The Best of Times?

I enjoyed Rachel Caine’s comments on the state (as much as we can tell what it is) of book sales statistics and the affects especially from the perspective of new writers. It brings up the somewhat worn-out topics of “whether small press publishing helps you get to New York” and the burgeoning epublishing industry, warts and all. Comments there and other spots, such as Romance Divas and EPIC loops, range from the “hell no, I’d never stoop to epublishing,” to “I love my small press career, it’s all I want.”

My question to new and aspiring writers is this: Do you adjust your goals to suit the market? On Romance Divas, a number of writers were of the hell-no to epublishing variety just over a year ago. Some of those same writers are now very happily announcing their e-contracts. Still, most seem to see small press and epublishing as a door to something bigger, and presumably better.

In the meantime, as more and more writers are able to become published, the competition is…well, somewhat disturbing. I’ve been writing for perhaps four years. Some critics might say I should be “further along” by now. Meaning, why haven’t I gotten something into NY. I really haven’t tried seriously, haven’t written the book I think it marketable to those editors.

During the same period, I’ve watched my readers become published writers, watched the number of writers at small publishers grow exponentially, and wondered if I’m not in a glutted market. Has small press/epress publishing become as competitive in a way as New York?

The problem, of course–supply and demand. Small press publishers can be more selective, and so can readers. I would love to see statistics on the number of electronic romance titles circa 2004 vs. today. I think in fact that despite claims to the contrary, the standards are going up (not everywhere of course) for these small presses, which is a great thing for readers. One can make a case it’s a great thing for writers too. Get your chops in order.

Writers, are you disheartened by things? Do you find these trends confusing? Is your target moving? Are you comfortable where you are? What’s next for you?

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