Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lost in Literary Land

As hard as it is to believe, I have been asked why I haven't gotten my so called novel, No Refuge, published other than as an e-book.  The short answer is that I have no clue how to go about doing that other than cold calling some publisher and saying something like "Hi there, you don't know me but I've written this novel and...bzzzz." (conversation terminated by dial tone.) The Internet is of little help. Type in getting published and dozens of sites pop up, all wanting your money. I needed advice from an independent party, a real author, maybe one on the NYT best sellers list.  Back to Google where I entered writer's blogs.  On the third site, I found what I was looking for.  A young woman who had written three novels, was published, and was willing to share her experiences with us wannabes.

What I learned , and as I feared, was not encouraging.  The writer likened the chances of seeing your book in Wal-Mart were about the same as seeing your name on a movie screen. Apparently the number of aspiring writers out there is astronomical. I got my first hint of this as I attempted to upload No Refuge to a web site that claims to be a distributor of e-books. Allegedly, this site  formats your little work of art for use to well known sellers such as Barnes & Noble and Apple. They take a cut for their trouble and you get the rest of whatever sales result. I might add that their cut at this particular point in time is zero. But what was so discouraging about the process was when I clicked the upload icon, a message appeared to say that I was number 359 in the queue. THREE FIFTY NINE? You mean there were 359 other wannabe writers in front of me?  Yes Virginia, it was true. After a modification to the text, I uploaded again. This time there only 89 people ahead of me. Think about that for a moment. If we could make the modest assumption that if 400 books were uploaded to this site a day, we're talking 146,000 books a year. Combine that with the recent statistic that less than half the adult U.S. population has read a book since high school, and you begin to get some idea of the competition.

One thing I know. Even in the face of those numbers, a sure way to never get published is quit trying. Not gonna happen.  Most writers agree that their second novel was far better than their first so that's what I'm working on now.  It's about a teenage girl that wakes up in a storm cellar with a locked door and no food or water.  Sheriff Lester P. Morrison from No Refuge gets a report of a missing girl and it goes from there. The clock is ticking.

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