Wednesday, June 26, 2013

One Size Fits All?

By Cindi Madsen


Ever walk into the store and see that magical One Size Fits All tag? I mean, it fits ALL? Then you put that muumuu up to yourself and you think, well, technically I can wear it, but it doesn’t exactly fit. 
I was scrolling through my Twitter feed the other day, noticing all the opinions on publishing. There’s a lot of information out there, which is awesome. I nodded at some of the good tips. But…well, I started thinking, “I’m not sure about that”, “Maybe I’m doing it wrong,” and “That’s sorta' insulting when I think about my process.” Some of the tips were from well-known agents, some from authors with agents, some from people who are writing their first books. I think they’re all valuable for different reasons, but there were a lot of opinions that were stated as fact.

Again, I’m not saying that all the tips are like that. They don’t all fit in one neat category. But I saw one about how long it should take you to write a book. And how you should/self-publish/not self-publish/market/etc. I also noticed a lot of discussion about this at PPWC. What’s so great about right now is that there are so many ways to publish: self, traditional, boutique, indie, Facebook (one line at a time - don’t actually recommend that, but hey, if it works for you…) If you want to write in more than one genre, you can. If you want to get a book on the New York Times Bestseller list, you don’t have to be published by a New York house. There’s also a group of authors they’re referring to as “hybrid authors,” both traditionally and self-published.

Before you make any decision, you want to know what you’re getting into. Big houses have different promotion plans than indie publishers. Sometimes you get more attention at the big houses; sometimes you get more in the smaller houses - the smaller fish in a big pond idea. If you publish yourself, you’ll need to do your own marketing. All of it. Unless you hire someone, which is also an option. A lot of the self-published authors that are doing so well already had a large fan-base and money to do their own promotion, just like a lot of them grow an audience and get promo help after hitting "publish" for the first time. I won’t dive into all the nitty-gritty details of all the methods. I’m just saying, don’t ever let someone tell you there’s only one way to do it, or make you feel badly if you choose another path. (How’s that for a One Size Fits All statement?) Study your options, as well as what’s working for authors in your genre. Build a support system. Keep working on your craft. As writers, we have more options than we ever have, and why wouldn’t you want that? I mean, yeah, you can throw on that floral muumuu and marvel that it fits you, your kids, and your pet dog, but is that really what you want for your book?


About the Author:  Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes this makes her a crazy person. Without it, she’d be even crazier. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they’re sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. Look for her YA novels, All the Broken Pieces with Entangled Publishing, and Demons of the Sun with Crescent Moon Press. More information can be found on her website: www.cindimadsen.blogspot.com.