Jane's Keynote speach at lunch on Saturday will be on "The Future of Authorship." Jane will also be teaching two Saturday sessions on Platform, and two preconference workshop on publishing--Traditional Publishing on Friday morning, and Independent E-Publishing on Friday afternoon.
GLVWG member Jerry Waxler got in touch with Jane to ask her some questions about her sessions, workshops, and her view on the industry in general, including using social media to promote your writing.
Jerry: Seeking soothing reassurance
Not only are publishing strategies changing all the time, but they seem to be increasingly urgent, making many of us feel that if we don’t catch the latest wave we’ll fall behind. This might be why I enjoy reading things you write. You seem to be able to convey information without an out-of-breath sense of urgency. How do you feel about keeping up with all the changes? Are you constantly frantic or have you found a way to stay balanced in the midst of radical change?
Jane: Thank you! I do try to adopt a reasonable tone and illustrate how publishing strategies are becoming increasingly nuanced and individual.
It is very easy to get caught up in the “revolution”—whether we’re talking about the technology revolution, the publishing revolution, or the author revolution. While it’s very real, it’s also confusing and counterproductive for most authors to follow. You’ll find conflicting attitudes and opinions that leave you wondering how to proceed.
(e-mail, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
But these tendencies of introverts …
· Other Amazon features (e.g., readers who bought X also
· Goodreads and other reading community sites
· Social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
· Physical bookstores
· Book clubs (offline and online)
· Traditional media coverage (public radio, magazines,
· Old-fashioned word of mouth
Everyone knows that the best way to sell your second book is by thrilling readers with your first. It’s almost become a cliché (at least in the online publishing community) that you should focus on building platform by writing your next fabulous story that gets people talking.
However, and I’ll use CJ Lyons as an example again, there’s nothing wrong with nurturing that word of mouth and giving readers more tools to help spread the word. In the Q&A I did with her at my website, she shares some of her most essential strategies for engaging readers. I also think it’s interesting that while she puts story quality front and center, she also took time to train herself in online marketing and promotion. (She reveals her sources in the Q&A).
Jerry: The New Social Pleasures of Writers Sticking Together
Recently, writing seems to have caught on in a big way. So many of us seem to be flocking together in groups, in the region and online. Since I began to apply myself in earnest to this activity, writing has turned into a groundswell of collective enthusiasm. As a writing popularize, you are in the epicenter of this wave. How is it affecting you? What sort of changes have you seen in the ethos of the writing community since you first became involved with it? Where do you think it’s heading?
Jane: The biggest change by far is the growing voice and footprint of the self-publishing and e-publishing community, and the associated explosion of services for the independent author. While some of these services are much needed and welcome, it’s difficult for a new writer, without a history of experience, to distinguish between a service that’s worth her time or money, and one that is not. When in doubt, look carefully at the background and qualifications of the people who provide the service, and avoid those that don’t clearly identify who you’re working with.
Also, there’s been a greater polarization of attitudes—or more strident attitudes—associated with the revolution mentioned at the very beginning of this interview. This creates the confusion for any writer walking into the current environment. Should you self-publish or traditionally publish? Do you need an agent or not? Should you blog or not? Do you really need a platform? Should you focus more on writing or more on platform? Does an e-book really have to be polished, or can it be just good enough to pass muster with a 99-cent price tag? Do the traditional publishers really offer value? Do bookstores really matter?
I could probably continue for several paragraphs about the many questions that divide writers, as well as people inside the publishing industry. My advice is to take the long view and seek those who avoid going to extremes in their pronouncements. Discussing the gray areas within an issue—parsing through all the intricacies—shows more wisdom given the times we live in.