Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Letting Go of the Baby

Kathryn M. Weiland shared a quote that resonates with me at this stage of my writing journey.

When a book leaves your hands, it belongs to God. He may use it to save a few souls or to try a few others, but I think that for the writer to worry is to take over God’s business.
-Flannery O'Connor

Like every precious baby, Zinovy's Journey belonged to God from the beginning. But it’s hard not to hover over the cradle, watching to make sure the baby’s still breathing. About 175 ZJ books are now out there in the public somewhere. Many are with people I’ve been praying for off and on for years. It’s mind boggling, even when I sit down to pray for them. But I know I need to keep a forward-thinking attitude. I need to keep pressing on into where the Lord leads from here, without looking back or around to see what’s happening. It’s totally in His hands, His business.

So I need to quit fretting about distribution and marketing.

I haven’t been obsessive about it, but I have been trying a little too hard, conniving a little too much, to place the book into the market. All that effort has added up to a number of little contacts, often with people I don’t even know. I have no idea (nor control over) what will come of these small contacts. I don't know which tweet or post will take off or connect with a broader audience. But I do know that God can take the tiniest candle and light up the whole world. He can take a helpless, vulnerable, shivering little baby, born in a stable on a chilly night, and bring eternal salvation to a broken world.

So I'm making a decision. A commitment. Please hold me to it. I will leave the book that has left my hand, in God’s hands. I will keep doing the little things, under His wise direction, and just expect that He will use it to save, or to try, the souls He has intended all along to reach.

His network is huge. He has access to every social media source. He will bring this book to its target market audience, and He just might do it through some little contact that seems insignificant to me at the time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dirty Little Self-Publishing Secrets

Last week I found a great interview on Michael Hyatt's site. It’s chock full of "dirty little secrets" on the hot topic of self-publishing. It sums up a lot of what I've been hearing.

The SiWC in October was abuzz with gossip--both nervous and excited--on this topic. Writers were excited. Editors, and even some agents, were nervous.

They were nervous because traditional publishing is beginning to look like an outmoded, bunglesome dinosaur of a system, and the editors and agents who are a part of that system are scrambling to find ways to keep from becoming obsolete, or at least being considered obsolete by writers.

Many of those writers, who used to sit on the doorsteps of traditional publishing houses waiting anxiously for an invitation to come in, have gotten up off their bruised rear ends and gone down the street to the local Starbucks. There they sip lattes as they put the final touches on their manuscripts, and then they navigate the internet, looking for other, more realistic options for getting their work into the market.

Industry people say it's the wild, wild west in the publishing world right now. Apparently, the writers are the outlaws. They rustle cattle, shoot from the hip, stake claims in uncharted territory. Then they go into town, get drunk on their winnings, and make a general nuisance of themselves in the bars.

Yes, that’s a slightly exaggerated, more colorful account of the reality. But the reality is that, for the first time in a long while, or maybe forever, it's a writer's market.

Technology has made the difference. It's now easy (that's also a slight distortion of reality) to publish books yourself. And more and more writers are choosing to go that route.

Thanks to new technology, self-publishing has grown from its infant stages, when it babbled and drooled all over the place and left messy piles of you-know-what all over the book industry, through its childhood and into pubescence.

Self-publishing is now a teenager, brash and a little undisciplined, but becoming better at communicating, and almost ready to say something worthwhile to the world.

No, actually, in the last year or so, it almost seems like self-published authors have graduated from high school. They now call themselves “indie” publishers, declaring their independence from the “parents” who used to be their only means of support. Even the self-publishing companies, who offer services such as editing, printing, and distribution, are being sidestepped by writers who have decided to become their own builders. They are choosing to do much of the work themselves, and contract out to sub-trades for things they can't, or don't want to do. They are cutting out the middlemen, making more money, and enjoying the control they have over how the edifice turns out.

I know that’s happening because I’m in the middle of it. It’s a long, slow slog up the mountain, and the learning curve is steep. But the challenge is invigorating, and the view from the top is going to be fantastic.

So, in case you missed my point, I'm an eager supporter of the self-publishing movement. I've slung on my six-shooter, hitched it up, and I'm heading into town. Ride'em cowgirl!

My blog post on September 30, 2010 mentioned Dean Wesley Smith’s article, “The New World of Publishing: The World is Not Ending.” I’m posting the link here again, because it’ a great review of all the reasons writers might want to self-publish.

And two favorite new websites with a wealth of information on self-publishing are:

The Passive Voice
Terry Whalin

I couldn’t have made it "out west" without a lot of help and encouragement from my friends. Jeff Gerke, my consultant, editor, typesetter and cover designer, was invaluable. When I first embarked on this journey, he said, "It's going to be fun, Ginny."

He was right. It has been fun. That’s one dirty little secret Michael Hyatt and Kevin Weiss didn’t share.