The Brave New World of Publishing

TechnologyToday I’m ranting a little, but I figure you know me well enough by now, you can take it.
 
Here’s the deal: I don’t like the fact that you have to “build a platform” these days, any more than you do. But I get weary of writers complaining about it. I get frustrated by hearing that publishers are “abandoning writers” and “bringing nothing to the table.” I know it’s hard to market your books — I feel your pain — and yet I dislike it that people saying that publishers are shirking their duties by “leaving it all up to the author.”
 
REALITY CHECK:
 
Publishers did not create this brave new techno-world we live in.
 
It is not the publishing industry that has created this society of ubiquitous electronics, Internet noise, YouTube, X-Box, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, and the decline of reading. It is not the publishing industry who put a computer in more than half of all American households, allowing millions of folks just like yourself to write books they want to sell.
 
It is not the publishers who brought our society to a place where it’s no longer possible to “market” books the old-fashioned way. It’s not the publishers’ fault that average human beings everywhere are being bombarded with literally thousands of pieces of information every day, making it more challenging than ever to draw a person’s attention to one little book.
 
The fact is, publishers are doing everything they can dream up, and everything they can afford, when it comes to marketing books. They have the same limitations you do: Time and Money. But they’re coming up with new ideas and innovations all the time.
 
Publishing is an “old world” industry, figuring out, day by day, how to thrive in this “new world.” We all face these challenges together. We all have to figure out how to get people to want to read our words… to want to PAY to read our words. We all have to figure out how to get our books to rise above the “clutter” and get the attention of readers who are willing to pay for them.
 
Those of you who find yourself bemoaning that “writers are expected to do everything” and concluding “we might as well self-publish” — perhaps the self-publishing route will work out better for you. For certain kinds of books and certain authors, it’s working out great. Give it a try!
 
But I want to point out that publishers are still in business because of the value they bring to the table — not just in marketing but in every aspect of the editing, production, and selling of books. It is harder these days to sell books than ever before, yes, but publishers are more than just a business selling widgets, they’re entities who take seriously the responsibility of preserving and disseminating the written word. And so publishing persists, despite the challenges, despite our changing world.
 
Part of the value publishers bring is a sense of history, a sense of tradition and permanence. Many authors still want to be a part of that. It’s about great stories and important thoughts. It’s about legacy. It’s about a dream. People in publishing still see this dream as worth it. They’re willing to swim against the tide because publishing isn’t just a business, it’s a life, it’s a calling, it’s a passion.
 
To all writers who believe in the dream, who have the passion, who feel called to the legacy — I’m right there with you, and so is everyone else who has staked their livelihood on this crazy, unpredictable, totally unrealistic business called publishing. Thanks for being here, and hanging on for the ride. To those who are frustrated by the ways it seems publishing can’t meet your expectations, I commiserate with you and I apologize that things aren’t the way we wish they could be.
 
To each and every author, I sincerely wish the very best for you as you seek your own way of getting your book to its intended audience. I am doing my best to be a positive and helpful part of this process.
 
Are you in it for the legacy? Or something else?

Comment below or by clicking: HERE.

 

TWEETABLES

Publishing is an old world industry, figuring out how to thrive in this new world. Click to Tweet.
 
Publishing isn’t just a business, it’s a life, it’s a calling, it’s a passion. Click to Tweet.
 
To all writers who believe in the dream, the passion, the legacy – I’m with you.  Click to Tweet.

 

 

 

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    It’s ironic to complain about the world that technology has created…when it’s the same technology that allows us to write quickly and efficiently…and in some cases to write at all.

    When I was taking writing classes, getting to use an IBM Selectric was a big deal…usually I used a manual Royal. And I’m not all that old.

    If I were tied to that technology now, it’s questionable how far I would have gotten. I know myself too well to give a facile answer.

    Sure, it’s changed. Writing is a business, and businesses evolve, drive by (and sometimes driving) the larger society.

    I’m grateful for the chance to develop a platform. It makes me a better writer, and focuses the arc of my stories

    I’m grateful for the ease of research, using the Internet.

    And I’m particularly grateful for communities like this, that give information, encouragement, and heart.

    • Renee Paule

      Wonderful and insightful post. We love to blame someone :)

    • Rachelle Gardner

      Thanks for pointing out the irony, Andrew! You’re right. Overall, technology has improved our lives in countless ways we don’t even notice anymore.

  • Christina Banks

    It seems that most things in life worth doing are hard, be it writing a novel, losing 100 pounds, or figuring out what to make for dinner. Still, those hard tasks are easier when someone is alongside, encouraging and cheering you on. This is even more true when the cheerleader knows what they are talking about. I know myself, and I know I need that support. That is why, when it is time to publish my novel I will be trying the traditional route. Thank you, Rachelle for another thought provoking post.

  • Dina Santorelli

    Am I the only one who LIKES the way publishing is headed? It’s exciting and entrepreneurial and I’m having a blast. :)

    • Lori Ramsey

      No you’re not Dina! I’m with you- I absolutely love the way publishing is headed. I am in control and I can take it as far as I want. I do not have to wait months or years hoping someone will take a nibble at my manuscripts. :) It is a blast!

    • Jennifer Tubbiolo

      Dina, I’m there with you, too. I really like where publishing is heading. It’s going to be a bit of a “Wild West” for a while, but then it will settle down and a ton of innovative stuff will come out of it. I want to get in it now when I’m ready, not wait until a company is ready for me!

  • Christine

    Legacy! I want generations of readers to enjoy the stories I have to tell.

  • John Hanson

    I find your rant inspirational. Nobody ever claimed this was easy. It never has been and it should never become so. If you have a quality manuscript, you will find a way. Complaining is very telling.

  • Ron Estrada

    I like the way publishing is heading as well. We have more options and more control over our success than ever before. We get readers because we work for them. The harder we work, the greater our success. I like that math.

  • Shari Dragovich

    I appreciate this post, Rachelle. As an aspiring writer working on my first book-length project, I admit I become nearly frantic about building a platform–all of it: how, what, when (meaning-to choose between working on platform or working on writing!), blah, blah, blah.

    So, to hear that publishers are still holding tight to the legacy, dream and passions of stories well written and seeing those stories to their fullness, is refreshing–but more importantly, it’s reassuring.

    Thank you!

  • Gemma Hawdon

    I haven’t reached the point of publication yet, but as an aspiring author I’m excited by all the possibilities. Hopefully, I’ll continue to support the positive side! Thanks Rachelle, great post :)

  • Robin Harnist

    This is a fantastic post, Rachelle. I’ve constantly been hearing writers complain about this as well, and I must admit, I’ve probably been right there along with them sometimes. It can be frustrating at times to not only be responsible for that book but to also have to constantly be pushing yourself and your books on social media. It is exhausting, but that is what we signed up for when we decided to pursue this little thing called publishing.

