Should I turn my old books and manuscripts into Kindle-ing?
Years and years ago, when I first became a published author, I was content to believe all I would ever do is write book after book, and attend signings, speaking engagements and Book Clubs. A good life. A very good life. But then two things happened that changed everything:
1. A story came to me that begged to be turned into a play. It’s impossible to explain, other than to say that, instead of the characters wanting to be housed in a bookly habitat, they told me they would much prefer being brought to life. So I wrote a play for the first time in many years and a local company decided to produce it.
And I added “play writing” to my daily list.
2. My publisher disappeared. Specifically, the Editor who loved, loved, loved my work and promised to publish everything I sent her changed jobs two months after my books came out. And the new Editor was taking the company in a new direction and neatly rejected my next novel in the series. Well, more accurately he rejected the box it came in, because the envelope was never even opened. I knew I should get my manuscripts out there to another publisher, but there was something about theatre. Bringing those characters to life was amazing. And I loved what actors brought to the table – an ever-changing dynamic. So I decided to take a break from the publishing world.
And I moved “play writing” to the top of my daily list.
Years later, I manage my own production company, Run Rabbit Run. I work with fabulous people, do speaking and teaching engagements once in a while, and submit plays for production or go ahead and produce them myself. This is working well for me, but every once in a while I think about the characters in my unpublished books. If you’re a writer, you understand. They want to be heard, and sometimes they’ll whisper to you: “HEY, why don’t you trying getting PUBLISHED, again, JERK!” Or something like that… I try not to listen.
Then along came eBooks.
In the last year a sea change in publishing has occurred. Amazon appears to be calling most of the shots, and their Kindle platform is definitely calling 75% of the eBook shots. But still there’s that icky “self-publishing” thing, right? Well, apparently in the last year that’s changed too. In fact, the publishing process is being reversed as we speak: eBooks that sell well are being picked up for “real” publishing by the majors.
Hmm… Suddenly I’m looking like a pretty good bet here, because I…
– design websites and love to learn new internet tricks. I am, in fact, a Net Geek;
– love creating video promos, graphics and taking great photos;
– dig every aspect of marketing (my focus during my Masters in Arts Management studies);
– have a group of previously published works with solid reviews;
– never stopped writing, and so have a stack of unpublished manuscripts to send out, as well. Oh, and plays! And nonfiction! And… heyyyyy, this could work!
But now for the reality check: the eBook formatting process isn’t easy (a lot of people opt to hire someone to do this for them, and, after mucking around, we’ve been tempted), but I thank heaven daily for my Software Engineering husband, and it’ll get easier after the first one. Next problem: It’s true 99% of eBooks just don’t sell, but there’s no harm in trying, and I do appear to have better odds than some. Besides in this day and age, $20 is $20, know what I’m sayin’?
Lastly and best-ly? I’m one of those people who have ever and always appreciated being my own boss, and eBooks are giving me the chance to manage my own publishing experience. How can I say no to that?
Thus, I have decided: I will Kindle. And we will see.
Meredith Bean McMath is the Managing Director of Run Rabbit Run Productions, Inc. She has books and plays, awards and degrees. She is grateful but sometimes she wishes writers and directors were paid a little more.