Kickstarting your writing career
Every now and then, someone asks me for advice on how to get published. To which I usually respond, “If I understood how the publishing business works, I’d be making a lot more money than I am now….”
The one piece of advice I do always offer, though, is to consider self-publishing. It was once frowned upon, but it’s now an increasingly viable way for writers to get their work out there — these days it’s often called “indie publishing.” Many writers have found it to be more profitable and more immediate than traditional publishing, where it can take years just to get a rejection. My good friend Kate Tremills decided to self-publish her first novel, Messenger, because she didn’t want to play the waiting game of tradpub and it worked out well for her. She cracked the Kindle top 100 list and at one point she was ranked higher than George R.R. Martin. Others prefer the creative control that self-publishing offers. And it’s a great way to keep your backlist in print — I self-pubbed my first book, Please, when the rights reverted back to me. It continues to sell although it hasn’t been in a bookstore in years. Just head over to the blogs of Joe Konrath or Hugh Howey to read more on the indie revolution.
And sometimes writers self-publish because it seems to be the only way to get their work out there. Earlier this week, Canadian spoken word poet Shane Koyczan launched a Kickstarter for his new poetry book, saying publishers more or less don’t even bother with poetry anymore. He was asking for $15,000 — a sizeable advance for a book of poetry. He’s raised twice that in only two days — $30,000. That’s about six times the average advance a publisher pays for a book of fiction in Canada. I wrote about the Koyczan Kickstarter over at The Province.
I’m not saying you should give up on publishers and move straight to self-publishing. But you should definitely consider it as an option. All the other authors are.