You might remember David from his prior visit on my QueryTracker Making Tracks series, due to his unconventional leap into representation. His agent, Ann Rittenberg of the Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency, came to him (instead of the other way around) after his "So You Want To Write A Novel" video went viral in the writing/publishing community.
You can read the detailed play by play on David's blog here.
Recently, David made another huge and unconventional leap to further his publishing career, and I dragged him over to talk about it because his savvy and courage so inspired me that I wanted to share it with you. Even if I had to fight him tooth and nail! Okay, small exaggeration. He didn't put up too much of a fight.
That said, I will take off David's gag, and give him the floor. ;)
About a year ago, as I was making my peace with my last manuscript, The Jackpot, reaching the end of the line, I started taking note of the developing eBook situation. As a reader, I loved my Kindle, but as a writer, I didn't want to believe what I was seeing. I wanted - no, I needed to believe that everything I'd learned about publishing still applied.
J.A. Konrath was a crazy person, I told myself. He was a known quantity, a writer who, via his traditional book deals, had laid the groundwork for success with self-publishing. I felt like the only option for me or any other unpublished writer was to query and hope for the best.
But as the calendar pages turned, as he began featuring writers I'd never heard of, people who hadn't had traditional publishing deals, people with no agents, but who were still selling eBooks like crazy, I had to pay closer attention to what he was saying. Still, my heart didn't want to accept what was happening, what my head told me was happening. I didn't want to accept there was a tectonic shift in publishing underway.
Then my animated videos took off last fall, and I started to think about how I could best use the exposure to further my novel-writing career. As the weeks and months went by, the evidence that publishing was changing radically continued to pile up. And then I had an epiphany - if I want to be in the business of writing, I needed to be making my writing-career decisions with an eye toward what was best for the business, not based on what my preconceived notions about publishing had been.
As J.A. Konrath (or maybe it was Barry Eisler) put it (paraphrasing here), a print book is merely a delivery system for a story. And for the first time ever, there is a viable alternative delivery system in place, one that had put down the necessary groundwork to give writers an option other than pursuing the traditional route to getting published. There's nothing wrong with print books and big publishing companies and so on, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't examine ALL your options.
I took a long look at the state of my writing career. I had these videos out there, plowing the road for me. Collectively, they still get about 2,000 hits a day. But the Internet being what it is, that probably won't last forever. A year from now, will people remember or care about a handful of short animated videos? Should they? Is that what I want to be remembered for?
And so when I looked at it as a business decision, the answer quickly became clear.
Self-publishing was the answer.
Isn't NOW the time for me to take advantage of the exposure I'm fortunate enough to have, especially when talking about my career as a novelist? Isn't that what any smart businessperson would do? And self-publishing provides me the vehicle to get my product to market as fast as possible.
So after discussing it with Ann, my agent, I set my sights on self-publishing The Jackpot. And I really enjoyed running the entire show myself. I worked closely with a really good freelance editor. I had total say over the cover, all the way down to the spacing of the letters. It was a ton of work, but it was well worth it.
Click cover for Amazon details and book blurb
But let's not forget, we're writers because we love to write and because we love books.
And so all cold-blooded business aside -- seeing my book on Amazon for the first time last Friday afternoon, with a cover I loved, was the best moment of my writing career.
Now I'm opening up the floor to our readers. Are any of you out there considering going this route? If you'd like to know more about the process, this is a great time to ask our guest. (Not sure how long these ropes will hold, so get your questions in quick!)
Also, please support David by tweeting, face booking, and chatting up his blog and new book. Let's get the buzz started for him.
And make sure you drop by here on Friday when I'll be having my last QueryTrackers Making Tracks interview until mid July. I'm taking off from interviewing for six weeks to make time for family vacations and home renovations. ;)
This week's QT guest will be Lisa Iriarte, a lady who had a whopping SEVEN offers of representation. Stop by to find out how she decided between them, and to learn what fluffy powderpuffs have in common with her book's characters.
Until then, have a great rest of the week!