New Frontiers

by admin

37-Spanky Writer.3

Six years ago I typed the first words of a novel that I am now in the business of getting published.  True to my timing patterns, I’ve arrived at the musty world of publishing in the very moment technology is flipping all that tradition on its literal head.  But I think it bodes well for authors because now we have a chance of meeting our readers much earlier in the process.

A mere year ago if a novelist sought a paper and paste book deal, a gauntlet of gatekeepers stood between the manuscript and its readers. Protocol meant query letters en masse to agents, hooked up to acquisition editors interested in your kind of book (finding that information BTW is an irritating, mind numbing process).  From two paragraphs in this structured query letter, said agent would fall in love with your story, instantly think blockbuster and pitch it to his or her colleague at one of the “big six” (publishing houses).  IF you were lucky and managed to progress beyond the first two gatekeepers and get deep into the gauntlet you’d finally encounter a handful of humans, armed with mysterious and fiercely guarded formuli, who determined what all American readers wanted and therefore would be fed.

That has all changed now, and it’s not a pretty e-volution.  For more about the upheaval, read publishing biz observer Jane Friedman’s summary at LitFlow 2012

Agents, like the rest of us, are being forced to redefine their role and their business model.  2013 agents don’t even look at a manuscript from a debut author who isn’t already established with readers.  Platform is the word and they expect your connections to be evident online.

Now in the nonfiction world an author is selling expertise: a nutritionist writes a diet book, coach writes a how-to-win guide.  They know people who know they know how to cook and how to win = platform.  Fiction on the other hand makes for lively discussion as to platform, because we fictionados make things up as we go along.  It might be seventeen or thirty rewrites down the road before we decide who the story suits.

Fact is, a book’s success is, was, and always will be about READER DISCOVERY.  The internet makes it easier for authors and readers with common interests to find each other.  My role has evolved and extended to finding readers, and the idea sensibly impacts my business plan.

No One Can Know is set in 1964 Texas and centers on a manhunt triggered by JFK’s assassination. A coincidental bystander in Dealy Plaza becomes a target and unknowingly brings a family into the crosshairs.  Naturally I became a student of the times.  I soon discovered the politics and psychology of the Sixties offer up a mother lode of people stories.  And fascinating plots.  I’m not alone in being entertained by the era and culture.

Creating fan base is effectively accomplished online the same way it is done live.  By reaching out, sharing, and being accessible.  This is me stepping out with a blog where I plan to share and invite discussion about my political and historical research, and my experiences on the New Frontiers of publishing and literature. I’ve spent two years polishing NOCK through various critique groups, gentle gratis editors and three rounds of beta readers, all of whom enthusiastically encouraged me.  At two writer conferences last summer I pitched the pros face-to-face then engaged seasoned professional editors for my manuscript.

I’ve decided not to tread farther into the old, mysterious publishing machine during its current state of flux.  I’m calling on my pioneering spirit as I have always been enamored with new frontiers.  They call us indie authors.  A term I like with a cutting edge ring.  The ‘how’ of finding my fan base is a moving target until the dust settles, but I’m going for the adventure today.  My inner Supergirl is used to functioning as a work-in-progress anyway.

Please tour my website and see if two or three new posts per month appeals to you.  When you encounter announcements like a FB Fan Page I hope you’ll participate.  You can choose Facebook, Twitter or email — just register somewhere with me so we keep in touch.

I will have a book in your hands soon.  And I want you at the launch party.

Coming to online booksellers 2013

Coming up post (est. 3 weeks):  Dallas and JFK: My home town’s tragic romance

4 Responses to “New Frontiers”

  1. Amber S. says:

    This is SO exciting! And as one of the lucky readers who have gotten to see several versions of this tale and its evolution, I can tell you I can’t wait for the actual debut of this novel. Seriously. CanNOT wait.

  2. Elizabeth Harbin says:

    Congratulations on a job well done my friend! This will be such an interesting read for so many and I could not be happier for you! Brava!

  3. Congratulations on your first post—the first step of what I imagine will be a life-changing journey!

  4. Judy Knight says:

    Way to go! Can’t wait to read your book. I’m so proud of you!


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