    I think the publishing worlds (self and traditional) are both great. For those who want much more control, self publishing is a fantastic avenue to pursue, but it needs to be done properly. A real cover, a real editor, etc. For traditional, they have the experience, contacts and the powerhouse that comes with being a publisher behind them. Both are great. Both aren’t for everyone, but sometimes, sometimes both can be right for some people.

  • Craig Soffer

    Terrific post. Frankly, I’m guiltier than most when it comes to harping on how awful it is that I have to dive into social media in order to find representation for my novels. At the same time though, I accept that it is definitely the new reality. Douglas Adams once wrote something to the order of “anything invented before your turn 35 is awesome, while anything invented after you turn 35 is the work of the devil.” Since I’m over 35, I’m doing my best not to have this be true for me. Teaching High School age students helps. So does having a toddler. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that I’m becoming a dinosaur despite my best efforts. I tend to think publishing is going to settle down into a new miasma of chaos, but in that new miasma there will be easier ways to get the help of someone who knows what he or she is doing when it comes to this stuff, and that we’ll still be able to feel like writers when working with those people.

  • Naomi Eccles-Smith

    You are an inspiration, Rachelle, and a valuable presence in this blurry, heavy mass that is the publishing industry. Thanks for another great post, and for sharing your passion for authors and for the written word. :)

  • http://zeroto60andbeyond.com Barbara Hammond

    I understand the shift in publishing, and I semi-self-published a children’s book with the help of Mirror Publishing, after a year of rejections. I have since put it on Kindle and have a second book ready to go on Kindle.

    That said, I know I can write, and write well enough to sell books, but we need good editing and guidance. It’s like a contractor who knows he can create a community of homes to sell, and also feels he can be the carpenter, plumber, electrician,etc. I wouldn’t buy a house there, would you?

    Good post!
    b

  • Allison Odom

    Thank you for the attitude check! Anything that takes the joy out of one’s work should be carefully investigated, such as the “business” end of creativity. Hearing someone else’s perspective on it is usually a great place to start. Glad you shared!

  • Terry Shames

    Wow! Another great post, and this one is a wake-up call for a lot of writers. I’m a debut novelist with a small publisher that has done an amazing job of helping get the word out about my novel. I couldn’t be more grateful, especially since I know a lot of writers who have little or no help from their publishers. As someone who is steeped in the social media world, I have found it to be fun getting the word out for myself. BUT, it’s also exhausting and time-consuming. I think the hardest part for any author is deciding when it’s time to slow down the promo engine and get back to the writing desk. That’s part of adjusting to the new world of publishing.

  • Kevin Ingram

    I see it the other way around. As a developing author, I view every piece of my platform as an opportunity to get my novels and my vision out there into the literary stream. Without these tools, we are buried in the masses of broken dreams and sometimes marginal creativity and may never be seen. Technology makes it easier than ever to create a manuscript, share it around playground for development, and hopefully give it a glimmer of hope and future amid the ashes of many failures. Yes, who we are becomes a factor in the equation along with what we have designed. Yes, it takes work, sacrifice and dedication. What great or noble undertaking ever did not? † † †

    • Rachelle Gardner

      I love your perspective, Kevin.

      • http://www.keviningram.com/ Kevin Ingram

        Thanks, Rachelle. Someday I’ll send you some query letters and see if you might be interested in any of my projects.

  • Cyd Madsen

    Rant on, Rachelle. I’m loving every word. In our rush into this brave new world, we’re forgetting all the people and passions and skills that constitute art forms of their own, and how much authors need them to compliment our own skills and passions. We’re learning the bone-crushing cost of thinking one individual can do it all and do it well.

    For those who can handle all aspects of bringing readers the books they’ve been waiting to read, these are good times filled with opportunity. I’m not one of those people.

    It’s liberating to read there are skilled professionals fighting for the same thing writers are fighting for — delivering the best there is to readers.

  • Sylvia A. Nash

    Well said, and I agree, but I still rant about having to sell myself in order to sell my book! :-)

    Oh, wait, there was one word with which I didn’t exactly agree. Don’t apologize! From where I sit, it looks like you and other agents are doing your best to keep up with the changes as well–for yourselves and your clients.

  • Damon Ferrell Marbut

    Nicely put, Rachelle. I posted a column recently about a similar topic.

    http://novelspot.net/node/5805

  • Casey

    That is an interesting position you take on this subject. I guess the question that comes to mind, is there ever a case were the writer wasn’t selected by the publisher because their marketing team felt the writer did not have this platform in place? Simply, the writing and story was good enough but just not enough followers on a social media outlet? You mention the society we created in this techno world has changed over the years and new innovations are needed in marketing, how much of this should be put on the author? How much time and dollars do publishers really put into helping the author develop/compliment the author’s platform and why does that vary from author to author?

  • Kate Johnson

    My thought is if you are passionate about the books you write, why would you not want to build a platform and promote it? Yes, publishers will/should help, but we must take responsibility for our “babies.”
    I wonder how much of it has to do with the lack of personal responsibility in general. Just a thought…

  • Shawn Inmon

    I have to disagree with several of your points, Rachel. I am one of those self-published authors that doesn’t see the value that traditional publishing brings to me any more. In your blog, you mention that the publishing industry didn’t create this environment. Although I agree with that, I think it is a bit of a strawman argument to distract from the key point – that aside from putting me in a declining market (bookstores) I honestly don’t see what benefit I get from signing over huge chunks (or all) of my rights to my books.

    You say “Part of the value publishers bring is a sense of history, a sense of tradition and permanence.” Again, that is true, but it is of limited value to an author getting started in this market.

    You mention that the trad publishers are doing everything they can, and again I agree with that, I just don’t see any real impact of what that is. Also, every real innovation I see these days comes from authors who are also their own publishers.

    Finally, you point out the value that trad publishers bring to the production process. Again, true enough, but irrelevant. If they had ever editor/cover artist/formatter employed, I would be doing everything in my power to get inside those doors. Obviously, they don’t, though, and I have a wonderful team of my own that I work with on every book.

    One point I whole-heartedly agree with you about is that we all need to just get over bemoaning that we need to do our own marketing and platform-building. It’s our reality and probably will be for a long, long time. It’s not that hard, (beyond the hard part – writing a book that people find appealing) but it is time consuming.

