Friday, December 11, 2009

Fan Fiction Part 3: The Changing World of Publishing

The world of publishing is changing, especially because of these precarious economic times. Mainstream publishers are still looking for the Stephen Kings, Dan Browns, and John Grishams, as well as the next blockbuster novel. It's out there somewhere, of course, but it may not be yours or mine! Does that mean the rest of us are doomed to be unpublished? Absolutely not.

As I wrote yesterday, some in the publishing business consider anything put out for public consumption as published--and that includes fan fiction on sites visited only by their members. "But," you say, "I want to be in print--and I want to be paid for what I write." I have no statistics on the freelance writers who make a living, even a comfortable one, but they exist.

But back to the changing world of publishing. Smaller publishers have stepped in to fill the need of authors whose manuscripts populate the slush-piles of mainstream publishers--and they are having great success. Not every novel is a blockbuster--that doesn't mean it's not worthy of being published--and smaller publishers are taking savvy advantage of this fact. It's a win-win situation: authors see their work published and earn money from royalties--and publishers cover their expenses and then some. No, the six-figure advances aren't there, but that simply isn't a deterrent for most of us who consider ourselves writers and just want to write.

E-publishing, still brushed off by some, is a viable option for publishing, especially shorter works. POD publishing, a venue embraced by smaller publishers, makes total sense. Print the books as they are ordered--why spend money before it's guaranteed to come back to you? (Don't bakeries, for example, bake what they expect to sell fresh in the course of a day?)My personal opinion is that this business practice is a brilliant concept. How many of us browse bookstores where unsold books wind up to be sold for discounted prices? (They go in the trash after that, or so I understand.)

Self-publishing is still widely debated. Some authors have chosen this route and then had their novels picked up by a publisher. These cases are, so I'm told,  the exception rather than the rule. That doesn't mean that an author hasn't enjoyed some success otherwise. It is necessary, of course, if one chooses this route, to distinguish between the kinds of self-publishing. With a vanity publisher, you could be out "big bucks" and have cartons of books stacked in your garage from now 'til eternity. Learn the difference.

A savvy author is not in such a hurry to see her name on the cover of a book that she doesn't check out all possibilities. And, writers who want to write, love to write, and are determined to write should never discount or dismiss any possibility--and that includes fan fiction! Get the experience--make lifelong writing friends--hone your craft. It's all good.

Well, it looks like my three-parter is going to become a five-parter!  I still want to discuss the future of my personal fan fiction, and I want to share resources and publishing possibilities with readers of this blog. So stay tuned for Monday and Tuesday!

Monday: The Future of My Fan Fiction


K9friend said...

Great points, Judy. And I'm glad you're not stopping here. Looking forward to more!

nlindabrit said...

Yes, I too am glad the three parter is to be expanded to five. As ever, you have lots of interesting points to make and useful information to impart.

letters to emily said...

thank you for the great advice. i would love to write a
book from an older mom to a younger mom...child-rearing advice, etc.

am blogging now to write and write.

will try to find your "kate" series.