Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Virtual Slush Pile

            What prompted this Tuesday edition of the Kelswitch? This. Another writer weighing the world of self-publishing, which I just stepped into. So you can bet your behind this matters to me in a huge way. I don’t intend on being solely self-published in my lifetime, but for now, this is how I’m making my way and like he said, the world of self-publishing through Amazon has become a huge slush pile.
            Whether or not I just contributed to the crap for readers to wade through, I’m hoping not. What took me so long to get Shadows Rising out was that I went through the draft twice and then sent it to my Kindle where I went over it with a fine toothed comb, trying to make it as free of errors and coherent as possible without access to an editor.
            Self-publishing is easy but it’s not something that writers should take lightly. We still owe it to ourselves and to our readers to put out the best story possible. If we want any kind of future in publishing, we can’t put out crap and expect people to pay .99 cents or more for it. We’ll get a reputation or worse, just become lost in the slush pile that is publishing through Amazon.
            It is my personal opinion that part of the reason for all the crap being uploaded with a price tag on it is that people have this crazy idea that writers make a lot of money. Even worse, they seem to think that if you self-publish, you are instantaneously making the big bucks, thanks to the rare success stories that have been promoted by mainstream media.
There is at least one person in my circle of loved ones (who shall remain nameless) who thinks that is the norm, that that is what will happen with my stories, if we can only just share the buy link every single day.
            Not only is the idea ludicrous, but that’s a spam machine with flesh. As a reader, I want to interact with writers on Twitter and Facebook who are about more than trying to push buy links on me. If it’s an unknown writer constantly trying to promote his/her stuff to me, that’s off-putting, often earning them an unfollow or an unlike. That’s my thoughts as a reader and it’s informing how I move forward as a writer. That may make the marketing a little more difficult or slow going, but it’s the best way I know how.
            It would be safe to say that my Twitter following has doubled within the last year, if not tripled. The numbers still aren’t that impressive, but it’s a ongoing work in progress and if I have followers on Twitter, that means they may see my buy links, if they enjoy what I tweet enough to pay attention when I do share something underlined in blue.
            For the first time in history, every Joe Blow who has ever had the thought in his head that he could write a book has a platform to see this thought to completion. That’s as amazing as it is scary, because some people get rejected by publishing houses with good reason, I’m sure, and we live in an age where no one wants to hear there is something they are not good at. Lawsuits have been started over less.
            I’m no expert, I’m just a writer calling things as I see them. I’m no more of a writer than anyone else just because I have a BA in English, but I have been at it a long time and I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot.
I’d be happy to talk/respectfully argue the point.

1 comment:

  1. That's such a interesting point you made. I'm studying English Literature at university now because I love the subject, but I also hope to become a novelist. I know there are people out there with no qualifications at all who can write much better than me, likewise people with a Creative Writing degree who get published for reasons beyond my understanding.
    I think self-publishing has just about averaged out with traditionally published books as they both have their pros and cons, and they both have their shit heaps and golden nuggets. Thanks for posting about this interesting topic! It comes into my head every now and again but I usually shrug it off.