WIP Wednesday: Facing the Publishing Demon

Writers are plagued by hundreds of demons, and I don’t mean the ones I’m featuring in my book. Self-doubt, writer’s block, fear of failure, fear of success and criticism are fingers on one hand of the demons that have us in a stranglehold.

One of my biggest fears is publishing—and I’m not even there yet! I have so much work to do before I have to make a choice between the Big Six and Indie and self-publishing, but I find my thoughts drifting there often, especially as I type the next chapter heading on a blank page.

I am not going to debate the merits of any of these methods over another. I whole-heartedly agree with Kristin Lamb’s post today, and I recommend you check it out if you’re interested in current unstable publishing climate. The only thought I might add to her statements is that if a change in industry is coming (and obviously it is) then we, the writers, should be manning the sails on this ship.

Don’t tell New York what to do; show them by making choices for the publication of your work that cater to the market trends we support.

The more writers stand up for themselves, the more we all benefit. This includes the artists, both Indie and mainstream publishers and most importantly, readers. That’s who we do this for, no? I don’t write because it’s a good mental exercise. I write because I love stories. Whether it’s the biography of Jim Beam or essays by Sloane Crosley or the latest trendy fiction tale about shape-shifting marsupials, good stories are written to be enjoyed by others.

The readers are what keep me focused on my WIP. How I choose to publish when I’m finished will reflect my gratitude for their readership. (Hint: it will not be in a dusty corner of a brick and mortar house and it will not cost more than my cell service.)

That’s really the only conclusion I’ve arrived at so far on this journey. It’s hardly specific, as there are still so many options for me to pursue, but at least I can say with some certainty what I don’t want for my published work. I’ve deduced this because I’m a reader, too. I know what I like and don’t like about the books I buy, and if I don’t want certain things to happen to my book, then I need to take control of those aspects (smutty bookcovers, anyone? the Fabio days are SO over).

The publishing demon will not defeat me.

In a way, I’m glad I am where I am in my life and career as this storm rolls through. It’s a fascinating study, really. Like Jim Cantore standing on a pier shouting through the wind, “This is a Cat-5, folks, we can’t stress this enough, you must evacuate your homes immediately!” and yet in the background a family paints “Go Away, Hurricane X” on their boarded up windows and holds up a beer as they settle in for the show. Hey, traditionalists, consumer forecasts have been warning you for years.

I’m posting this on WIP Wednesday because the imminent crash and burn of traditional publishing affects all of our WIPs, not just mine. I don’t need to beat this to death; there isn’t a writing blog out there that hasn’t addressed these issues. But this is what motivates me to write today, to strike the keys and build my story, because my story deserves to be told and delivered the way I want to deliver it, the way you want to receive it.

Ride out the waves with me, writers and readers. It’s going to get a little crazy around these parts, but just remember the generosity, love and strength of community that develops after the storm has passed.

DH