Welcome back to the blog chain! During our break, we've added several new members; please welcome Amparo, Tere, PK, Matt, Katrina, and Jon to our group.
I have the privilege of starting the chain this round, so I'm going to ask a very important question:
Have the recent changes in the publishing industry affected your writing plans/career? If so, how?
There have been so many changes in the publishing world this year that it's hard to keep track of everything. Borders has gone bankrupt, taking valuable shelf space with it; e-book sales continue to rise; authors go from self-publishing to traditional publishing (and vice versa); publishers try to claim as many rights as possible; and agents are offering publishing services. How does an author keep track of what's going on, and how do you decide to do what's best for your writing career when people offer obviously biased and conflicting advice?
I'm going to offer some advice before I disclose my answer. The first thing to remember is to think for the long-term. The prevailing wisdom (in other words, the impression I have from reading numerous blog posts I can't link back to because I've forgotten where I read them) is that the publishing industry will be volatile for the next several years, but it will eventually settle down. People will still read paper books, and publishers and agents will find some way to transition to a new paradigm. But contracts can tie your work up for years, and terms that look fair or good today may not seem that way in the future. So think about what you want out of your writing career. Do you want to win awards and be a leading author in your genre? Do you dream of the best-seller list? Do you simply want people to read and enjoy your stories? Remember, no matter what you decide, you're the one who's ultimately in charge of your writing career. Even if you have an agent, you still need to understand what's in your contract. I recommend following Writer Beware and The Business Rusch for advice on the business side of writing.
I've been thinking about what I want to do for several months. Although I was originally planning to pursue traditional publishing for my novel Twinned Universes, the prequel is a novella, which isn't the easiest length to sell. If I want to present the overall story the way I feel it should be told, with the stories being easily accessible instead of being published in different places, it seems that the best way to do that is publish it myself. While part of me still wants the status that goes with being a traditionally published author, changes in my personal life have made me value the freedom and personal control that indie publishing offers. So, that's what I've decided to do.
I plan to self-publish Lyon's Legacy, the first book in The Catalyst Chronicles, later this year. The exact date will depend on how long editing and cover art take. I have a cover artist in mind, but I'm still trying to decide which editors to approach for what level of editing. Once Lyon's Legacy is available, then I'll start revising and editing Twinned Universes. They'll both be e-books at first, but I plan to prepare an omnibus paper edition for next WisCon. I also have a couple of shorter works I'd like to put up so I have a backlist, plus I'd like to revisit some of my earlier fantasy novels. Those works need much more rewriting before they're ready, though.
This doesn't mean that I'll reject traditional publishing completely. I may try querying other short stories or projects to traditional publishers as a way of finding new readers. But for now, this feels like a good path for me to try. I find this song inspiring:
Matt will be following me on this chain, so please visit his blog tomorrow to see what he'll say.