“Knives, or weapons of any sort, did not usually feature in Llewella’s repertoire of collectibles, but the ornate handle had caught her eye. The finely carved ivory or bone beckoned to her – begged her not to let it leave the market without her – although, she was flip-flopping over whether it had been the knife handle or the way the trousers fit the arse over which the knife belt was slung that had drawn her attention first. It was giving her pause, albeit minor.”
I was reading an article today about self-promotion, written by a recently published author. Apparently, they were given a marketing sheet by their publisher – an indication that marketing was still squarely in the author’s court. It does make one wonder: if you still have to do all the work when you are traditionally published, but you have to share the profits, why would you? Oh, don’t get me wrong, I see the value in going through a traditional publishing house – the editors, and that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that you made it through the slush pile – but, otherwise, where is the value? Why not go it alone and self-publish? There are certainly editors out there who will look at your work for a fee. Or, there is libboo.com where you can team up with other authors and arrange to share royalties as you deem fit. Or writing.com with its plethora of writers willing to help – yes, there are people who will help you review your work for free (you just have to offer your time to do the same for others – an educational experience, not a loss). And what about this? The Mongoliad – by Neal Stephenson! I mean, Neal Stephenson … doing what? An online novel with extremely high levels of fan interaction! Fan stories. Fan art. Fan suggestions. This, to me, is the future of writing. No longer will we sit in a dark room typing away in isolation. We can reach out to other people and share our visions, and then find out how they interpret them. I still harbour a dream of doing a bit of an online “graphic novel”. And The Mongoliad is going to be my model. No, I couldn’t hope to reach it’s level of awesomeness, but I can keep it in focus …
* * *
You can read the first few chapters here, but if you wish to read further, I would encourage you to sign up for a free writing.com account which will allow you to read, and give feedback on, many great (and less than great – but how are we gonna learn if you don’t tell us?) written works.