My friend and I were chatting earlier about how the publishing industry has changed in recent years. He has been a writer for many years, and has submitted countless pieces of poetry online – plus spent several years as a journalist. We are working on putting a poem he wrote for kids into book form, complete with illustrations. (I won’t reveal too much just yet, but I have to admit it’s going to be good.)
As we discussed the different platforms available, I started thinking about how much technology has changed the face of publishing. In the not-too-distant past, it took several months, or even years to get one’s work published. And, that was only if a publisher liked what they read.
With the advancements in technology, the average writer now has just as much of a chance to sell his or her work as those accepted by publishing houses. That does not, however, excuse shoddy work. Independent or publishing house, a writer must still take pride in their work and put forth their very best effort. There are several resources available to get the words into print, but don’t rely on technology 100%.
As many people know, typing a manuscript or article into a computer doesn’t mean it is perfect, even with spell-check capabilities. The words will show up as being spelled correctly, but are they used in the right context? (As I typed the last sentence, I spelled ‘ate’ instead of ‘are’ – the computer didn’t tell me it was wrong, but after reading it over I knew the mistake had been made.) With that in mind, it is very important to read your work over at least three times – then have someone else proofread it. Our minds tend to make us think all of the right words are there, especially when we have been the one writing the words.
I am usually tied to my desk when I want to write, as I have a computer that doesn’t have a functional battery. We recently upgraded our phones to smartphones (yes, we are a little behind in the phone department), and mine has features and apps that I know I will make use of. The one I know will be beneficial to me is the voice recorder app. I don’t much care for the sound of my own voice when I hear it, but I am also wise enough to know it would be helpful if I used the recorder.
I often have great ideas when I’m doing my chores, but don’t have access to pen and paper. Having a recorder in hand will help me capture some of those thoughts and ideas, and I can expand on them when I listen to the recording. I talk to my alpacas, but they just don’t give me the feedback I need – nor do they tell me anything I have forgotten. (Mind you, they are very good at keeping secrets.)
Another awesome app to have is a notepad: preferably one that syncs with your computer apps. That way, you can write out notes (or chapters) on your phone or tablet, and copy and paste it from the notepad to your document. It saves a lot of rewrite time, and you can edit as you go along if you wish.
The advancement of POD (Print on Demand) technology also allows authors to order as few as one book or hundreds; gone are the days of needing to order 1000 books, only to find a major error and not even be able to sell any copies. Publishing eBooks is the most economical way of getting your books into the reader’s hands, with the possibility of royalties being as high as 95%. Delivery costs for eBooks are practically non-existent (depending on file size).
Technology has helped more writers get noticed, and I know of self-published authors who were approached by publishing companies. The publisher is taking less of a risk by approaching an independent author, as the reader platform has already been established.
How many of you have been approached (and signed a contract) with a publishing house as a result of an independently published book?