Friday, March 29, 2013

Good News for all Writers Everywhere! Rejoice!

By Aaron Michael Ritchey


I have a friend, Betsy Dornbusch, who posted on her blog that people think she self-published her book. They just assume it. Now, she’s spent the last eight years working on her craft to get to the point that she is a professional writer, and yeah, she hasn’t self-published, and gets miffed that people just assume she did.

It’s a fascinating blog post. And you can link to it from HERE

I commented, which I don’t do often. This is my comment in funky fresh italics:

I have to say, when asked if I self-pubbed, I can honestly say I didn't. I have a publisher. My press is small. Does that make a difference? I don't know. Mark Coker of Smashwords would say the market and the readers will decide.

However, the days of working years on a book only to shove it under the bed because you couldn't find a publisher are over. Good.

Write books. Publish them. Repeat. If you suck, you suck. If you're divine, the readers will come. Perhaps only a few, but better than no readers at all.

I keep thinking, though, that I didn’t capture exactly what I wanted to say. The issue is so deep, wide, and pervasive—it plunges into the murky bottom of my vanity and my fears.

I don’t have a literary agent. I published my first book through a small press. I’ve had to do everything myself as far as marketing and promotion. People are sooooooooo impressed that I got published. Most normal people don’t know the difference between my contract with Crescent Moon Press and Stephen King’s latest contract with Simon and Schuster. I know. And it pains me.

This is hard stuff. Should I stop writing and give up because the outside world has not given me the six figure advance? Or should I rejoice in the fact I have an ISBN?  Shouldn’t I be grateful I have a book in the world, and that readers in Germany and the Philippines get to write negative reviews about my work on Amazon?

Yes, but I have a problem. I have dramatic sensibilities. If I don’t have Twilight fame, I suck. If my work doesn’t win awards, I suck. If I’m not making millions of dollars off my books, I suck. If German teens don’t love my books, I suck.

And yet, there are writers who got the six-figure advance and then got screwed. Who got dropped by their publisher. Who lived a life of woe. There are no easy answers. Good books do well. Crappy books do well. No one knows anything except if you hit it big, people will call you a genius. Take the same book, give it a bad cover and add some misspelled words, the same EXACT book, and the same people who lauded your genius will laugh at you.

I say we should rejoice in whatever path we are on. If you are self-pubbed, rejoice that you live in a time when you can get your voice out into the world. Give Mark Coker a big kiss next time you see him. And pray for sales.

If you have a big-time literary agent with big-time contracts with big-time publishers, rejoice because you’ve done something very few people ever do. And pray for sales.

Above all, write books. Write good books when you can. Write really stupid books when you can’t. And then take the plunge and put your book in the hands of readers, real readers, with hearts, minds, and souls. If some knucklehead shrugs you off because your book is only available online, talk to the next person, who might really need to read your work.

My first book I had printed by a tech manual printer. I had about twenty copies made. The book was unreadable. I dedicated it to my wife and she couldn’t get past the first chapter. It was a disaster. But my friend Peter read it. And he cried because he understood what I was trying to say in that 150,000 word monstrosity. My story touched him down to the roots of his soul. So the disaster was worth every single piece of shrapnel.

Rejoice and be glad! 


About the Writer:  YA Paranormal author Aaron Michael Ritchey has penned a dozen manuscripts in his 20 years as a writer. When he isn’t slapping around his muse, Aaron cycles to look fabulous, works in medical technologies, and keeps his family in silks and furs. His first novel, The Never Prayer, hit the streets on March 29, 2012.