WORDS FROM THE WISE
So you can write. You got published. How to you go from small indie magazines to the higher paying genre markets?
It’s not easy. You’ll have to develop a voice, nurture it and, above all else – STAND OUT! Jeff Noon, please take the stage…
The question posed to each author is – “A young author comes to you seeking advice. They’re riddled with insecurities and completely overwhelmed by the publishing industry. What are your Words from the Wise?”
The publishing industry has changed so much since my first book came out, because of digital processing. It’s tempting to go down that pathway; I did, when I came back to novel writing after a few years away. I regret it now, and wish I’d gone with a more traditional publisher. So I think that’s the first decision to make for any new, aspiring writer: do I want my book to come out through traditional channels, in paper, or am I happy to just see my work online. I’m aware that at my age, the digital realm seems less substantial than paper, and I can’t really answer for younger people who have grown up in the digital age.But if you fancy doing it yourself online, well, the world is yours. The trouble is, how do I get my book to stand out from the thousands that are being published in the virtual medium? It’s so difficult. I would say this: make your book as different as possible, give it a unique viewpoint or style or subject matter, anything to make it stand out from the crowd. You’re waving your flag in a field full of flags: make sure it’s colourful! If you fancy the old find way of finding an agent, and a proper publisher, well the same virtues of yesteryear apply: they’re looking for three things, preferably in combination, a good story, complex characters, and an interesting but clear style. And to create those you need to work! And work, and work! Keep writing, keep sending things off, to agents, publishers, short stories sites, anthologies, anywhere. There’s a new breed of independent publishers coming up now, who work in both paper and online; they’re usually run by one man or woman, and they’re very enterprising. I have two books coming out next year with one such: Spectral Press. It’s perfect for the more experimental side of my writing.
So, there are avenues, if you seek them out. I will finish on the point I made earlier: be different. Find your own style and subject matter through experimentation, hone it, keep working at it. And hopefully one day someone will recognise your worth, and publish your work. Good luck!