Some of you who read Kristen Lamb’s blog will already have heard this because she totally outted me this morning in her post on the importance of platform. 😛 For the rest of you, bear with me.
Back in 2009 when I started Forsaken By Shadow, it was with the intention of building some interest in my universe–another plank in my platform that I intended to use when I was ready to query New York for my full Mirus series. Then NY showed their hineys in regards to how they managed ebooks, editors and agents were telling their authors not to quit their dayjobs, and I decided I was better off in my own hands, doing the indie thing. This should all sound familiar, as I’ve talked about it before.
I did not ever feel like I was settling by choosing to go indie. I just felt like it was a wiser business decision, and based on my five year plan, I fully expected to be able to quit my job at the end of it to write full time. I’ve been very very, happy and content with this plan, and it’s been going quite well, as evidenced by the fact that I sold 1,000 ebooks last month and am on target to continue the trend for February. All stuff you’ve heard me talk about before. So from my happy little platform, I have given exactly zero thought to traditional publishing outside the bounds of their latest asshattery. I’ve watched my compadres who still seek the traditional route go through the frustration and heartache of the query and rejection process, and I’ve patted backs and picked up the pieces and offered Dark Side Brownies to entice them over to the indie track. I firmly believe in the indie movement.
So last week, Kristen Lamb made a post about how Self Publishing was the American Idol of the publishing world. I made a zillion comments because it was a really GREAT discussion and I wanted to take the time to correct some misconceptions and offer up my informed opinion and experience. Seriously great post, go read it.
Fast forward to Monday when I came home from work at lunch in the middle of one of THE CRAZIEST DAYS EVAR, when I felt like utter dog poo (You know those days when you feel totally hung over, even though you haven’t had a drop of alcohol? Yeah, one of those) to an email in my inbox FROM AN AGENT who was very impressed with my platform and the samples she’d read of my work (all on my blog–see the My Fiction tab) and wanted to know if I had representation, and if not, was I open to a discussion about that. After picking myself up off the floor from the complete and utter SHOCK, I emailed her back that I was not represented and was open to a dialogue.
I spent the rest of the day feeling like I was gonna hurl. Nerves on top of Super Bowl Excesses (the dip, OH MY GOD, the DIP, I just can’t even…) were not a good combination. I had no idea how our conference call would go or what to expect. I was actually expecting that she’d want me to totally give up this indie thing and jump fully on board the traditional publishing train, which I really wasn’t interested in doing without a metric crapton of money. Crass, but true. I can make good money on my work in the 2 years it will take New York to get their stuff together and put my book out, which was part of why I’d gone indie in the first place.
Well I couldn’t have been more wrong in that expectation. She was positively thrilled with what I’ve built for myself, fully agreed that I could do very very well on my own exactly as I am. She just thinks she can help me do it bigger. She’s forward thinking, progressive, totally sees the future of ebooks–and fully supports my continuing indie stuff to grow my platform and my brand and my fanbase–because all of those are tools we can use for negotiation with the big boys. She said the clincher for her (apart from liking my work) is that of the hundreds of queries she gets every day, NONE of those writers ALREADY HAVE A PLATFORM (and most aren’t really interested in building one). I have that platform. It’s small yet, but it’s getting bigger at a very steady rate. I get social media, and I’m doin’ it right, so to speak.
The irony, is that I am essentially doing EXACTLY what I planned when I first wrote FBS. Just on a much larger scale because I’ve got other stuff out and coming out. So when I wasn’t at all looking for traditional any more, when I was thrilled to death with life as an indie, I find myself in the middle of the best of both worlds, with possibly the world’s most perfect agent for me, falling right into my lap without ever writing a single query letter. If that’s not motivation to build your platform, folks, I don’t know what is.
May the happy dancing and squee ensue.