Friday, April 22, 2011


by Peg Brantley

(OT: Before I begin, I just need to say I'm totally impressed with both Marlyn's and Drew's posts. In fact, I'm a little sick to my stomach right now. What have I gotten myself into? These people are good.)

Now that I've shared my anxiety with you, it's on to the topic of the day, and why there's a picture of a rabbit up there.

You’d have to be pretty deep down the rabbit hole not to have heard all of the hubbub in the publishing industry. With the advent of the e-book in a Very Big Way; more and more writers responsible for the brunt of their own marketing—regardless of who publishes them; the e-book; an economy that has every business concerned about the bottom line; e-books; publishers cutting the numbers of titles they’re willing to produce—and, did I mention e-books?—changes have been screaming at lightning speed compared to the last several decades. This is an exciting time to be a writer.

So here I sit. A woman (of a certain age) who has gone through the unimaginable learning curve to write a novel. Believe me, had I known how unprepared I was, and what would be required of me, I’m not sure I would’ve taken that first step. But after walking a gazillion miles, my feet are tired and I see a couple of doors not too far down the road. I figure I might as well at least knock.

But which door?

There's the door I’ve become acquainted with over the years, at least in my dreams. It’s huge, at least ten feet high. It’s heavy, made of rare and ornately carved wood. Behind it are agents and acquisition editors, the industry professionals. They are the men and women who have always worked hard to find the next great author. Agents who really want to love what I’ve written, because if they do we’re all in the game together. Publishers who can fall in love with my manuscript and work to make everyone’s dream come true. It’s subjective and not a little secretive. But it’s a place where a writer can be filled with affirmation once they’re accepted.

Glory, hallelujah.

The other door is simpler. Transparent. Not nearly as artistic or exciting.

But it's open!

Not at all what I associate with real publishing. It's really kind of a shock. And I've been watching what goes on behind these doors. This is a place where readers are looking for their next great author. It’s readers who have the power here. Not the agents and not the publishers. Kind of exciting. Kind of scary.

I’ve always dreamed of walking through that ornately carved, heavy door. But now I have a choice.

Which door?

Come follow along with me as I try to figure this out.

If you'd like to see your name in my first book, leave a comment and you might be a winner. We'll walk through one of those doors together. Sorta.

It's all better with friends.


  1. "This is a place where readers are looking for their next great author. It’s readers who have the power here."

    These lines say it all for me. Now that readers have the power, I get to be a full-time writer. I love the new age of publishing.

  2. A thought-provoking and entertaining read, Peg! I can't wait to read your novel, because it's obvious by this article that you're an excellent writer!

    Which door? Maybe both simultaneously? Send off some query letters to agents and also put your novel out as an e-book. That seems to be a viable choice... What do the rest of you think? Maybe we should get Joe Konrath over here, too!

  3. You have nothing to be anxious about, Peg. Great post. Looking forward to riding along with you on this unique journey, as I'm sure many other readers are as well.

  4. Thanks, LJ. I also like the idea of working for myself . . . and readers. Nothing in between.

    Jodie and Drew, thanks for your thoughts and for leaving a comment.

  5. Amazing post, Peg. You had nothing to be nervous about! And thank you so much for the compliment.

  6. I loved this post, Peg. You make turmoil sound exciting and adventurous! The door analogy is terrific.

    I'm looking forward to witnessing your choices and your new journey.

  7. You are in some fine company here, Peg, I agree--and it's just where you belong.

    This is a great post.

    As you know, I don't have much more perspective to offer than you've already provided.

    I guess I'd just say one thing about that gilded, ornate door.

    Gilding flecks off. It's shiny, but it doesn't last. Or deliver on its promise of solidity.

    Whatever door you walk through, I think it's great we get to decide now, you know? Instead of all being crammed trying to squeeze through.

  8. "I think it's great we get to decide now, you know? Instead of all being crammed trying to squeeze through." - Good one,Jenny!

  9. I agree with Jenny! For so long writers have been at the mercy of the tastes of a few (usually much younger) people who work behind those ten-foot tall ornately carved doors in New York. But the advent of e-books has given us so many more choices. I've been through a door (not so tall and more like quarter-inch plywood) with a small POD publisher and, while it was fun, I'm looking forward to slamming through the old transparent screen door myself! Hope to see you there, Peg!

  10. The interesting thing is that we control all the rights to our work, in all languages, in all formats, and in all media. Most of us have no idea of how to market these rights. There is not much incentive to submit to someone who might take a year and a half to get back to me with a rejection slip. The whole thing is a really tough call these days.

  11. Marlyn, you're fast becoming a treasure in my life.

    Turmoil. For someone who loves routine, turmoil can be irritating. But I'm also a huge optimist. Thanks for stopping by, Camille.

    Friend Jenny, one way or another, we're both going to be published. I love that there's room for everyone now.

    Karen, I'll be looking for you online! Go, girl!

    Wow, Lou. You've brought up something I haven't even considered. Well done!

    Thank you, everyone for exploring this new blog. It's a great place to hang out.

  12. “The other door is simpler. Transparent. Not nearly as artistic or exciting.”

    Peg, as you wrote, it is also open. But from my perspective, it is artistic and exciting because stepping through that door gives one freedoms—freedom to choose your cover, your formats (POD, ebook), your distributors (Amazon, Smashwords), your promotional style, a freedom from rejection from agents or publishers, and freedom from having to fight to receive owed royalties. That sense of freedom outweighs trying to PUSH OPEN that heavy door behind which are dozens of restrictions and frustrations. It allows for a “meeting of the minds,” the author and the reader, and takes away the coldness and distortion that may come from behind the Heavy Door, that is, if one can even break through it.

    No longer are you alone in walking through the "other door"...and you can do so with respect. Not only is it “readers who have the power here,” it is authors! And I love it!

  13. Linda, so true! And I just read this post:

    It looks like things might be heating up pretty soon.

  14. I'm a reader with no ambitions to write. As a reader what I'm looking for is something good to read, and I don't care how it is published. One of my definitions of Hxxx is being stuck somewhere with nothing to read! The challenge I see for self-publishing is publicity. Readers can't buy your books if they don't know about them. However, it's a great opportunity to break out of the mold. I think the whole situation is going to shake out over time, but there is going to be a lot of dust generated in the process.

    This blog is a great addition to the dialogue. I'll be following the postings with great interest.

  15. Peg,
    Good, thought-provoking post. I'd love to read your novels and hope to see the first available soon, however you do it. I'm enjoying most of the indie books I've read. Others not so much. The same is true of traditionally published books--some I enjoy, some don't appeal to me. Whatever you do, keep me posted so I can read it!

  16. Kathleen, thanks for figuring out how to leave a comment! Publicity and marketing are pretty much left up to the authors even if they aren't self-published, and it's becoming more the norm for the writers to pick up the marketing pieces and make something happen. Some publishers offer some things to some of their writers, but that seems to be the exception to the rule.

    Ellis! You, too! I know sometimes it can be a challenge to leave comments. I hope you get to read one of my books soon as well. Thanks for your support.

  17. You did a fine job illustrating the decision serious authors face, Peg. Thanks for making it so real.


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