    Everyone reads about Hugh Howey or HM Ward or Bella Andre, who are knocking them dead, selling hundreds of thousands or millions of books every year. What you don’t hear about very often are writers like me who sell 5-10,000 copies of a book all on our own, but there are many of us.

    One last thought. Just because I’m not interested in being trad pubbed doesn’t mean I’m not interested in my legacy, because I am. Every meeting I have with one of my team members has one goal: to make the book better so I can be proud of what I am putting out.

    I feel so fortunate that I finished my first book in 2012 instead of 1990. I embrace and love this new era of publishing.

    • Rachelle Gardner

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Everyone’s perspective is valuable as we navigate unfamiliar territory.

      • Shawn Inmon

        By the way, I want to give kudos to you. Normally, I read these blogs, think my thoughts, and keep them to myself. You have created a rarity here – a blog where there can be well-mannered disagreement without vituperative insults and immediately going to the lowest common denominator. That’s why I felt “safe” to post a comment disagreeing with the main thrust of the post.

        Also, mea culpa, I misspelled your name in my initial comment. I sincerely apologize.

        Thanks again for having an interesting forum where we can all post our thoughts.

  • Anna Roberts Moore

    “Nothing great ever came easy.” I have it on a sticky note next to my computer. This book I’m writing, these ideas I have, they will not form themselves on paper without a lot of hard work, for which I am receiving no compensation. I truly understand that.

    However, I have a bit of a rant, too.

    For me, It is hard to write and to blog/tumblr/tweet/sell myself at the same time. I do think that if you are a good writer, it is hard to sell yourself because you can’t “sell” yourself. You are not a good sales person. That’s what publishers are for – sales. Right?

    When I read On Writing by Stephen King years and years ago, I was intrigued when he suggested getting an agent. I had honestly never heard of a “literary agent.” Wow! I thought, getting an agent who will represent me to a publisher is exactly what I need. (I was green, in my 20s, and had just decided I officially wanted to become a writer.) Now however, literary agents abound. And their rules and their submission guidelines and their form letters. On the Writer’s Market website, thousands are listed, some accepting new authors, some not. Some accepting purely non-fiction, some blatantly refusing women’s fiction, romance, or “chick lit.”

    So the “legacy” way used to be – write a book and then submit it to a publisher and pray you’ll get at least a rejection letter. Then it became submit to an agent, who – if good – will decrease the amount of prayer required once your work has been submitted to a publisher. And now it is – submit to an agent AFTER you have written a book, synopsis, query letter and have a good platform on facebook/twitter/tumblr/blogspot/linkedin/bebo/myspace.

    So I think it’s okay for some of us to say, hang on a minute, I’m just trying to spend every free second I have writing my book. I don’t have the time to sell myself because I’m too busy poring myself out into this work, bleeding onto the page, baring my scars openly because that is how I write. I’m sorry I can’t turn around and sell it. That is not my calling.

  • Dutch665

    I understand your comment Rachel, but do not agree. The publishing market providing less services will eventually put them out of business. It’s worth noting that most successful writers have people. Included in those people are the people they hire to do the blogs, public relations, their promoters, etc. Successful writers do not do it all. You have to invest more money that’s all.

  • KRPower | emPOWERing

    I think Publishers like the rest of the world have to stop CLINGING to the old. That’s why many are out of business. Reading as we know/knew it has evolved. There was a time when there was no such thing as a printing press. Viola! One day there was a books were available and became affordable for the masses. The printing press as evolved as technology has evolved. For the most part, Publishers haven’t been crying about it, they’ve been celebrating it and making more money. Now, technology has (and it just didn’t happen) taken publishing to another level with digital delivery. While printing on paper and digital delivery coexist, Publishers should embrace not cling and continue to move forward … like they’ve done in the past.

    On the other side of the equation, writers have ALWAYS had to build a platform. Seems writers forget that it’s THEIR book and THEIR business … and THEIR idea to write and release this book. As such it’s THEIR responsibility to do the promotion, publicity, and marketing for THEIR product. Back in the day Publishers did do more than they to around marketing, but back in the day everyone didn’t think they were an author. There’s more books released now than ever.

    Both sides need to quit whining. Both sides need to produce way better quality content and reach a broader market.

    I’d rather see a discussion on ending the CBA and ABA and having one market. As Christians we are charged to go out and make disciples … not only writing for our own. There’s a lost and dying world that needs to hear about Jesus Christ. I’m sure we can do without reading one more Amish romance novel in the process!

    • Rachelle Gardner

      I agree, everyone needs to avoid “clinging” to the old…. and I do think everyone in publishing knows this by now. Thanks for the comment!

      • donkimrey

        I like what you say, and the way you say it. I haven’t taken the publishing world (or agencies) by storm and for the most part have felt you don’t have much of a chance unless you’re famous, or infamous, successfully agented, published, and in wild, wide public demand. You seem much more involved and less distant. The only other member of that lofty establishment who’s ever even bothered to say “hi?” or “”Boo” is Shannon Ravenel, co-founder and editor of Algonquin Press and now retired editor of her own select group of writers. A really, really nice person! Don Kimrey

  • cindyfinley

    I agree. I believe in my message and so I want to do what it takes to get it out there. I’m working hard at creating content that counts and building a tribe. I don’t see building platform as separate from writing, but an extension of it. Thanks, Rachelle!

  • Lynne

    Thanks for this! As an author who’s published by a small, indy publisher (NOT a vanity publisher), I couldn’t agree more. The value-added by my publisher clearly shows in the cover, editing, layout, and professional press kit they provide. I’ve read quite a few self-published book and it’s the rare exception that doesn’t scream “did-it-myself” all because they lacked those value-added contributions. I’ve blogged elsewhere about the importance of that, and the validation brought to your work when someone is willing to risk their time, effort, and money on my work. Unlike vanity publishing (which I think many people assume is meant by “small” or “indy” publishers, is a different beast. If you have an obligation to purchase so many books, or pay for any of the services publishers should provide, then maybe you should self-publish because clearly the publisher is has no faith in your work–they aren’t willing to bet that it’ll make them (and you) money. For those of us who want the validation, services, and help a publisher can provide and have a publisher who does that–without charging their authors to do the publishing work–self-publishing and vanity publishing just don’t cut it.

    • self-published & proud of it

      You seem to look down on self-published authors, which is quite ironic given there are errors in your comment. I counted 3 or 4.

      And it helps to use paragraph breaks. It’s easier on the eyes.

      Good luck with your ‘NOT a vanity publisher’ publisher.

