2011 has been quite a year for me. I began looking into indie publishing around January/February of 2011 and launched Pegasus Pulp Publishing on July 3, 2011, with three books. Now, almost half a year later, I have twelve books in several genres available.
2011 has definitely been the year of the indie writer. David Gaughran has a pretty good overview on his blog. We saw plenty of indie authors find success, often huge success, beyond the usual suspects of Amanda Hocking, John Locke and Darcie Chan. Here is a nice article from USA Today about various successful self-published writers.
But in spite of all the indie publishing successes, we’ve also seen a lot of backlash from traditionally published authors. I linked to some of it here, but trust me, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot worse out there and at least one writer permanently kicked himself off my to-buy list with his aggressive anti-indie stance, coupled with an equally aggressive pro-nuclear power stance (which is another concern of mine). At least one other author would have kicked herself off my to buy list, if she’d ever been on it in the first place.
J.W. Manus suspects that many traditionally published authors may fear the idea that they are not special anymore, when everybody can get published. She may have a point there, considering the vitriol poured out at indie authors from traditionally published or wannabe traditionally published authors. Chuck Wendig’s posts are actually quite good and measured, even though I don’t agree with everything he says. But some posts are just full of vitriolic nastiness about how indie authors are all right-wing tea partiers (I so don’t get this argument at all) and talentless fuckwads who write Twilight ripoffs. And interestingly, you rarely hear that sort of thing from longterm established authors, but from authors who are either fairly early in their career or who are published by small presses or both. Hmm… That said, that is one stunningly ugly trophy.
Since 2012 is about to begin, this is the time for new year’s resolutions. Now I’m not the sort of person who makes new year’s resolutions. In fact, I don’t think that I have made one since I was twelve. If you want to change something in your life or achieve something, you can start right away. No need to wait for a significant date. For example, I started my “Write at least one hundred new words of fiction every day and track it in an Excel table” regime not just in the middle of a year but in the middle of a month (back in October 2005 – my, how time flies). And even if I had been the type to make new year’s resolutions, starting a small press and publishing 12 books would definitely not have been one of my resolutions for 2011. Indeed, at this time last year indie publishing was barely on my radar at all, though I knew that some people, including some established writers, did it. In fact, I still thought that e-books were the stuff of the devil. I no longer hate e-books and think that they have their place and their uses, though the overwhelming majority of my reading is still in print.
Other writers, however, are the types to make resolutions, and so Joe Konrath offers his new year’s resolutions for writers from 2006 to 2012. Dean Wesley Smith also discusses the issue of goals in the latest installment of his New Worlds of Publishing series and advises writers to only set goals they can control. There’s also a follow-up post about how publishing goals can shift in the changing publishing environment. There’s some good stuff there, so go and read.
Finally, here is a lovely guest post by Jason Jack Miller on the blog of horror writer Tennessee Hicks about how self-publishing has made writing fun again for him. At Stormwolf.com, Michael Stackpole says something similar: Self-publishing has made writing fun again and made him a lot more prolific, because it has given him the freedom to write what he and his readers want.
Yes, this. This totally hits it on the head. Because ever since going indie, writing suddenly is a lot more fun than it was before.
Until July 2011, whenever I had an idea for a short story – or heavens beware, a novelette or novella, cause those are harder to sell – my mental calculations would go as follows: Hmm, this is a good idea. But is there a market for something like this? Can I sell it anywhere? Or will it just be another unpublished story languishing on my harddrive? In the end, the answer was often, “Nope, I can’t sell this anyway.” and the idea just died.
Now, however, I write the idea, no matter how wild and how out there it is. Sometimes, the idea wasn’t viable and it just fizzles out. At other times, however, I write the story, finish and proof it. And then, if it’s marketable, I send it out. If it’s one of those difficult to market things, into the Pegasus Pulp pipeline it goes.
Really, this is the best possible time to be a writer.