Monday, October 08, 2007

Being OUT There!

By Philip Harris

Independent and small press authors are the wave of the literary future if they are willing to make the effort to make their works known. We have all heard the laments that a few big companies control what is read and what is stocked in the major bookstores but that reality is changing. With hard work and diligence the new authors of today are beginning to successfully bypass the major corporate stranglehold on literary markets by bringing new genres and new ideas to the public.

While most new writers dream of that mega-contract with one of the big six publishing houses, fewer and fewer authors are putting their dreams on hold as they wait for what will probably be rejection. Thanks to small presses and authors willing to assist in their own publishing, thousands of new titles are now being made available that bypass the traditional “do not enter” attitude of the corporate literary structure. Are all new authors successful? If you just count sales, the answer is no. Is there hope, the answer is yes!

Using the Internet, new authors have discovered ways to go down what was once a one-way publishing and marketing road. The advent of YouTube, blogging, reading and writing groups, Ezines and thousands of forums have made it possible for those willing to hit the keyboards to bring a book to readers who otherwise would not have known it existed. Gone are the days of authors having to pile their books in their garages as they filled their car trunks to try to peddle their written ideas. With a good, well edited story, small presses are using POD to allow books to be created on demand. Those authors, who are willing to do the work, are gradually beginning to make their works known.

Are the hours endless? Yes, but there are a growing number of stories of authors who have successfully hit the best selling lists without the backing of big agents and big publishers. Even the infamous “Chicken Soup” series was originally self-published. The creative use of book trailers, originally created by COS Productions, has brought the rags-to-riches concept even closer to reality for new and established authors. And, while e-books do not as yet account for a significant portion of the book market, the I-pod in the hands of so many makes it likely that many will one day bypass the B&N’s and download scores of books to read and fill idle moments. These types of books are well within the reach of new authors and are a way to get published and to begin the process of making their names known.

With the growth of the Internet, there is no question that groups such as NothingBinding will play a major role in bringing authors to the attention of the public. Each day scores of new Internet book marketing groups arise and each day brings more opportunities for authors to publish and promote. The key is that authors wanting exposure must do the work and they must be “out there.” In this modern age, “out there” means doing so from the comfort of your home, while on the bus, or train or while taking a break from the “day job.” If the author is willing to work and actively participate in his or her book, the horizon for success keeps getting closer. There is a revolution happening in the industry and those willing to work can and will make a difference. The alternative is not pleasant for it means that free thought and new ideas will be stifled by those few who have for so long controlled what we read, and, what we think.

Philip Harris is a multi-published author, a nationally syndicated writer for the American Chronicle and blogger at


WritingHermit said...

I find it sad that big publishers are not willing to support first-time authors any more. Tomorrow's best sellers are today's unknowns and big publishers are ultimately shooting themselves in the foot by not supporting these authors (and getting their loyalty) early on. Shouldn't it be the onus of big publishers to support new talent? The companies have the money and resources to build careers. That said, I do agree that small publishers and online marketing have been a big boon for writers. I know how I would have launched my career if not the Internet. Thank you for this very intriguing article!

Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, Phil, for the article and Yvonne for posting it. It sure is true that authors, whether self-published or not, must get out there and promote their own work. The good news is that, with the Internet, there are some many powerful and effective resources out there to get the word out. And many of them are free. It just takes commitment and, of course, persistence!

Mark David
author of The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write (available this winter) and The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy

sydney molare said...

I loved this post. Ain't it funny how the world turns? Yesterday they were thumbing their noses are the wishful authors. Now, they are just trying to hang in there since we've circumvented them.

Misti Sandefur, Novelist/Freelance Writer said...

I have to agree with Writinghermit, it is indeed sad that the big publishing houses don't often consider new authors, and I think it's unfair too, but what can we do? Steven King and all the other well-known authors had to get their start once too, and look how they turned out.

This was a wonderful article and great writing as well.