Monday, June 13, 2011

Who's in the Driver's Seat? Authors!

Yep, that's the truth. For us writers here in Botswana it may not seem that way, but worldwide publishers are accepting what they thought worked no longer does and that the sinking or the swimming of any given title is back in the hands of the author.

The author must organise their own readers, their own platform. And as Jane Friedman said in a recent interview, if you start doing that once the books is published it is too late. It will be seen as an insincere marketing tool and will fall flat. You need to build up relationships with your readers over a long period of time.

Publishers are scrambling now to see where they fit in the new publishing world. This excellent article asks what most of us have already asked ourselves:

And that’s why more authors are asking: If publishers don’t know what they’re doing and rely on the author to sell their own books, why should authors endure the long, frustrating, seemingly impossible job of finding a literary agent and selling your book to a commercial book publisher?

I'm not saying everyone should self publish, what I am saying is that we have all sorts of choices. The choices we make are not set in stone. You can publish one book with a traditional publisher, the next you can self-publish.

But don't be deceived into thinking every thing is now an easy walk in the park- it's not. No matter which path you choose, the success you get will be almost directly equal to the work you put in.

There are no rules and you are in the driver's seat. The only problem is that most writers are still stuck thinking they're sitting in the back seat being driven by their publisher to a destination only the publisher knows. It's time for a mental shift.

2 comments: said...

It is really a conundrum that has baffled so many and I cannot wait to drink deep of the fountain that African Authors have to give the World!!

We struggle so hard to find someone to accept us as authors, then struggle so hard to find a publishing company that may turn around and say - yeah, you're not good enough when we know there are people out there thirsting for our writing!

Oh! I can't wait!!! And I sincerely hope that more Africans and other descendants of African people find their space online to get readers.

random-laone said...

this is an eye-opening article, especially for small 'yet-to-be-published' authors who are on the verge of giving up on that particular dream...thank you.