Tuesday, March 09, 2010

At the crossroads: decision time

As you both know, I have been writing a book. I started writing the book before I took the redundancy money and ran away from the civil service, and I have continued writing the book since then. Over the past year I have been touting the book around agents and publishers, looking for someone to legitimise my wastrel pastime by agreeing to publish and promote my tome. It has certainly been a learning experience, and not only in futility.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end; as the redundancy money runs out I find myself having to review my goals and reassess what I want to achieve from my endeavours.

And what I most want out of life is for people to read - and enjoy - my book.

Things that don't seem so important to me at this point in time include:

  • Recognition - it's the book that's important, not me

  • Acclamation - while a small bucket of kudos from fellow writers would be nice, it isn't the keystone of my desires

  • Wealth - being able to support my wastrel existence on the back of book sales was (and still is) a nice dream, but was never likely to unfold into a new reality for me

The timescales of getting a book published annoy me. The book publishing industry is built on one of the strangest commercial models I've ever come across - acceptance of the product, its further development, deployment and promotion: it's all a barrel of wierdness, I tell you. The pricing and return strategies are a whole different planet of surreality!

Add to the mix a good dose of disruptive innovations such as the eBook phenomenon and new retail strategies such as the Agency model all the publishing blogs are chattering about ...

I've come to a decision. Over the next few weeks I'm going to self-publish - sorry, independently publish my book, The Gods in the Jungle. This is not me quitting on my original aims; rather I'm adapting to evolving circumstances and realigning my hopes and desires for the book.

I'm not alone: look at what John Wideman's doing.

So, over the next few weeks I'll be finalising the book for publication in hardback format via lulu.com - and only available for purchase from lulu.com, because I don't see why I need to double the retail cost of the book just so Amazon can offer 50% discounts on it; I'll also be providing eBook versions for sale through Smashwords because, as Nathan says, it's the future, innit.

Also, I'll be updating the Kalieda Encyclopaedia section on the Vreski Society, as that is where the story takes place, and additionally developing a brand new section of the Rikweb to give the book it's own home page - with all the information that would otherwise have to be stuffed into appendices and the like (which would drive up the cost of the book).

After that I might dabble in a little promotion work, but my main priority will be to get on with finishing my other two (or three) books - with a goal of publishing them before the end of the year. Oh, and finding paid employment I suppose. Gotta keep up with the calorie intake else nothing's gonna happen.

(With thanks to Reb for helping to clarify things for me).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rik - just saw your comment on Rachelle Gardner's blog and want to say: CONGRATULATIONS! And thanks for saying what you did. I've recently made a similar decision for similar reasons (not to mention that I once had an agency contract in hand that fell through when the agent left her job, then a draft publishing contract that disintegrated when the editor literally disappeared -- stopped answering emails and calls). It's been a bittersweet decision, but I feel better just taking things into my own hands. I look forward to reading your book. If you're on twitter, send me a tweet when it comes out: @sharonbially.