Yesterday I attended the QRB Write2Publish event -- the panelists included a literary agent and an Algonquin editor, and the attendance was excellent. I always enjoy attending such events, and I almost always run into someone I know, which is even nicer.
The discussion was interesting, as always; but as I listened, I found a series of thoughts going through my head: I'm doing ok. I'm right where I need to be.
I'm the first to admit that I don't know a whole lot about the publishing industry, or the business side of writing. But it seems to me that the face and dynamic of the industry has changed drastically, thanks to technology, but those in traditional publishing either haven't noticed it or haven't figured out what to do w/ it. There are so many more ways to be published now, in a variety of media; and yet, the industry is clinging to the idea that traditional is still the only way to go, that it is the only avenue that carries any sense of value or credibility. Months ago, I would have agreed w/ that. Today, I'm not so sure.
I agreed w/ Chuck as he described his love of books -- not just reading them, but the tactile pleasure. Oh yeah. I know that -- just holding a book in my hand, smelling the pages, seeing them lined on a shelf, or stacked on a table... ooooh, feel my happy pulse rising! "Tactile" books are still alive and well, but the gap between author and audience has closed, thanks to You Tube, Facebook, podcasting, and other such outlets. I was happy to hear that Chuck gave a thumbs up to Lulu (although the agent opined that publishing fiction through POD was not as viable as nonfiction; I disagree, and not just because I'm publishing my novel this way), but he seemed stymied about technology's place in 21st century publishing in terms of "solutions."
When the discussion ended, many attendees scrambled to talk to the panelists, no doubt to give a quick pitch, or hand off a card, or something. I had come armed w/ a stack of business cards, yet they never left my purse. Instead, I opted to talk to my friend Susan, and went to Caribou Coffee afterwards to do some writing and catching up w/ her. Some may think I gave up a big networking opportunity, and maybe I did, but I simply didn't feel the need.
Maybe it's because I've been aligning my thoughts w/ my intentions, but I'm feeling satisfied w/ my current path. And this is not to say that I won't consider an agent in the future, especially when my current manuscript is query-ready. But I'm no longer convinced traditional publishing is the only way to make it as an author. In fact, I probably have less confidence in it than ever. Still, I was very appreciative of this particular panel, as I'm sure many were.
I didn't get much writing done at Caribou (but I did figure out what I wanted to write for the chapter); but last night I finally uploaded the corrected PDF file on Lulu, and am awaiting yet another test copy of my book. In hindsight, I wish I could've better formatted the book to minimize pages and cost. Depending on how the test copy looks, and the opinion of a manager at QRB (I've gotten to know one of them well), I may have to change it again; but I'm hoping it won't come to that. I'm really, really looking forward to finally releasing my novel to the public.
(P.S. Happy Birthday, Stacey!)