This is a message and a simple piece of advice to all authors who love their craft and want to stand out amidst the growing mire of ebook publishing. Some have said that lately the waters have become mired with far too many ebooks, the majority of which are bad to absolutely unreadable. This is a fact we are well aware of and many have cried for a way to separate the good from the bad. Sorta like the old gate keepers did during the big hose publishing days.
Sorry, but it's not gonna happen. Ever. The days of the gatekeepers is over. We, as authors, are on our own. Sure, we wanted this to some degree, to be on our own and make our own decisions. But that desire also comes with its own unique set of consequences. Dealing with the tsunami of bad writers and bad books is one of those. 15 million worldwide just last year alone in fact.
If you think that's bad, it'll only get worse this year, and the year after that, and the year after that. You get the idea. So, since there'll be no more gatekeepers anymore (or if there are they won't be worth a hill of beans) it's time we each find unique ways to differentiate ourselves from the pack. The first is to NOT go with the pack. Doing what everyone else is doing is almost certain literary death.
To be honest, we might actually find ourselves taking tips from the big houses. Yes, they're a sinking ship. However, they're bigger and draw lots of attention to themselves. They've also come up with some real zinger ideas for putting eyeballs on books in hopes of saving their doomed ships. As individuals we don't need to follow blindly in their footsteps, but rather look around, see what they're doing that works, and adopt those ideas.
But we also need to be agile. Once we find something that works, remember one thing. In the ebook world no idea that works ever lasts more than a few months, a year at the absolute outside. Why? Others are watching YOU and will soon adopt your idea. Once enough are doing it, the trick loses all its power. Yes, I know that this rapid fire dynamic marketing fight takes away from our writing time. But think about it. Which would you rather have? Lots of books or lots of readers of your books?
I for one want both, but that means taking away from some of my writing time and devoting it to marketing, to finding ideas that work, and then employing them. In the end I believe we will all find what we want: Lots of happy readers, and a satisfaction knowing that it was your stories that brought a smile to their face.
The ebook world will be a wild west of sorts for many years to come. Just like in the real wild west, in order to survive we will all be forced to live on the edge and fight our way to the top. But in the end, isn't that part of what makes being an author so much fun? :)