Do you have a novel that you’ve written but have struggled to get published? Have you spent endless hours crafting a work no editor will ever read? If your answer is “yes,” then you’re not alone. In fact, you are only one among a vast majority of authors whose long labor goes unrewarded. Certainly many of these have neither the skill nor talent it requires to rise above the others in the highly competitive world of commercial fiction. But then, many of them never intended to do so. Most books simply don’t fall into that category, and so have little chance. Trade publishers run a multi-billion dollar business, and they just can’t take the chance on very many manuscripts of esoteric interest.
This is the predicament I found myself in upon completing an epic seven-hundred page historical fantasy novel. On agent that I queried replied with the brief, but pointed question: “364,000 words, are you kidding?” This from an agent who purportedly represented fantasy fiction. I responded in kind with: “Have you never heard of Robert Jordan?”
So it is that many of us with valid works are stranded outside the standard commercial channels (I feel justified in calling my work “valid” as it has since received rave reviews). But the face of publishing is changing. Today’s technology has made it possible to publish your own work, not through marginal vanity presses of ill repute, but rather by taking matters into our own hands, much as authors such as Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin did before us. Print-on-demand technology and internet marketing bridges the gap between the authors and their audience, bringing the writer and the reader together. Today there is no need for high-priced middlemen who do little to promote your work, and pass on less when it comes to profits for the author.
Rather than waiting idly by for more replies like the one above, I started my own publishing house to produce my own books, and I did it for little more than a few hundred bucks. Today I own and operate Fantasy Castle Books, have complete artistic control and ownership of my work, and gain 100% of the profits from my novel. It’s been a long road with a steep learning curve, but I can tell you there is nothing better than success that comes from one’s own efforts. For an ongoing and in-depth discussion of the process, visit my blog at http://authoradventures.blogspot.com.
R. Scot Johns is a life-long student of ancient and medieval literature, with an enduring fascination for Norse mythology and epic fantasy. He first came to Beowulf through his love of J. R. R. Tolkien, a leading scholar on the subject. As an Honors Medieval Literature major he has given lectures on such topics as the historical King Arthur and the construction of Stonehenge. He owns and operates Fantasy Castle Books, his own publishing imprint, and writes the blog Adventures of an Independent Author, where you can follow his progress as he writes The Jester’s Quest, his second novel. You can visit his website at www.fantasycastlebooks.com.
R. Scot Johns will be on virtual book tour in March '09. Please visit his official tour page here to find out more about his new book, The Saga of Beowulf!