Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Of literary agents, editors and ISBN's

One of the unfortunate results of last years accident, related to getting my head scrambled, was having my
I don't have a compelling ISBN photo.*
nearly finished novel derailed. However, the novel isn't a dead project! I needed help to get rolling on it again, new tools and methods(for me) and assistance from a literary agent and editor, both of whom I am lucky enough to have access to.

Over a recent weekend, I spent time with both, agent and editor, made a loose plan and started the re-write of the first chunk of the book. Among other things we talked about the digital publishing revolution, something I have been a part of as an editor and publisher and now plan to join as an author. While the European market still views self publishing as circumspect, the practice is enjoying wider acceptance in the States. We talked a lot about the virtues of getting a traditional publisher vs going it alone and for my first literary work I think I'm just going to put it out there myself. You don't even need an ISBN to sell on Amazon anymore. That's pretty cool of them to accommodate authors in that way by creating the ASIN or Amazon Standard Identification Number. (Even if Jimmy Wales is not a fan.) ISBN numbers cost and if you are only buying one they cost as much as $125 when you get them direct from Bowker, the company that mysteriously has control of the ISBN market. If you buy 10 ISBN's the price drops to $25 each. That's pretty real savings if you can swing the cash. So, essentially if publishing holding you back, like it may have even five or ten years ago, and you were afraid of submitting to publisher after publisher facing the black box of getting a mythical book deal, fear not, for times have indeed changed.

Incidentally, once you buy even one ISBN number you are technically a publisher. There is a heck of a lot more involved in publishing than assigning a number but if you ever considered getting into the publishing world, writing a few novella's or something similar, there's no time like now. You might even consider forming a little writers collective with a group of friend's. I've been thinking about it recently as I meet more and more photographers who want to make books. Printing a physical book is still a tough thing to even contemplate but more digital books are sold world wide now than print and the numbers have yet to plateau. Don't get me wrong, they will, but this is as good a chance to find your pet genre and dive in on the ground floor as you're likely going to get.

The key thing to remember in all of this though, if you wrote your book, or even your short story, published or not, you have already achieved something. The success is in the act, not the external validation.

*Me in a tree stump near Humboldt.