HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN 17 YEARS PUBLISHED
On August 10th 2005, I was first published with my debut, Blackout. I was 23, and eager to be out in the world as a published author. I made a lot of mistakes over my career, but even with how things went with that first publishing press, I don't regret publishing when I did and how I did. I get asked a lot whether things have changed in publishing since that time, and the answer is very much! I thought that today I would talk about the avenues that have opened up for indie authors, and how things have made my career possible.
One of the first things I need to make clear is that self-publishing back in 2005 was not the landscape it is now. There were no ebooks, there was no signs of that on the horizon, or at least there wasn't to me. I was 23, had five completed manuscripts under my belt, and I wanted to be out there in the world, I wanted to be published. I'd tried querying, had managed to get quite far with it, but it soon became clear that my health wasn't going to be stable enough to stick to the deadlines and the like that traditional publishing needed. I know there's some flexibility there, and maybe we could've worked something out. Nevertheless it didn't happen, and I ended up going the route I would advise everyone to avoid, and that's with a vanity press.
Yes, I paid to be published, and there was no other option for me at the time. My health was terrible, and I was in and out of hospital, and obviously getting sicker, and my biggest fear was that I wouldn't ever get to see my books out there. I went that route because I felt like I didn't have any other choice. Like I said above, I don't regret the choice in that I got my book published and it was amazing and perfect, and it all went really well, but I do regret going with a vanity press. They still call me, almost seventeen years later, wanting to sell me their newest gimmick.
I would advise no one take that route now, and people at the time told me not to as well. I saw it as my one chance to get a book out, because remember, there was no KDP or the like, and I really wanted to take it with both hands and just be happy to finally claim the title of published author. When KDP came along in 2010 or so, I jumped onto that as the chance to get the remainder of my books published, and I've not looked back since.
The landscape now, almost seventeen years later, is so much more accepting and open to indie authors, and for people from all walks of life to be able to publish. I don't know much about how traditional publishing has changed since then because I've never actually been traditionally published, so I can only speak to the indie path. With things like KDP and ebooks booming onto the scene, it made it so that people like me, could publish their works and make a career of being an author.
I have published almost twenty books, the majority in the time since 2010 onwards, and even the changes in that twelve year span are huge. You can now get audiobooks, you can publish paperbacks on a variety of different platforms, you can see your indie book in brick and mortar stores, you can do a whole array of many different things and there's signings and the like that wouldn't have been open to indie authors back then. People no longer look down their nose at you when you say you're indie or self-published. Yes, there's still some of the prejudice about it, but it's not the way it was when ebooks and the like first started coming onto the scene.
It's a lot more open, and yes, there are very much still those hurdles of paying for editors and cover designers and marketing and the like. But even that has become a lot easier for those of us who don't have a big publisher behind us. I am, as I've said many times before, still a small fish in the pond of indie authors. I do what I love, and while it's my full time job, it doesn't pay me a full time wage, but I keep going with what I do, and doing what I love because of the changes that have occurred over the past seventeen years.
23 year old Joey thought that she would only ever have one book out, that she would never be able to bring the Dying Thoughts series to life, to completion, that her stories would always be something that she, and friends, got to read. It's so very different now, and so mind blowing to know that I did it. I can look back and be proud of how far I've come, with all those many changes and be happy to have a bookshelf of almost twenty books, and with more coming, because I never stopped writing. I never stopped telling my stories, and to be here and know that I made it past that one book, really does warm my heart.
So if you're just starting out, whether that's on the indie or trad pub route, remember that you're going to do amazing things, and you will look back on this with pride and excitement. You did this, just like I did it. There's no feeling like being published, and I'm glad I got the chance to keep going.
Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!
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