A couple of decades ago, writers had to pound on the closely guarded doors of the New York City publishing machine, whose defensive strategies seemed designed to keep even the best out in the cold.
Today the industry is in flux. The paradigm is shifting. What’s emerging is an increasingly accessible publishing industry where writers can take charge of their own careers, sometimes even by-passing the traditional system altogether. Today there are doors and windows where sturdy walls stood just ten years ago.
But these doors and windows require more work. We have to: write advertising copy, design marketing plans, build readership, erect platforms and utilize today’s internet technology. It’s both exciting and frustrating because all this takes time. Time to learn new writing skills. Time to access and use social media groups, online organizations, blogs and websites. Time to build a platform and create a marketing strategy, both of which need to be started long before the book is even begun! And all this time must be snatched away from what we do best: write books. Like I said, both exciting and frustrating.
Take agent submissions, for example, since that’s where I’m at at the moment: finding an agent for my newly-finished paranormal suspense book. The internet made it quick and easy to search out those who handle my genre. But each agent wants my work submitted according to his/her own protocol. And each one is different. Some want traditional snail mail submissions with varying numbers of pages. Some want email only. Some require a combination. Some will accept email attachments, most won’t. They want the first 5 pages, the first 10, first chapter, first three chapters, first 50 pages, etc. All of which must be formatted for the body of the email or it’s unreadable. Or reformatting as independent documents if they’re attachments.
This search requires skilled organization, advance planning, and effective record keeping. None of these are my strong suits. This whole thing is going to be a steep learning curve, a gleaning of new skills. Maybe they’re not skills I’d choose to develop, but they’re necessary these days to play the “get an agent” game.
All I can say is, it’s a good thing I write suspense. My mind is already churning, a new story in the making. All this time spent organizing, planning, reformatting and record keeping will serve double duty. Someday soon they’ll be instrumental in either killing off a character, or solving the crime du jour. Or both. Just wait and see...
Previous Word Count: 578
Today's word Count: 422
Week #1 Total Count: 1,000
Exactly! Week One down...and counting...