Thursday, 26 May 2011

E-publish and/or be damned!

When you start writing a novel the first piece of advice you’re often given is to write for yourself.  But once you’ve toiled for what may be years on this mighty tome, the next question you’ll be asked is, ‘who is it for?’  And apparently the answer, ‘well it’s for me’ does not lead to publication.  New authors seem to be expected to slot neatly into fairly exact categories.  The advice when submitting to agents or publishers is to state clearly what genre, and which authors it would sit next to on a bookseller’s shelf.  For example, it is an Urban Fantasy aimed at the Young Adult market, and would sit next to Neil Gaiman or China Mieville (you hope).

My first novel, a thrilling story about a female wrestler battling to keep her past under wraps when fame finds her, was un-publishable because there was no category that it easily slipped in to.  So when I started writing ‘Bitter Roots’ I decided that I would aim it at the Romance market because at the heart of the story there is a couple who are clearly destined to be together.  But ‘Bitter Roots’ is a dark novel, inspired by gothic writers, although it is set in the present.  There is also a thriller element, and a hint of the paranormal.  Thinking of a classic novel such as ‘Rebecca’ would you class that as romance, thriller or paranormal?  Lucky old Daphne DuMaurier didn’t have that hurdle to jump.  And even within the romance category there are many sub-genres: historical, contemporary, paranormal, and chick-lit to name but a few. 

So after categorizing my book as Modern Gothic Romance I started sending it out to agents and publishers, and quickly gathered a pile of satisfyingly encouraging rejection letters.  All said that ‘Bitter Roots’ was a well written book with a strong story BUT that there is no place for it in the current market.

So e-publishing seemed the only way to go.  It was extremely easy.  With only moderate computer skills I was able to get a Kindle version onto Amazon both in the UK and US, and by using social networking to get as many people to buy it at the same time I was able to propel ‘Bitter Roots’ into the top 50 on the Contemporary Romance chart.  So with a best seller on my hands I embarked on a publicity campaign.  After one simple press release to the local paper I had one article printed, followed by a full-page spread, and then an interview on local radio. 

I feel very proud of myself.

But I’ve been following many online discussions about e-publishing, and there is a very clear split between the US and the UK.  In the US there is a thriving network of Indie authors pumping new and exciting work into the market, and more importantly supporting each other with many ways to develop readers and build sales.  In the UK there is a much more cautious approach, with many negative comments directed at e-published authors.  I won’t bore you with the arguments; you can find them easily enough online.  But I simply looked at how the music industry has evolved and thrived with online sales and I decided to be a part of this exciting new opportunity.

I am very happy to share information on any part of the process I’ve mentioned above, and I am always happy to meet or communicate with other authors.

My website has contact my details as well as more information about 'Bitter Roots' and how to download it from Amazon

And you can find me all over the web by simply Googling my name.  It seems that there is only one Jarek Adams!

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