Updated: Dec 23, 2021
During the long (if-not-ever-lasting) pandemic, new authors experience greater difficulty getting out of their literary basements. Well-established authors have the luxury of switching from thrillers to children's books and still be sold out even under the new nom de plumes. Why?—Because they have the right people who promote them and protect their rights if needed. No one dares to steal a review from them even if it doesn't comply with the sale ratio. Meanwhile, newcomers are stressing over the life-changing decisions - whether to choose self-publishing, small presses or to spend years searching for agents. As for the self-publishing authors, the lonely voyage into the world of Amazon brings a lot of frustration. I've come across great books and wondered why those books barely have any reviews after 4-5 and more years of being out there? And then, you see the books that in a few days become bestsellers, although the content barely reaches the average.
Self-publication is like a self-execution for new authors. Kindle Unlimited sounds promising in getting your name out there. However, even when people read your book daily, you don’t get much from it and there is not big chance to acquire any reviews. Wonder why? Because of the sales ratio of the paper copies, not the electronic versions which often turned to be the free copies anyways. If you want to pitch your second book to the agent, you are unlikely to bring your previous experience to him/her. Why?—Because your 10, 15 or even 20 reviews over the entire two years that your book has been on Amazon will unlikely impress them. Anyways, here is what I come across more often now: I’ve sent out my work to a few small presses but haven’t heard anything yet. It seems many are on a pandemic-forced break. Has anyone had luck with self-publishing, or should I even keep at it? I feel like I can’t move forward.
Here are—in my opinion— the best things that you can do:
1. Keep writing no matter how dark and difficult the time is - pandemic, war, or depression - if you’re meant to write - just do it. There is a plethora of hot topics anywhere at any time.
2. Blogging is not a bad idea BUT you need to define your audience. Some people, like myself, find it difficult to concentrate on just any one topic, which is not good in promoting yourself as a writer, blogger, etc. You gain your followers and subscribers if you become an expert in a particular area of their interest.
3. Literary magazines are a more reliable source nowadays. Even if it is an online magazine, it is not a bad beginning—just make sure that the magazine is somewhat reputable. You must show that you are literarily active. Just get your name out: write articles, reviews, essays - whatever - and later on, you may pitch your story, in parts or whole—depending on the requirements.
4. Don't get upset, if after pitching to several agencies, you don't hear from them or keep getting rejected. This is not a bad thing. Why?— Because this is a sign that these agencies are not scammers, and don't accept just anybody for the sake of making an extra buck. Most reputable agencies have a response time from three to eight months.
5. Do your research about agencies and their agents. What genres are they looking for? What are their particular interests in writing? For example, some of them might like a more southern setting while others may better relate to Nordic sceneries and lifestyles. Of course, it would also be a waste of your time to pitch your traditional-love romance novel to an LGBT publisher. Choose responsibly who you pitch your work to.
I wish you the best of luck and eventually huge success!!!
Keep your chin up! Who knows, today's bummer may bring tomorrow's success!