Are writers of literary fiction finding the changes in publishing the hardest?
The rise in ebooks seems to favor books that are easily categorized into one of Amazon’s shopping buckets and the biggest recommendation for selling books is to write them more quickly. If it takes years to write one literary novel, then how is an author in this genre to make an impact, especially as an indie? Literary authors also have to contend with the institutionalized snobbery that exists against self-publishing, despite the excellent books they can produce. What do you think?
In today’s video interview shared below, I talk to Terri Giuliano Long who has sold over 100,000 copies of her independently published literary fiction novel, In Leah’s Wake, which also won the IndieReader Discovery Award in the Literary Fiction category. Due to Skype issues, we recorded a Google Plus hangout which was a pretty cool way to interact!
- Terri started ‘In Leah’s Wake‘ as part of her Masters degree and she comes from a more traditional publishing background but the book wasn’t picked up. When she started her new book, she started investigating self-publishing. It was one of the best things she could have done for her career.
- Terri feels that there is still a snobby attitude towards self-publishing amongst literary writers and many of them wouldn’t self-publish for fear of this stigma. Literary fiction does have a smaller audience. In Leah’s Wake is a family story with no werewolves, zombies etc. It’s a family drama around the complexities of bringing up teenagers when they get into a bad crowd.
- Terri has given away a lot of books and feels this is a great way to build an audience over time, by building up a following. She has done this as part of blog tours when people comment as well as other giveaways. It’s a more personal way to connect.
- With marketing literary fiction, focus on the story behind the story – in this case, teenagers running wild and the inability of parents to cope. This is the non-fiction story behind the fiction.
- Terri talks about the misconceptions of other authors about self-publishing. A friend of hers assumed that she had bought 90,000 other books in order to sell that many of her own. Once she understood that marketing was about cultivating relationships and she got rid of her own prejudices, it was brilliant. It’s a journey. The stigma is starting to change which is great because it enables authors to take control of their own careers.
- On Sue Grafton’s comments about self-publishers being lazy and her subsequent apology. How those who take this seriously use professional editors and designers. There are some who don’t follow quality guidelines but increasingly, this is an industry where people want to put out a quality product. As the stigma diminishes, the industry is changing to take advantages of the new ways authors are learning to market and build their own platforms.
- We talk about reviews based on the fake review company that has been exposed in the New York Times, as well as UK author Stephen Leather’s fake reviews and the trolls who post negative reviews against bestsellers. The ends of the spectrum are a nightmare but we are both fans of legitimate reviews. [I'd like to call for us to be honest and authentic in our reviews. Personally I review on Amazon & Goodreads the books I enjoy. I rarely leave bad reviews as I prefer the positive approach. Yes, I do believe in social karma!]
Top image: Bigstock Leather Books with Ebook Reader