The other day I read an interesting article online in THE BOOKSELLER, about a teenage girl signing a book contract with a reputable publishing company. The title of the article read ‘HarperCollins pays six figures for teenage author’. The article starts with:
“A teenage author who has built a huge following online has been snapped up by HarperCollins.
On Wattpad, the novel has been read more than 17 million times.
She published her story in episodes online.”
It is not the first time an author has signed a huge publishing contract with one of the big publishing companies based on the number of followers-readers, online. The media and especially the internet is full of such success stories.
Are we to think that this may be the new norm of submitting a manuscript? Publish online and if your work attracts a huge number of fans, if you are thus successful, then and only then will the publishers seek to sign a contract with you.
Recently I have been following all the talk about online reviews of self published books. There’s too much hearsay about authors paying people to read and review their books online. The controversy surrounding these discussions is that if the author pays for the review, then there’s no doubt that the review will always be positive and overwhelming.
If you are a self published author you very well know that you cannot submit your work to be reviewed by literary magazines and journals since self published books are not eligible for submission. The same way they are not eligible for submission to any literary award. So how do you go about it? It seems like being caught in the Bermuda triangle, you are doomed no matter what.
The late actor Roger Bowen, who considered writing his true vocation, had self published his book Inga. He would always introduce himself as a novelist and say:
“Before I’m an actor, I’m a writer. I don’t need the publishing world to accept that fact for me to accept it.”
He has been dead since 1996, but his advice to writers and playwrights was:
“You tell your stories honestly. You work every day to improve your craft. You don’t need to be knighted into a special writers’ club by a publisher.”
Invaluable advice to self published authors and novelists. But is it enough for today’s writer?