** Note from Jens. I am taking a few days off. It’s finally sunny in Norway. I was lucky to get an interesting guest post from Shrini. It was appropriate since I’ve just finished writing my first novel. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Here’s Shrini for you. Enjoy.
Should writers behave like musicians or singers?
I don’t mean picking up a guitar and start howling like a wannabe singer. Writers write. Singers sing. But there is a vast difference between them when it comes to marketing their stuff. And there lies the rub. Let me explain.
Need For Agents
Every aspiring writer, with a manuscript worth its salt (even worth without its salt), is looking for an agent to represent him or her. This is normal. There are some who go raving mad and write to a hundred agents begging for representation. All this while, the big fat fella, I mean the agent, is sitting in his big fat arm chair contemplating the menu for the evening, when he will meet some big fat editor and quaff some champagne, while discussing their health woes or maybe discuss coupon code and coupon discounts for their common gym. You, the aspiring writer is thinking, all this while, that the agents are working their a** off. In the end, it is the girlfriend of the editor who gets published – obviously. Hmmm….nice twist to the story? Anyway, the publishing community is known for their great camaraderie.
Flash forward to the music industry. Every aspiring singer is looking for an agent. When they don’t find one, they don’t whine – they sing their way into the charts. If you look around you, most of the popular singers started off on their own. Singers spend from their pocket for their music albums. It is normal and done thing. They beg and borrow (and sometimes steal) to get there. I admit that a writer cannot go to a pub and start reading his stuff. But he can surely publish his own stuff if he is sure that it’s a blockbuster or chartbuster.
So why don’t writers self-publish?
Writers club is elitist. Not like singers who can wear their torn jeans and sing their heart out. In the publishing world you have to wear a tie (and shoes, of course). The marketing and distribution channel is tightly controlled. No one gets to say his thing. The small fellows have all been eaten by the big sharks of publishing. Even if they say that they are egalitarian, they are not. It is coterie of sorts. They suffer from a deep Oedipus complex. I may even go to the extent to say that the publishing world is highly incestuous. They offer deep coupon discounts to their own kin.
Where does this leave a writer? As an outsider you have no chance to survive. Self-publishing is as good as suicide. For all the dust raised by the self-publishing world, the maximum number of books sold through this route does not exceed a handful. This is because the distribution channel used to be managed by the established mafia.
Things have changed with the internet
I have always liked novels which end on a happy note. Writers can now, finally, start behaving like singers. The digital world has created cracks in the publishing cartel, big enough cracks to slide into. Amazon has inadvertently become a champion of writers. You can now publish your work in ebook format or Kindle, at nil cost and sell them through Amazon and hundreds of similar digital shop fronts. Writers have a viable alternate distribution channel rivaling established ones. This is a game changer, in the sense that the monopoly of the big guys has been broken. It is time we writers started behaving like singers – I would love to go out in torn jeans, except that the big editor at home, would strike the desire down with an iron hand. That’s the life of a writer and I can’t whine nor sing.
S. Srinivasan is a writer anxious to break into big time. Meanwhile, he ekes out a living writing about weight loss programs for diet blogs that share Medifast diet coupons and Nutrisystem discounts. He currently writes for a diet blog that offers a Medifast savings promo for May and Nutrisystem coupons codes and discounts, two meal replacement plans.