Just when you think you’ve learned the ropes and mastered your system, things change. Isn’t that just the frustration of life? You can lament the fact that things keep changing and throw your hands up in defeat. Or you can embrace it and use the changes to your advantage.
As a writer, some things will never change. Writing involves creating characters for stories that challenge them and cause dramatic changes which reveal their true nature. So you always have to come up with the basic elements: character, setting, conflict.
However, one of the things that keep changing is the business of publishing.
There was once a time when in order to get your book published you had to print out all 400+ pages, find the name and mailing address of an editor, type and print out your query letter, your synopsis, your SASE (if you don’t know what that is, then you’re either a very young writer, or not a writer at all) and pack them all into a box or large enough envelope and drag it down to your local post office.
I remember a year when I submitted about 23 short stories to Pocket Books one year. I sent them all via priority mail, but at $3.75 each, it really added up. And this is not to mention that it took about 30 minutes just to print everything and pack it up. If you were sending a novel to say 10 editors, then the printing time for each manuscript would be about 10 times as long PER copy.
As you can see, it could easily take an entire day to submit your manuscripts to several editors the old fashioned way. Nothing wrong with this, some editors still insist on this method.
But then things started to change.
Writers began daring to think outside the proverbial box and break the “rules” and “guidelines” of submission with the hope that their books were good enough to cause the editors to overlook the fact that the submission guidelines were overlooked (e.g. send hardcopy only, no unagented submissions, etc.) They started sending their query packages via email. GASP! Yes, email.
Soon, many editors began to see that this was not only a “green” method, but a more efficient one as well. I used to send paper submissions and got very little response. Not even rejection letters. But as soon as I started sending email queries, I began to get replies within days. Some of them were form rejections, others were requests for full manuscripts, and still others were very encouraging rejections which praised my work, but stated their publishing line was not a good fit based on the genres they publish.
Eventually, I gave up paper queries altogether. It became an economic impossibility to sustain, and it took way too much time. Most of all, it yielded the least results.
Writing as my evil twin, Joshua Graham, I sent email queries for my book DARKROOM and it was eventually acquired by Simon & Schuster/Howard Books and will be published in May 2011.
This is just one of the many ways the publishing industry has changed. It may not be the most dramatic change, but it has made my life a lot easier. And it works.
IAN ALEXANDER is Joshua Graham’s “good” twin and the author of ONCE WE WERE KINGS, an Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble bestselling epic fantasy. As Joshua Graham, he’s written BEYOND JUSTICE, which won the 2011 International Book Awards and has been a top bestselling legal thriller on Amazon and #1 bestseller in three Barnes & Noble ebook categories.
ONCE WE WERE KINGS is the first book in the Sojourners Series. The hardcover edition is slated for release Fall 2011.
Joshua Graham’s next Suspense Thriller DARKROOM will be released May 2012 by Simon & Schuster/Howard Books.
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