In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a revolution taking place. No, I’m not talking about Egypt or Libya, I’m talking about publishing. Over a year ago, a meteor hit the publishing world in the shape of the Amazon Kindle.
What it means is that writers no longer have to get on their knees every day and pray for a publishing deal. What it means is there are no more gatekeepers guarding entry to the rarified VIP lounge of literature.
What it means is I’ve just published my first book.
Yes, as of this morning – and what a beautiful, sunny morning full of the promise of life it is, dear reader – you can purchase a 16,000-word novella titled The Girl with the Bomb Inside on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com if you’re in the USA.
It’s a Kindle edition, but you don’t need an actual Kindle to read it. If you don’t have one yet (me neither) you can install the Kindle Reader for your iPhone, your iPad, your Android phone, your PC, or your Mac and be downloading and reading new authors like me in no time at all.
In the last few years I’ve talked a lot about the massive changes taking place in the world of screenwriting and independent feature film making. I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen that both the means of production and the means of distribution have been democratised and there’s now no excuse not to go out and make your film.
You can shoot your feature film on very cheap digital cameras, edit on your laptop and now even distribute via Video on Demand, totally bypassing the traditional routes to movie distribution. Writer-directors like Edward Burns are leading the way with films like Nice Guy Johnny, shot for a paltry $25,000 and distributed on iTunes.
But I’ve been so focussed on screenwriting that I totally missed the same thing happening in the publishing world.
And in the publishing world it’s happening so much faster.
The ebook market has gone off the charts in the last year and a great many writers with a backlog of unpublished books are making more money through Kindle than they ever could with a traditional publisher.
Yesterday, Barry Eisler announced to the world, in conversation on Joe Konrath’s blog, that he has just turned down a half a million dollar two-book deal with a publisher because he knows he can make more if he self-publishes.
Have I got your attention now? I thought so.
Konrath’s blog is practically the self-publishing community’s forum and he’s very much leading the charge, but there are other writers out there who are selling even more: there’s Amanda Hocking, a 26-year old who’s made a million in the last year selling supernatural young adult novels; John Locke with his hard-boiled action-adventures; British thriller writer Stephen Leather, who’s selling over 2,000 books a day.
For some reason there’s always been a stigma about self-publishing, and it has never made any sense. It’s always been fine to go ‘indie’ in music, or in film, but publishers have managed to make us all terrified of being tarred with the ‘vanity publishing’ brush.
But that’s over. The era of independent publishing is upon us, and writers like me, who’ve spent many years writing novels and quietly storing them away in the face of publisher indifference, are now putting their titles online.
I started writing my first novel a year after leaving school in 1982, and over the years penned another nine. That’s right, ten novels, and most written before I started concentrating on screenwriting (am I now novelising my screenplays? Does the Pope shit in the woods?).
Five of those novels will never see the light of day, but the others are now part of an 11-book slate I intend to publish this year. I may as well announce it now so that I’m forced to actually see it through.
Before 11 November 2011 (11 titles before 11.11.11), I am going to publish the following:
MAR 2011 : The Girl With The Bomb Inside – novella
APR 2011 : Train Can’t Bring Me Home – novel
MAY 2011 : The Very Thought Of You – novella
JUN 2011 : The Budapest Breakfast Club – novel
JUL 2011 : The Striker’s Fear of the Open Goal – novel
AUG 2011 : Meet Me in Montmartre – a short story
AUG 2011 : Touchstone – novella [Part 1 of a series]
SEP 2011 : Player – novel [Part 1 of a series]
SEP 2011 : But Suzanne Valadon Wasn’t There – a short story
OCT 2011 : Touchstone – novella [Part 2 of a series]
NOV 2011 : Lovers In Paris – novel
I may of course burn out with exhaustion half way through or even change my mind about certain titles, but I think it’s achievable seeing as six of them are almost good to go.
So, go and buy the first installment of this publishing experiment The Girl with the Bomb Inside – an explosive, foul-mouthed 16,000-word novella about a schoolyard pregnancy – and enjoy the free sample chapter from my next novel, Train Can’t Bring Me Home, a postmodern Hungarian campus romance.
It will cost you the princely sum of 70p and provide hours of entertainment.
My favourite indie publishing links:
Konrath and Eisler : the event
JA Konrath: You Should Self-Publish
JA Konrath: A Bedtime Story
JA Konrath: Monetize It
Amanda Hocking : Epic tale of how it all happened
Amanda Hocking : How everything went the opposite of what I’d been told
Stephen Leather : making a small fortune selling 71p books