No one knows what’s next. Borders is bankrupt. The Kindle’s price is dropping exponentially, easing closer to $0 every day. Authors are taking sides on the self-publishing versus traditional publishing debate. Agents are acting really defensive. Publishers are either closing their doors or developing new strategic plans to survive.
By now, the blog-o-sphere is atwitter with the story of Amanda Hocking, a young author who’s made both a name and a career out of self-publishing her ebooks. She’s her own boss, and her paychecks prove that self-publishing (or indie-publishing) is a viable choice.
Last night, as the question once again presenced itself in my mind, LL said: “Look at the authors who have the careers you want, and do what they did.” It’s great advice, if there were a precedent set already. The fact is, we’re in the Wild West of publishing. Everyone’s trying to stake a claim. The hierarchies that work well in civilized society no longer apply. You find yourself a vein of gold, and you’re a queen, no matter where you came from. Or you set up your pan in the wrong spot, and you’ll grow old digging up silt.
To answer LL’s question: I would love to have the career (and the talent) of Michael Chabon or Michelle Tea. But both of them came of age in the traditional market. They are doing interesting, creative things with their work and celebrity now, to be sure, but it’s impossible to extrapolate how they would have behaved if they were trying to break into the market at this wacky time.
My Plan B is slowly working its way to becoming Plan 2.0. But, I only have one chance to do it right the first time. Those who came to fame 10 years ago are telling me to go the traditional route. Those who live the entrepreneurial dream are telling me to fuck the gatekeepers and build my own empire.
Even when I have more answers, there are no guarantees they’ll be the correct ones. There are a lot of questions marks on the horizon, and a lot of work no matter what those answers turn out to be.
I’m working. That much I can guarantee. I will work and edit and revise and research. As for the rest, I’ll have to take it step by step. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a wolfish pictorial of my psyche- the aptly titled Courage Wolf and Insanity Wolf in Happier Times.