Renowrites blog!

Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Left or Right?

Lately, I’ve been closely following the Occupy Oakland movement. My day job has me a few blocks away, and I find myself intrigued by the empowerment of the 99% to have their voice heard. I support their hope for financial equality and their right to free speech. It’s this right to be heard that makes me wonder if I should just take the plunge and self publish one of my manuscripts.

I’ve always wanted to have my work published through a New York publishing house. This has been my big dream as a writer. But as I continue to work at my manuscript and send out queries, I find it difficult to find a home for my stories. I had one publisher pick up one of my manuscripts, only to drop it once they went out of business. I consider that a blessing in disguise. Another agent told me that she enjoyed my writing style, but would find it difficult to sell a story with Filipino protaganists to a publisher in today’s day and age.

All of my stories have Filipino characters, but I strive to write universal-themed stories about love and hope. But finding an agent or publisher willing to take a chance on my perspective is quite a challenge.

So the question remains: Do I still pursue my dream of New York publishing acceptance? Or take the plunge and self-publish before my manuscripts sue me for keeping them captive in my laptop?

Frankly, I’m still thinking about it. I’m not quite sure which road to take. The one on the left or right.

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Self-publishing: Changing Model, Getting Respect?

There was a recent article at Publisher’s Weekly written by Ann Byle about the current status of self-publishing in the industry.

Self-publishing: Changing Model, Getting Respect.

What does everyone out there think? Is self-publishing really starting to get respect? I’m not quite so sure. I brought up self-publishing to a published author┬árecently and she gave me a look and said, “That’s a route you can go if you choose to.”

The look she gave me was the most telling on how she felt. She’s found success going the traditional route, so I guess she may be biased, but I believe she’s not alone. I believe that many authors still hold a negative bias towards self-publishing. I can’t really blame them – many of the self-published books I’ve read (or tried to read) have major editing issues. I can’t remember a recent self-published book that I’ve read from beginning to end.

But the opportunity that self-publishing provides can’t be ignored. Authors have to champion their books more than ever, even through a traditional publisher. I believe the lines between self-published and traditional are more blurred than at anytime in the history of the publishing industry. Book stores continue to downsize and large publishers are looking for money-making titles; it’s a longshot that any debut author will be an instant success.

Publishers would rather sign celebrities to book deals because it mitigates the risk of losing money since a celebrity already has a following. I cringed when I heard pop star Justin Bieber got a book deal to publish his memoirs. The dude’s only sixteen years old! And he’s publishing a memoir! From a publishers perpective, it’s pure genius. This kid has millions of fans who would probably line up to buy his book. Cha-ching for Harper Collins!

I did smile at the announcement of Betty White’s two book deal with G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of the Penguin Group. She’s paid her dues at 88 years-old, and let’s be frank…how can you not love Betty White? ┬áBut Justin Bieber? Shouldn’t he wait until he’s at least twenty-one years old to publish a memoir?

It’ll be interesting to see where the self-publishing debate stands a year from now. Will the lines be more blurred? Will there be a self-published book on the NY Times best-sellers list? Will there be another J.A. Konrath to talk about?

For now, I’ll continue to write in the cave hoping for the best.

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