Off Topic Rant: Why Readers NEED Independently Publishing Authors!

Quoting Irene Goodman (a literary agent with her own agency) from an article in the September 2010 issue of RWR – the monthly  publication of Romance Writers of America:

“It’s always sad when an earnest author spends years working on something that absolutely no one is interested in, except a few geeks and hobbyists. Let’s say you want to write historical fiction…you must pick a marquee name. If you fall madly in love with the story of some obscure Norwegian king, please don’t think you’re going to convince the world to love it, too… Even if the Norwegian king had some kind of interesting hook or quality, readers are more likely to be interested in the queen. Learn (KRIS SAYS: and by this she means “write”) what is commercial (KRIS SAYS: and by this she means “already popular”).”

I am going to make the startling observation that engaging stories are always about people – of both genders, duh – and plot. It’s their settings that make them stand out in a crowded market. Based on Ms. Goodman’s viewpoint, how many fascinating historical stories are being passed over because they aren’t about kilted Scottish warriors or English Regency dukes?

The Good News for Readers: with independent publishing on the rise, you WILL be allowed to choose these unique stories. And then, you may fall in love with ANY king you wish!

Kris <–apparently a geek/hobbyist 🙂

“A Woman of Choice” is now available:

Kindle & Paperback coming soon!

Official release date: September 8

9 Responses to “Off Topic Rant: Why Readers NEED Independently Publishing Authors!”

  1. 1 Judy 09/01/2010 at 1:11 PM

    I honestly wonder if the “professionals” realize that we are only able to read what is printed. How do they know it couldn’t be popular if it isn’t offered?

    • 2 Roxy Rogers 09/01/2010 at 2:56 PM

      Judy’s point nails part of what’s pushing the industry changes we’re seeing! Let’s not forget Ms. Goodman sells most of her authors to the teetering Big 6, soon-to-be (IMNSHO) the Big 2 or 3. At some point there will be one or none if they don’t change their business model to encompass the reader and also go digital.

      This topic is coming up for a lot of authors right now. Tim Ferriss and Seth Grodin (both nonfiction bestsellers) have commented this month in blogs. Grodin recently talked at length about his decision to go all digital after putting his current book, Linchpin, out. Kris’s recent guest author, Mike Stackpole, has said similar things about paper going away by 2012.

      Grodin’s take as an insider was especially interesting:
      “Readers have been separated from authors by many levels… Traditional book publishers use techniques perfected a hundred years ago to help authors reach unknown readers, using a stable technology (books) and an antique and expensive distribution system. The thing is–now I know who my readers are. Adding layers or faux scarcity doesn’t help me or you. As the medium changes, publishers are on the defensive…. The question asked by the corporate suits always seems to be, “how is this change in the marketplace going to hurt our core business?” To be succinct: I’m not sure that I serve my audience (you) by worrying about how a new approach is going to help or hurt Barnes & Noble.”

      Reader-driven content?? What a novel concept!! Kinda overdue.

      And, let’s not forget that Diana Gabaldon wouldn’t have been published by a big publisher at all if her editor hadn’t said to her own house, “You will publish this book (Outlander) or I will quit.” Look at the reader response! Honestly, big house marketing depts, editors and agents, most would have you believe they know what will sell. I don’t believe that for a second. They’re guessing. It’s an educated guess, yes, but it’s still a guess. By having the reader choose their own content, and on a level playing field that the industry is fast becoming ::snoopy dance here::, we take the guess out of what readers want. My own ‘guess’ is that readers, like me, want variety, and that leaves plenty of room for all kinds of stories and settings. So why wouldn’t Norway be the new Scotland?!

    • 3 Deena Remiel 09/03/2010 at 6:00 AM

      Judy, I wholeheartedly agree! What a closed-minded society traditional publishing apparently is, to say that nothing new or fresh is desired by readers. I don’t remember telling publishers they could represent MY voice and choice in such a way!
      Kris, you hit a nerve here. A GREAT ONE. “Winds of change are set to blow, and sweep this whole land through.”-Pippin

      Much love to you, Kris! And rock on!

  2. 4 kristualla 09/01/2010 at 2:20 PM

    May I say… BINGO!!! 🙂

  3. 5 kristualla 09/01/2010 at 11:07 PM

    Roxy – I said the same thing to my friend today at lunch! With a 300,000 word manuscript that doesn’t fit ANY “boxes” and ends on a cliffhanger besides, she’d never find a publisher today.

    I’m more convinced everyday that readers will be best served by authors publishing their own books (e-pub & POD), selling everything online or in person, and letting the cream rise to the top. Word of mouth, baby.

    I see your ::snoopy dance:: and raise you a ::cabbage patch:: 🙂

    • 6 Roxy Rogers 09/02/2010 at 10:38 AM

      LOL! You are a laugh riot, Kris! Enthusiasm and humor are necessary in the entrepreneur sea ahead of us. And, yes, agree…anything outside the “box,” and it’s a small one right now, is out of luck right now. But the times they a’changin!!

  4. 7 Donna Goode 09/04/2010 at 6:35 AM

    Hi Kris!
    Wow! A review from Diana Gabaldon! I just ordered your book and can’t wait to read it! Best of luck w/ it!

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