Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday with an Editor - Angela James

Today is the final installment of Thursday with an Editor. Today's guest is industry icon, Angela James, always a fount of great information. Thanks for joining me, Angela.

Apparently I'm the wrap-up crew here at casa de Wynter. Whenever you have a wrap-up post you usually get a highlight of what's come before, but given the number of awesome editorial posts she's managed to snag, I don't think that's possible, so I suggest you go re-read those earlier posts from the last few months. The other thing we usually get with wrap-up posts is some kind of predictions or things to think about as we move forward. Now THAT I can do.

So, without further ado, here's 3 things I want you to think about as we move forward into publishing in 2012.

1) It doesn't have to be self-publishing OR traditional publishing OR digital publishing.

Honestly, there's room for all kinds of publishing. There's no either/or situation here and we should all stop presenting publishing as if there are no shades of grey. That type of thinking doesn't lead to logic-supported arguments. Nor does cult thinking or drinking the kool-aid, so knock it off and let people decide how THEY want to publish, not how you THINK they should publish.

When you choose one of these paths, than I assume it's because you did your research and concluded it was the right path for you to achieve your career plan. I'll hope you didn't do it out of visceral reactions, or because you were told publishers pull the wings off butterflies, or because you think every single self-published book is dreck. Don't do it for those reasons. Do it because what you choose is good business for YOU.

2) If you're self-publishing, and millions of you will in 2012, don't skip all of the steps that go with publishing.

Just because you don't think solid editing and good cover art and excellent formatting and a well-thought-out story aren't important doesn't mean your readers don't. Every time you skip one of those, you damage your brand. And your brand is how you sell books. Don't damage that which makes you money and builds your publishing career. It's foolish.

3) Last, my favorite quote, the one I'll probably have engraved on my grave marker some day: Never, ever forget that there's a difference between CAN publish and SHOULD publish.

Just because you wrote it doesn't mean people should get the opportunity to read it. Remember your brand? Everything you write and publish (whether available for free or for sale) adds or detracts from your brand. Don't foolishly damage what you've worked to build just for the sake of a quick buck, or because you can't bear to write it and never have it seen. Not everything everyone writes is meant to be published. There. I said it. I'm sure most of you actually agree. You just don't think it applies to you.

So there you have it, three things I think authors should keep in mind as we move into 2012. There are a lot more things I think you should keep in mind (always wear clean underwear when you leave the house, realize there's a difference between signing terms of service and a contract, embrace the opportunity for choice as one that's good for an industry, and follow @angelajames on Twitter) but we'll stick with these three highlights for now. There will be plenty more time to dissect publishing, both past and present.

Executive editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first imprint, Angela James is a long-time advocate for digital publishing after nearly a decade in the industry. She frequently travels to conferences around the world to meet with authors and readers, and to drag them to the digital dark side. You can find Angela on both Twitter and Facebook.


Gabriella Hewitt said...

Nice Angie and spot on as usual. I think as the walls come down separating trad pub from self pub from digital pub that the lines are getting blurry. It will come down to quality. The bottom line is that readers want a great story to read.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Angela. I think the lines are getting blurry, and that's part of what makes a new author getting ready to query (like me) frantic. So many choices - what if I make the wrong one? What if ONE wrong word on my query letter gets me tossed before my book gets a chance?

The bottom line is the writing has to be good, and we have to keep an open mind. Publishing is a different beast than it was five years ago, and having so many choices is a good thing.

Rita said...

THANK YOU Angela. Reasonable words and good advice.

Wynter Daniels said...

Great post, Angela. I never thought of the publishing model as "shades of grey" but that makes sense since we have no idea what technology will bring forth next.

Shawna Thomas said...

Great post, Angela.

I have to admit to a little lingering prejudice against self-published books. I know it comes from a few bad experiences, years ago, but it's annoying.

I recently read a really well-done self-published book and my first thought was, Wow, she could have had this published. I wonder why she didn't?

That thinking is out-dated. There are really good reasons to self-publish. Lots of gray. High quality books are high quality books and will always be in demand.

Anonymous said...

Good post! I think you make a very good point (among others) regarding the author's own personal "brand" and the need to tend to that, in terms of what to print (even the free material)!

jbrayweber said...

Solid words of wisdom, Angela. And thanks for reminding me about wearing clean undies. :-)

Here's looking to a prosperous 2012!


Cynthia Justlin said...
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