Friday, November 16, 2012

The Revolution Is Over! Viva La Revolution!

Except for the occasional blog or magazine title attempting to induce panic, the fervor regarding writers going indie has finally started to fade.

The best thing coming out of the whole brouhaha is that writers are now looking at ALL their options. There's all kinds of deals being made.

Some folks are still submitting to agents and editors. Some are jumping into self-publishing with both feet. Some folks have a foot in each side. Some folks are selling both their print and electronic rights to a publishing house, a la E.L. James and her Fifty Shades of Grey. Hugh Howey kept all U.S. book rights for Wool and sold the foreign book right along with the movie option (to Ridley Scott of all people!).

The most important things for any writer to remember are

1) Writing for money is a business!

2) Find the path that best works for you.

But there's something that SFF author SandraUlbrich Almazan said in her blog recently that realy struck home for me:

My final act of ChiCon 7 was participating in a self-publishing panel. Besides me, there was one other self-published author and two editors from small publishing houses. They were clearly there with an agenda to present themselves as "value-added" and to downplay the pros of self-publishing. The other author and I were united in taking career advice from Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. Meanwhile, the audience members (we filled the room; I wasn't expecting that on the last day of the con) wanted the nuts and bolts of self-publishing and promotion. I feel like I could have given them much more on that front. I also wish I'd told them more about the pros of self-publishing. I did manage to say that all authors are entrepreneurs, that our stories are our intellectual property, and that you really need IP lawyers, not agents, to handle contracts with publishers if you take that route. But there was so much more I could have said. I could have told them how knowing I had a home for every story inspires me to try new things and come up with fresh ideas. I could have said how I can finally lay some stories to rest instead of endlessly chasing perfection (because, of course, no publisher would ever touch a less-than-perfect book). I could have emphasized how it builds gumption to learn new skills and take charge of my writing career, to be active instead of passively sending out queries and waiting for rejection. Most of all, I could have said that when I first started attending conventions, they taught me "money flows to the author" as a way to avoid getting scammed. I now feel we need to update this for the 21st century; it should be "control flows to the author." I really wanted to use that line and am kicking myself now that I didn't use it in my closing statement.

At least I can say it here.*
"Control flows to the author."

That should be every writer's new mantra.

*Reprinted with permission. For the original blog of September 5, 2012, see Sandra Ulbrich Almazan: Speculative Fiction Author.


  1. I'm honored to be quoted! No matter what path you choose, knowledge of what's involved is essential.

  2. It truly is an Awesome time to be a Writer! :)Thanks for sharing this, Suzan!!

    "Control flows to the author." Brilliant!

  3. Thanks for letting me quote you, Sandra! "Control" means responsiblility. And if we don't take responsibility for our careers, who will?

  4. You're welcome, Melissa! You should really check out Sandra's blog. She's a very brilliant woman!