I get a lot of feedback around the web and from writers that I am harsh. I don’t see myself as being harsh, just honest. Telling it the way I’m seeing it from thirty-plus-years of writing, editing, and sitting in a publisher’s chair.
Michael A. Stackpole and I came into this business at the same time and have talked business a great deal over the years, and often haven’t completely agreed. But he just did a wonderful post about the coming battle between traditional (legacy writers) and indie publishing writers. Blunt and spot on the money. Run there now and read it.
One side note: I also get a ton of comments about how I have left traditional publishing for indie publishing and am now one of the main pushers of indie publishing. Well, that’s wrong. I think any smart writer will be doing both. I am doing both. My wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, is doing both. And Michael A. Stackpole is doing both.
All I have been trying to do is help writers get smart and add in indie publishing to their mix. And stunningly, many long-term professional writers are doing just that.
I know the fact that we do both traditional (legacy) publishing and indie publishing will be ignored by those of you who want to tear me or Mike or Kris down, as Mike talks about. No issue. We play in both worlds. Why? Because, oh yeah, we’re professional writers. And we have to make a living.
And for some reason the three of us have gotten tired of just sitting and watching the stupidity and shaking our heads in disgust.
But that said, over the last year I have become strident about one aspect of legacy (traditional) publishing. Agents and their use to us all. I just don’t think we writers need them any more.
Remember, I had three great agents that I liked and that worked for me. But in the same breath, I haven’t had an agent for seven years now and am selling more to traditional publishing, more overseas, and getting Hollywood options. All without an agent.
Agents, in the last year or so, have changed. Dramatically, and I’m not just talking about the stupidity of agents as publishers, which to this day I think is beyond words in levels of stupidity. This weekend I helped over twenty professional writers understand how really, really simple it is to be their own agent and us IP attorneys for help with contracts. It is stunningly simple, actually, if you let yourself get out of the myth of needing an agent.
Most of the published novelists in the room had had agents and fired them at one point or another. A couple were on the verge of firing their agent so they came to this workshop. A number of people in the room had recently sold first novels and done so without an agent, but all had hired an IP attorney for help with the contract.
So folks, believe what you will about me. I am trying to help writers and myself add into my income stream indie publishing. But if I thought indie publishing was the only way, why did I, this very morning work with writers on helping them make submissions to traditional publishers?
The answer, once again: I think the best plan for all of us is to use both sides.
I use both sides. Sure, I publish under pen names, which is why I am free to speak like I do here. This name is an old media hack name to many people, even though I haven’t done a media novel in over nine years now.
But the truth is, I’m enjoying my writing now more than I ever have under all my pen names. I am free to write the strange stories without worrying about the money return, because I know as an indie publisher, there will be money flowing from everything I write.
I am free to spend as many hours a day as I want writing without fear of some agent or editor telling me not to work so hard.
I am free to make a living with my fiction by both selling books to traditional publishers and also publishing my own through a company I partially own called WMG Publishing.
And why any writer would fight against that freedom, the extra money, and the fun of not being controlled is beyond me.
But as Mike so perfectly points out, that is what is happening. Go read his blog. It’s a stunner and very well said and I do agree completely. This war between writers will not be civil. And yup, that makes me harsh.
But honestly, I’m having so much fun with my writing, I don’t much care what people think.