Watch out.  More angst-y, emo, soul-searching follows.  🙂

With the untimely death of Rebel Tales I have spent several days now deep in thought with regards to my “Plan” for my writing.  You see, there has actually been this nebulous plan in the back of my mind.  It goes something like this….

I get a few short story credits under my belt.  These will serve the purpose of presenting the first hints of my “brand” out there in the writing community.  At the same time, I continue work on Streets of Payne and (hopefully) get it published in Rebel Tales, continuing my inroads into the writing world.  You see, at that point, I am no longer “just” an aspiring writer.  I would then become a serialized author with a regularly featured story in a bi-monthly e-zine.  

While all this is going on, I also would continue work on “Soul Eater” and finish at least the first draft on it.  I would then be poised to enter the writing world with some established short story credits, and not one, but two novels that I can podcast and use as a launching point into the sights of some agent and/or (again hopefully) a small press or mid list publishing house.

Yeah, that was “The Plan”.  🙂

But with this latest setback, I have taken some time to re-evaluate, and it occurs to me that “The Plan” requires considerable time and a fair amount of kismet.  The first is a commodity that I have very little of these days, and the second is something over which I have little to no control.  In addition to that, part of “The Plan” is also dependent on a trend that is now so popular that it is rapidly becoming blasé – podcasting.

It is now pretty common for aspiring authors to podcast their work, sacrificing the “first audio” rights, in order to get their brand established in the public eye.  The idea of course, is to parlay that name recognition in hopes that getting several thousand followers to the podiobook version of the novel will impress potential agents and publishers enough to invest in you as a writer.  It works.  Scott Sigler has proven it.  Philippa Ballentine has proven it.  P.G. Hollifield has proven it.  Many others have proven it.

But the numbers are beginning to come in and in most cases, the podiobook to written book sales figures don’t support the model.  It seems that even those podcasters with thousands of followers to the audio version, have trouble translating those numbers into paying customers for the brick and mortar houses.  There are simply too many problems when it comes to combining the two marketing styles.

While there is little doubt that the potential payoff for selling through traditional publishing is considerably better, the reality seems to be that it is still mostly just a potential.  Unless you are one of those lucky lottery winners like JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, it is still just as unlikely as ever that you will “make it big” with traditional publishing. 

However, all hope is not lost.  Whether or not you believe that traditional publishing is in its final days, it is impossible to deny the fact that electronic publishing is on the rise.  New authors are now blazing the way in this new field, and are actually making a decent wage doing so.  While the traditional publishing model requires that you bow to an antiquated regime of publishing houses, waiting for them to decide the fate of your work, and hopefully put it into brick and mortar stores within a year or so, all while promising you a single digit percentage of the sales, the new model allows enterprising new writers to embrace their entrepreneurial spirits and bypass the old model completely.  Today, one can write their stories and go to Lulu, or Smashwords, or any of several other self publishing sites, sell their work for less, and make a much higher percentage of the take.

These are no longer the once shunned “vanity” press sites that plagued new writers in the nineties.  They are legitimate sites that allow you to publish in multiple venues at once, and offer you the ability to choose your markets, publishing methods, and offer services such as editing, cover art development, and even filing for your ISBN.  So far, Smashwords seems to have a slight edge in offerings to the aspiring writer, as they appear to be the only one able to offer a single ISBN that can be used in e-publishing, print, and audio.

New authors are now appearing all the time, publishing their works through Kindle and Barnes & Noble e-book services. New authors who, despite not being listed on the New York Times Best Sellers list, are in some cases actually outselling authors who are.  As a matter of fact, as of February 10th, NYTBS finally began listing e-books.  They still refuse to list independent publishers, but it’s a step.  I find it interesting to note that the Amanda Hocking novel “Switched” has been in the top 100 on the Kindle paid bestseller list for 89 days now.  But she isn’t listed on NYTBS.

Because she’s an indie.

So I’m throwing out “The Plan”.  The “New Plan” is going to be more like this….

Get going with what I have already written.  Quit waiting for the elusive “right time” to begin my marketing campaign.  Finish editing and podcast “Phoenix Rising” (although it looks like I’m going to have to change the name now, since Philippa Ballentine is now publishing her new novel, “Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel”).  Still, podcast it, get the damned thing into Smashwords.  From there, format it for Kindle, B&N, i-Phone, etc.

In short, I need to get my ass in gear.  Quit trying to come up with some grand marketing plan that will boost me into the game, and just step on the first rung of the freaking ladder.

I plan to begin work on the podcast by the end of next month.