I blame Marvel. As I finished my Kris Nelscott/Smokey Dalton novel, Stone Cribs, I realized that the victim in the book, Valentina Wilson, was one amazing woman. And she needed a story arc all her own. I knew how she was going to end up, and who she would be years after the events in Stone Cribs, but I needed to write the story […]
I remember how overwhelming it was for me to make the transition to mostly indie. I’m not entirely indie. My short fiction is still hybrid, as is all of my work in translation. But I can’t see any situation where I would ever go back to a traditional publisher for my novels. The contracts are awful, the lack of support profound, and the benefits nearly nonexistent.
The traditionally published writers who are being cut loose or who are being offered terrible deals are just beginning to realize this. And they’re at a complete loss as to what to do.
I feel for them. I really do.
Most writers—most businesses, in fact—believe that they must actively grow their audience. And that belief is a mistake.
In your writing business, as in all business, there is no one-size-fits-all model. That goes to everything from building a business to building a brand. Even if you’re in the same field as someone else, your business is different. What you do with that business is based entirely on your goals for that business.
Um, what? you might ask.
Yep, expanding an audience fits into your business goals, not just into branding. Change happens all the time in business, but growth happens only when a business actively pursues that growth….
So when I write these posts, I feel a deep frustration. Because my brand, in almost all of its forms, is extremely messy.
These posts, as I said from the beginning, are for me, writing to myself about all the various things I can do to improve my branding or, in most instances, take control of it.
If I were in the lucky position that most of you indies are in, I could define my Rusch brand from the beginning as something that spans genres, that uses a multitude of styles, that promises quality of a certain type, but never compromises on some things….
As I write this in early January, fourth quarter numbers for all big businesses are just starting to trickle in. The whining about 2016 has commenced, some of it justified, some of it not.
The numbers aren’t just in for the major publishers; the numbers are in for indie writers as well. And the writers who crunch numbers are having varied reactions, often depending on years of business expertise.
I have a hunch that when all of the numbers arrive toward the end of this month or so, we’ll find out that 2016 was truly a mixed bag….
I’m not here to discuss the merits or lack thereof of Booktrope or ARe. I did that in other posts. What I need to discuss here is the future.
You see, these closures were right on time. And several other closures will follow in the next few years.
Some of the upcoming closures will be predictable. And others will catch us all by surprise.
Why am I saying this?
So, given that it will take a huge fight to get paid, assuming that ARe will be forced into bankruptcy, what do I advise? I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.
I am, however, a small business owner who has lost tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of dollars as an unsecured creditor when other companies have gone out of business.
I’ve been there, folks, and I’ve see what it does.
Here’s what I think you should do…
In talking to hybrid writers, I did miss something. It only concerned a handful of writers, and most of them only wrote one series. These writers would email me after they had indie-released a new book or two in their existing series, and complain that the series wasn’t growing.
When these writers were traditionally published, the series grew well. Each book sold better than the last. Now, even taking into account the year or so of sales, the books sold at the same number of copies or less than the previous volumes had.
I couldn’t figure it out…