Saturday, June 13, 2009

"The Irony of independent publishing"

"The Independent Author"--June 13th, 2009

(Excerpt from The Quest of the Independent Author CONCEPT chapter)

"The irony behind the concept of being an independent author is this: Apart from drafting your story, there is nothing done independently when working as a self-published author. But on the contrary, like any major trade publisher, you will have to involve other individuals, peers and professionals alike, to help bind your existence into one brand that becomes symbolic with what you are doing as an author—as a representative and expert for your work. As John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” You will not be able to accomplish anything in this literary world alone. So please, don’t be fooled by the paradox in this title which has been dubbed for those who choose to work apart from the traditional publishing conglomerates. You will have to venture outside your comfort zone, extend your hand to meet new people and in that process, create the success that later on will isolate you from the masses as a truly, independent artist."


I'd love to have your thoughts. This is a segment of the Concept chapter from my new non-fiction title: The Quest of the Independent Author. I have not yet decided if I will seek representation for this title, or whether I will publish it myself. But either way, the manuscript will be complete and ready for print by end of Summer, 2009



...supporting the independent arts...

~Bobby Ozuna

Author | Ghost-Writer | Book Coach | Press Release Services | Internet Talk Radio Show Host

14 comments:

RobinRenee said...

Your words have more truth than you will ever know, Bobby. I was picked up by a small company last July, and resently self-plublished another book this month. I'm a bit different than most that write, because it's something that I never wanted to do, having no knowledge what so ever, and couldn't even type three years ago..lol..I'm just a drop out from the seventies, that never even started reading novels until I was in my mid-thirties. It just kind of happened, and on top of that, I'm a very reclusive person that is finding out that without others to reach out to...you will go absolutely nowhere! I waited, writing more than a few books, becoming inspired by you, and others like you, until I took that chance. Thanks for always pushing the right buttons, and being there for those of us who will continue to reach out...Rock on my friend!

The Deepening said...

I think good authors have schizophrenic personalities. On one hand, they are eccentric reclusives like Robin Renee mentions; on the other hand, they are avid people-watchers and don't mind the company of others, with some qualifications, of course. I don't think authors "do" mindless or boorish activities well. If you want them to go see the T&A mud wrestling county championships down at beer-vomit alley, then, nope, they won't feel kindly disposed. But if you want a gathering that includes eloquent activities and intelligent conversation, then you won't have any problem finding authors willing to mingle. That's been my experience.

Bobby Ozuna said...

Robin:
I would like you to send me an email please to: bobby@ozunapub.com. I have some questions for you. You can be my first author I feature on my blog...

Secondly, I appreciate you giving me kudos and I want you to know (that I know) how difficult this road is. You are doing the right things and making the right advances in honor of your gifts and talents. I will do anything I can to become a springboard to your success. For starts...let's feature a book cover and profile picture along with those questions I will provide you...and host you for one full day... Then you can tell everyone to come read the interview here...and respond or comment to your Q & A session...

How's that?

Joy Collins said...

You are absolutely right, Bobby. "Independent" is an oxymoron in this respect. As an "independent" writer [and now a small publisher], I have never felt the need to connect with others more.My comfort zone has greatly expanded and continues to do so, despite my fears and discomfort. This journey isn't quite so scary when I share it with others of like mind and I find I am also learning so much.

Bobby Ozuna said...

Deepening:
I appreciate your feedback and comments here on this blog. I love the analogy...Hmm, I wonder what that makes me when I say, I was just on my way out to see some mud-wrestling??? (Weird, huh?)

You are right...someone asked me just this weekend...what do you (me) prefer to drink? I said, well, my choice of drink depends upon my mood and my company. If I am around people I grew up with, it's a cold beer...if I am around people I ride my motorcycle with, its a LOT of beer and whiskey...if I am around my literary friends, who love to stimulate great conversation, well, then it's wine for me...

Great response!

Celia Hayes said...

The actual writing might be solitary (since I write historical fiction - I sometimes have to come out of my personal writing-come-of-silence to consult with an expert on some arcane matter) but the subsequent editing, polishing, revising, design and reviewing are all communal. And once written, the more the merrier. You have to find some way of bouncing what you have written off other people, to get an idea of what works ... and you never know, the best sort of feedback launches you on a track that otherwise you might not even have considered. At the very least, they will note all the grammatical and punctuation errors, and note that you keep repeating certain words. My circle has nearly broken me of my over-reliance on ellipses, for instance ...
The traditionally published writers have the expertise from their publisher to see to all that. If we are independently published, we must depend on a circle.

Just as an example - over the course of two years, I posted sample chapters of the Adelsverein Trilogy on several blogs: two other writers and a good friend edited them, and another writer friend supplied the pictures for the covers ... and a review. One of the editors also let me market them under the aegis of his boutique publishing company. It has all been very much a joint effort.

The Teacher said...

I agree that few if any self-published authors are totally isolated from the process of publishing. Just reading this post shows that we are reading, communicating and learning. Since I first published my novel with iUniverse in 2007, I have been on an endless learning curve--learning from others that have traveled this path before me. What I learned led me to republish my novel and become a small publisher along with it early looking forward to publishing others just as the traditional publishers do. What has happened in publishing the last few years with the Kindle and POD publishing along with Amazon.com, is an evolutionary change that allows readers endless choices that are not dictated by the marketing departments of large traditional publishers. This change is leading to true freedom of choice instead of less. Those self-published authors that gather an audience will succeed due to the time and work put into their writing, revising, editing, publishing, promoting, etc. Publishing is becoming a true town hall type of meeting. -- Lloyd Lofthouse, My Splendid Concubine

woodwitchdame said...

