Seeing the obvious

I’ve been thinking.
Anyone who knows me would be saying ‘Now, there’s a novelty!’ But bear with me for a few minutes because I want to talk about publishing and self-publishing.
As writers, most of us started by dreaming that one day our books would be filling the shelves of the local book shop, be it a small dusty warren like establishment with a bespectacled  owner sitting on a stool behind a desk reading some exotic or long since out of print edition of a Victorian classic, or a big major player in the book world with their hundreds of staff all sitting behind ‘pay here’ desks and trying to flog you some nearly out of date confection which you can see has been left near the heater too long and instead of the block of chocolate which it should be is now a fluid squidgy excuse for a bar. So why aren’t we there, why isn’t our long worked on project which we have sweated blood to produce gone to that fabled market that is, what is in essence, establishment?
Because, and if there are any publishers/agents reading this then feel free to correct me, is that they are both after sure fire top ten bestsellers, filling a ‘recession’ market that has developed over the last few years, one which they thought that a year ago would be the genre that would take off and sell in their hundreds of thousands. In these times of recession they aren’t prepared to take a punt on an unknown author who has written a book which ten years ago would have been snapped up and promoted and marketed until it bled ink, no not nowadays. Yes they are in the business of making money, but where a few years ago they would take a chance, now they are reluctant to even think about taking a chance!
I mean, we write a book and then hope that our ability and talent will shine through and be noticed by one of the big players in the business, but invariably though, it’s not….Why? Because, and I say this guardedly, because sometimes our manuscripts don’t land on the right desk at the right time with the occupier of that desk in the right frame of mind. That I think is the reality, because I have read a few indie authors offerings, and by and large they are of equal standard or even better than some of the traditionally published books, but it didn’t fit the market at the time of submitting. So what hope is there for the vast majority of writers who are talented, but without the means or the reputation or the celebrity to interest an agent or publisher at this time?
Self-publishing, that’s all that’s left.
We have all read the work of people who have jumped on the bandwagon and pumped out books on a weekly basis, but the standard at times can be appalling. Does the cream always rise to the top? I don’t think so. I know there are some who have always said that they want to go the self-publishing route so that no-one skims the 20% off the top of their earnings, but I suspect that that is only because their cupboards are still full of rejection letters and that they have a particular axe to grind. I might be wrong there, and some authors might genuinely have wanted to go down this route, and if they have then I hope they’re successful, but…..I’m not sure. I certainly would prefer a big publishing house to get behind me and do all the promoting and marketing, something which I know most of us are not good at.
A lot of good books will sit in the bowels of amazons data base, proverbially just under the old sock that has fallen behind the water heater, covered in dust and cobwebs and being slowly cooked to destruction, not because it’s a bad book, but because no-one knows it’s there. Part of that problem is the fact that the indie market is flooded, so how can the cream rise?
Let people know it’s there!
Obvious isn’t it.
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About Clive Mullis

Author and blogger

Posted on February 26, 2013, in Clive's Blog. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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