Whether you are a writer or a reader, you've heard something like this: The publishing world is changing.
We've all got eReaders and can get our reading fix at the click of a button. Even our local libraries are now accessible electronically. Prefer audio books? Upload them to your iPod. Strapped for cash? Plenty of free eBooks to satisfy your craving.
And writers...book tours are a thing of the past. They're costly and said to be a waste of time. The new and improved alternative is a virtual book tour. That's right, tons of book bloggers are just waiting to promote your book for you and you don't even have to leave the house.
This blog is about writing and striving toward publication. So before we get ahead of ourselves and begin querying book bloggers, let's talk about what the evolution of the book industry means for the publication process.
There's nothing wrong with the old fashioned way. Hey, there's never anything wrong with following a tried and true method. But now? There's so many other options.
Yep, that could be your direct route toward publication. Many writing organizations host contests for all the different genres and the judges are usually in the book biz. There is usually an entry fee, which made me cringe in the past, but once I got feedback from published authors, editors and agents...totally worth that $15. The best part of these contests is that if a judge is in the industry and they like your submission, there's a good chance they'll request your entire manuscript. Right there, you've jumped out of the slush pile and onto the desk of a publishing professional. At the very least, if you final in a contest, mentioning it in your query letter is an excellent way to draw attention.
Agents and imprints are constantly hosting these pitching contests through Twitter and other social media. In one or two sentences, you could hook an agent or editor. Again, you've made that huge leapt at of the bottomless pit that is the slush pile. My advice here is to get some expert help on writing a killer Twitter-length pitch. Sign up for a workshop, read writing blogs, whatever advice is available, absorb it.
Get out there.
I know it's easier said than done, but there are prime opportunities at book festivals to meet editors and agents. Find such events in your area and make connections not just with other writers, but with everyone in the publishing industry. Don't verbally vomit on any of these folks! Practice your elevator pitch ahead of time and wait to be asked what your novel is about. Play your cards right and you may just get a request to send your manuscript to someone.
Look for other unconventional ways to get attention for your manuscript.
A new option just opened up for YA Romance writers, but I believe it's going to be successful and many other genres will give it a shot. Macmillan has just started beta testing their revolutionary new crowd-sourced publication model, Swoon Reads. And my manuscript is on their site! I'm not going to push you to go read and rate my book, although I will include a link at the end of this post. But that's not what this post is about. The concept of Swoon Reads is brilliant. Anyone can upload a manuscript (as long as its no published anywhere else, even on your own website) and anyone who signs up can read those manuscripts for free. The next step is for readers to rate a manuscript. Manuscripts who receive the highest rankings will be read by the Macmillan publishing team and if they're deemed worthy of publication, the writer will receive a $15,000 advance, a standard contract and their manuscript will be published in eBook and paper formats.
So, how cool is that? Readers get to be a part of the process before publication. Pretty smart on the Macmillan team's part, if you ask me. As a reader, I love having the chance to see what others are writing and support them. I've only read one other manuscript on the site so far, and it was by a seventeen year old girl. I was impressed! I know there's a lot of talent on the site and I can't wait to read more manuscripts. I mean, it's free...and I definitely enjoyed what I read better than many of the free eBooks on Amazon, Smashwords, and Nook.
If you would like to read my manuscript go here.
Keep in mind, my YA pen name is Riley Akers and the novel is titled Paper Cuts.