More Myths on Both Sides… Part Three…
I say this little introduction to each new parts… New fiction writers coming in now are really torn between all the myths and hype of traditional publishing and all the myths and hype of indie publishing.
But as I said back in the first post of this series, the paperback era of big publishing is pretty much done, and the distribution of fiction is changing over to the electronic era of indie publishing, with indie writers in charge.
These kinds of major shifts in fiction distribution to the readers has happened four major times through the history of this country, with each new era lasting about 50 years and the transitions lasting about 25 years. Again, see my first post.
New writers coming in today don’t know this history, don’t realize they are coming in smack in the middle of a transition. And to make matters worse, the myths passed on by writers on both sides make it often impossible to know what is truth and what is myth.
BANGING AT TWO MORE MAJOR MYTHS…
The Writing to Order Myth…
The most deadly myth that seems to have been carried over from traditional publishing and is now implanted solidly in the indie side is “Writing to Market (or to Order).”
In what is left of the traditional publishers and their agent employees, writing to order or market is a must. The writer often doesn’t have any idea who is doing the ordering, but the agent seems to pretend to know the market and can have a writer rewrite a book a bunch of times to this mythical “order” to fit one publishing line or another. Deadly for the writer and creative voice in very short order. But sadly, the death is long and drawn out before the writer notices they hate writing or can’t write the next book.
In indie publishing, the blogs and articles are full of “You must…” commands. And poor beginning writers believe that once they have started a series, “They must…” write the next book and the next and so on and faster and faster and faster. All with the excuse that their fans will be angry at them.
Head-shaking stupid unless you are in Select. Then I have nothing to say about that. I talk about long term careers, not bad myth choices.
This type of writing to order is deadly as well for indie writers, and much quicker death than the slow, painful death of traditional writers trying to chase a moving market that no one understands. Indie writers with this kind of belief in the myth of writing to market just flat burn out.
The truth that is in indie you can write what you want, as fast or as slow as you want.
If you can ignore the myths that swirl around this craziness and write the books you want and sell them wide, all over the world, you have a great chance at long-term success. It might be slower in the start than those who flash and burn out. But you will be at least happy.
The Myth of Indies Can’t Sell To Bookstores…
Or Libraries, which often gets dumped into this myth. To have your work in libraries, just get your books for sale on Draft2Digital and from there you can get to numbers of the major library distributors.
As for bookstores, I have personally been laughing about this myth for years and years, ever since indie publishing started.
Traditional publishers never care or sell to readers, unlike indie publishers who only go direct to readers in most cases. Traditional publishers sell to the trade, which is a channel that runs from traditional publishers to the buyers at bookstores, including Amazon and so on.
This channel is full of all sorts of people who make a living off the books flowing through it.
This trade channel is not locked, is not a secret, and any indie publisher can get into it if they want. And many do.
But what is even more fascinating is that now an indie writer can publish the book through Ingram, which is basically the last big distributor left standing. If the publisher sets the discounts correctly, and allows returns, Ingrams (with a little interest in the book, meaning just a few sales) will stock their warehouses with your book and bookstores can buy it.
(They stock the warehouses by buying your books and printing them. If you suddenly get spikes of ten or fifteen copy sales of your paper or hardback through Ingram, your book has been stocked for faster delivery to stores.)
At WMG Publishing, we sell a lot of books into bookstores, physical books without ever wasting a dime on climbing into the going-extinct trade channel or doing one of the ABA programs.
And we don’t mind full-copy returns since we either resell them or use them for other promotional purposes.
If you hear someone talking about how they can’t sell their books into bookstores, just shake your head and walk away. One of two things is happening…
- The writer is spouting a myth and has no idea what they are talking about.
- The writer tried the trade channel, but the book cover and sales copy is so bad, no bookstore owner would think of putting the ugly thing on their shelves.
Traditional publishers only sell to the trades.
Indie writers have cut out all those middle people and businesses and sell direct to readers.
And the future is direct to readers for distribution. At least for the next fifty years until something new comes along.