      * this post was written without an editor’s valued contribution, because my writing already ‘cuts it’ *

  • Brenda Quinn

    I have thought a lot about how having to build a platform and even having to brand myself as a writer has helped me in many ways to hone my writing, to strengthen my voice, and to become a better writer. For the most part I’ve been really grateful to be part of this world where I can get my writing out to the public any time I want to through blogging and FB. If I could spend all my time on platform-building, the sky is the limit for all the ideas I have on what I could do to strengthen the platform. But there are other things God is calling me to do as well (including writing and editing aside from the platform), and so it’s a daily giving up to God of my time and the outcomes of each area of investment. So many times God has reminded me that I just need to be faithful to where He’s calling me and He is sovereign over the rest.

    Rachelle, I thank you on behalf of all of us–I can’t tell you how many times your words have come to me at frustrating or searching moments. God has used you to encourage and help guide my way. It’s been significant.

    • Rachelle Gardner

      Thanks for stopping by and for leaving such a kind note, Brenda! You really hit on the biggest problem for most of us… unlimited ideas but limited time & ability to execute them.

  • Arvilla N

    I’m hanging on to your words of hope! This is my first novel and being on the ground floor, the only way is up. Thanks for the many articles you have written that I have not thanked you for.

  • Jan Cline

    I think many writers are indeed frustrated, but not necessarily with publishers. I am coming to see that the world communicates through social media and that world wasn’t created by publishers. My frustration is just keeping up with what the new generation of communicators need from me – not necessarily the publishers.

  • Kenneth Paul Hartman

    Thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing and I appreciate the fact that you offer sound guidance regarding agents and the publishing world. Every time I read your blog I learn a little more. I am grateful that there are still people out there publishing books with all of the challenges that they face. I am one who still believes in pursuing the dream of getting published, and if I get a publishing contract, it will still be my book, my baby, and I will do what it takes to make it successful.

  • Paulette L. Harris

    I appreciate the thoughts, thank you for sharing them. I don’t have a problem with marketing and I wouldn’t have been able to do as much as I have without the computer. It’s tough for me sometimes because of all the daily changes that happen on the computer. I love to write, whether published or not, it brings me joy to do what I love doing and each novel, poem, or short story are improving as I practice my craft. :)

  • Sylvia Bright-Green

    Rachelle: Thank you for that reply regarding book publishing. I, for one, cannot afford to pay to publish. So I must reply on editors and agents to assist me with this — which in turn means that I better produce a very fine product and way to catch their attention. Sure it may take me longer, years in some cases, but the rewards are worth the wait because its apart of my profession and professionalism. Thank you for a great article. Blessings, Sylvia Bright-Green

  • Sandy Stevener

    Well said Rachelle. In this world of “it’s all about me” we never seem to consider the other side of the argument. We begg for the publisher to consider our manuscript but complain about how they do their job when, in fact, we have no idea what their job intails. It’s the corporation against the little guy syndrome. We would all be much better off to work together instead of against each other, after all that’s what Christian’s should be striving for, not grumbling in the desert.

    • Rachelle Gardner

      Thanks for the comment, Sandy. We do seem to get overly focused on ourselves sometimes, don’t we?

      • Sandy Stevener

        I know I certainly do, lol!

  • Jackie M. Johnson

    Thanks for your post. We appreciate all you do and the information you share to help authors!

  • Holly

    Thank you. I am new to this site and just beginning my endeavor into this arena of publishing. I appreciate all information. The good, the bad , and even the ugly. it will all become a very helpful tool when the time comes for me to start this process. Maybe it is to my advantage just coming into this as I don’t know the changes that are happening. It’s easier to learn something new than to be retaught what you already know.

  • Lori Schafer

    Thank you for the much-needed commentary on the new world of publishing from the publisher’s perspective. The rapid changes that have taken place in the industry must be, after all, just as frustrating and difficult to adapt to for publishers as for authors. And while I agree that a lot more pressure is being put on authors to do their own promotion, that also means that publishers have become more dependent on authors for their own success, even their survival. That can’t be a comfortable position to be in, either. The fact is, if publishers are unable to provide sufficient value, or even perceived value, then they will inevitably fail; that’s the nature of business. And I don’t doubt that they are scrambling to develop new strategies and techniques for succeeding in today’s market just as intensely as authors are.

  • Steve Laube

    Well said.

  • Lindsay Harrel

    It can definitely get overwhelming to build a platform…but that’s why I try not to think of it like that. I truly try to think of it as relationship-building. I love connecting with people, so when I think of it like this — and think about the variety of ways in which to connect — well, that just makes me happy. It’s when we start putting all the rules and pressure on ourselves that it can get even more overwhelming. I really liked Amanda Luedeke’s book (*The Extroverted Writer*) on marketing, because it really focused on the fact that we don’t have to do EVERYTHING…we can focus on doing a few things well.

    • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

      Lindsay is correct, don’t think of it as a platform, but as a relationship with valued readers. This is key in our age, when someone thinks enough of your writing to share their opinion with their friends THEN you have platform that matters!

  • Penhoff

    This is a great post, but it is only one side of the coin, a equal head to an equal tail. The electronic world has brought us millions of books we would not have otherwise, true, that is the heads side of the coin. The backside if you will the tail, it also has us brought millions of crappy books. Bad stories, bad writing, bad subjects not o say much plagiarism. The upside again is the price, at $0.99, one cent less than a buck, what do you expect? I talk to writers and I am amazed how few are willing to have a proper edit. The e-book publisher, yes they are publishers too, get paid a share and have a greater profit margin than you, will just run it up on their website and be done, a little cash here and little more there! Again what do you expect? If you are willing to overlook all this you may as well become part of the ten million e-books published each year. Now you need to create a platform, a ‘Brand Name’ or you be lost among the rest. So go to it, work the line and become a household name!

    • Rachelle Gardner

      Penhoff, thanks for pointing out that every story has two sides! I agree with you. There are upsides and downsides.

  • http://faerietaleforest.wordpress.com/ AshleeW

    I totally agree. It’s a hard world right now for both publishers and authors, but complaining about it won’t do either of them any good. We have to adjust the best we can! Thanks for the great post, Rachelle :)

  • J.M. Bray

    Wonderful post!

    I absolutely LOVE my publisher (Escape). They are incredibly supportive, provided wonderful editing, developed a fantastic cover, and are net promoting my release on Nov. 1. Though a digital first “small” publisher, as a branch of Harlequin they have huge resources. True I have to work at it too, the difference is, I’M NOT ALONE. They connected me with VERY experienced mutli-published mentor author, point me in the right direction, encourage me, have an author liaison, provide resources for promos, put everything on the major eTailers…the list goes on and on.

