|How soon is now?|
|August 30th, 2013|
I’ve been watching e-books and Indie Authors with great interest for some time now. Is there a way, finally, where those writers whose work is deemed unsuitable by mainstream publishers for one reason or another can test the marketplace themselves? Would John Kennedy Toole have killed himself if he’d been able to upload ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ to Amazon? ‘Dunces’ seems such a self-evidently great book it’s hard to believe publishers passed on it for so many years. But the key to why is in the title. Or maybe not. Someone’s making a lot of money out of his book now and it’s not the author.
I’ve lately had a slight change in my dealings with publishers. I’ve gone from form-letter rejections to personalised rejections. If I accepted another twenty years of this, I might even graduate to an acceptance. (If there are traditional publishers still around then). Some of the reasons cited for rejection of my books have been that my work is ‘unusual’, ‘potentially divisive’ and ‘filmic’. I like to think these are plusses. I’ve also had my writing described as ‘ambitious’, ‘polished’ and ‘tension-filled’ in those same rejections. I think general consensus would be that those qualities are plusses.
So I’m taking the plunge, no longer submitting to mainstream publishers, and joining the growing ranks of Indie Authors instead. Now I hate to use a word that’s a bit wanky, but the decision feels very ’empowering’. No longer do I feel like I’m sitting at the ball in my prettiest attire waiting for someone to ask me to dance. Nor have I graduated to the one asking. I’ve left the ballroom altogether. I still might not get a dance but I’m no longer waiting for someone to say yes to me. I’ve said yes to myself. See, it’s a self-help moment … empowering.
I still hear and read mainstream publishers saying that Indie Authors won’t do the editorial or cover work that traditional publishers do. Well, why wouldn’t they? With services like Elancers and 99 Designs popping up, there are obviously a fair number of Indie Authors seeking professional editing and cover design respectively. It’s a path I’ve taken myself. There is no short-cut with this process, Indie publishing or no. But the traditional publishers do not have a monopoly on it; it’s available to all.
Getting rejection notices didn’t stop me from writing. I don’t believe they would stop anyone who’s truly passionate about the craft from continuing to hone it. But it could get a bit depressing from time to time. To go back to that ballroom analogy, like being dressed up with nowhere to go.
But now, the great thing about working on a new novel, novella or play is that I don’t face the disheartening prospect of trying to get publishers to notice me when I’m done. I have a platform to launch work myself. No one is holding me back. The only person who can delay the process is myself.
And I’m not about to do that.