The Grass Changes Color

by Ashlynmathews on August 20, 2012

I love this picture. I can imagine driving down this road . . . wait, I am on this road. If I could pick an image to symbolize my path to publication, this would be it. A path flanked by tall grass and wild flowers with the sunrise ahead.

September 10th is the release of my debut novel, Shadow Watcher. It’s already on Amazon for pre-order. Soon it’ll be on Itunes and B&N. It’s great and surreal, yet at the same time there is uncertainty and doubt. Why? Because with the dream comes the reality of publication— Amazon rankings, self-promotion, exposure on social media, reviews, and will anyone see or buy my book amongst the millions of books out there?

For the past week or so, there has been lots of discussion on loops and social media about various authors’ experiences with publishers — big and small— along with the pros and cons of self-publishing, e-pub, and traditional publishing.

Some of the comments are disheartening but the majority was encouraging. I try to keep an open mind. Similar to the music industry a couple of years back, the publishing business is forced to open its eyes to a changing attitude of empowerment in favor of the authors. After all, a book wouldn’t exist without the writer. Just as a tune would be nothing without the singer’s voice.

Three words. Music. Shazam. Itunes. I heard a song at Starbucks. The artist was obscure. I downloaded it. I bought it. How easy did Shazam make it for me? One touch of a “buy” button, and the song was on my Itunes. How great for Itunes and Apple? Doubly great? The artist? I don’t know. But hey, one more person bought their song because Apple and Shazam made the process easy.

Two words. Kindle. Amazon. I see a book. I like it. I buy it and it’s readily available. Once I’m done, I can easily and readily rate it. Great for the author and great for Amazon and its Kindle. The process was easy.

One word folks. Easy. As my character, Sophie Sinclair, says, “Easy was never for me.” Maybe not for a Demon Hunter with strong convictions, but for readers with little down time, the access to books, just like music, needs to be made readily available.

What else works besides an easy process? How about word of mouth? How often do we read a book based on a friend’s recommendation? Or listen to and possibly buy a certain tune because our friends constantly talk about how they can’t get it out of their heads?

There’s a lot of talk out there amongst authors but we should be reaching out to our readers and finding what is the best and easiest way for them to access our books. I’m an optimist. I listen and hope I’m learning from my fellow authors’ mistakes and successes. Yet, I’m also a creature of habit and too loyal.

Through all the discussions, the grass may be greener on the other side or it could be various shades of green based on who you talk to, but I plan on sticking with my current publisher. Every company has its good and bad. I don’t have time to self-publish. And I can’t wait a year or more for a traditional publishing house to publish my book.

A year ago, I left a company —after a decade of working there— to follow my boss to help her start up a new program and department. A fellow co-worker and friend went with us. We knew it would be hard. The beginning always is. Yet, we had each other and the support of the current company. That was huge.

And that’s why I would continue to stick with my current publisher, Crimson Romance. They debut two months ago. They’re releasing five titles a week. That is a big undertaking. But they’re backed by a successful and large parent company, Adams Media. Like those I work with at my day job, my fellow Crimson Romance authors are supportive. They’re great women with great stories to tell. You should check them out at www.crimsonromance.com.

Similar to my real day job boss (whose name is also Jennifer), my editor, Jennifer Lawler, is someone to be admired. My current boss manages a small group compared to Jennifer Lawler’s numerous authors and a romance line, but both women, in my opinion, are amazing. They have important jobs with big responsibilities and higher ups to answer to, yet they do it with professionalism and finesse while encouraging and supportive. What great role models they are. Yes, fearless-leader-boss JW, I’m speaking Yodaism. Smiles.

In any industry, the next best thing could come and go. Or it could survive and thrive. With the change in the publishing industry, authors have more choices. Each choice is personal. As long as we have people who support us, we have to believe our decision was the best one possible even when doubt slips in every now and then. For now, for me, the grass is the most vibrant green it can be.

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