Monday, April 25, 2011

Many Roads to Oz

If you’re familiar with L. Frank Baum’s books you might know more than one road leads to Oz. There’s even more than one Yellow Brick Road (Dorothy Gale, supposedly, took the harder of the two). Assuming all roads lead to Oz, how could I figure out which road was right for me as an author?
Trial and error?
I did that. I tried traditional, had some moderate success in breaking through, and then the path began to crumble under my feet. As I started contemplating other roads, I came to a realization—I was not the traveller.
The traveller is my story—my manuscript or series—and just like each project has its own voice, each story has its own path. This revelation enabled me to choose multiple roads at the same time. One project is sitting in agent slush piles in hopes of going the traditional route to publication.

For THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN, I was on the outside of the trend looking in. The big six (publishers) jumped all over angels and have since moved on. More than two years ago, I was at a book signing when an author—a big NY Times best-selling author—asked me about this recently finished project. Her response, “Oooh, angels are so hot right now. You should try to sell it asap.” Great. I’ll get right on it. By the time it got some serious attention—and praise, even—from agents and editors, angels were over. I could shelve the project and wait for angels to cycle through again, or I could choose another way.
The thinking on my literary fiction story is a little different. It touches on subject matter that is about to explode in film, TV and publishing. The agility of self-publishing, in this case, gets me ahead of the trend. I’ll explore this in greater detail as I get closer to the August release of this project.
Conclusion: Publishing is no longer a world of either/or and the diverse or “multi-pronged” approach is a sound strategy.
Mood: Energized and a bit overwhelmed. ;)
Related topics: Multi-published author Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) has a great post about her multi-pronged business plan and how one of her “homeless” projects found its way into reader’s hearts through self-publishing. Read it here.

One more thought provoking post: Why Digital Self-publishing Frightens Some Authors by Michael A. Stackpole.

Next Steps: Figure out/set up my author presence & upcoming project on Amazon (maybe B&N)- decided to wait until after cover reveal; research POD (print on demand) providers & costs-in progress; finalize production schedule; decide whether or not to hire a line editor-in progress; schedule a guest blogger for 4/29 & 5/6 “First Love Fridays”-in progress; WRITE
Read before you buy at
Your turn: Where are you in your journey? Which road are you on?


Lorie said...

Love the yellow brick road analogy, Carey! It's hard to determine which is the harder road. Sometimes waiting and having next-to-no control--as you pursue agent representation and traditional publishing--can be harder then diving into action and publishing your work. And sometimes all the research, unknowns and exposition of self-pub seems the more difficult route. But since you are pursuing both with different projects I think this blog could ultimately get even more interesting... :D

Melissa Landers said...

I agree with Lorie on all counts. I like the yellow brick road analogy, and it makes me think of the friends Dorothy found in Oz. The road we choose is just as important as the people we meet along the way.

I'm early in my journey, and I've been fortunate to have knowledgeable travelling companions guiding me. Without that support--without my "village," as you call it--I might have taken a wrong turn a long time ago and wandered in circles.

Keely Thrall said...

Carey - I think your Road to Oz plan of action (road map!) is solidly thought out with plenty of reality checks in place and bolstered by the eager anticipation of stepping onto the road not (yet) taken. Enjoy the next leg of your publishing journey - I can't wait for the cover reveal!