Publishing Isn’t for Sissies–Conquer Your Fear!

What new facet of the publishing business will you conquer this year? With all the changes rushing at us, what’s your greatest fear? How can you turn that perceived weakness into an asset? Small press or indie digital publishing has long been my wishy-washy place.


Yes, I can publishing solo, but do I want to? Yes, there are small indie digital presses out there, but do I trust their ever-evolving business models. In the end, I realized the real question was: Do I trust myself, without the umbrella of a large, established publisher propping up both me and my work?

I love my traditional publishers and hope to always have a home in print. I respect most of the inroads these huge corporations are making into digital media, too, though the changes they’re enacting have been slow to come and even slower to implement. Which has left a huge opportunity open for me to make a digital impact with my writing without them… But until lately I’ve been too hesitant to investigate those options on my own.

  • Where will I be without a major press behind me?
  • Will anyone notice if I go out on my own?
  • Will my publisher/agent be less enthusiastic about my work, if I’m also self/indie publishing in the digital market?
  • Will I be wasting a lot of time I should be spending writing, by taking on even more “other” business beyond the hours I need to focus each day on my creative pursuits?

Hard questions, all of them. And each question sprung from a core fear of the change happening all around me. Because the reality is, the playing field of publshing that I thought I’d conquered when I signed my first traditional book contract is gone. A new world with exciting new opportunities and scary pitfalls has arrived. I can’t fly beneath the radar and expect folks to find me, because I have THIS publisher or THAT one backing me.

publishing piles

In this publishing world, a writer is either a brand/entity unto herself, or she won’t be found, period.

  • Traditional publishers expect us to do all the things we have to do to be successful as self/indie published authors.
  • Branding is essential to a book’s success now, regardless of how it was published.
  • Marketing is a social media thing more than an in-store, co-op deal, the way traditional publishers used to be able to work for you. Only the big dogs get those opportunities now, in ever-dwindling physical stores and online through the mega digital outlets. The rest of us, however we’re published, are pretty much on our own when it comes to building a buzz.
  • Advances are shrinking/disappearing for even multi-published authors, while traditional publishers lag way behind in offering competitive royalty rates (which SHOULD compensate the author for all that hard work they’re doing solo to promote their brand and books).
  • Let me repeat, wherever we’re published we have to look at this publishing world as an “I’m on my own to make this work,” thing.

And that scared the poop out of me at first.

In 2012, I’m more excited by the day!

  • The freelance editing side of my work is picking up, because more and more authors are looking for good editing for projects that they aren’t publishing traditionally.
  • My social media networks are firing on all cylinders, and I’ve never seen more clearly how that helps build/extend my author brand.
  • I’m working on FOUR different novels for four vastly different series that I’m pitching to traditional houses. BUT if they don’t work at any of those publishers (because I’m an outside -the-box writer or I’m not a big enough presence in the market yet for them to take a risk on my work), I’ve never been more confident that my options are wide open to take these stories I love elsewhere and make them come to life for readers

My asset out of fear, my personal way of conquering publishing in 2012, will be to keep writing the best stories I can and to push to see them in print (paper and digitally), by pursing all those overwhelming new opportunities I wasn’t ready to tackle last year.

What will your 2012 look like?

Publishing isn’t for sissies, but it’s a hell of an exciting place to be doing business this year!

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4 Responses to “Publishing Isn’t for Sissies–Conquer Your Fear!”

  1. Good article and one that we all can learn from. Being scared of changes stops us from realizing our dreams. What will 2012 look like for me? It will be the best year of my life and my dreams will become reality. I’ll be taking advantage of everything I can get my hand on to get my works published, promoted and sold.

  2. Amber Dane says:

    What an awesome post! I’m not published yet, but you hit the nail on the head with the ever changing ‘writing world’, the demands, etc. It can be so overwhelming what to do or not to do. It’s scary. Glad you seem to have worked out a plan. Thanks for sharing!

    • The key word in your comment, Amber, is “yet.” All published authors were where you are at one time. Some of us for quite a lot of time ;o) Keep working and learning and fighting to make your dream a business reality!

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