No More Gatekeepers?

I had a good laugh at the gatekeeper dragon analogy. This is some golden advice for the indies who are confused about how to market their books. Audrey has written the exactly same sorts of advice I give to everyone about book marketing.

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

Until a few years ago, aspiring writers sought out advice on how to query agents and publishers, spending fortunes on big fat books full of names, addresses and tips, not to mention all those expensive conferences where writers could sign up for a 5-minute encounter with (gasp!) an actual agent.

In the Trad Pub era, supply was controlled by those gatekeeping dragons. Most aspiring writers’ hopeful submissions were relegated to slush piles and recycle bins. A few wannabees were seduced by vanity publishers, but no one took them seriously. Then came the internet. Self-publishing became respectable (and a source of income for those catering to the self-publishing crowd). The floodgates opened.

One of the bonuses of publishing your own books is that you, the writer, are in charge. You hire the editor, you decide what the title is and what the cover looks like. You set the price and…

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2 thoughts on “No More Gatekeepers?

  1. There will always be gatekeepers. As long as writers need help reaching readers, there will always be people with the ability to decide which books do and don’t reach potential readers. The idea that someone can just write a book and not do the work and put in the effort to get readers to pay for the privilege to read it is absurd. The trick is in deciding who you want your gatekeepers to be and deciding which set of rules works best for you, as a writer. Writers have more choices and more opportunities to reach readers than ever before and readers are spoiled for choice when it comes to good books to buy and read. Getting mad at the ‘gatekeepers’ won’t change anything – the readers want gatekeepers, they want someone to help them decide which books are worth spending money on and which aren’t. In that respect, writers aren’t any different than any other industry – people want to know they are buying a quality product. Readers don’t often get the option to return a book to a store if they don’t enjoy it – they can take most products back for a refund or store credit. This is not so easily done with books. Purchases are usually final, especially with ebooks.

    I’d much rather focus on finding the gatekeepers who are interesting in letting me in and in showcasing and recommending my product than in fighting a battle against the gatekeepers – because the gatekeepers’ success is dependent on the success of the books they endorse and support. They need us as much as we need them, and as the opportunities for writers to reach readers continue to grow, the gatekeepers who are successful will be the ones who help writers succeed, just as writers who are successful will help those gatekeepers stay in business.

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  2. Amazon does refunds on ebooks, Barnes and Noble doesn’t. Besides, one can tell if the book is worth reading it not, by reading the first chapter for free on Amazon. This is how I discovered some great books written by indie authors.

    With the advent of self publishing, the dreadful slush pile gatekeepers are no longer a concern. It’s far easier to reach the book bloggers and reviewers, who are available on social media, than some nameless interns going through the slush piles and batch-rejecting hundreds of authors.

    Goodreads is quite awesome for finding the genre reviewers (many of them also run book review blogs) and doing giveaway campaigns and book launches. Google Plus communities, Reddit, genre forums, Twitter, Wattpad are all free and full of millions of potential readers/reviewers. I am willing to do all the work, cause it’s fun and doesn’t really feel like work at all. Book bloggers are actually very nice people if one follows etiquette contacting them for reviews. And it costs nothing to chat with them, unlike the agents at expensive conventions. No travel required, no expense, and you get to meet some great people who share the same interests. I learned about a lot of awesome series from my blogger friends, also discovered some high quality books via goodreads and genre blogs.

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