the book is available in the company's e-book store for downloading on any number of e-readers. The author can do as much or as little marketing for his book.
One of the newest heroines of the indie publishing world is Amanda Hocking. She is 26 years old, and last April she e-published eight of her books. Since then, she has sold over 185,000 books through Barnes and Noble and Amazon's e-book sites. That is not a misprint.
Hocking was a virtual unknown. She didn't have a platform or a following; she had not been previously published through traditional means. (If you'd like to read more about her, check out the interview by clicking here .)
This idea has given me food for thought. Am I better served by continuing to pursue a literary agent by constantly re-writing my query, finding new agents to whom I can submit, hoping that I might land it in the hands of an agent who's interested? Or should I consider giving my work a last polish and editing, e-publishing it, and then working on marketing the books on the e-book sites?
It doesn't seem like that much a decision, does it? The more I learn about agents, editors and the publishing world, the longer a shot it seems. I don't doubt that it's possible, but I also don't think it would hurt me to be able to prove that my work has merit by standing on platform of books sold.
What do you think? Would you consider buying an e-book from an unknown author? Do you think the publishing world is changing enough that this kind of shift is inevitable?
It's not giving up a dream. It's seeing the possibilities in another path to the same goal.