Confessions of a Former Traditionalist by Cassiel Knight

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. As I grow and discover what it means for me to be an author and decide if I want to do more in the publishing world, like being an editor, my mind continually shifts. It seems that as much as the publishing world changes, what I want from it and want to do in it changes as well.

So, I got to thinking about years ago – before the explosion of epublishing and well before this new explosion of self-publishing.

In the early 2000s, I was a die-hard, the only way to be published, is through New York writer. Which meant finding an agent who would then find me a publisher, and I’d get the glory of an advance, a book to hold in my hand and I’d be set. Hey, I said back in the early 2000s. I was still pretty naïve then.

Remember the ruckus in, I think, 2009 when epublished authors had enough of the perception they were being dissed by RWA? I don’t want to get into a debate of whether that was true. In some ways, it was and still is. However, regardless of where you sit, it has changed.

Anyway, back then, I was firmly on the side of the Big 6 (as they are now known) and the mere thought of epublishing was poo-poo’d on a regular basis. And this was despite the fact that I epublished my first book with New Concepts Publishing in 2007. What a snob I was.

And how stupid I was.

Now that I’m moving ever more to wondering why I still insist on being published with one of the Big 6 and firmly in the camp of epublishing with a shift toward doing some self-publishing, I wish I could go back and tell dumb me to embrace change much sooner. There are friends of mine who have been in epublishing all this time and have established quite a base for themselves. They have backlists and a following. I could have had this if I hadn’t been so stubborn. Kudos to the writers who embraced this much faster than I did.

Sometimes, I just think where I would be if I hadn’t been so stubborn about there being only one way to publish.

Luckily, as I’ve grown in this business, I’m much smarter. About a lot of things. I still want at least one contract from one of the so elusive Big 6, but more and more, I find myself wondering why. The advance? Sure, the money up front would be good but I wouldn’t get any royalties until that’s paid off. The potential to hold a book in my hand? Check. Got that coming in February. Recognition by RWA? What does that mean anymore?

Where before I studied agents ad nauseaum (okay, who am I kidding, I still do), I now study epublishers and follow the new ones, watch some of them grow and others crash and I find the whole thing fascinating. I’m embarking on new ventures within the publishing world and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

Now, if only I could make enough money doing that stuff so I could nix the day job.

P.S. The picture of Bradley Cooper has nothing to do with embracing change, well, except for the fact that he has supplanted Matthew McConaughey as my new hero model. His eyes are just so beautiful. Sigh.

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Posted on November 30, 2011, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Good post, Kim. Don’t kick yourself too hard. I’m a tech geek, have been doing online teaching for more than 15 years, and I still didn’t believe the publishing world would change this quick. I can remember, way back in 2002 and again in 2004, begging my non-fiction publisher to let me have a website to go along with my book. They didn’t see it, so I made one myself. When I didn’t see publishers of tech books getting on the web, I figured it would be at least 2020 before fiction would even think about it (beyond erotica).

    In the end, it’s really all about Amazon. Amazon saw the potential (and had the profit motive) and were in a position of control. If they hadn’t moved forward in the way they did, the rest of publishing would still be back in 2002.

    There’s a big part of me that still wants a big 6 book contract. It’s hard to let go of that dream and all I believe it can mean. On the other hand, until they change their ebook royalties it may not be a good financial move. I know several midlist authors who have repeatedly said it’s not worth writing for the Big 6 anymore, they make more money in self-publishing (of course they already have a following).

    In many ways, I feel cheated. I’m the little girl who planned the big wedding with the white dress and cake and the Bradley Cooper groom who would take care of me forever. But the wedding ends up to be virtual, via a webconference, and no reception with all my friends and family. On top of that, I never get to kiss the groom, and I have to walk all the way to Hollywood just to visit him. Ouch!

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  2. I have these same questions myself, Kim. I don’t think you were stupid. I think the industry has changed in a direction few could have guessed. And will continue to change.

    Bradley Cooper…yum!

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  3. I just kept hoping Bradley Cooper was going to be a guest author. Even if he had to write a book, I’d wait. Good post, Kim

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    • LOL! Yeah, I know. I figured I’d tease at least one person. I don’t know when he got to be so dreamy. But, I’d let him guest author even if he didn’t write a book. Alas, I don’t have those kinds of contacts. 🙂

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  4. Great photo of Bradley… and you aren’t alone in your questioning of the traditional publishing model. I believe all forms of publishing can co-exist and support each other, but right now there’s such flux in the marketplace. Everyone is grabbing their share of real estate, and you’re right, the smart ones began years ago. Still, the opportunities are there!

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