    Would I rather have someone do everything so I could, just write? Maybe, the idea of “minions” has it’s appeal (lol) But, did that ever happen? I’m betting Shakespeare did his fair share of hanging handbills. With all that said I do have a small frustration…I wish the rest of the industry would catch up. I joined the RWA to connect with other writers. I noticed the Rita Award link and got excited about entering my Romantic Fantasy novel. When I went over the requirements I found that they require printed and bound copies for the judges, which will not be returned. In this day and age, it seems not only behind the times, but kind of wasteful. It also excludes digitally published folks like myself.

    Thanks Rachelle for another thought provoking post.

    JM

    • Heidi Glick

      I’ve gone the traditional route, and I’m very thankful for my publisher.

  • Gary Allen VanRiper

    Great points, Rachelle. We decided to self-publish our series (NOT P.O.D.) and 14 years later with 115,000 copies sold and a small company, we are glad we did.
    When we appear for book signings WE contact local media (print/radio/tv) and consider and appreciate anything a bookstore might be able to do to promote the event as a bonus.
    We have also discovered some less traditional ways to sell our books. Book Fairs are a nice way to connect with some readers, but we sell many, many more books at places such as Arts Festivals and because we always ask, have found that nearly 100 percent of those who buy our books at those venues are brand new readers and are those who are not in the habit of visiting bookstores.
    The list could go on an on, but suffice it to say, YOU are going to be your own best advocate for your work. Imagine/create/find ways to distinguish your book from the multiple thousands which are out there vying for attention. You’ve spent hours pounding the keyboard – understand there is no escaping also pounding the pavement.

    • Rachelle Gardner

      Gary, “YOU are going to be your own best advocate…” I couldn’t have said it better! You’re right. And thanks for sharing your story.

  • Lauren H Brandenburg

    Admittedly, I have been a platform whiner. However, I don’t think it was ever in regards to potential publishers. It was more of a desire to have more time to write about an imaginary world, rather than write about my real one. It makes complete since for writers to be as involved in social media as musicians, actors, and even would be politicians. Thanks for being on our side…I have to go tweet this conversation now! – Lauren

  • http://www.MorganJamesPublishing.com/ David L. Hancock

    Thank you, Rachelle! We publishers must always remember we are where we are because of our authors. We are only as successful as they are. We must change, not for change sake, but to continue to add value to the author without getting in their way.

    • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

      I like David’s comment and creative business model. I think publishers that want to thrive and survive have to move with the changes just like the rest of us!

  • Caroline Starr Rose

    Thank you. I cannot imagine trying this without my publishers behind me.

  • Carolynnwith2ns

    Nothing wrong with platforms, how
    else do you get to enter the deep end?

    The two by two platform on which I stand teeters high above my real world of a 9 to 5 and family. It floats on the reality of today’s publishing forays and ‘the dream’ we writers cling to.

    I have said it before, and I will continue to say, that I am a minnow in a mud-puddle expanding my murky little platform with every by-line published. I just hope I live long enough, if not to make it to the ocean, than at least swim in a great lake.

    You are the lifeguard Rachelle, God save the lifeguards.

  • Jack

    Thanks for the punch in the arm – I needed that !!

  • Melissa Tagg

    Love this post and can’t help jumping in…I just had a launch party this weekend for my first book and when I think about the things my publisher did (and is doing still) to support my book’s release and even my party, it amazes me. AND it makes me want to work harder on my own platform-building. I think as authors sometimes we forget that, in a way, publishers are putting themselves on the line for us–especially those of us who are debuting. They are investing in us, giving our books the benefit of their name and brand, with not a lot of guarantee that the reading public is going to latch on. So why would we not try to do what we can to make sure their investment pays off?

    Besides, done the right way, marketing and platform-building can be at least a little fun. :) It’s like anything, really: we can complain about it or we can buck up and enjoy the ride, knowing that with today’s technological advances, we have more opportunity to get our books into readers’ hands than ever before. :)

  • Michael_Berrier

    Rachelle, you make great points about the efforts the publishing industry is making to re-create itself in the new world. It’s a challenge all old-line industries face as technology develops and it appears to me that like the music industry, publishing has been far slower to respond than others and it’s jeopardized the survival of a number of companies and the perceived relevance of publishers generally. But I agree with you completely as to the value that publishers add to the process. Their expertise at distribution/placement, and all the creative aspects of publishing from cover design to editing, make them highly valuable partners for writers.

  • Steven Hutson

    Yup. This is business. You have to give the editor a reason to choose your book over someone else’s.

  • Kellye Crocker

    Thanks Rachelle. I always enjoy your posts, and I think you make some good points with this one. To state the obvious, I’m a reader and a writer today because of the legacy of publishing. I know the industry is filled with dedicated, caring people.

    However, I think one of the complications here is that we’re, generally, talking about huge, international corporations (at least with the Big Six-Turned-Five), and they are pressed to earn greater and greater profits. I believe this has caused some serious problems not only in publishing, but in newspapers (where I spent 14 years) and many other industries.

    I’m sure publishers ARE scrambling, as everyone is, to adapt to new technologies, to find their place. Hopefully, they will soon address some issues that I think cause great problems for authors and readers. These include the antiquated practice of “book returns.” This is the only industry where someone can order too much of a product, and then the company pays to have unsold units returned (and, sometimes, destroyed). Also, most publishers tend to pay authors every six months–despite all of the technological advances in banking platforms–and it is very difficult for authors to track how many books they’ve sold, both print (because of the returns) and, especially, e-books.

    The traditional practice of the book advance also strikes a strange chord with me. In most professions, there is a general consensus around what a beginner earns, with fluctuations of course, but within a broad framework. A debut author can earn anything from no advance to six or more figures. In deciding advances, publishers are making a bet, of course, against the amount of books they think they will sell. But what this has meant, for many mid-list authors, is that it’s very difficult to make a living as an author.

    As a reader, especially, I have been disturbed by how many publishers have handled digital books. I’m a book buyer–hard cover, paperback, Kindle and books for my iPad. I have cards to five local library branches. I am willing to pay for excellent writing, editing, design and even marketing. I’m willing to help pay to keep the lights on in New York. But I do not want to be ripped off when I buy a digital book, and many publishers have made a bad, bad first impression with digital pricing that makes them look greedy when it comes to how they deal with authors and readers.

    I used to be dead-set against self-publishing. Then Scott Turow, the bestselling novelist and president of the Author’s Guild, published an op-ed piece in the New York Times on “The Disappearing American Author” (April, 2013). I’ve heard he’s something of a Luddite, and I don’t think this was his intention, but this piece opened my eyes to some of the problems authors have in dealing with traditional publishers. I’ve spent the months since then deeply researching these issues, and I’m now seriously considering self-publishing.

