Waving Goodbye

Are you waving goodby to the publishing industry as we know it yet?

If you aren’t, just try flopping your hand around so you don’t look ignorant (but maybe slightly dysfunctional).

Last night I posted a progress report on my self-publishing journey thus far with CreateSpace. Writing it all out took longer than I thought it would; there’s a lot to putting a book out.

I should rephrase that.

The steps and skill sets need to execute the basic process of putting a book out are fairly simple; the time and cognitive energy needed to keep track of the slew of details is a lot of work.

Margins, headers, consistency, spell-check, where’d that extra indent come from?, did you remember the bleed?, wrong file type, someone found another typo?, what’s the cover art path again?

While we’ll never say goodbye to the need for hard work, it is time to say goodbye to legacy publishing. At least it has been for me.

In one of my comments to Nathan Reimer on yesterday’s comments section, I said:

“I felt a little euphoric clicking submit [on my manuscript upload]. Half fearful I’d missed something catastrophically minor; half peeing my pants that I was publishing a book all by myself without a major publisher holding my hand.”

And that’s the truth of it. As a self-published author, the buck starts and stops with you. You have the tools, and the choices to make it awesome, or to make it a failure. Whatever support staff the traditional publisher provided – dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s – that’s all gone. Bye bye. But so is your expense of parting with a huge portion of your profits to do so. If you felt it was worth it, bravo. I didn’t.

In another comment last night by my friend Christian Fahey, he said:

“I read an interview with Jeff Bezos [founder and CEO of Amazon.com] recently where he stated his vision–swallow this–is to make every literary work known to man available in any language (primarily in ebook). Such extraordinarily big thinking is one of the reasons he, and Amazon, are at the pinnacle of this colossal shift.”

It’s forward thinking like that that’s caused traditional publishers to become a meaningful but isolated relic of the last century.

If you’re still with a traditional press, I’m sure you have good reasons. But I feel a little sorry for you.

If you feel like you’re supposed to be writing a book that others should read but you’re not, I’m sure you have good reasons. But I feel a little sorry for you.

I’m about to re-release my first novel, make it available forever, and make six times the money I’d ever made before. All this while maintaining 100% creative control, and releasing it far sooner then the typical 16-18 month turnaround period of legacey publishers.

Did you hear that? It’s the sound of the self-publishing bus taking the traditional publishing industry to school. ch:

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  • Sweet POV with that! LOL

    Yes, self-publishing is likely the way I’ll be going. Here’s to supporting you in the endeavor. GOOD JOB!

    ~Adele

    • Thank you Adele! So appreciate your enthusiasm. What fond memories I have of your music, too…

  • I have to say that when I read, “If you feel like you’re supposed to be writing a book that others should read but you’re not, I’m sure you have good reasons. But I feel a little sorry for you.” it hit hard. I can’t even defend myself and say I have good reasons. I don’t. I could come up with all my excuses that I’ve been so easily throwing out, like, how overwhelmed I feel at the task, and how clueless I feel with the whole project, but that doesn’t get me anywhere…does it?

    Thanks for the challenge dude! See your face soon!! 🙂

    • Ah, I look forward to talking with you about this! Indeed, indeed! Yes, you most certainly have something for the world to read. And there is no teacher like experience.

      That goes for writing, too.

      The resources to learn are out there. And you can only truly become a better writer by, well, writing.

      So start.

      Everything else can be updated, tweaked, fixed, and pushed. But there need to be words on a page for anything else to be fixed.

      Get it out and get it down.

      First things first.

  • Rachel H.

