Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is Traditional Publishing Doomed?

It’s my personal opinion that traditional publishing is running scared.

Here’s why I think that:

In January 2009, when I finished my first novel, If You Could Read My Mind, I was determined to get the book published.

I did a lot of research, and found that publishers did not accept manuscripts from the average Joe on the street.  A manuscript had to come from an agent.

Okay, so I was going to find an agent.

Now, I discovered that agents specialize in certain areas, and often aren’t interested in anything else.  My novel, while I have it listed as a mystery/suspense type book, also has supernatural elements to it, along with a love story, and the redemption of the hero.  It’s very hard to “pigeonhole” that book.  It’s a mystery, yes.  It’s a touch supernatural, yes.  It has romance, yes.  It has action/adventure, yes.  And it boils down to the fact that Nicholas Turner finally realizes that he has lots of good in him, and lots of things going for him.

What category?

Many of the agents that I found online weren’t accepting new writers.

Fine.  I skipped those.

I found a couple of agents that were willing to read the first three chapters of the novel.  Both requested the complete manuscript.  I complied with both.  One agent rejected the story outright, with no reason.  The other agent liked the novel, but complained that it was too short, and rejected it for that reason.

I began to realize that no traditional publisher was ever going to see my first novel.  Meanwhile, I was well into the second novel, and wondering if any of it was worth the effort.

Then, one day, I scrolled down to the bottom of the page at Amazon.  I saw a link that said, “Independently Publish With Us”.  I clicked on it, and found that they accepted manuscripts from anyone that wanted to market their writing, and published them for their new Kindle e-readers!

I jumped on it.  With Amazon, I’m able to keep a big portion of my royalties, I don’t have to pay a commission to an agent, and I control all aspects of my stories.

And, with Amazon’s CreateSpace, paperback copies are printed on demand, so there’s never a charge from a publisher for returned books.

If You Could Read My Mind – A Nicholas Turner Novel has turned out to be one of my best-selling pieces of writing, a fact that I’m very proud of.

When an author can do everything that a traditional publisher can do, without changing his/her writing to suit a corporate entity (or to make it “sellable”), and keep most of his royalties to boot, why would an author ever return to traditional publishing?

Will I ever turn to traditional publishing?  Well, I’ve mentioned here that I’ve submitted a novella – Don’t Come Around Here No More – A Tale Of Sardis County to Harlequin, and I plan to submit Junior’s Farm – A Tale Of Sardis County to Harlequin as well, once I’ve completed it.

But, if those two are rejected by Harlequin, I won’t mind.  I’ll just post them on Amazon and CreateSpace, and line up a producer to do the audiobooks, and let the readers decide.

But, I won’t sweat it if traditional publishing doesn’t accept my work.

I'll just do it myself.

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

1 comment:

  1. Dear T.M.,
    I agree with your synopsis of publishing in the new world. It still makes me wonder about novels that do make it to a large publishing house. Those of us who have dabbled in writing dream of the days of manuscripts discovered and placed on the auction floor just waiting for the bidding wars to begin. As a hero would scoop his damsel in distress, so would the beleaguered writer get swept away and receive a fat check up front.
    Since times have changed, the self published can shine in the latest venue that, in my opinion, is here to stay. Well done, Michael. And well said.