Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Waiting Game

For most writers it is a waiting game. We wait to get an idea into our head. We wait for the idea to jell into a story. We wait the requisite month or two to get back to the rewrite. We wait for the editor’s work to be done. We wait for the agent’s response. Wait, wait, wait. And then—when the agent does respond—there’s waiting for the publisher, then the final edits, then the galley proof, then for your name to be announced at the first book signing. Wait, wait, wait.

It’s my take that some of the reasons for the serious amount of dysfunctional mental attitudes as well as bad personal habits of writers is due to this waiting. We are just fine as we write and even rewrite. It is the waiting that eventually takes the toll.

I also believe that is why the self-publishing process is helping the sanity of writers—there’s simply less waiting. At every stage of the process the author has greater control over the steps of writing and production. This control does come at a price. We pay for editors, we pay for formatting, covers, and publicity. We pay for printing, distribution, and travel. But we also can keep up to 100% of the sales (70% at Amazon). Profit is left to the quality of your management.

Consider these:
The Traditional Road
  • Writing the manuscript           6 months
  • Editing             3 months
  • Publisher’s queue        3 – 6 months
  • Publication, pre-marketing, distribution   3 months
  • Total Time                  2 to 3 years

Self-Publishing Road
  • Writing the manuscript           6 months
  • Editing      2-3 weeks
  • Publisher’s queue        none
  • Publication, marketing, distribution    1 week
  • Total Time      7-8 months

I realize that this is simplified and there are a lot of other issues to deal with as a self-publisher. Marketing and publicity are significant consumers of time–but these can happen after the book is published. It is companies such as Amazon and Smashwords that enable the writer to become an author quickly, efficiently, and at minimal cost.

This is the battle that is being fought between Amazon and Hachette (and by proxy the other big publishers as well). For ninety percent of the writers it’s a battle that doesn’t affect them. But there is one area where the soot from this fire-fight may be rubbing
off – Amazon sales of its ebooks are reportedly dropping. No one knows whether this is due to Amazon’s very open outreach, its hardline stance on the whole process, its arrogance, or just a seasonal dip. Only time will tell.

More later . . . . . . . . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment