|First World Writerly Problems
||[Apr. 23rd, 2012|02:41 pm]
I don't know if this qualifies as fear of success or me just being spoiled, but I had a personal insight about one reason e-publishing is so attractive to me despite all of my concerns: There's less chance of getting pigeonholed.
Granted this may qualify for placement in the "I Wish I Had That Problem" department, and I won't exactly say my writing has been all over the map, but I have covered a lot of terrain. In the last eight years the novels I've completed include alternate history, science fiction, historicals, historical fantasy, and young adult fantasy. I've left unfinished one young adult fantasy, one historical fantasy, and two science fiction novels. And theoretically I could publish at least one collection of short stories and/or poems, nearly all of which would be speculative. The next three books I have in mind are one quasi-historical humorous science fiction and two historicals, the latter including another Arizona-styled epic about the Mississippi River.
In short, I could theoretically drive a publisher or agent crazy, especially if I want to try publishing them all under my own name.
Of course, there's a reason it might drive the industry members crazy: This kind of back-and-forth could make it incredibly difficult for me to find any kind of fan base, not to mention hindering sales. I know even bestselling authors have trouble with their less-popular stuff, like the major drops Terry Brooks would suffer whenever he switched from Shannara to The Word and the Void.
On the other hand I'm enjoying the freedom immensely, and it guarantees that I won't be writing a book that my heart isn't in. So I have to figure out a way to balance the two--provided I don't enjoy the unlikely Joe R. Lansdale event of finding fan bases in each genre.
Right now, as probably goes without saying if you at least catch this journal from time to time, I'm leaning towards Enjoying Myself.
The thing you get from going mainstream is professional-level vetting and editing. That is not a trivial thing. So I believe it's worth it to at least try with whatever you think is most likely to hit the spot (and indicate tactfully that you work in other areas as well, because one of those might turn out to be The One--it was for me).
Also, mainstream pays advances. Likewise not trivial. Though this is becoming less of an asset as time goes on. Still--not off the radar yet by any stretch of the imagination.
I encourage some writers to DYI for various reasons, but mostly I think there are still strong reasons to give the mainstream first go. If mainstream declines, then try the alternatives.
Vetting and editing have been the by-far-biggest reason I haven't tried self-publishing yet. I don't trust my own editorial skills when it comes to my own work, and I can't afford an industry professional I know who would be good at it (at least not for the novels).
Edited at 2012-04-23 06:58 pm (UTC)
Indeed. If you can get it to happen with advance and other publisher perks, is much better (even if the royalties etc. are lower).
All true. Though there's also a bit of an irony for me in that I just bought one of your ebooks (albeit one, I know, that was traditionally published originally). ;)
Always, always have others edit your work. YOU know all of what you intended in your writing. Someone else won't. Your work will be much stronger for it.
Firm believer in enjoying self. And hey, if my self-pubbed stuff gets less than ten readers a month (and some of them do) that's still more than I'd get just sitting on the stories.
I'll shamelessly admit that my primary interest is being read rather than making money, though making money would certainly be helpful for more reasons than the obvious. That said, though, if I was guaranteed one hundred thousand readers of any particular book of mine if I gave the books away for free, I'd probably do it.
has shown me that if I like a writer's style, I will enjoy everything that person writes, regardless of genre.
I've been finding the same thing, at least to an extent--most of the folks I read don't stray too far from a core, like Harry Turtledove's alternate history / "H.N. Turtletaub's" historicals. But I'm always open to suggestions!
If it's good enough, people will often (no guarantees, but often) find ways to cope.
And writing stuff you care about makes it more commercial, too, because it's better. And also because the more you a story is ... well, for those who do dig what you do, the more you a story is, the less chance anyone can get the same thing by going elsewhere.