It is as inevitable as the waning sun that not everyone will like or appreciate your work. If you’re an author looking to get published with a traditional publisher, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you.
One of the revolutions in publishing that is making life even more difficult for both the traditional writer and publisher is the indie publishing movement. Just like what the MP3 did for (or to, more correctly) the recording industry, the availability and ease of getting published on your own has never been better. I’m not one to argue, as I first ventured into self-publishing way back in 2003, tiring of rejection letter after rejection letter. It got so bad at one point that I started taping them together and using them as trashcan liners. No kidding.
That’s not to say that every traditional publisher only picks great manuscripts, or self publishing is for the people ‘that weren’t good enough’. That’s one particular stigma of indie publishing that particularly pisses me the ‘eff’ off.
Traditional publishing has always been about the bottom line. That bottom line is defined by how many copies the publisher can move, and not so much if the book is actually good or not. This will mean that the greater majority of great reads will not make it to a mainstream publisher. Believe me, I’ve heard every excuse. ‘You’re writing is fantastic, but it’s not for us’ or ‘you need someone to champion your work’, et cetera et cetera. For awhile, I began to wonder why I couldn’t get picked up. I knew my stuff was good, everyone else whose opinion I respected said much the same, yet I couldn’t get a reputable agent that I respected to give it a loving ogle.
And that’s when I figured it out, ten years ago next month (February 2013, that is). My books might be great to read, but the traditional publisher doesn’t see them moving many copies. Sorry kid, better luck next time.
That was the kicker for me, the proverbial line in the sand. I could either bend over the barrel and write crap that would sell, or I could do it the hard way and maintain my honor. As a soul born in the wrong century, I chose the latter.
Long story short, I’m a tenacious glutton for punishment.
Little did I know that my snub of the traditional publishing industry would take me down the path less traveled, but it was so little traveled at the time that I would need my trusty kukri machete to accompany me on my journey.
But, while I try to maintain composure and dignity while writing this, aided by John Lee Hooker playing in the background, the one who lasts laughs last.
Take a look at the publishing industry today, and I’m not talking about just books.
The power of the electronic format was rejected hard by the media moguls early on, much like the MP3, but look who’s having the last laugh now. Newspapers are collapsing like stockbrokers in 1929. Magazines with their glossy pages languish on the newsstands collecting dust. Even the once formidable Borders has gone the way of the dodo, and more are certain to follow.
In contrast, the mighty Amazon.com company (which started life as an online bookstore coincidentally), has shares eclipsing 270 bones this morning.
While the old fellows are playing catch up, the rest of us stubborn gluttons are riding the banished wagon to fruition.
So the next time you get a rejection letter, frame it or burn it (or line your trash can) and take a look at the alternatives. That ‘toy’, ‘gimmick’ or ‘gadget’ known as the eBook reader that the once all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful traditional industry saw only as an electronic doorstop, is now kicking their collective butts into the pages of history.
And the sales ledger.
And that is where my journey out of the vast wasteland of traditional publishing has led me. I look over my shoulders, smile, and see that I’m in damn fine company as I stand on the wall overlooking the crumbling empire, my triumphant rebel fist pumping the air, screaming their swan song,
Power to the people!
About the Author
J.E. Dugas is the author of the multi-period action/adventure/science fiction series Rose Petals and Gun Powder (Rose Petals and Gun Powder, including , RPGP: Shadows of Life, RPGP: Lost Cove, RPGP: Wanderlust, and RPGP: Paradoxical, a Double Feature), as well as the new title MechaNation, a NanoPunk Thriller. J.E. is currently at work on its sequel, MechaNation: Rebirth. Prior to writing full time, J.E. spent over a decade in the private security and law enforcement fields.
Visit him at http://www.crimsonworx.com/index.html.
MechaNation by J.E. Dugas
Shortly after the conclusion of the War of 2018, the mechanical evolution of humankind made a dramatic leap forward.
With the Human Guerilla Faction no longer a threat, a biotech company, Lazarus Nanotech Corporation, went from competing to stay in the top ten, to top contender after introducing their revolutionary NanoInjections system.
NI’s were designed to wipe the slate of traditional internal surgery, and go far beyond it. NI’s—composed of targeted nanomachines—could be preprogrammed and injected into the client to vastly transform the client’s body in any chosen manner. Weight loss, facial reconstruction, breast and genital enhancement, intelligence boosters, social elitist; whatever the client desired.
Soon, NI’s became a major vanity movement, and Lazarus Nanotech became the most valuable company in the world.
This success, of course, spawned an entirely new criminal underworld: the Nano Black Market.