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The Dilemma of Unpublished Novelists

Qianlong Emperor in Ceremonial Armour On Horseback by Giuseppe Castiglione

Qianlong Emperor in Ceremonial Armour On Horseback by Giuseppe Castiglione

Cheap Read

My place to stay had a shelf full of used paperbacks; and since I could not afford a new title, I perused the books and picked out a novel by Mario Puzo, called The Dark Arena. So far this story about life in post-WWII Germany has been a fun read. With a little research I found out that the author wrote the novel from his WWII experiences in Europe. The book got good reviews but lousy sales. To increase his literary revenues and better take care of his large family, Mario decided on writing a story that might sell better. Thus, a novel called “The Godfather” was created and published. The rest is history.

All Dressed Up But Nowhere to Go

Perhaps, unpublished authors look a little like the Chinese emperor pictured in this 18th century painting by the Italian missionary to China, Giuseppe Castiglione. Today, first-time novelists face a tougher time that perhaps 20 or 40 years ago. The biggest hurdle might be the large number of writers submitting manuscripts to a slightly decreasing market, but other dilemmas await the prospective writer. One of the big issues today is the rapid rise in use of electronic reading devices. Coupled with the high-profile successes of a small number of writers, the electronic route might well seem to be the best way to go. However, a closer look at the recent e-book phenomena may  reveal some warning signs for those trying to break into electronic self-publishing.

A Second Look at Traditional Publishers

Much of the current e-book successes have been had by already published authors. Many of these guys and gals were either dropped by their publishers or simply had old books, where the original rights were reverted back to the writer. For this type of person the Nook, Kindle and Kobo have meant increased revenues, sometimes in very large numbers. Despite the success of first-time author Amanda Hocking, the first-time novelists sees a much rougher road. Simply put, e-book buyers are not flocking to unknown authors in large numbers.

Old Hand Outlines Old School Editors

At his blog site called The Book Deal, Alan Rinzler discusses the opportunities for new writers with three veteran editors of the New York publishing world. In this question and answer session, the veteran editor and publishing insider discusses the importance of new writers to a panel of old-pro editors. As it turns out, though sales may not be of the blockbuster variety, the opportunities presented by paperback publishers may be under rated in today’s confusing and rapidly changing book market.

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