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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Getting down to business

Further reflections? Clear Water production has eased, the word count has slowed from the furious outpouring during November it is now meandering gently through December. The flow curtailed slightly by the regimen of the day job and feeling mentally knackered after the thirty day gallop of the previous month.

The more relaxed pace has given me chance to catch up on a couple of things, read a few blog posts and have another attempt at proving Iceline for print, (word of caution, if you don't already know this, PDF is good for uploading to print.) I tried it with a doc. file and the dog's breakfast that came back as the printable PDF was disappointing to say the least.

Lesson learned, back to the drawing board, and maybe over the Christmas holidays I'll have another shot at it. Apart from anything else I had a chance to mull over a comment made by Big Al at Indies Unlimited a few weeks ago, it may be longer than that but whatever, he posted a piece in an ongoing series about his experiences as an independent author with a short list of why he chose the self-publishing route.

In a roundabout way it touched on the choices I made and an observation noted in many how to books about publishing - most of them  pre-date the surge in Internet self publishing, but the point remains valid. The comment in the How to books was always about the difficulty of breaking into publishing. Difficulty, the reality is inferred that it is near impossible to break into publishing as an author without some form of divine intervention from whatever supernatural entity is involved in a personal belief system.

Big Al raises two points that whatever the landscape of publishing might look like pre- or post the Internet shift remain true.

The traditional publisher has to choose you!

The  majority of authors who pursue the traditional route will never be published.
He means NEVER!

The demand to be published has always been so great that the rejection was always the fate of the majority. Now wait, I'm not passing judgement on the quality of the writing or the calibre of the authors, but the demand has always outstripped the ability of the traditional publishers to publish everything that is submitted. Until the Internet and the reality shift.

Here was a way to reach a growing audience with all the usual and expected pitfalls of traditional publishing, availability, accessibility, and discover-ability. Three hurdles faced by the commercial sector with every book published, and the same hurdles exist for the  independent author.

The reality shift brought the bookstore into the living room, commute, office or wherever your reading device happened to be, and not just one bookstore, but a maybe a dozen more with all the books you would ever want to read, and more than could be read in a dozen lifetimes.

The paradigm shift is that many writers have never experienced a rejection slip from a publisher, let alone enough to paper the office wall with. There have always been companies providing publishing services who would spare the author that, usually for a substantial fee, providing all the services of the traditional publisher. Often seen by those selected for the traditional route, and the route masters of that way as the last resort of the desperate, and yet the traditional model created the environment in which these companies flourish and capitalize on  the dreams of millions of authors. There was no other alternative, except for the few with the resources to go it alone.

The Internet changed everything, and the growing reach of the world wide web has taken the access to books to a new level. The traditional model fostered a mindset of dependency, the only way into print is through the publisher, or by going cap in hand with an open cheque book to the companies offering printing services, (not all of them qualify as Vanity Press, but do you homework first and move cautiously), but the new model bypasses the traditional, but not always the dependent mindset.

Be creative,  try everything in the process of producing a book, use the tools of the Internet, set aside the dependent and think independently, take self-publishing to the fullest extent of the term and explore the craft of writing and publishing.

Try your hand at proofreading and editing, give yourself the choice and if it works you have another tool in your kit. If it doesn't find someone with the right tools and hire them.

Writer, proof reader, editor, all of them start somewhere, and where they go from there depends on they choices made.. The dependent mindset exists throughout publishing, in all it's varying forms.

The empowering comes when you call on the assistance of someone with a different skill set, not because you are told that is the way it must be done, but because they have a skill that is stronger than yours and you choose to seek out their help, independently!

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