I’ve been thinking more about the Katherine Kristine Rusch article on ‘Writing like it's 1999’ and checking out online royalties. I’m feeling a little less scared. On one hand, if I work hard at my day job and scrounge for extra work, I can probably save up enough money to hire a professional editor for my book, after I’m done the current draft. E-books are popular, a lot of YA readers like electronic formats. So, in that sense, maybe I can make it in the brave new world of publishing without the gatekeepers.
On the other hand, there’s the whole “marketing” thing. I’d also have to come up with money to hire a marketer, because I HATE promoting myself. I’ll happily tell people how great things and people I like are, but me? That feels like LYING. After all, I’m no Naomi Novik! There are so many better writers out there---why (even post editing) should anyone read me in a world that contains Neil Gaiman and John Scalzi? On the other hand, that’s a problem with traditional publishing too, I guess. So I’ll have to nail down the answer to that question before I query agents, if I go the traditional route.
There’s also the problem of developing an audience. Sure, Scalzi can gain readership by sheer force of his personality – he’s awesome! Me, I’m a little more quirky, a little less likable, and unlikely to ‘win’ at the social networking game—I don’t want a network full of ‘friends’ I don’t know, and I really, really hate approaching strangers---even online.
So, it seems like e-publishing without a major house to back me up would be crazy—I don’t have a built-in audience like Rusch does, and, without a traditional publisher, I don’t have a way to gain a built-in audience. So, maybe that’s where we’re headed—traditional publishing for people who seek to build an audience, and self-publishing for those who’ve already earned one?
That means, per Rusch, that new authors are going to get screwed---unless we can find a way to create and audience. But building an audience means building a great online persona—and unless you like persona building in the first place, I’m not sure how you’d do it.