… One Giant Leap for an Author

courtesy of NASA
courtesy of NASA

Neo-Renaissance practitioners are always looking for new experiences, new insights, new knowledge, and pushing their own limits. As an aspiring polymath, some years ago I took up the creative endeavor of writing fiction, particularly the novel.

At first, it was calling my wife’s bluff after she insisted once too often, “You should write a novel!” Then it became a challenge to finish a complete, coherent story. Then it became a challenge to make that story as good as possible given my level of talent and skill offset by the limits of time and tolerance for imperfection.

So after about six years of toiling, one finished novel that met only the “complete it no matter how bad”phase, and a second novel that started as a sequel to the first  but will now relegate novel one to prequel status, I’m ready to take that “one small step for a man” in the grand scheme of the universe. To me, that step will be “One Giant Leap for an Author.”  I am committing to self-publishing my novel, Castle Danger, in 2016.

The publishing industry has been thrown into chaos with the advent of eBooks, Amazon.com usurping business from brick-and-mortar bookstores, the consolidation of the Big Six publishers into five and perhaps soon four, and the legitimization of self-publishing thanks to big-name authors who realize that self-pubbing gives them much more control of their books and a larger share of the profits.

So of course, I chose the exact wrong time to get into writing, thinking I needed to learn how things had been done in the past, only to find out in a matter of months that I had jumped into the fray at nearly the exact time that the rules were dramatically changing. No worries, just write, right? Right. Only I was learning new rules at the same time I was thinking the old rules still applied.

Publishing a novel, whether via self-publishing or signing with a book publisher, means a lot of changes for me. I have to become a marketer, promoter, business owner (my book is my product), entrepreneur, publicist, and agent. Why would I do such a thing? Isn’t that what agents and publishers are for?The answer is, they used to be. Now, publishers are less willing to spend money on any authors other than guaranteed bestsellers, proven quantities. In order to save costs, they are less willing to fund book tours, book signings, ad campaigns, etc. Even cover art and editing services are not always included. That’s not to say publishers won’t do any of that, it’s just that they are willing to commit less money to an unknown quantity or marginally successful author. Agents aren’t the arbiters of taste and quality like they used to be, and many are scrambling to keep their clients who are discovering they might do just as well with their book careers without an agent taking 15% of their royalties.

So in the next few months, I get to do things such as set up a website, hire an editor, a cover designer, a printer, set up book signings, contact libraries and small booksellers, and promote sales by any creative way I can dream up. I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening, and eventually will provide you with a link to a new website, where my blog will likely take up residence. I hope any of you who like to read suspense/thriller novels will buy Castle Danger and enjoy it and if so, post a review on Amazon.com or Goodreads, or Barnesandnoble.com, or any other popular book review website.

One thing I promise is that I will not use my blog posts to hammer you over the head with pleas to buy the book. However, I may blog even less than I do now, but we’ll see how that goes. Who knows, in a few years blogging may become obsolete as a new form of communication rises from the depths of electronic creativity.

My question: What new and exciting or scary personal adventure are you planning for 2016?

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