Sorry for the silence over the past few days. Life got in the way in a major fashion. First, got a request for material from a publisher. Wanted to get that as polished as possible before sending it out, meaning I was stuck in a revision frenzy all weekend, putting me in the back of the van for a large portion of the easter festivities at my wife’s family’s event.
And then, transitioning to a new job at my paying job meant I was stuck away from my computer for most of the day yesterday.
However, there really hasn’t been much to talk about anyways. Obviously the request from a publisher sounds pretty exciting, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t happy to have someone finally interested in giving the book a read. But it’s just another long step in the process. And, to be honest, I’m really not sure that The Agora Files is the type of book they are looking for. It fits what they state they are looking for on their site, but after reading through interviews and such elsewhere on the webz, it sounds like they are mostly interested in romance novels, and when they mention things like dystopia, they mean romantic dystopia.
Speaking of romance novels. Holy crap. Now, I realize that they are a money machine. The publishing industry pumps these things out faster than people can read them, and they still do incredibly well. But I am just amazed at how many of these literary agents I’ve been researching, who are considered, or consider themselves, proprietors of quality books, that focus so heavily on the romance novel market.
I’ve never read a romance novel, but from what I do know of them, they are not the icon of quality. Sure, they play to the fantasy side of book-reading, giving people a glimpse into a life of sexy men and beautiful locations, but still. . . I just don’t know.
And maybe that’s my issue. Now neither Buddy Hero or The Agora Files would be placed on the same shelves as books written by the likes of Hemingway, Thoreau, or even Adams, but they do attempt to tell a real story, give some sort of freedom from the real-world, and actually have a point. The prose may not be perfect, but there is a real story there, with real, believable characters.
Maybe this all just comes down to a massive bout of envy. Romance novels sell, it’s a known fact. No matter how many of those things get put out, they find a place on the shelves for new ones. Young adult novels sell, but young readers are a tad more cautious in their book reading. Not much more, as my teen-aged brother in law manages to find some of the most atrocious books for his reading pleasure (such as Twilight, the young adult romance novel).
So, it’s with all of this that I’m beginning to question how I fit into the publishing world at large. I’ve been thinking about my own career as if it were a music career. If my books were music, I’m not sure they would really be big label material. I’ve never really considered myself a big label kind of guy. But I do believe they have the heart, the soul, that would be required for an indie label. And the publishing world is in the midst of a revolution. Ebooks have started a trend that the publishers just weren’t ready for, just like the MP3 revolution of the nineties. Suddenly you’re seeing self-published authors hit best-seller lists, getting awards, and whatever else. This doesn’t happen often (or at all) with the big lists or awards, but it is happening, they are getting recognized.
This wouldn’t have happened a few years ago.
Authors are finally able to get their work into the hands of their audiences without having the fight the gatekeepers. Having ebook and print on demand options available means that authors don’t have the invest the initial funds into getting their books made that would have been necessary for old-school self-publishers.
Of course, self-published authors making a name for themselves isn’t anything new. Thoreau, Twain, Whitman, and a host of other big-name authors of history, published their own books. And I don’t even have to give their first name for most schooled people to be aware of who I’m talking about.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I would love to get set up with a big contract with a publisher. The battles involved in self-publishing, or working with an ‘indie’ press, can be difficult. As stated before, I’m not good at selling, especially not myself, so I would have a hard road ahead of me before I would become liquid as an author. However, I also realize that the battle to get a big publisher can be even more difficult, in many ways, than getting a record label to sign you. And I may not be capable of winning that fight, especially since I’m having a hard enough time just getting an agent to want to read the books.
So, all of this is just to say that I will win this battle, even if it means I have to self-publish. I’m expanding my scope now to include ‘indie’ presses, as I’m beginning to believe they will have a better grasp of my vision, in some ways. But I’m also going to continue fighting for the big win. The battle may be hard to get into the world of mainstream publishing, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Maybe if I just change my books into romance novels. 🙂
Have a good one.