I’ve been having several interesting chats lately with folks regarding the current state of the publishing industry and where it’s heading. . . and most importantly for folks who are looking to get a leg up on the competition, how to get a leg up on the competition.
The comparison to the similar revolution that occurred within the music industry not too long ago is an easy one to make. Suddenly it’s possible for anyone to get their work out into the world for public consumption. However, just like with music. . . there’s plenty of it that’s just not ready for the world to see it. Unfortunately, unlike music, there’s much more of an significant initial investment to those who are looking at independently, or self-, published titles for their entertainment. With music you may pay $.99 cents (if anything) to check out a single title from a larger compilation of work, and then you have approximately 5 minutes of time invested before you have a pretty good idea of whether or not you have any interest in purchasing more from that artist.
With books, the world is incredibly different. We’ll stick to talking about ebooks for ease of conversation. First, the cost can vary wildly per book with absolutely no difference in quality or size. You can find a fantastic read for free, or a horrible book for $15.00. Or vice versa. . . Just going through the online libraries determining what to read can be more difficult than picking out a wine at the grocery store. Price means absolutely nothing here, and many reviews on these books are faked or offered up by friends and family of the author, making them completely unreliable. So, let’s say you pick the free title, just because there’s no financial investment involved for you to try it out. . . you still have the time involved to read the sucker.
Now, some books will honestly tell you within the first few pages that you don’t want to read on. There is so much crap out there today that I will openly and honestly say that if you go the pick and choose route, you will easily find several books that you will put down within 5 minutes. The lack of editing that commonly occurs within the self-published titles makes many of these books impossible to read. But, let’s say your interest is slightly piqued and you read on. . . you may not realize that you hate the book until you’re halfway in. Hours could be devoted to the title before you’ve decided its a mistake. Similarly. .. you may not decide you like a book until you get to the very end.
Books have not yet reached that point where music is at today where enthusiasts will actively seek out new authors, excited to be the first to discover a new talent. There are some who do this, but the group is small comparatively.
So, authors have to stand out. But how?
This is the discussion you’ll see on all the blogs today. In fact, many authors dedicate their entire blogs to this discussion itself. Then they get on twitter, make billions of author friends, and there’s a @$!@-storm of “BUY MY BOOK PLEASE!” tweets being bandied about. You know who isn’t paying attention to these tweets? Readers.
I’ve received so much advice on the concept of publishing over the years of my writing that my head feels that it wants to explode. Yet, very few of the ideas I’ve received have actually appeared to be anything more than blue sky concepts. Nothing really seemed to be something that gave an immediate value to the reader.
But there’s one piece of advice I’ve been giving for over a decade, which I haven’t been able to follow through on myself. . . short stories. Authors and publishers are frightened of them, but I honestly believe that they are what will save the publishing industry from its current downward trend. Short stories have traditionally been the little pieces of literary fiction that only English majors could adore (I happened to have been an English major for an entire semester of college!). I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about little attempts at novel-style fiction that shows the writers’ chops offered as a freebie to act as a gateway drug.
What’s that you ask? Who am I to offer such an idea without actually being one to follow through? Well, that’s the kicker. I’m horrible at writing short-form fiction. I’ve been working on a short tale for Buddy, a prequel of sorts, but have been failing miserably at actually putting it together.
However, I believe I’ve finally gotten it figured out, which is why I’m writing all of this. My marketing strategy has been becoming slightly altered over the past week anyways, but whilst focusing on putting the new pieces together, I came up with a story that actually works in short form and have been working on it, albeit slowly.
This week will be spent focusing on that, as I think it’s a perfect little capper to this puzzle that is Buddy Hero, and I hope to be putting it together incredibly fast just for all of you who are eager to read this fantastic book.
Which is where I must stop, as I’ve got to get back to work. But, things are moving forward in the world of Buddy. Be excited.