Okay, I’ll admit it. Zoltan’s question intrigued me.
I saw this silly booth at the seafood restaurant where I ate Friday’s lunch during the 2014 Novelist’s Inc. conference this past week, and I knew I’d found my next blog post.
Truth is if I had to encapsulate everything I learned at myriad workshops,”What is your future in publishing?” really was the question of the conference. And while I don’t think Zoltan can actually predict success, I do think a pinch of Zoltanish luck and whimsy mixed in with a massive amount of hard work for all novelists is key, whether we are traditionally or independently published. In the end if we aren’t having fun, why bother?
Last Tuesday I promised interesting conference tidbits that you, as readers, might enjoy. I attended more than half a dozen workshops, in addition to an entire day of panels with top industry guests. So while I won’t give you an overview of each, here are some things for you to consider and enjoy.
- 50% of our behavior (all our behavior) is a habit. And this explains why newer publishers are more willing to try new things than established ones.
- 800 million devices worldwide can load iBooks for your enjoyment (that’s a lot of devices, isn’t it?)
- Device ownership has grown from 5% in 2010 to 32% in 2013 (that’s readers who own devices.)
- Independently published authors are paying for translations of their works to extend their reach to readers in other countries, which is just one good example of how indie-publishing is expanding into new and diverse markets.
- Many authors with the audio rights to their novels are choosing their own narrators and having their books recorded for Audible and other venues. I think my Ministry is Murder books would be a natural, don’t you?
- Many authors have organized “street teams” of their most enthusiastic readers for help with promotion, editing, cover advice, reviews and much, much more.
- While brick and mortar bookstores are still leading in sales, there’s a steady switch to online shopping for books and the margin is narrowing.
- Prices for ebooks are decreasing even as the market is being flooded with them. This last part was referred to as “a tsunami of content.”
- The investment in time required to read a book is as important to readers as the investment in dollars. In other words, that book had better be good, even if it was cheap.
Now, please remember that I took notes. By hand. On paper. Yes, remember paper? There is a strong possibility that not all details here are correct. There’s also the possibility that different publishing professionals will disagree with everything I’ve listed. Viva la conversation. So don’t quote me as an authority. In the words of poor beleagured Dovey K. Lanning, secretary of the Shenandoah Community Church Wednesday Morning Quilting Bee and Social Gathering, (Endless Chain) I am only the scribe.
What did I learn for myself, though? First I brought my assistant, who happens to be my husband–the photo is his work. He went to workshops on the mechanics of becoming a writer’s assistant, plus others. Together I think we came to the same conclusion.
We can both work 100 hours a week on my writing career if we choose. I can write many more books, shorter and faster, and he can learn to put them online for me at greater and greater speed. Many authors are doing just this with success while turning out entertaining, delightful books. However, you and I have come to expect something else. I write longer books. Sometimes too long, you’re thinking. Sometimes not long enough because you tell me you don’t want them to end. I write about subjects that take–for me–a great deal of research and thought.
So while I don’t think I have 100 hours a week of writing and promoting ahead of me, I now have some great ideas on what we can do better in the time we spend on my career. In case you’re interested for me that’s about 40 hours a week and more when I’m on deadline. Proman (short for project manager) will take on some projects I can’t get to, and keep our daily life running smoothly. He already does my Sunday Inspiration blogs, for which I am so grateful. I plan to continue writing books for Mira while trying some independently published projects on my own. Stay tuned.
What is my publishing future? Right now it looks delightfully bright. I have a contract and I love what I do. I look forward to working faster and smarter. I love having an assistant–and I love this particular assistant, which helps.
So really, Zoltan doesn’t need his crystal ball. Who knows if I’ll make bestseller lists or bigger sales with what I’ve learned. In the end, I’ll be happy doing what I do.
I hope you’ll be equally happy reading it.