Stop Being a Stodgy Writer – Get out of your Comfort Zone and Move into 2014!

ebookEvery generation complains about the generation before it. With the publishing industry, it’s no different. I swear if I’d tried to publish what I have now twenty years ago, my books just may have been picked up by a big six. (or so I tell myself as a pep talk) I think at the very least I’d have had some agents vying for them. Of course I wouldn’t have had social media to rely on at all but I think the environment was very different. There were less writers and more brick and mortar stores. Places like online bookstores just didn’t exist.

So here’s where we need to change our thinking. The world has changed. It is now viral. You may think you don’t need to jump on board, but that’s a big mistake because these kids you think you don’t need to reach now are going to be immersed in this medium… well, forever. Social media is where you advertise and meet people. This is the way of the world and this is how it is changing. It’s time for writers get out of their comfort zone. This is not the 70’s or 80’s. Saying “sorry, I’m old school and only read paperbacks” is just plain silly talk. It’s 2014 and the world has forged ahead. You can get on a plane now, or travel with a small electronic device and have literally a 1000 books on it that you’ve downloaded.

But there are downsides to this as well – as authors well know. The changing industry has also changed reader’s perceptions. Many think “well, I’ll just wait for the book to be free or just 99 cents.” That hurts a writer’s ability to make a living, for sure. But this is the way of the world and you see this very struggle happening with the big publishing companies on how to get people to actually spend money on books. It’s why they are limited now with taking on debut authors. They desperately need to know that the books they promote will actually sell. So that’s why you see the same celebrities getting book deals (or ridiculous ones like the Kardashians). Or famous authors who just put out book after book. They have a built in fan base and it’s a surer deal than taking on someone that is an “unknown.”

But, there are places for the unknown to shine, and self publishing is it. But it comes with its own set of rules and struggles. With Amazon now doing unlimited monthly readership memberships (which I think is actually pretty cool for a reader, though pretty tough for a writer) it changes the playing field again. Still, we need to look at this with an open mind. The publishing environment today will most likely look very different in ten years. Just look at the last ten years to see what I’m talking about.

I’ve got Book #2 in my FLYING series coming out August 30th. I’m going to try to do a free book promotion with a company I’ve never used before. The concept of PAYING money to offer a free book is a startling, and quite uncomfortable, concept for me and is definitely out of my comfort zone, but this entire past year I’ve done nearly everything out of my comfort zone. I did a Vlog where I talked about comparing publishing to growing pumpkins (and boy, did I obsess about what I’d look and sound like), I’ve done book signings, author chats, put out my novels knowing that once they went into the world, the critiques would begin. But the fact is, if you want to be heard, you have to yell.

So I leave you with this. Stop being stodgy, go into things with an open mind. Don’t worry if you don’t know at first what you’re doing – just try it. I assure you, age is never a limit to what you can learn if you just try. Don’t miss the boat simply because you refuse to get on the water. Do that and you’ll never go anywhere.

And for folks who would like updates on when my books will be free or when new releases are coming out, please sign up for my e-newsletter here: http://www.elysesalpeter.com/contact.html

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14 thoughts on “Stop Being a Stodgy Writer – Get out of your Comfort Zone and Move into 2014!

    • Thanks Onisha. It’s the people I hear who refuse to text, refuse to explore any social media outlet for their work, and then bemoan it’s not seen – you have to embrace the now, IMHO.

  1. I like this post, you talk a lot of sense. You are right, we do have to take on this new digital world.

    I also think things like blogs are good for writers too and a good tool which wasn’t around years ago.

    We all just have to work harder!!

  2. I agree, Lyse. Clinging to the old ways is a sure-fire method for being left behind. Of course, the trouble with trying new things is that not all of them will work. But we’re pioneers, whether we like it or not, and risk is part of the business. I wish I could lounge around in my cherry-walled study, wearing an ascot and smoking a tweed jacket while agents dump wheelbarrows of cash at my door, but that world is over and done. Which is sad, because there’s nothing more refreshing than a pipe full of tweed after a long day banging out 500 words on the Underwood manual typewriter…

  3. There will always those who are shoved into new technology screaming and crying. In fact, there are those who still don’t want to fly because of “If man was supposed to fly, God would have given us wings” mentality. Back in the 40s and 50s, there were perhaps a few thousand authors and today, due to modern technology, there are millions. If you don’t believe it – check out Nanowrimo.org and how many participate. Competition is steep and writing is truly an art, but a writer will eat the bare minimum, perhaps even starve a little, just so they can write and a good writer keeps up with trends. I sell more e-books than paperbacks and I expect that trend to continue.

  4. It’s such an exciting time to be a writer! I love how much control I have over my book, its cover, and so forth. I’ve been to a few writing conferences and one big eye-opener for me was that even if you get a traditional publishing deal, you can’t expect much in the way of promo from them. That’s what clinched it for me and convinced me to take the self-publishing plunge.

    I look forward to hearing more from you about how your free ebook promo turns out. In fact, if you’re interested in meeting writers, every Thursday night Twitter is loaded with writing chats. I lead the first one called #StoryDam at 8pmET and it just takes off from there with #k8chat and #10MinNovelists. Very inspiring night for writers! Hope to see you there.

    Btw, I’m dropping by from #Mondayblogs on Twitter I’m @TuiSnider there, and would be delighted if you’d drop by my blog sometime! Nice to meet & tweet you!

    • Wow, thanks for all the info about Thursday nights on Twitter. We actually already follow each other! I will definitely check it out – really appreciate you taking the time to read this.

  5. I agree, Elyse. It’s possible to self-publish and sell books if you commit yourself to the task. It’s like any entrepreneurial effort. You have to take some risk, but there’s the opportunity to build a base of readers who will pay reasonable prices to read your work. The second hardest part is getting started. The hardest part is sticking to it until it pays off, at least in my view.

  6. Good advice, Elyse. I like the freedom of this new reality, the ability I have to reach people. I don’t think that I would have been picked up by a Big 5/6/8 or whatever it was 30 years ago – I just don’t have the connections in the publishing world. I also didn’t have any good ideas back then.

    The only downside is that with so many more people empowered to publish, getting attention for your own work is more difficult.

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