The other day John and I had the opportunity to meet with a famous young adult (YA) writer, who was kind enough to have lunch with us and offer advice about writing, getting published, marketing, etc. She greatly encouraged John to quit looking toward self-publishing and look to get an agent. The bottom line distinction between the choice to self-publish and the choice to do the hard work of trying to get standard published still seems to be this: if you simply want to see yourself in print, and sell a few books, self-publish. If you want to make a career out of writing, go through the hard work, and failures, and rejections, until you can get standard published, because that is where you will earn money, and respect for your book. So for now, that is the future direction we are looking toward. She also recommended subscribing to the site www.publishersmarketplace.com, for a really great resource for finding agents, knowing how much writers are getting paid for books, etc.
On a related note, however, John's self-published novel peaked again at 32,000 for its sales ranking on Amazon, and at this point we're not sure why, other than by word-of-mouth success, which is great! We have been doing minimal advertising, nothing paid, only mailings (and none in the last 2 weeks), and then the usual: maintaining a Facebook Fan page, a Good Reads page, and a blog on Amazon. He does have a number of book talks/ signings in the next 2 weeks that we have advertised. Whatever the true cause, we're glad that the book has caught on and is still going strong. Hopefully this data will help us when he looks to show agents (for his next book) that he has fans and has been successful on an independent scale, and therefore would be a promising writer to take on.
Also, we are still scheduled to go to the Midwest Writers Workshop, and I am looking forward to any networking opportunities and writing inspiration that this might bring. If it gives even a bit of the inspiration that speaking with the YA author did, I will be very happy. As I have read in many places before, conferences are great places to make connections, meet agents, and bond with other writers.
Ursula Le Guin
5 hours ago