The Defender of Traditional Publishing – John Green

With the technological improvements of digital publishing and the ease of marketability to the world wide web, the publishing industry has reached a historic moment where authors now have the ability to publish themselves, vice the era where the technology and capability to print and market a book was unfeasible before 2007 with the advent of the e-reader. The need that drove authors to self-publish could have stemmed from one of five things:

  1. The difficulty to get published via traditional means could have driven a need to self publish.
  2. Money. Authors will make more money per sales transaction.
  3. The market demanded cheaper books (this is unlikely, since I believe customers value quality over price)
  4. E-commerce sites like Amazon saw an untapped market and capitalized.
  5. Freedom of creative control for the author.

Regardless of the reason, its rise in popularity has created a number of issues, such as consumer price expectations, and could drastically change the face of publishing forever. But John Green argues that as a consequence of the self-publishing revolution, it will heavily impact the quality of American literature. I happen to be in strong agreement with him on this issue.

What brought attention to this topic was John Green’s interview with Tim O’Reilly during the Digital Book World conference in January 2014. This Soho Press article captured his passionate response below:

“We must strike down the insidious lie that a book is the creation of an individual soul laboring in isolation. We must strike it down because it threatens the overall quality and breadth of American literature,” he said. “…without an editor my first novel, Looking for Alaska, would have been unreadably self-indulgent. And even after she helped me make it better it wouldn’t have found its audience without unflagging support … from booksellers around the country. I wouldn’t have the YouTube subscribers or the Tumblr followers, and even if I did I wouldn’t have any good books to share with them.”

John Green is now my hero.

Advertisements

My Short Story is about to be Published!

Myths Inscribed is an online magazine for fantasy fiction only. It was recently created by the wonderful people at MythicScribes.com (a great place to connect with a large community of fantasy writers).

After submitting to them on January 7th, they got back to me on February 16th with the news that they had provisionally accepted my 5,000 word short story, The Ravenous Flock, as long as I agreed to their editing terms. What they proposed is that they wanted to work with me to perform some edits, as well as work with me to decide where to cut the story in half (as they want to publish it in two parts across two issues). If I agreed, no other name other than mine will be on the story; and the story, all revisions included, remain exclusively mine. This extra service that they provide distinguishes their magazine from nearly all others on the market, and is something that they are proud of.

I happily agreed to the terms and I look forward to my first experience with a real editor. I have always thought I knew what they do, but now I will have first hand experience working with one. As Myths Inscribed is a new ezine, they do not offer financial compensation for your work. While this fact is considered “less prestigious” by some (for example, I can’t join SFWA unless I sell a short story for $50 or more), to me, it marks a significant milestone for any author. I have now crossed the threshold from being unpublished to published. My short story was still chosen above others from the “slush pile” all the same, and now it can be added to my author bio. In addition, this publication credit adds extra credibility to my novel.

Since my short story predates the events of my novel and is written in the same world, same style, and contains some of the same characters from my novel, this publication credit should add tremendous value toward getting my novel published. Not only will this help it get published, but once my novel is published, this short story will help sell my novel – and here is how: Per the terms of Myths Inscribed publication policy, after they publish my work, all rights are immediately returned to me, meaning I can do what I wish with my short story. At that point in time, I plan to further self-publish it on Amazon for $0.99. Once my novel is available for purchase, I’ll use my short story as a marketing tool to drive interest toward my novel and will most likely give it away for free at that point to gain readership and a following.

More to come soon as I plan to share my lessons learned with working with the editor!