There is always a price for striking out in a new direction

One of the first things you learn about doing something new is that there are some people who will disapprove of the way you are doing it. These are "yesterday’s experts" who are threatened by the changes that you represent.

My good friend Fred First, bemoans the fact that a literary magazine and a book fair have recently turned him down because his excellent book was not produced by a "reputable publisher".

It makes me want to whack him up the side of his head because he still doesn’t get the fact that his work is valuable because of what he has written, not because of his publisher.

He seems to think that a "reputable" publisher’s name on a book is an imprimatur that means something to prospective book buyers. It only matters to literary critics and they don’t buy books!

Publishing houses do not set standards. They are desperately trying to defend their existing markets from incursions by self-published upstarts.

If you have a book that is eminently worth reading, like Fred’s book, "Slow Road Home"
you don’t fret about certain distribution channels claiming that only
"reputable" publishers need apply, you just get out and promote your
book at every opportunity.

Books are sold mainly by word of mouth and it takes a while for even
the most popular book to take off and become a best seller. Fred’s book
is highly recommended
by many who read it and I have seen an increasing number of local
people buying copies for friends who want to know what life is like
around here. I think it is just a matter of time until his book sales
make him one of Floyd’s more successful authors. His success will come
from his efforts, and will be well-deserved.

If you want approval, don’t do new things. Just keep doing safe
things and conforming to established standards. You will continue to
remain invisible and will be wondering why non-conformists are moving
past you and seem to be having such successful lives.

New ideas and new directions always have the potential for
unexpected failure, but overcoming failure and moving past it is what
life is all about. That’s where the most interesting stories come from.
So, expand your horizons. Try striking off in a new direction.

It might give your life new meaning.

This entry was posted in Basic Business Concepts, Doing What You Love, Self-Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to There is always a price for striking out in a new direction

  1. Terri says:

    My first novel was published by a small press…not self-published and I have to partially agree with Fred. While there are the few who “make it”….they seldom make it until that big name publisher scoops them up.
    I have done and continue to do all my own marketing and promoting for my novels…with good results from sales. However, the bottom line amounts to that NY publisher “validating” you to take you further in your career. So while I most certainly agree with you that “success comes with efforts” many times…..you also need that top publishing house behind you opening even more doors.
    So my motto quickly became….keep on keepin’ on. Besides which, I simply can’t stop writing….it’s my passion and part of who I am.

  2. Terri,

    Your writing track record speaks for itself and I agree that a NY publisher is a valuable marketing partner for any writer, but it is no longer the only way to launch a successful book.

    I think that Fred will attract the attention of a top publishing house when his book shows that it has the potential for commercial success.

    Publishers aren’t dummies, but they aren’t adventurers either. When they see that a book has commercial possibilities, they will do their best to get a piece of the action.

    Once Fred has discovered which distribution channels work for his book, publishers will begin approaching him and he should be able to negotiate a better deal than with an unpublished manuscript.

  3. Suzy says:

    it frustrates me, too, David, when I see people continue to adhere to old ways of thinking when it comes to publication. Especially frustrating is the notion that these publishing houses are the only ones in the cultural landscape who are capable to doling out that magical ingredient called literary credibility. Why think like that? It only serves a tottering and worn-out regime that is destined to fail anyway.
    anyway thanks for all your work, hope you are doing well. Perhaps we will see you at the party on Saturday?
    -Suzy

  4. Kristi says:

    “If you want approval, don’t do new things. Just keep doing safe things and conforming to established standards. You will continue to remain invisible and will be wondering why non-conformists are moving past you and seem to be having such successful lives.

    New ideas and new directions always have the potential for unexpected failure, but overcoming failure and moving past it is what life is all about. That’s where the most interesting stories come from. So, expand your horizons. Try striking off in a new direction.

    It might give your life new meaning.”

    Thank you so much for posting that- it was exactly what I needed to read 🙂

  5. Clary Lopez says:

    Good writing and good marketing goes hand in hand, Christopher Paolini proved it when he sold his self-published novel Eragon.

    http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/052504.htm

    Today it doesn’t matter who does the publishing, you still do the promotion. The only advantage is that a New York publisher will get the books on the bookstore’s bookshelf.

  6. Jane Chin says:

    Or… I seem to be going the other direction and even self-publishing looks like too much of an overhead when e-publishing (on demand e-book downloads) seem so straightforward. Maybe I’m just going through a “phase.”
    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: Self: Published
    URL: http://www.fragmentsfromfloyd.com/fragments/2006/07/self_published.html
    IP: 66.117.48.64
    BLOG NAME: Fragments From Floyd
    DATE: 07/17/2006 09:13:20 AM
    Your book arrived today. I have to confess — back in the days when I was a regular reader here, I never quite “got” your desire to have a book published. It seemed unnecessary given what you have here (on…

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