Some of you may know that every Tuesday, I post on The Writer's Guide to ePublishing. A while back, I wrote about the changing nature of dreams. Time and again - through discussions with friends and other wriiters - I'm reminded how the goalpost can shift along the way. I thought I'd share the post here.
So... here it is!
When I first decided to try to get published, I had a dream. I’d have a swanky agent, get a three-book deal with a major publisher, have a fabulous launch party drowning in cocktails, and see my novel on every bookshelf up and down the country. I wanted to be invited to author talks; to see people on the Tube reading my novel; and to get reviews in national magazines. In short, I wanted everything that people imagine when they think ‘author’.
All through having two non-fiction books and two novels published traditionally, I held onto the dream. It would materialise sometime, surely. All I needed was an agent. A bigger publisher. A better distributor. I’d stay the traditional course and I’d get there in the end.
But somewhere along the way, I realised something was more important than the dream: readers. With the ebook and self-publishing revolution, I could take control of my timeline and release more books a year than traditional publishing would allow, hopefully building up my base and reaching more of a target audience. Was I willing to step off the road that led to wine-soaked launches, peer recognition, and books on shelves?
Now, as I prepare to release my fourth novel in a year-and-a-half, I realise my dream has changed. I still get a pang of desire when I think of all the fringe benefits beckoning from traditional side of publishing, but growing my readership and taking control more than compensate for cocktails (I can’t believe I just wrote that!). And, as self-publishing becomes more mainstream, I’ve seen that it doesn’t have to be one or the other — an author can successfully do both. Not only that, for some authors, self-publishing can lead to an agent or a traditional publishing deal. There’s more than one way to achieve a dream.
The rapid changes in the publishing industry over the past few years have forced me to examine my long-held desires. Do I still want to see my book in the shops? Yes. Do I still want wine? (I think you know the answer.) Do I want to be eligible for industry awards? I’d love to be. But most of all, I want to write, and I want to have readers.
Everything else is just gravy.
What’s your publishing dream? Do you still long for ‘traditional’ success? Can success even be defined by books in shops, etc, any longer?