Bob Dylan made this phrase a household name during the turbulent sixties. It’s even more important now, in the twenty-first century, in the publishing world. Change began slowly in the nineties when most of the large publishers no longer wanted to see submissions directly from the author. Instead, they wanted these submissions vetted first by an agent. There were still a few publishers taking “over the transom” submissions, but authors were in competition with hundreds of others for very few spots.
At the same time, the glorious publishing days of the eighties where an author could expect a large advance, being featured on national talk shows, and having a book tour nationwide were ending. Publishers were tightening their belts and expecting authors to be more proactive in promoting their books. The author no longer could sit back and let a team of professionals handle advertising. They were expected to write their next book andpromote the one that was just published.
Then the century changed and the publishing world with it. With the internet becoming more available to the ordinary person, small online publishers were popping up everywhere. Even better, those who wanted to be authors discovered they could publish their books themselves and not have to worry about a middleperson.
Then there are the authors whose vision is still in the eighties. They expected to be wooed by a publisher, told their work is glorious and will bring fame not only to themselves but also to their publishing company. They expect the editing process of their book to take at least a year, because that’s how long it could take during that glorious era. Cover art had to first be rendered as a painting and then had photos taken of it, which the author would review and send his approval or suggestions for changes. During this time, the author would also have their time consumed attending literary events, perhaps museum openings, or appear on talk shows. They would soon have an image of the cover art to bolster the excitement of becoming the next best selling author. Once the book released, they would bask in the adulation of long lines awaiting her wit and humor as she signed books for the public. Photographers from newspapers would chronicle the event.
That sounds like absolute heaven to an author. Doesn’t it?
Hate to drive a pin into your balloon of glory, but those days are not only long gone they will never again exist.
In today’s publishing world, you, the author, must stump your book in online venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of a dozen lesser known sites. You have to be up and witty twenty-fours a day, seven days a week. There is no time for the classic “new author with a book coming out soon” adulation received in the eighties. Most find there is little time for anything but concentrating on their day job, their latest release, their next book, and how to balance a budget.
That is the reality of being an author in the twenty-first century. We are one in a crowd of many. There are glass walls we will constant run into. The determined author shatters those glass walls and trudges up to the next one, prepared to do what is necessary to be a success. We don’t wait for the readers to come to us—we go to the readers. We authors are determined and ruthless when it comes to ensuring our books will be seen by thousands daily and we will be thankful for the sales we receive.
Give up the dreams of an eighties style of promotion returning. Those days are gone forever. It’s time to hit the madness of the twenty-first century running and stay ahead of the pack closing in behind you.
About the K.C. Sprayberry
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
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