Conference Thoughts: Treating Backlist Like Frontlist Marketing

Last weekend, I taught a workshop on self-publishing at the Festival of Writing in York. It was quite a large conference, with a few hundred attendees, primarily focused on unpublished writers. Most attendees were seeking publication via the traditional route, but there was a lively crowd at the workshop, and I was pigeon-holed by many more curious about self-publishing over the weekend. I had some free time on Saturday and dropped in on a SF/F genre panel. Much of the advice was excellent, but some was quite curious. For starters, writers were urged not to write in a series. The reason given was that agents and publishers prefer standalone works as the first book may not sell, and then the writer will Read More…

Jodi Picoult and the Myth of the Segregated Marketplace

Jodi Picoult made headlines last week for her views on self-publishing, expressed in an interview with the Daily Beast (from Page 2): What advice would you give to an aspiring author? Take a workshop course. You need to learn to give and get criticism and to write on demand. And DO NOT SELF PUBLISH. Unfortunately, Jodi Picoult wasn’t pressed by the interviewer and didn’t elaborate (it would have been amusing if she had done so IN ALL CAPS). The (outdated) blanket warning to avoid self-publishing generated a lot of reaction in the comments of that piece and anywhere else it was reprinted. I won’t rehash all that, only to note that, by contrast, Ms. Picoult thinks it’s a fine idea to sign with an Read More…