This week I downloaded a book about starting a “worm farm.” Yep, you read that right. I purchased an e-book focusing on the topic of designing, constructing, and running a farm that raises worms.
Isn’t that great ??
I think I can hear you right through the Internet going, “ewww. Why the hell would anyone be interested in that?” And the answer is that here in Kansas there are literally dozens of “underground” worm-fighting rings popping up across the state and I am interested is breeding little, wiggling champions.
Okay. Okay. That’s not entirely true. I have only ever seen one worm fight in my life – and I’m not quite sure they weren’t just mating. But the point is that I was looking for a book that was specifically targeting the subject of raising worms and I was able to find not just one, but several different books about worm farming when I searched Amazon.
Let’s face it, a whole lot has changed in the last few years brought on by new innovations in technology. And nowhere has that caused a bigger disruption than in the areas of writing and publishing.
There are more:
- subjects for you to write about
- options for getting your book published
- books and authors for you to use as models
- ways to find your audience
- ways to find greater visibility with potential readers – from all over the world
- ways to test-market your book – Wattpad, Bookbub, creating a blog or Facebook pages
- ways to find an agent, editors, a writers’ communities, a publisher
- ways to promote and profit from your books
- resources to help you
- ways to use technology to help you
It’s funny. With all the new tools at our disposal, I often hear so many people who tell me that they are worried about the state of publishing and writing today. They fear that the market is becoming over-saturated and that people are being overwhelmed by choices. They fear that too much is being paid to making money and not on making quality books. And while their concerns may cause them to leave the writing lifestyle behind and seek other methods to get their ideas out there, I worry that there may be too many writers who incorrectly presume that now is the worst time to be a writer.
Hear me now. I want all of you out there to know – that’s simply not true.
Choosing to be a writer is HARD. But it HAS ALWAYS BEEN HARD to be a writer. I’ve never once heard any writer tell me, “well I wanted to be a lawyer, but my parents wanted something for me to fall back on, so I settled for being a writer.” Have any of you ever heard that?
For some reason, we tend to get this romantic notion in our heads that writer sits around sipping wine and knocking out inspired word after world changing word just as easily as taking a breath. But ask any successful writer – even any moderately successful writer, and they’ll all tell you the same thing. They worked their asses off to write that book or play. I can’t imagine that scenario ever changing. Yet, I would say that it is easier nowadays to be, or become, a successful writer than it ever has been before.
In the “old days”, a writer would finish their book and then send their manuscript off to publishers, hoping to hear back and praying that one of them liked the book. In many ways submitting was a role of the dice. If the publishers didn’t see the dollar signs attached to an idea, it would end up chucked straight into the rejection pile.
Also, many of those books being published tended to be dependent on the tastes and preferences of their editors. There were so many reasons for editors to pass on otherwise great stories or subjects that I often wonder how many treasures got buried because of “bad-timing.”
Fortunately, in times have changed and none of that matters as much. A system has been created where you can be your own publisher. This gives thousands of voices that might not have been heard a chance to join the market. Now, the readers get to decide how great a book is and whether or not an writer is worthy.
No longer does it matter where you live or what your credentials might be. Today you can write and publish a book from wherever, and be whomever, from anywhere in the world AND have global distribution just be clicking a few buttons.
Today, many writers are making a living selling enough books to make a decent living through ebooks, print-on-demand, and web-based communities. While they may not earn enough to be a millionaire or a household name there are still plenty of writers out there who make enough money to write full time.
There is a growing number of writers who writer part-time or as a sideline which I refer to as – writer as a second job. These writers are very successful in writing to niche markets, such as self-help, hobbies, and how-to. Others find success writing in spare-time in every sort of genre available; romance, mystery, science-fiction and fantasy, children’s lit, sports, you name it. The list goes on and on.
The key to accomplishing this type of success is to go into indie publishing with the mindset that this is your preferred way to publish instead of viewing indie-publishing as a fallback way or an easy way to publish. Eight to ten well written and carefully marketed books can skyrocket you on the path to becoming a full time successful indie author.
Here are a few key points to keep in mind if you are worried about starting a writing career in today’s landscape:
Information, inspiration, and other people can be essential building blocks of finding ideas, writing your book, and speaking with those you may need to in the course of creating it. You are just a web browser away from connecting with each of these things, or finding in-person resources to do so. Not only that, there are organizational tools to help you organize your writing, your ideas, your contacts and your research.
IT IS EASIER TO PUBLISH YOUR WORK
The act of ‘publication’ is no longer a closed system where you NEED to convince others that your book is worthy of publication. Yes, those processes still exist, and still work. But you now have more options. Self-publishing has not just opened the door technologically, but even socially. Years ago, if you self-published, it would be called “vanity publishing” and there was an immediate stigma associated with the book. That negative stigma is gone. By estimates I have seen, 1.5 million books were published last year, and more than 2 million will be published in the next year. The act of ‘publishing’ is no longer the barrier for entry if you want to be a writer.
IT IS EASIER TO DISTRIBUTE YOUR WORK
One word: Amazon. Okay, that is too easy. There are a variety of companies and ways that are making it easier and easier to transfer a file or a physical object from you to a potential reader. With ebook cutting the cost of book production to almost nothing when compared to print books, a range of new solutions are open to authors. You no longer have to worry about committing thousands of dollars on an initial print run, warehousing costs, mailing costs, and customer service when these processes break down.
IT IS EASIER TO CONNECT WITH POTENTIAL READERS
Not sure who your potential audience is? It is now easier than ever to find out, to do research, to connect with those who can help you find readers who will love your book. I am not talking about publicity here, or spamming social media services with the message: ‘buy my book!’ I am talking about building the relationship you need to truly connect with readers.