Traditional Publishers Are Wooing Authors? The Times, They Are A-Changin’.

Nothing makes me get my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard like hearing that an author made three million dollars in two years off of self-published e-books.

gavin-self-publishing
(comic courtesy of Bo’s Cafe Life)

But even more exciting is this: enough people are taking the self-publishing leap that [at least in Romance] traditional publishers and agents are actually having to go after authors instead of the other way around. Yes, you read that correctly. Barbara O’Neal reports that, at the Romance Writers of America conference this year:

For the first time I can remember, ever, editors and agents were wooing authors. One notable workshop featured editors from major houses presenting the things publishers could do for authors.

Meanwhile, speakers on the self-pub track, assembled single-handedly by self-publishing millionaire Barbara Freethy, packed the room. The ballroom. Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble sent their teams to hold meetings, present workshops, and even offer a wine-tasting. Authors were wooed here, too—by merchandisers and editors for the indies.

Read the entire article about the changes she’s seeing in publishing here.

Even Writer’s Digest is hopping on board the self-publishing train with their new self publishing service division, Abbott Press.

AP_logo

They’re even trying to help consumers judge the quality of self-published books through the use of “Writer’s Digest Mark of Quality”:

Manuscripts published with Abbott Press will be reviewed by a professional editor hand-selected by Writer’s Digest. Titles deemed to be of exceptionally high literary merit will feature the Writer’s Digest Mark of Quality, a prestigious mark designed to convey the book’s excellence.

Now, I have no idea how successful that will be – nor how successful many aspects of self-publishing will be. Things will continue to change and evolve, and what works for a self-published author today might not work in two years. Or even one. And, of course, there are sharks of all types out there trying to take advantage of naive writers who haven’t done their research.

But still. $3,000,000 from self-published e-books is pretty amazing. Who knows what the industry will look like in ten years? I don’t know about you, but I find the possibilities to be very exciting.

Oh, Hey, Fear – I Thought That Was You!

On Friday, Robin LaFevers (author of two children’s series and one YA series that looks amazing – it involves nun assassins!), wrote an amazing and timely post for – what else? – Writer Unboxed about some of the ways in which fear impedes our writing.

fear

For a while now, I’ve been struggling with my WIP. I have been working toward my usual word quota – which is how I thought I could best motivate myself. But the story hasn’t felt right for a while, and I really hit a wall on Friday. And then I read that LaFevers – a writer who has written 14+ published books – had similar feelings on her most recent manuscript. And it was kind of nice to know that this sort of thing happens to seasoned professionals as well.

However, as nice as it was to be able to feel less alone in this, what LaFevers did to get out of her writing funk was pretty terrifying, too.

She removed 7,000 words from her manuscript. Chop, chop.

In her words:

I woke up to the fact that I was writing the wrong damn book and had to delete the FIRST TWO HUNDRED PAGES OF THE MANUSCRIPT.

Now, that’s scary!

But it made me realize what a part of me has been whispering for months: I’m writing the wrong thing, too. All the stuff that inspires me and is cool about my current WIP? Yeah, it needs to be center stage – not something that I “can’t wait to get to in the third act”.

So, I’ve taken out the scissors and glue and am cutting out the things that don’t work and adding to the things that do. I’m not sure how much of my 160 pages I’m keeping…but I guess we’ll see.

Sure, there’s still plenty of fear involved, but, for the first time in a few weeks, I feel like I’m getting back on track.

My Foray Into Voice Recognition Software

Do you ever get frustrated that you read so quickly but type so slowly? (Holy cow, I sound like a cliched infomercial!) Let me rephrase. I read fast. Really fast. But I type at what I think is probably an average speed (60 wpm). The combination of those two things drives me crazy. I’ll be writing one scene in my WIP for days, and I’ll start thinking, Good Lord, am I still working on this part? And then I bang my head on my keyboard and cry a little.

banging-head

Because. Writing. Takes. So. Long.

So then yesterday I had a brilliant idea: why not try voice recognition software? Surely, that would speed things up. Right?

Wrong.

First, when I looked into it, I realized that – holy cow! – this stuff is expensive! Dragon, the most highly reviewed software, is $100 or more, depending on the version you buy. Yikes! Then, I stumbled upon a little known PC fact: Windows has a moderately good voice recognition program that is part of most PC packages. So, since I have a PC, it was free!

It took me an hour to find it, go through the tutorial, and get my word doc up and ready. Then I dove right in. Imagine my chagrin when I realized that I was way slower with voice recognition than I was just typing my story out. Now, some might argue that, once I got used to the software and it got used to recognizing how I pronounce things, it would get faster. And they would probably be right.

But the bigger issue that completely took me by surprise was this: I am used to thinking out lines of dialogue, description, etc. several lines ahead of where I’m typing while letting my fingers catch up as I go, but, since I had to speak each line to enter it into my word doc when I used voice recognition software, I was stuck with only being able to focus on one line at a time. It completely disrupted my flow.

And that’s why, after writing less than a paragraph with voice recognition, I have returned to typing things up the old fashioned way. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so slow anymore.

Anyone out there tried the voice recognition route? How’d it go for you?