    This is not a popular choice among my friends in the industry or connected with my MFA program. Yes, I know that most self-published books sell few copies. It’s the same, actually, with many traditionally published books. And, yes, I’m aghast at some of the self-published drek I’ve seen…but for the most part I don’t think that’s selling, and if someone does like it, why is that my business?

    Lately, i’ve seen some nasty comments in social media from traditionally published authors aimed at those who are self-publishing. (And the latest plagiarism scandal doesn’t help–but we’ve seen that with traditionally published books, too, right?) In my experience, many of these authors are unaware of the current possibilities available with self-publishing, or that dedicated people can and are publishing quality books on their own (usually hiring their own editors and designers). In fact, there are quite a few editors from Big Six publishing houses now doing freelance editing for self-publishers.

    You’ve obviously struck a nerve, Rachelle, and I hope this is not misunderstood as a “rant” against traditional publishers. I believe that traditional publishers still offer many benefits–and I’m not saying I’m shutting the door there–but these are sincere questions and concerns.

    As far as “building a platform,” obviously I think of that when I use social media, but my bigger focus is on connecting, sharing and having fun.

    Thanks, Rachelle!

  • Lynne E Blackwood

    The Legacy, and let’s repeat that mantra one hundredfold. Writing to (eventually) earn a few pennies or pounds is obviously what we all need to continue our dream, our legacy to the world. Each sentence, paragraph, story or novel holds the essence of our personal passion, sweat, tears and emotional journey. The Legacy, always.

  • Andrea Miles Di Salvo

    As someone who hasn’t actually entered the field yet, I have to say I would be a bit frightened at the thought of venturing into publishing without the clout of a publisher behind me. I treasure the history of publishing, as you said. I also know that, no matter how much I might have to do to build my own platform, I would have to do a whole lot more–and spend a lot more of my own money–without a publishing house. Also, after all, if this is my book, why would I not invest in it, no matter what the publisher does or does not contribute? Perhaps I will find myself in a position in which self-publishing makes sense but, for now, I intend to seek traditional publication when the time comes.

  • DBRevell

    It just makes sense that when so many more people are “reachable” every moment, and so many more people are “bombarded” every other moment, it takes more to grab attention for one product–even if that product is a book. Thank you for this episode of reality.

  • Chris Schumerth

    Thanks for this. I, for one, find this blog to be an enormous help and encouragement in this process!

  • Jaime Wright

    I must be weird. I think building a platform is FUN! Really I do. It’s so neat to add that element of social networking especially to the writing world. It’s a different side of writing, to be sure, but so intriguing. I can’t help but compare it to being an actor/actress. 1/3 of the job is making the movie. The rest is appearances on Letterman, radio interviews, magazine interviews and …paparazzi. I figured if I can avoid the paparazzi, I’m a very successful writer. ;)

  • gwyn k weyant

    Rochelle, I am in that situation right now because of the real world job. I don’t have time to market every media there is. And that Isn’t an agents fault, or a publisher fault. It is a hard situation to be in, but life is what you make it. If you want to be read people, you have to do what’s necessary. Wether we agree with it or not.

  • David A. Todd

    I’m not quite sure why I’m in it, except that I believe I have a message to share, have a great face for radio and a great voice for print and e-books.
    I have done my fair share of moaning/complaining/whining about the need to build a platform. But for now I’ve just put that aside to concentrate on writing. For every minute I devote to platform building I try to spend a minute developing my capabilities with the art and craft of writing and eight minutes of actual writing. I have 12 items self-published and available for sale and sell an average of about eight items per month, less of late. I don’t plan on changing my time mix until I get up to around 25 items published.

  • jennie nash

    Amen Rachelle. This is powerful and true and awesome. I’m going to tweet all about it right now.

  • http://www.michellemcgillvargas.wordpress.com/ Michelle McGill Vargas

    I’m new to this too, and thought I’d never have time to do any social media type of stuff. But it really isn’t all that bad once you start. I guess I had the misconception that the publisher is supposed to do everything and all writer had to do was write. But it is a business and it’s about finding time to get everything in: life, family, work, and writing.

  • terryberriest

    Thanks for this post, Rachelle. I understand that I have to build a platform. I just wish I felt less queasy about self-promotion. I definitely respect a publisher’s inclination to back a writer with a following. A book is a product, and publishers need customers to buy that product.

  • Mare Ball

    This was so nice to read. I’d like to be traditionally published, but I have no idea what the best route is for me at this point. The social media networks have certainly put a damper on the traditional route – but I never realized publishers can be frustrated too. Things are always changing, that’s true. I think it’s only by the grace of God and his direction that I’ll get published!

  • http://rebeccavance.com/ Rebecca Vance

    I go back and forth between traditional and self–publishing. It seems like by far the pros outweigh the cons on self-publishing. You get to retain much money money that a traditional publishers could allow, you have more control over your product, and you can be published much faster, no wait for a year or more to launch. Those are all great reasons. You have to promote your own book and do a lot of the footwork yourself and that is a good reason. The one thing that nags at me however, is validation. You pay all these people up front so of course they are going to say that your book is the absolute best book ever! The thing is, if your words impress an agent enough to want to work with you because he or she believes that your work will sell, and said agent is willing to fight for that book, to get you the best publisher that they feel will fit for you and your book,, and the publisher actually buys that book, well then you have validation. Someone else thought that the public would buy it and they were willing to give you a shot. Sometimes, that means even more. It is the question that I wonder about. I haven’t decided yet, but would I be doing myself a disservice to not try?

  • Maria Font Buscher

    I appreciate hearing an agent’s perspective on the issue. Through your many posts, I’ve come to understand how the shifting sands of publishing are difficult for everyone. I’m not a whiner, so I don’t complain about marketing. I know it’s my job. But I will tell you that it’s tough to get a vague rejection from a publisher and not have any idea if it’s the work itself or the tough times. I’ve recently been blessed to have some delightful feedback, but it still hasn’t helped me understand why it’s a “no”. And yet I do understand that agents and houses don’t have time to tell us why it’s a “no thanks”. So we are stuck with critique partners (who are difficult to find, at least a good one) and constantly questioning: is it my work? is it the story? is the times? Maybe all of the above!
    I received my first contract this year, and when I received my content edits I was surprised by the amount of work ahead of me. I’ve heard other authors say they wonder why the publisher bought the story if they wanted to change so much of it. So please understand from our perspective, we’re often quite puzzled and in the dark searching for the light switch.

