Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 23 - And a Look Back at My Year In Publishing

Todays Progress - 1779 Words on Harsh Climate
Running Total: 22935

22935 / 30000 words. 76% done!

One year ago I had just shifted gears. I'd been writing screenplays and doing script reading, but I felt the call of mystery writing again. The market for the cozy mystery seemed to have revived somewhat, even if the writers of such were still being treated like disposable napkins, and even if the cozy market seemed to lean a little bit more toward the 'churchlady' crowd than really suited me. Hey, my W.I.P. is about a small town spinster who doesn't use bad language, but Miss Marple she ain't. She worships Quentin Tarantino, and her idea of a religious experience is a Billy Wilder retrospective.

I really adore Karla, and George (the worldly but ne'er-do-well man of action who becomes her straight man and co-conspirator) but I have to admit that part of the reason I chose them to work on next was because their story seemed like something I could actually sell to a real publisher in today's climate.

And to that end, I started networking again. I started reading the blogs of agents and editors and my fellow writers - especially crime writers. Which is how I stumbled upon Joe Konrath's blog. I'd always thought that I would do some self-publishing for fun, once I'd made it in traditional publishing. But "St. Joe of the Indies" turned me on to the new concept of electronic self-publishing.

It was like Joe looked me in the eye and said "Duck, meet water."

I thought it was just a place to play around at first. I still planned to publish my serious stuff with traditional publishers... until I had paddled around the pond a few times and realized I was home.

So I spent the rest of the year moving in and making myself at home. It slowed me down considerably on my writing. But I made a lot of friends, in and out of the indie world, and everything I learned made me realize I had made the right choice.

No, I have not set the world on fire. It doesn't happen that way. Especially when you're someone who does everything bass ackwards. Unlike some writers who swing right into action in a hot category, I think it will be a year or two before I have the selection of books to really make a success of this. But it would take at least that long for a novel to make it through the system in traditional publishing.

I published 3 novels this year - none of which quite fit in a category or with each other. I also did two collections of short fiction. Overall these are selling at a couple dozen per month, mostly the shorts, but it still varies widely. I get very good reviews on my main title, Have Gun, Will Play, but it's still an uphill battle getting people to read an - eek! - western. Even if it's silly and a mystery. That book needs some support from other titles. All of my books need some support.

So that's my big goal for the next year. Fleshing out my library of titles. More about those plans, however, in upcoming posts.


Jamie D. said...

It sounds like we've traveled similar paths this year...amazing what a difference 12 months make! For me, I always wanted to self-pub but because it was so frowned on, had conditioned myself to want other things. Joe's blog gave me "permission" to want to self-pub again...and I'm not looking back.

We'll have to get some of you western authors together for marketing...have you checked out The Independent Author Network? Something to consider for getting the word out. :-)

Best of luck to you in the new year!

The Daring Novelist said...

It's a whole new world.

But it's surprising how much of what goes around comes around. A lot of the new stuff that is showing up in publishing now are things that were popular long ago - serials, shorter works, pulpy fun stories.