Saturday, August 27, 2011

Blog Chain - It Ain't all Doom and Gloom

After a little hiatus from the blog chain, I'm glad to be back and would like to welcome all our new, awesome members.

This chain is brought to us by Sandra who asks:

Have the recent changes in the publishing industry affected your writing plans/career? If so, how? 

Way to start small ;)

I touched on this some a little bit ago, but I wasn't particularly coherent.  I don't think I'd ever make it as a journalist because it takes me so long to formulate my thoughts.  I have to pare off the emotion, and organize my argument.  Luckily, I've had some time to think about my future.

I don't think the changes in the industry are responsible for altering my plans, I think reality is.  When I first got an agent, I thought it would be all gold bars and dollar bills.  The reality has been shocking.  Selling a book isn't the key to instant success.

Certainly e-books and Amazon have changed the playing field, but my main goal was and is to get my books out there.  My secondary goal is to get paid to do it.  I still think that traditional publishing is the best way to achieve my goals.  I'm intrigued by some current trends (such as writers withholding e-book rights the same way they withhold foreign rights) and would also like to try self-publishing something under a pen name to test the waters.

But traditional publishing, in my opinion, is still the best way for me to be my best.  I'm a terrible self-editor.  I'm too in love with my own vision for my book to see its flaws well.  I love revising, but I need great people during the process to point things out that I miss.  Recently, I was revising a book and a wonderful friend who agreed to edit it for me pointed out such a huge flaw in one of my characters.  It was so simple and fixing it altered the book in a profoundly amazing way.  I'd gone through a dozen drafts in 13 months and never caught it.  Frequently in self-publishing, unless the author has access to a freelance editor that they trust, their work will be as good as it could have been.

So the short answer is no.  I still plan to write books I love and try to get them published.  Because that's what I'm here for.

Enough about me.  If you haven't read Margie's answer, go find out how all the changes have affected her plans (and hope she doesn't get blown away by Irene!) and then tomorrow head over to new member Jon Arnston's blog to get his take.  Until next time!


  1. I think that is the most important thing. Know what you want to do with your career and strive for that vision, whichever route you take.

  2. You have an interesting perspective, Shaun. The thing that stood out the most to me was the notion that you'd try self-publishing under a pen name. I am curious about why you feel you'd need a pen name.

  3. Michelle: I think it's really important...and I think it's also important to be able to explain your vision to the people along the way who can help you: editors, agents, other writers. Because if you can't explain your vision to someone else, then it'll be difficult to know the best way to achieve it.

    Jonathon: I wouldn't necessarily need a pen name, however, the book that I was considering self-publishing is very different from the books I publish under my name. But the other reason is that if it tanks or gets panned or proves to be a catastrophic failure, using a pen name helps make sure that publishers won't feel like I've ruined my "brand" (a term I freaking hate).

  4. Well said, Shaun. I'm looking forward to reading more of your books, however you manage to make that happen.

  5. Very good points. Having a team of editors behind you is a definite perk to traditional publishing. My book wouldn't be half as good as it is without the amazing editors I worked with. And if you are going it on your own, a good editor doesn't come cheap :)

    And I agree with Matt - can't wait to read more of your work :)

  6. I agree editing and revising are important no matter if you traditionally publish or self-publish. It is possible to find freelance editors if you want to self-publish, but yes, you do have to pay. However, good crit partners can provide valuable feedback too. I'm using both for my work.

  7. Being able to get my work revised and edited to a professional level is the thing that scares me the most about self-publishing. It's way too easy to get wrapped up in the "awesomeness" of my own work. ;) Great post!

  8. I love this - and yes, staying true to the path best of you is the key.

  9. Shaun, I truly feel you are surrounded by supporters who would not allow you to put out a work that would "tank" -- if we are talking about quality here.

    I get your reasoning, but I think you're selling yourself short.

  10. Another interesting take on the subject. I can imagine the view gets quite different when you're a published author who has gone through it all. Thanks for letting us see that perspective though Shaun.

  11. I can't wait to see your stormy night post.


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