How to Escape Unpublication

…or how I am going to do it.

The first step in escaping unpublication is outlined in the progress update below:

I may have mentioned previously that the working title of my writing group’s anthology is Offerings.  Here’s a brief progress update on this project.

Five stories were submitted for review by the group on August 1 with first draft critiques due on August 17.  Based on those critiques, each writer will make revisions/edits with the goal of completing and submitting a 2nd draft by September 5.

As you can see from the progress bar to the right, my own story “The Last Portal” has almost 90% of the 2nd draft to go this weekend.

Is it obvious what I’ll be doing until the end of Labor Day?

So, a little more about this project and my story to pique some interest.

Offerings will be published electronically in e-book format and will be available on Kindle, Nook, iPad, and any other eReader device on a date in the near future.  I’ll give a more specific date when we get the details settled.

The anthology will contain six stories which are more accurately called novelettes, since each will run at least 10,000 words or approximately 25-30 pages long.  Therefore the finished collection will contain close to 200 pages of stories.

The stories will be of the fantasy genre, with a few being epic fantasy, and at least one being contemporary or urban fantasy.  Each story builds on the common theme of sacrifice and/or the price of freedom.

My own story, “The Last Portal” is an epic fantasy story about sacrifice that currently runs about 15000 words.  I have mentioned before this story is set in the distant past of the same world in which I am writing a fantasy series.  I hope this story can serve as a way to enrich the story world of Laurentia and provide a mythology or history for the characters in the future.

So what is my story about?

A disgraced member of the divine Jadra race is called upon to discover what threatens the Portal that protects their underground civilization from the evil and corruption on the surface.  However,  nothing is as it seems and the threat is far worse than he could have imagined.

Once my story has been fully edited and finalized over the next several weeks, I will post excerpts here for all to preview.

So far, this has been an exciting venture and I look forward to the next steps as we all compete final drafts of our stories and prepare the collection for e-book publication.

Since we are publishing this anthology ourselves, we are handling the editing, formatting, book cover, submission, and accounting ourselves.  It will be interesting how the details unfold and I’ll provide updates on each significant step so you can see the process in action.

With the changing landscape in publishing and the access authors have to directly provide stories to readers, the path ahead seems ready for travel.  Writers no longer need to wait for some distant agent or editor to endorse or accept their work.  If you write at or near a professional level, you can escape unpublication on your own.  You can put your stories directly in the hands of readers who are eager for new stories and discovering new authors.

For far more expert advice than I can provide.  Read the “Think Like a Publisher” blog series on Dean Wesley Smith‘s blog.  He is a publisher, editor, author, and teacher who has written and published over a hundred fictional works.  His advice is golden.

Soon, I’ll be posting about my experiences setting up my own publishing company.

Is anyone else involved in the publication process?  How is it going?  What have you learned?


7 responses to “How to Escape Unpublication

  • Stephen A. Watkins

    I will say that I am truly interested in learning how this goes for you. I’m not ready to take the “self-publishing” leap myself… (At this point, I sort of see it as a principled leap-of-faith, and I don’t have the faith to make that leap yet.)

    Reading about how this goes for others will go a long way to helping me figure out what I want to do for my own writing career…

  • Mark J. Taylor

    I intend to chronicle the experience in enough detail to hopefully allow others to make the leap, or baby steps, themselves.

    As for me, I’m past faith and ready to accept the new landscape. However this journey unfolds, I will learn plenty.

    • Stephen A. Watkins

      There’s the thing… I do see evidence that the landscape is changing. I’m just not so sure it’s changed in the way a lot of those who intend to pursue self-publication think it has changed.

      It’s not what it was before. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be what they say it is now. And I’m not yet prepared to accept that optimistic vision. (In fact, I’ve seen some evidence suggesting that, in fact, the dream of a completely demediated book market isn’t really where we’re headed at all…)

      Honestly… my bet is on something very different from either the old world or the current proposed vision. What that is is difficult to say… but I’ll wager it won’t be a truly demediated market.

      • Mark J. Taylor

        Whatever the eventual landscape, it’s changing now and that has opened up opportunities for many writers. There is quite a bit of flux right now and maybe things will settle differently as you suggest. However, I’m not tempted to wait until the proverbial dust settles to resume my writer’s journey.

        I think we each have a different road and some will wait out the storms and others will forge ahead. Still others will give up and go home. I think you are smart to test the winds, so to speak, before facing the tempest.

        Since none of us has a crystal ball, we can only choose based on what is apparent before us. Since we all see things differently, those choices will vary.

        I’ve read advice advocating self-publishing only, a hybrid model of self and traditional publishing, and the trad only approach. Which will work best? Who is to say? Even among traditionally published best-selling authors, each has a different story of their entry into the market and how their success was built.

        For me, I considered which model has the least barriers to entry for an aspiring author. Clearly the self-pub model, since the only gatekeepers are the readers.

        Will that harm or help my career? I don’t know. I just don’t want to wait a year to find an agent and another year to find a publisher and yet another year for the book to be printed and on bookshelves. That’s assuming I have a finished novel length manuscript to present. Which I don’t yet.

        Call me impatient, and I’ll agree. I think professional impatience can be the right risk-based approach when applied judiciously.

      • Stephen A. Watkins

        One thing you say I absolutely agree with: each writer’s path to success will be their own story. One story of success cannot ever truly be duplicated.

        I’m very glad for those who are finding success self-publishing. I’m just not in a state where I can justify the upfront expense of going the self-pub route (if you want a book that is stand-out) based on the risks of making back that initial investment.

      • Stephen A. Watkins

        We’ll see! 🙂

        Maybe, the answer is nothing. I’m optimistic (I believe I’m a very good writer) but also realistic (I know that outside of being a good writer, very little is really and truly directly in my control).

        Mostly, I’m making it up as I go along. And I’m reading a lot about what others are doing.

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