Is my ship sinking?
Sometimes I wonder if there’s a comparison between writers writing in the early 21st century and the passengers in The Poseidon Adventure. Some passengers on the sinking Poseidon insisted on staying put, believing that someone would come and save them. Others insisted on taking matters into their own hands on what they knew was a sinking ship.
I’ve recently begun to wonder whether continuing to work as I always have – writing stories and sending them to publishers to (maybe) turn into books (that generally speaking sell in meagre numbers) – is akin to insisting on staying put because “someone will come and they will know what to do.”
It’s certainly not getting any easier to make a living as a writer these days. Is e/self-publishing the way to go? Maybe it’s those who start making their way to where they can save themselves who are going to survive the chaos that new technologies are creating in the world of publishing – people like Linda L. Richards.
In “A Writer Turns EPublisher” (an adaptation of a blog post which I read in a recent Writers’ Union newsletter), Linda says:
The acclaimed financial thriller, Mad Money, which was my debut novel, is now available as an ebook. One of the reasons I’m so delighted is that I’ve had a part in every aspect of this production. From writing the book, of course, right through to doing the coding necessary for ebooks distribution, getting an ISBN and even overseeing the cover that has been created just for this electronic edition. Though aspects of this experience have been very high tech, a part of me is astonished at just how close to the project I am. Something made, in a way, with my very own hands.
The journey from print to ebook began with a serious edit…
Linda offers a retreat in California where writers can learn all the steps that follow the completion of an edited manuscript. I wish I could take it! Not because I really think I have to jump ship totally. Abandoning conventional avenues of publishing altogether would be like deciding not to read any more paper-format books just because I can also read books on my Kobo. But maybe the e/self-publishing route is an additional way I should be thinking about getting some of my books and stories to readers.
What do you think? How have you been dealing with the sense that “our ship” just might be sinking? Or at least the possibility that there’s more than one ocean-worthy ship in the sea?
Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.