I feel like Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway. My remote and deserted island is the belief that the machinations which brought forth the sudden rise of the independent self-publisher will collapse like the housing market because it cannot support its own weight. Yet, I am surrounded by an ocean of self-publishing hype and hysteria where waves of mediocre authorial success—marked by an ability to quit one’s day job (for now)—and the snake oil salesmen that are “gurus” and “industry insiders” touting the next get-published-quick scheme pound me into a pus of submission where I almost believe there is no other way to publish.
This blog (your blog) is my Wilson, offering me a tenuous tether to the kernel of hope that the reality I hold dear—that those publishing professionals who have lived and breathed the industry for decades actually know what they’re doing and will be around long after the collapse of Everything from A to Z’s publishing platform—isn’t just a dream.
Still, I am desperately trying to build the raft that will carry me to home, to the professional community dedicated to spreading as much fervor and zealotry in the world of the traditionally published author as I see in the self-publishing world.
Other than the obvious: write the best book you can, query wide, publicize the hell out of your book once you are published, rinse, repeat … can you (or the Reiders) offer any direction to the community I’m seeking? (You know, those who have also not given up on the world of traditional publishing, those who understand the patience and dedication required to commit to a craft and business such as ours.)
Thanks again for everything you do.
That community is right here.
And it's at author events in bookstores.
And book cons with authors, cons like Bouchercon, Malice Domestic and book festivals where readers meet writers.
Your people are the authors in the trade publishing trenches. They are suffering like you are; hearing the siren call of all the self-publishing authors who think their way is the One True Way.
Go to those places, and support the authors there. You build community by participating.
Talk about and review books by authors like you.
Offer them the support you will need later.
I remember when Amazon reduced the barrier to publishing by providing a marketplace for almost any kind of book, and people gleefully told me it was The End of Publishing As We Know It.
Well, it wasn't.
Anymore than the arrival of mass markets assured the death of hardcovers.
Anymore than ebooks signaled the death of print.
Publishing is a VERY old industry and it moves glacially. That's not a selling point these days, but it means that it's weathered more than a few storms and most likely will weather this one.
To give yourself some perspective on the passage of time, read the wonderful book An Infinity of Little Hours by Nancy Klein Maguire about the Carthusian monks at Parkminster (in England). The Carthusian order was established in 1084, and has changed little in the intervening thousand years. Carthusians make the pace of publishing look like a jackrabbit.
To fend off despair: Be the voice you need to hear. You'll be surprised how many people believe as you do. Commit yourself to being part of the community you need.
And a new Rule for Writers: Be committed.