    I am so glad you have surrounded yourself with some great copy editors — that is key!
    I know you feel bad for those using traditional publishing houses … but I, personally, feel sorry for the writers who think their work has no flaws. In the end, it really doesn’t matter how you choose to get published if people stop reading because of the amount of errors.
    It’s amazing how many Christians actually believe God controlled their pen, forcing His words onto the paper in front of them… and, therefore, there is absolutely no error in their manuscriptMeanwhile, someone else looks at their. book and realizes that they have numerous spelling, grammar errors in their copy.
    It’s good to hear that you are taking advantage of the resources around you… 🙂

    • Rachel, this is such a fantastic, if not heavy hitting point! I couldn’t agree more (and thanks for your encouragement).

      God may have very well inspired an author’s pen (I’d like to think he did mine), but far too often we think of our creations as diamond rings instead of carbon deposits underground; fine bottles of wine instead of grapes on a vine; sparkling golden coins instead of raw earthen ore.

      Anything of value must be cultivated, harvested, refine, reshaped, and then presented.

      This series I’m re-releasing is far from an accurate representation of how I write in 2011, but it’s a clean version of where I was in 2005, and still a good story to tell.

      • Sarah

        I’ve actually been discovering this a lot. When I type my first draft onto the computer, editing along the way, I think “Yeah, this is good.” Then, I go to show it to someone, and I realize “How in the world did I ever think that this was finished? This. Needs. Work.”

        The fact that usually, who I’m showing it to is my parents helps.

  • After reading this post & your reply on the last post it feels like a slap in the face. A good one an encouraging “quit being lazy & get to work” one. I need that & I’m sure I’m not alone with that either. Thanks for the push. You rock, Christopher! 🙂

    • Sarah

      Nope. You aren’t alone in that. I should probably be working on my tales too . . . especially with November, NaNoWriMo, and the holiday season coming up. Time to stop sitting around and get to work!

      Now, the trick is to not just say “I need to stop being lazy” and actually do it, which I need to work on.

      Unfortunately.

    • Ha ha, well, if I’ve succeeded in slapping you and you’re still thanking me for it, I guess I’m honored if not a bit horrified! 😉 (Glad to help).

      • I normally don’t like getting slapped by anyone. However, when it comes down to it, I don’t mind my friends slapping me “with words” when it’s encouraging & a push in the right direction. I think we all need that push & your paving the way for us who want to write a book to follow. 🙂

  • You got me … right between my i’s! I stand convicted … Thanks CH!!

    • Well that’s certainly something coming from a man who convicts me every time I’m with him! LOVE YOU!

  • Christian Fahey

    Good post CKH. This is a welcome change for sure. As taxpayers, we are not happy with working well into May each year just to pay taxes of all sorts. We like keeping what is ours. So artists of every stripe have everything to gain by shifting in this way. Again, the profits and creative control remain in their hands. Not simply dollars, but the ability to stay true to one’s artistic conscience and vision is the huge upside of this. BTW, I read the Bezos interview a few months ago in “Success” magazine, which may have archived it online.

  • You are so right. I need to get to work!

    Also, you’re point about ebooking instead of print publishing was very thought-provoking. I have a piece I was considering to get published when it’s done, because I’ve always preferred paper. But the fact that the creative reigns will be taken over by the publishing company . . . Yeeeeah, I might self publish after all!

    • That and now you can paper-publish as easily as you can e-publish. In fact, with CreateSpace, it’s all apart of the same process!

  • dannal

    This revolution needs a leader–as far as I’m concerned, Spearhead Books is leading the way. Your comments about self-publishing, along with those of WTB have greatly influenced my decision to dust off manuscripts I wrote years ago and get back into the game. That’s why my first manuscript is at a good copyeditor right now. The burden is on us as self-published authors to ensure that our work is top notch since we don’t have the weight of a publisher doing this for us. I predict a sea of mediocre self-published novels due to the ease of the process, but discerning readers will separate the wheat from the chaff. The freedom we gain as authors will be priceless. Freedom!

    • Good for you friend! Very excited for you, and keep me up to date here with your publishing happenings.

      I actually believe that the power of social marketing will boost quality to the forefront, and likewise ignore the mundane. I, too, feel the call for excellence in everything we produce.