  • Tracy Campbell

    Rachel, thank you for your rant. I must admit, I’ve complained (mumbled to myself) at times, but anything worthwhile requires a ton of work.

  • Julie Sondra Decker

    Hmm not to mention that if you’re whining about “having to” create a platform, you’re not really going to do too well self-publishing anyway. . . .

  • Steve

    After being turned down, or more often ignored by traditional publishers, I self-published 3 books (1 novel, 2 poetry) through Amazon Createspaces. The quality of the books was great, and I’ve been able to sell the books myself at various events, as well as getting them into local bookstores. It’s the marketing that I wish I had going for me.

    I still hope to publish through traditional publishers, but they’re going to have to at least have the courtesy to respond to my queries. I fear as a society we’re going to end up with a deluge of mediocre work, and no way to sort out the really memorable stories.

    Steve Cavin

  • Jeanette Andersen

    It doesn’t matter if you are a famous author or not know (yet), self publishing or contract w/publisher or agent. You are the lead of the pack to get your work out there by self publicizing. Go to your local book stores, library’s, coffee houses, cafe’s, shopping mall, grocery store…. The list goes on. I’m sure it’s hard for a lot of people to do that. But after awhile of pushing yourself to do it, it becomes easy. Go for it – take an extra step you won’t regret doing.

    And Rachelle. I all ways look forward to your posts. They are very informative and thank you for taking the time to keep up on top.

    • Kim

      the opportunities for self-promotion don’t exist for everyone, especially on a limited budget. there aren’t that many bookstores around anymore, even for those who live in major metropolitan areas. for those who live in rural areas (Montana, Vermont), it’s a long — and expensive — travel radius to reach “local” libraries, malls and coffee houses. The promotion itself may be easy but it is also expensive (gas) and time-consuming (travel time). and after you’ve exhausted the local market, that’s it, unless you have a relative who works for an airline and can get you free plane tickets. and if you have a day job, you don’t have get that much time off.

      • Jeanette Andersen

        I understand Kim and I’m the one who couldn’t go to the full extents of self pub. with traveling. I lived in Vermont for 10 years and I understand the traveling time to go anywhere. : )

  • Her Grace

    I write because I can’t not write. Wouldn’t it be loverly if we could simply write, and only write, and not worry about the business side?

    Platforms have been around from the beginning. They’ve only evolved with the technology.

    That said, I do wonder, how much platform do I (or you?) require? What is enough, what is too much? Word-of-mouth is one of the better marketing tools about. A well-constructed platform taps into that.

    I’ve seen authors who are “present” in social media, and are personable, pleasant people who connect well. Then I see others who are all over the place–FB, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, etc. Does such a saturation improve sales? Or does spending all that time online take away from productivity?

    Bit of a catch: what good is generating three books a year if nobody’s buying them? What good is building a platform if there’s nothing for your readers to buy?

  • Sally

    Wow, what a great discussion. As a writer, I respect both types of publication (trad and self-pub) and see pros and cons to each. As a reader though, I’ll admit, 99% of the books I buy are traditionally published at this point of my life. The 1% of self-published books that I buy tend to be authors with HUGE platforms, HUGE buzz, HUGE sales. This buzz gives me assurance that I’m getting the quality product that I feel I get when I pick up a traditionally published book.

    All this to say that, while I think platform is extraordinarily important for writers pursuing either path, I think it is of greater importance to those self-pubbing. I also think that this idea of a “stamp of quality” (not personal taste) is something that traditional publishers are able to offer their authors.

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  • Jude Johnson

    Whining is a pastime far too many people enjoy. Do what you can, what you feel comfortable with, what your values embrace. I love the history and legacy of a published book yet I don’t have the patience to wait for the two years a traditional house may take to produce my book. Smaller regional publishers are another option. Sure, you still have to do your own marketing, but look at it this way–it’s your baby, stage mama. You do everything to get your baby seen, heard, and admired. If you’ve done everything you could to bring your baby to the best it can be, you won’t have to dodge too many rotten tomatoes.

  • ccassara

    There IS something to be said for self-publishing–but still, I have a really hard time with most of the self-published books out there. Without professional editing, so much of them are crap. And yet, these folks are “authors.” “Writers?” a different story. Call me old-school, but here’s what I think: http://carolcassara.com/2013/08/about-writing-2.html

  • Betsy Altmaier

    I am an aspiring writer, and preparing what I hope will be my first book. As suggested on many blogs, I made a special trip to a large city in my state to visit the equally large Christian bookstore. I scanned every shelf and title, trying to find the niche into which my book would fit. It was a small niche because Christian living is the likeliest domain, and this bookstore squeezed that domain into 24 shelf feet. But the most dismaying part of my visit was that “gifts” occupied as much space as books, and Duck Dynasty occupied about half of the gift space. My husband is a DD fan, so I am not critical of the show per se, but in a bookstore? It might help you to know that my mother was a church librarian for many years, and made sure there was a book review in every bulletin. I hope as authors we can make the case for more reading in whatever form.

  • Diane Tatum

    Totally there with you, Rachelle. I struggle with the discouragement of being one voice in a huge ocean of voices. I want my books to be published and available to make a mark on the lives of my readers, hopefully pointing them toward God in the process.
    Another result of this high-tech new world is a greater need for an agent. Publishers, no doubt to weed out the untalented, have barred the door for new novelists who don’t have an agent. I understand, yet it leaves me going to conferences (& spending ‘seed’ money), hoping to make connections with an editor and/or an agent.

  • Andrea Jones

    It was so refreshing to read this. New to the whole “business” side of things, I get a bit impatient when my creative time gets shanghaied by the practical need to self promote. But as of late, I’ve begun to find the fun in getting my ideas out there before my book. Self promo is simply the rabbit before the grey hounds, all part of the exciting creative race.

  • http://www.writinginflow.blogspot.com/ Beverly Diehl

    I think to a certain extent, some writers have always lived in a fantasy world and begrudged the very, VERY hard that is the reality for most writers. They want to vomit their thoughts onto the page (critique, editing, who dat?) and have an agent and/or publisher cuddle them and tell them how brilliant they are, said publishers/agents to do all the heavy lifting.

    Maybe *some* writers get babied like that, but seems to me like even the “overnight sensations” have to put in a lot of hard work to being a writer. Don’t want to work that hard? Choose another dream/profession.

  • http://www.dustonthepiano.com/ Gavin Cross

    Love this. Just motivates me to adopt a more innovative mind.

