Once, back in the dark ages, like about five years ago, if you wanted to be an author, you’d write a book, scour the city for an agent, and, if the stars aligned, get one and sign with a big-time publisher. That’s how it worked – there was only one path, one key to the literary castle. If you couldn’t follow the path, you didn’t get the key, and all you got to write were letters home, a journal, or maybe some angry graffiti in the bus terminal stall. Bastard agents!
If you did land one, the agent would need enough pluck and luck to snag a publisher. If not, that would be the end of your story. You’d bitch and mutter unintelligible curses and vow never to write another word. Then, one day at the beach with the orange sun setting low, inspiration would strike and words would pour forth like draft beer during Game 7. After a time, you’d have a new manuscript.
And you’d try, despite that inner voice warning of impending disappointment, to get an agent to sell your book to a publisher. You’d daydream about a sweet movie deal, and which stars would play the leads. Then the agents would write nice rejection letters. Or ignore you altogether. Or take you on and give up if the publishers didn’t launch an instant bidding war.
Well, guess what? The whole game’s changed. Technology has provided a direct path to prospective readers. Screw the middle man and let’s all bow and bless the power of new media. Social media tools have enabled writers to find cover artists, illustrators, book trailers, editors, web designers, and, most importantly, readers. What a game-changer!
The phenomenon is hardly restricted to first-time authors. Savvy politicians routinely bypass reporters and use social media to communicate directly with voters. Tech-savvy songwriters and artists are skipping the agents and taking their wares straight to consumers. And Borders just went under. Hmmm.
Bella took three years to write. This blog is the back story of how I came to self-publish. What’s your story?