In the last decade, things have changed dramatically in the writing and publishing business. Everybody with any kind of computer seems to be having a go at it and one consequence of this phenomenon is the growing number of predators ready to take your money! Some are genuine but many are not.
For example, you see an offer for an App to give you more sales, leads, or reviews. The introductory price is low, so you go ahead and buy. Then the spiel begins, you are informed that before your download starts you really need an extra. Whether you buy it or bypass it, you next are informed you also need another offer with a bonus book, then next comes a training offer, one new thing after the other, on and on all bumping up the total price.
At the end of each section, you see a line of print implying if you’re foolish enough to not want this fantastic offer, then click here to continue. That, of course, takes you to the next essential offer and so on.
Finally, if you haven’t given up in disgust and decided to lose what you suspect is really just a deposit for a vast system you do not need… you will eventually get to the end of the offers. There, if you can find it, at the end of a mile long page, is the place to click to get just what you first thought you wanted. You can almost sense the sneer in the wording pointing out what you’re missing.
What gets me is the contempt these people seem to have for the innocent budding writer. Nowadays, unless you part with enough money, even with a more genuine book promoter, the chance of making your first book go viral, is like winning a lottery and you know the odds against everybody doing that.
I still get caught occasionally nowadays but I should really know better.
I should mention that back in the fifties I wrote and sold a few SciFi tales. My rapidly expanding business life, however, soon put a stop to those fascinating activities, and apart from writing endless reports and technical papers I had to give up writing fiction, even though the ideas still kept coming. I made notes and put them away for another day.
Eventually though I decided to retire from my professional life, and give up all the foreign traveling. So early this century I retired to happily indulge in writing, editing and promoting my speculative fiction output. Now, I’m ruefully finding the essential marketing activities take up more of my time than the writing does. There are also other hazards I’ll mention later…
I spent some time trying to find an agent but apart from a couple who were overloaded with clients, nobody else ever answered, so I began looking into self-publishing, and I’m glad I did.
I found Createspace very useful for my paperbacks and then Amazon KDP for the eBooks. Altogether I’ve published over ten collections of speculative stories myself from macabre tales to science fiction and even some humor. I also set up a website using Webs.com.
My first YA novel was published in 2012 by an Indie Publisher in California. They also gave me a contract for a first sequel which I completed and later approved their final editing copy. However just before it was to be published they were taken over by another Indie Publisher. The new owner confirmed my existing contract and we negotiated two more. One for the second sequel to my YA novels series, which I completed and approved its final editing. The first sequel in the series was expected to be published around December 2016.
Nothing happened because the new owner was discovering he had a take on a project far greater than he was able to control and finance successfully. e.g. his grand plan to re-edit and reformat all the hundreds of titles he had acquired.
Things soon went from bad to worse, one staff turnover crisis to the next, then around the middle of this year, the new owner revealed some of his unsolved problems to me in a series of email exchanges. He still could not say when the paperback versions of my reformatted first two novels would be published, and definitely could promise nothing about other books I had contracted with him. I won’t bore you with details of his eBook problems. Then as compensation for my lost years, he offered to give me 95% of the YA imprint of the company.
I gave his offer a lot of thought but in view of my advanced age, my foreign location, and lack of the required resources I decided against it. Fifteen years ago I probably would have accepted.
He alternatively offered to cancel all the contracts with me, for free and in writing. I accepted and after more thought decided to continue self-publishing. I couldn’t face the thought of trying to find an agent again or another publisher and waiting months for answers to my query letters.
I’ve now republished my first two YA novels myself with my own imprint, and signed them up with an international distributor and will publish the third in the series shortly. My 4th. novel in the series is about one third written to date and progressing..
My most successful effort to date, however, has been to self-publish a non-fiction analysis of the coming Artificial Intelligence revolution, in a book entitled, THE SINGULARITY IS COMING. It has become my best selling title because in October 2015 it was acquired by the IT Books Division of the Chinese Information Ministry Publisher, PTPress in Bejing. for publication in simplified Chinese eBook and paperback versions, released in June 2016. So how did that breakthrough come about? Their Publishing Manager found me while searching over the Internet. In his own words, “I wanted a follow up to Ray Kurzweil’s book on the subject and your book is concise and easy to understand.”
So my simple secret to success appears to get yourself featured on the Internet, everywhere and as often as you can.
Make sure your name and your essential website URL appear whenever a potential reader enters anything relevant in the search entry box on any browser. Inexpensive experts waiting for you on www.fiverr.com can provide all the facilities you need to achieve your objective. When you have done all you can, check your website regularly, add anything new and keep it updated, but above all… be patient, like me, and never miss an opportunity.
My experiences have brought me closer to understanding that life is full of adversities. If you don’t have the money or the time to be a perfectionist, there can be contentment in accepting adequacy, defined perhaps as the acceptable limit of one’s abilities. I must end by saying never give up until you get as far as you truly believe you can and only stop, or pass away perhaps, just before that.
This post is contributed as a Guest post by Tony Thorne MBE.
Tony Thorne MBE is an Englishman, born and technically educated in London, England, was originally a Design Engineer, but is now retired and living in Austria. He writes near future fiction and has his numerous books published, in America, China, and the UK.
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