Hi Bobby - while I understand the spirit of your excerpt, and it is most likely true for many, I have to say that so far it has not been true for me. I'm the independently published author of the vampire series ALMOST HUMAN. There are currently 3 titles available in my series.

I spent years trying to network, make contacts and ultimately become published. It was fruitless and frustrating. In the end I did absolutely EVERYTHING by myself. I used the notoriously 'do-it-yourself' publisher CreateSpace. I did my own editing, took my own cover photos, designed print layout, handled marketing, promotion, you name it. My very enthusiastic fan base is repidly expanding and the series is doing quite well.

I enjoy chatting with other authors and sharing experiences, however, being that my series is doing very well, I find myself giving advice rather than asking for it. Please don't read that as conceit - it's just the way things have happened to turn out.

There are many things that I'm sure I could use help with, but because I could not find anyone willing to help me earlier in my writing career, I've learned to become as self-sufficient as possible. At this point, I am very happy and proud to say that I have personally created every single aspect of my series.

While I am probably the exception rather than the rule, I am truly, and proudly an "Independently Published" Author.

~ Melanie Nowak
(Author of the vampire series ALMOST HUMAN)

A Writer's World-Melissa Williams said...

I couldn't agree more. As the founder of my own independent publishing company, I do nothing alone to create and promote my children's book series. I have to be honest with myself and stay true to my own talents of creativity and business production, while I work hand in hand with other hired professionals and friends. Sometimes we can't do it all. I love the benefits of the creative group bounce. In my adventures as an independent author, these people first included my illustrator and graphic designer. I used to do all the promotional and marketing work on my own by speaking with others who had an open and teaching spirit to guide me. After a lot of hard work, I created a monster and was not able to do it all on my own anymore. Maybe if the day was made up of 36 hours instead of 24 and the week was 10 days instead of 7. After all of the hard work started to pay off, I was able to invest in hiring out more professionals that I trusted and hand picked. It is a big deal for me to personally know my people. Now I work with a publicist, marketing team, and interact with other authors and major professionals in the industry, DAILY. It is all about getting out there and knowing people. Let them see your face. Shake their hand and make a proactive decision to connect. I am so thankful for the online networking possibilities out there, but never neglect the benefits of good old fashion, face to face, networking. So to close my opinion here, independent and isolated work is outdated when talking about independent publishing ... I do love being isolated at times, but my constant networking circle grows by the day. I could never do this alone. God has brought GREAT people into my life to fuel my passion for words. I would like to re-define what independent publishing means in my world. It means I am an independent thinker who thrives on the fact that I get to run this business exactly how I envisioned it in the first place. I am the boss of my dream and I get to decide how it will come to life instead of a big company who knows nothing about me. I predict Independent Publishing and the Small Publishing House is the future. We are a nation of business owners. Doesn't it just make sense? I guess its my controlling personality, because ever since I was a kid, I did things my way and stayed true to myself and my dreams.

Bobby Ozuna said...

Melissa:
You have (again) sparked another GREAT idea for this book: The Quest of the Independent Author!!!

I love how you wrapped up your thoughts and synopsis for you in relation to this publishing endeavor... How about I extend this invitation to ANYONE wishing to share their thoughts as a blurb inside the book??? I will offer this to my network of followers...

IF YOU HAVE A THOUGHT TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD, HOW ABOUT I PUBLISH IT IN A BACK SEGMENT OF THE BOOK???? HERE IS YOUR QUESTION:

Who are you in relation to your gifts?

Send answers here and your response (and name and book title) could end up in the final chapter of this non-fiction book...

Email: Bobby@ozunapub.com

Bobby Ozuna said...

Oh and by the way... keep the response between 3 ~5 sentences in length...

~Bobby Ozuna

The Deepening said...

3 ~ 5 sentences? Hmmm. Would that be compound-complex sentences or simple constructs, i.e., 'See Dick and Jane play ball'? If the latter, that leaves me out. But, you can always read me on my blog, blog.thedeepening.com :D

Lily Strange said...

I think that for someone like me, self-publishing is THE only choice. I do have an editor, but he knows what I want to accomplish. His only goal is to insure that my work is readable. My work has a lot of sub-plots and can become very convoluted if I don't have someone to help me sort things out. However, my subject matter is somewhat specialized and I don't want someone telling me what I should and should not write. I'm afraid that in order to adhere to what mainstream publishers want, I'd have to change my work until I couldn't recognize it any more.
I despise the attitude among some literary people that a self-published author is not a real author. Horses**t! Not to say that I am one of the greats, but I have read some dreadful crap that was picked up by publishers. It was actually just such crap that convinced me that if this person could get published certainly I could. I was actually making corrections in the book in question, it was so awful!

Linda said...

Bobby,
Your article is right on and the people who are leaving comments are so thoughtful in their responses. I spent years going the traditional route and sold a great many short stories while I worked on novels in the background, honing my craft and trying to get noticed. Nothing. No agent, no publisher, the market was too crowded, the competition too fierce. And yet I completely believed in myself. I just knew there were many traditionally published books not as good as mine, but that didn't seem to matter to those gatekeepers at the publishing houses. I started reading indie books and was delighted at the uniqueness and the courage of the authors who put themselves out there. I soon became one of them. Now I've made connections I couldn't have imagined a few years ago and learned so much--at a lightning fast pace. I love all my new friends. I love sharing writing advice and encouragement and belonging to such a worthwhile community. But I do find myself having to switch gears between the isolation of writing and the opposite number of promotion and networking. Yet I find that with indie publishing I need other writers in a way I couldn't have predicted.

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