  • D. V. Bennett

    Rachelle, I get the article and I thank you for being a positive influence in the world of writer advocacy, representation and publishing. Some of us however, are between a rock and a hard place, and it is tough to know what to do. I have wanted to write for nearly my entire life. I work at it and I continue to learn, day by day. Day by day, I work fifty and fifty-five hour weeks at a very physical ‘day’ job. I take care of a family and I have other obligations (obligations–not hobbies that I can cut out on a whim to afford extra time).

    I write every day. In order to do that I’ve learned that I have to sacrifice some sleep. I usually eek out a page a day. Some people self-publish and some seek professional representation. Either way, a platform these days seems to be a must. I’m at the point now where my first book has gotten very positive critiques from two professionals and I am working to make it the very best book that I can after many drafts in order to submit it for representation.

    Having said that…I have little in the way of a platform. I’m reading and learning what I can to build one, but there again it takes time, something I have very little of. It is actually, ‘Write, or build a platform?’ Since building a platform without something to be supported by it is a useless enterprises, I write. I’m not being in the least bit sarcastic here. I just don’t have much in the way of time to spare. Even in commenting here, I am taking time away from my writing this evening. If someone were to say, “Then maybe writing isn’t for you.” my first thought would be that they have never struggled to pursue the dream of doing what you love and find fulfilling, and making a living at it. It’s either that, or think them to be an insensitive person.

    I’m happy for the person who wrote that platform building is fun. I guess I just haven’t learned enough about it to be able to say the same.

    I will keep at it and hope and pray for the best. The Bible conveys that a wise teacher makes learning a joy, so I will try to take up an attitude that makes platform building something to be joyful about.

    Best regards,

    Vern Bennett

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  • Teresa Lockhart

    I have a passion to write YA and New Adult. I work with teens and young adults every day of my life. I live their lives–almost. I have a platform because as a teacher and adjunct professor, I have access to getting hands in the books of the target audience. I am hyper-crazed mode at this point. I’ve invested thousands of dollars to learn the craft. I have practiced the craft. I have been praised for my ability, but I haven’t found my foot in the door. I’m ready to run with this!

    I’m not complaining. I’m just normal. We all feel this way. When the time is right, the right thing will happen.
    I have considered self-publishing. In my town, people know me for my collections of folklore. I have always dreamed of writing a book to place in gift shops and tourist attractions in my area. I live in the land of Bonnaroo (music and arts festival). I’ve done my research, and I do believe I stand a chance at making a small profit.

    While my heart lies with fiction, I also have this passion to tell other kinds of stories. I’m actually excited with the possibility of self publishing. I am a “go-getter” fund-raising type of gal. (I am a public school teacher. We have to learn these skills to survive. I started a journalism program with $0. The school wouldn’t even buy us text books. NOW one of my student’s works is used as a model in the text book that our school could not afford to buy us. We bought our own copies.)
    I have the dream and the passion. I’m ready to jump on that horse and ride.

    I’ll keep writing my YA and New Adult and allow my folklore research to fuel my imagination.

    God gave me a gift. I would not appreciate my gift more if it brought me more money. The truth is the gift is in the “doing,” not the tallying of accolades.

    I

  • Janet Ann Collins

    Thank you for this post, Rachelle. It shines a light on the confusion.

  • AC James

    I will never be one to complain about building a platform. I’ve determined that one day there will be an agent or publisher that will appreciate my work ethic, attitude, and my left of mainstream writing enough to take a chance on me. However, I love having the ability to indie publish and introduce even the few readers that I do reach to my writing. It’s not easy or even validating at times. I do it because life is short. Simultaneous submissions and pitching at conferences isn’t a career. Given enough time and effort I believe my writing will find its audience. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to be a hybrid author. Just last night I did a book signing at a local Barnes & Noble and sighed in envy looking at the books parked in co-op space. If you were to ask my husband he’d tell you the monetary return on the initial time investment of indie publishing doesn’t even justify the long hours spent away from my family and in front of a computer screen. But you write because you have to. You write because there’s no other way. It’s certainly not for the money. It’s not because those old world thinking publishers can’t offer me anything. Traditional publishing offers a lot of things that I just can’t afford going solo. The successful indies are few and far between. There are far too many authors, some that are very prolific, offering their free promos on Twitter, KBoards, Blog Tours, etc. every day. It’s a pretty big pond and the competition is fierce.

  • http://www.cherylricker.com/ Cheryl Ricker

    Good point, Rachelle. Fact is, we all need each other. Sure, there’s always something we can complain about–BUT it’s a waste of our creative energies. And more importantly, God hates complaining. SO we need to see it for the temptation it is AND trust that God knows our hearts. Even when things are undesirable or less than fair, HE will balance the scales and make it right. HE will bless us in everything we do when we “do everything as unto the Lord.”

  • Charles R Stubbs

    Rachelle, the publishers that survive will be the ones who figure out how to sift through the mountains of average works out there on the Internet and alight on the few that are really exceptional, and who then have the social media and traditional marketing skills required to bring those works to the attention of audiences that will appreciate them. Essentially this is no different from the challenges that faced traditional publishers. What’s different today are the numbers involved: many more works to sift through, and potentially hundreds of millions of readers worldwide to attract. As in all businesses faced with changing technology, some publishers will adapt and crack this, while others will fail.

  • Belinda K

    Hi Rachelle. I’ve been scanning your blog, trying to find an appropriate place to ask this question. Since this entry is about publishing, I’ve decided to post it here. My question is this: I’ve been approached by someone who is already a regular contributor to magazines, and who wants to share a piece I wrote with some colleagues because she thinks it’s good enough to be published, but I don’t know if I can or should ask to retain the rights on my piece. She says since I’m a new writer, I shouldn’t ask to retain copy rights on my piece. Do you have any advice on this?

  • http://andrewmaclarenscott.blogspot.co.uk/ Andrew MacLaren-Scott

    I stumbled into your interesting blog, by chance, and can report that I have published many books the old-fashioned way (under a slightly different name from the one I use here) and have now published several by self-publishing or in one case semi-self-publishing (i.e. using a e-publisher that is not at all discriminating about what they accept). So far, I have found the traditional route much easier – the publishers actually approached me. Self or semi-self publishing is easy enough to do, but generating sales is extremely tough. (http://andrewmaclarenscott.blogspot.co.uk/)

  • Carmen E. Richards

    In it for the LEGACY and love how you put fresh passion to these ideas. As an author, seeking traditional publisher, I am preparing myself by thinking outside the box for new ways to generate interest in my book. I want to be part of the process. I think it’s a great privilege to be able to deliver your baby after a long and arduous creation and birth process.

    Thanks for the insightful and helpful rant, Rachelle.

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