When I was a kid, I had a set of Indiana Jones Choose Your Own Adventure books. I loved them so much and read them over and over. My favorite was Indiana Jones and the Lost Treasure of Sheba. I must have read that thing a million times. The cover was worn and tattered and the pages were yellowed with age. I remember reading that book, trying all the scenarios until I figured out how to get to the treasure without dying.
And then I would repeat the whole process again.
Now that I’m all grown up and writing my own books, I’ve discovered something. Publishing is sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books. You can Decide Your Destiny (today’s incarnation of the books – my son has a Clone Wars one). You can be in complete control of your career.
Whether you choose to go for agent representation or submit directly to publishers or even direct publish your own story, there is one thing that is certain in this industry: publishing is changing every single day it seems. What’s hot today isn’t necessarily going to be hot tomorrow.
So how do you cope?
I firmly believe you should never write to the market. Books published and on the shelf today were bought by editors over a year ago. Even if you’re the fastest writer in the world, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sell it. Write what you love and what you want to write because somewhere out there is an editor waiting to snap it up.
I also think in this ever-changing climate, you should try new and different approaches to publishing. Your name is your brand and getting it out there among the masses is what will make your career.
There are so many choices and options these days for doing that. One way I’m exploring is doing at least one guest blog post a month. Another way is doing interviews. Try to let your readers get a little piece of the real you. The “you” your spouse and kids know. I don’t mean talk about your deep dark secrets, of course. Your readers want to identify with your main characters. They want to identify with you, too.
Another thing I’ve discovered is direct publishing. This is not vanity publishing (where you pay them to publish you book). With direct publishing, you make your own cover art (which is way fun!) and format your own ebook and then publish it yourself at the tune of 70-85% royalties.
I’ve used Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing and PubIt. They’re really easy to use if you know how to work Microsoft Word. And if you have a little bit of graphics experience or know someone who does, you can certainly do your own artwork. I myself know enough about PhotoShop to be dangerous. ;)
Limits are for those who don’t want to test the boundaries. As writers, our characters have to test the boundaries, why not in our career too? Nothing comes from nothing. Take risks. Do whatever you can get to make your career as fulfilling as you want it to be. The only person standing in your way…is you. Choose your own adventure in this industry we call publishing.
Now, go take on the page.
Michelle Miles writes contemporary and fantasy romance and has eight books to her credit for Samhain, Cobblestone and DCL Publishing. She also has direct published two of her own short stories available on the Kindle and the Nook. She is currently working on her ninth novel, a time travel/historical, as well as a tie-in novella to Phoenix Fire, her fantasy romance recently sold to DCL. Visit her website at http://www.michellemiles.net.
The Coffee Wars
All’s fair in love and coffee. In this war, the only thing that matters is a lot of hot steam!
Lilly owns the new up and coming, Java Perks. She’s determined to be the number one coffee house in town, crushing her competition down the street, The Bitter End.
Meeting the mystery woman in his coffee house, David immediately wants her for himself. After a hot encounter on his desk, he can’t stop thinking about her. Until he learns she’s the owner of the place trying to put him out of business.
When David confronts Lilly accusing her of using him, she throws down the gauntlet. Now the two are at war and may the best woman win!