Monday, May 28, 2012

Covering Our Bases

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

2694430914_4074ee8ff6_mBlogger is being obnoxious and frequently putting genuine comments into my blog’s spam folder.  I’ve rescued a few of them and have noticed that the common thread seems to be that they all had a question in the comment.  It’s very annoying that Blogger would flag those as spam and I apologize for not being vigilant in cleaning out my spam folder.

Two of the comments actually asked the same question: what was my opinion of self-publishing? 

I really don’t want to be in the position of advising anyone what they should do in regard to publishing their book.  My opinion on the topic is evolving—which is only natural, considering that the industry is evolving. I know what I’m planning on doing. 

I’m going to continue, in the short-term, what I’m doing now…both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

For one thing—I’m contracted out for the next year, in terms of writing books. I’ll have books coming out with Penguin for 2012, 2013, and 2014. If the series aren’t continued after that, I’m going to assess what the publishing landscape in 2014 is and either pitch publishers another series idea (I’ve got one), or just continue self-publishing, but at a faster pace than I currently am (I’ve currently got two self-pubbed books out.)

But the question from my commenters seemed to be more “what would I do if I were an unpublished writer with a finished manuscript?” 

Again, I can only say what I’d do. Right now, I’d probably still try to send queries out on the book (although—if it were a series….I don’t know. Maybe I wouldn’t.)  I wouldn’t wait years for the project to sell.  I did that in 2005 with a book that finally sold in 2009.  I wouldn’t do that again.

I’d write something else in the meantime.  And then something else.  And I’d put at least one of those projects (after I’d paid a freelance editor or two) up as a self-published book.

Some would say that I’d lose money by choosing to go with a traditional publisher at all.  This is true.  I do seem to make more money on my self-pubbed books than I make on my traditional books—and I’ve only been tracking it since November.  I don’t honestly know, though, if that’s because I have a name as a traditional author or because I have a decent-sized online platform. 

Basically, I think we should cover our bases.  I’ll traditionally publish, I’ll self-pub, and—when I have a moment—I’ll probably branch out into broader areas of my genre, too—maybe police procedural or psychological mysteries.  Maybe I’ll try short stories, too. Eventually, maybe I’ll write other genres, too. I think it’s important to consider all our options, in every way.

I also don’t think we should put all our eggs in one basket.  I don’t have a problem with Amazon (it would be dumb of me to…I’ve made money with them), but we shouldn’t be exclusive.  Who knows what’s coming down the road?  We should be available on other online formats, too—Nook, Smashwords, etc. 

These are my thoughts on it now—but the way the industry is changing so quickly, I might change my mind again before long!

Are you keeping your options open as a writer?

And—it’s Memorial Day here in the States where we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. Many thanks to those who have served in the armed forces.

Photo credit—mtkojima on Flickr