On taking the plunge

Authors and e-publishing have been in the news a lot this spring.

There’s Amanda Hocking, of course, and her incredible story. It’s not my genre nor my kind of fiction, but I admire the amazing success she’s had over the past year.

The author who has been more influential on me, however, has been Joe Konrath. Joe has become an evangelical for e-publishing and self-publishing and his arguments make a ton of sense. (Go click, read, and then come back if you haven’t read his post from Friday.)

Now Joe and others are making the choice to shift from legacy publishing to e-publishing. I’ll be totally honest — I don’t have that option. Neither do 99 percent of all authors. That’s the reality of the publishing world.

But I’m okay with that. Traditional book publishing moves very, very slowly. Even if a contract dropped into my lap today, it probably wouldn’t be published until the fall of 2012. I wouldn’t see any money until 2013. With the Kindle and Nook I can make a decision in March and publish in August. I could publish sooner if I wanted, but I need time to learn about marketing and e-publishing. (You only get one shot to make a first impression, so give yourself adequate time.)

My novel, “Signs and Wonders,” doesn’t fit into any of the neat boxes that publishers like. It’s a story about a woman’s journey from being a lifelong charlatan to someone who can apparently perform miracles. It’s about faith and why we believe but it’s not really about religion. It is not preachy. A Christian publishing company might be interested, but are they really going to be able to provide that much more marketing muscle? It’s unlikely.

In the end, the success of the novel is up to me. Just me. I do the writing, hire the editors, hire a cover designer, do the marketing — and I love that. I work during the day for a very big company with tens of thousands of employees. I can make a suggestion at work and hope it’s picked up and passed along, but that’s about it.

With e-publishing the decisions are all mine. Will it work? We’ll find out soon. All I know is that the success or failure will be about the decisions I make — and no one else. How great is that?

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