Story trumps hype. Good stories populated by vividly rendered characters confronting increasingly harrowing circumstances are what makes for quality reads, regardless of genre. A story well told will sell. Question is, for what price, in which format, to how many and by whom?
In this digital era, arguably the most liberating for authors of all ilk who are now no longer exclusively beholden to legacy publishing gate keepers or ridiculously over-priced vanity press “services” outfits such as those made infamous by Author Solutions and its associated writer-bilking outliers, questions abound. Perhaps the biggest: Should you pursue the traditional route to publication–get an agent, find a house, wait a year or more after to see your book in print–or should you just go it alone?
E-publication: First, Last or Best Choice?
With the further consolidation of the Big Six legacy houses reliant on tent pole franchise titles, celebrity non-fiction and political provocateurs who can all but guarantee sales through Super PAC purchase-giveaways, the growth of legitimate, though often brick and mortar distribution deprived indie presses and proliferation of self-published e-book authors, the publishing paradigm we grew up understanding has fundamentally changed. Perhaps forever.
As there’s no single right way to write a great book–only an infinite number of wrong ways–the same can also be said of choosing which path to take to publication. It so often seems that achieving publishing success today is as utterly dependent on being an entrepreneurial dynamo as much as, if not more so, being a good writer that many buy into the ease and speed with which they can self-publish an e-book and do just that. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. At least not until your book is ready. And being ready starts with story, craft and execution. What myriad other crucial factors those considering self-publication must take into account, even for only screen reads, is where “The End” marks a pivotal new start. In particular, with novels and narrative non-fiction.
While our “Do Yourself Independence” track will address many crucial considerations come February (possibly including a session we’re calling, “Cutting Through the Considerable Crap: How to Legitimize the Self-published E-book Author”) we’re still sticking with the fundamental principals on which the SCWC was founded: Story matters. Craft matters. Voice matters. Feedback matters. Writers matter.
Despite the lowered expectations of forgiving consumers accustomed to lackluster, poorly edited and ultimately unrewarding e-books, fact remains that word-of-mouth advocacy is the No. 1 means of books coming to the attention of and being bought by strangers. The discerning reader recognizes a smart, rewarding, quality read. That reader then becomes the writer’s most important, passionate advocate. Why? Because a good story well told trumps all the social media and advertising hype.
Poorly written books that breakout big and become international blockbuster sensations are the unexpected exception, not the rule. The writer who aims for mediocrity and settles for suck, let alone e-“publishes” it then elects to dump its availability on social media feeds without having the courtesy to wipe afterward, is a writer destined to failure.
Agent Additions and Pressing Deadlines
Literary agents Angelina Rinaldi and Marisa Corvisiero have been added to the slate. Both will be accepting advance submissions from those interested. Those electing to go with optional Advance Submission Readers need to get their material to the SCWC by no later than Jan. 12, 2013. As usual, there’ll be some readers that get caught up and accept material after that date. Too early to tell right now.
For those planning to stay at the home of the conference–and given that we often have workshops going into the very wee hours of the morning, it’s recommended–the wonderful Crowne Plaza San Diego resort hotel is providing SCWCers discounted lodging through Jan. 15, 2013. Book your room before the deadline else risk getting hit with the full rate.
More SCWC Success
Since last update, a bunch of SCWCers have book announcements. Workshop leader Darlene Quinn’s fourth title in her award-winning “Webs” series is out May, 2013. Author C.E. Lawrence (the “Silent” thrillers) blurbs, “From cocky cougars to perceptive private eyes, Unpredictable Webs is filled with enough vivid characters and plot twists to keep any lover of the genre happily turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. If you enjoyed Darlene Quinn’s previous books, you won’t want to miss this juicy journey of intrigue, drama and suspense!” (Check out the jacket up top.)
Author/workshop leader Janis Thomas, whose spirited debut novel Something New came out from Berkley last month, just got the jacket art for its follow up, Sweet Nothings, due July, 2013. As a former Nordstrom ladies shoes dog of the Seventies, I must say, “Like!”
Author, travel writer and serial entrepreneur Lois Joy Hofmann, who’ll be conducting the appropriately titled DYI workshop, “Author as Entrepreneur,” has released the second in her lavishly produced “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss” trilogy chronicling she and her husband’s 8-year, 62-country sailing circumnavigation. Sailing the South Pacific is available now from PIP.
Finally, conferee August McLaughlin’s debut thriller is just out. Pulitzer Prize-Winning journalist and author David Freed calls In Her Shadow, “A dark, crackingly good psychological thriller that grabs you by the throat on page one and never lets up.”
The working schedule is being updated almost daily, but do make a point to join the WritersConference.COMmunity confab on our SCWC Facebook page for stuff not necessarily on the site.