The Pink Heart Society is delighted to have Laura Marie Altom here, talking about the changing world of publishing...
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” –Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
I’m an OG in the publishing world, and as a writer have never been more excited, yet afraid of approaching changes. My first book was published in 1998 (I think? LOL!), and back then, the writing world was in an uproar over a sweet little line of romances called Precious Gems.
Readers may remember these cuties for the low $1.99 price, and for the fact that they were exclusively sold at Wal-Mart. Many writers and writing organizations, however, viewed these books as a sure sign of the apocalypse.
Because authors were given a flat fee as payment in lieu of the traditional advance/royalty system. At the time, authors who took this deal were labeled as sell-outs and stupid and threats to the entire publishing system. My first book sale was tainted by these labels. The knowledge that my “baby” wasn’t deemed legitimate by my peers hurt.
Fast-forward to 2015 and the carefully structured publishing world I grew up in, where every “good little author” knew her place, has been not only turned upside down by the e-market, but annihilated.
Self-pub/vanity-press/traditional-pub/fanfiction... The list of ways to publication has never been broader, yet from my point of view also murkier.
Before the advent of e-pubbing, authors had one goal: sell to one of the top publishers.
Now, options are a little too wide open, which can be confusing as there’s no guaranteed path. You just have to pick a cliff and jump. And by cliff, I mean spend months working on a project with no sure outcome. There might be rocks and sharks at the bottom of that cliff, or a lovely warm, jasmine-scented pool with hot cabana boys. The only way to tell for sure is to take the plunge.
What does any of this have to do readers?
Well, I don’t have a scientific poll to back me up, but I’m guessing that at no time in history have there been more books for readers to choose from. Toss in the phenomenon of “Free” books and discounted reads, and that means anyone with a Nook or Kindle or computers or smart phone could cozy up with a good book for probably a decade without paying hardly a cent. For a voracious reader, this is miraculous!!
For career authors, the current state of affairs is a bit more tricky.
To remain career authors, we need a salary just like fire fighters or teachers. That cliff I talked about? It has very real financial consequences. For some authors I know, self-publishing has meant instant superstar status and riches beyond their wildest dreams. For others, it’s been a slow road to nowhere.
Do you take a traditional deal that pays up front, but has little in the way of future earnings? Do you self-pub and not only earn nothing up front, but have to pay as much as a $1000 for editing and the perfect cover, with the chance that the story might someday make it big? There’s no easy answer.
For me, this really is the best and worst of times in publishing. Luckily, I also happen to be one of those voracious readers, and nothing makes me happier than thinking of my giant TBR pile waiting for me on my Kindle...
Tell us about your publishing experiences! Where do you stand on the changes that have happened?
Laura's latest book, The SEAL's Miracle Baby, is out now:
Jessie Long knew she made the right decision years ago. Grady Matthews wanted a ranch and a home full of kids, and she couldn't give him that. So she cut him loose for his own good. They went their separate ways—Grady left to join the Navy and Jessie stayed home.
Now a deadly twister has flattened their hometown, and it's brought them back together—and back to square one. The passion's still there, and the easy understanding. Even the way they care for the orphaned baby found in the aftermath just seems to fit. For Grady, that's enough. He's sure they can make a life together. But for Jessie, the secret that tore them apart is still hiding under the surface. And she can't face losing Grady a second time.