Tim Ellis asks, ‘Writer, publisher or marketing guru?’

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Friday Guest

Okay, so let’s talk about publishing. Not any old publishing, but e-publishing – or should that be epublishing, or epub, or… whatever! Anyway, if you hadn’t noticed there’s a revolution afoot Comrades. No, I’m not talking about Syria, Tripoli, or any of the other faraway hot places where camels strut their stuff and there’s lots of sand – and we’re not talking about the few measly grains on the beach at Blackpool either! Oh yeah, a revolution! It’s been the talk of the radio waves – or should that be satellite waves, or maybe wireless, or…?

Now, you’re probably thinking, He keeps wandering away from the subject! Well, that’s what I do. I mean, it’s no good making assumptions, skipping over fluffy stuff you don’t understand, or shilly-shallying around the more difficult concepts. Anyway, e-publishing has become a phenomenon – I love that word, especially when you say it slowly and wrap your lips around it.

Before, when brontosaurs roamed the Earth masquerading as traditional publishers, fed by their minions – agentosaurs – there were gatekeepers. For those of you unfamiliar with gatekeeper theory, these were people who decided which deserving author was published, and of course, which were not based on some slushpile criteria that was kept super secret. Then, these monstrous gatekeepers sent you a photocopied letter saying nothing of any value.

But now, every writer is a deserving author. Now, you can e-publish anything and everything within 24 hours. Some of you are thinking, Yeah, some of it shouldn’t see the light of day! Well look, you know that and I know that, but now it’s the readers who decide not those heinous gatekeepers who dismissed your drivel on a whim. Now, strangers who buy your offering will tell you whether it was worth publishing or not. If you haven’t developed a hide like a rhinoceros, now would be a good time to begin working on that.

Sometimes though, a complete stranger – with no axe to grind – will give you a five-star review, say that they love your writing style, your plotting, your characters, and have you got anything else please? They email you, friend you on Facebook, follow your Blog and on Twitter, Like your fan page, and generally give stalking a bad name, but it makes the hours of writing all worthwhile. You’re an author and those gatekeepers were wrong, and now they’re knocking on your door wanting a share of your profits – What are you gonna do?

So, all’s well with the world, and what’s scarier is that everybody who e-publishes is an agent, a marketing guru, an accountant (always supposing you’re getting some sales), a cover design artist, a blurb writer, a tech-savvy all-singing all-dancing self-publishing Mr or Mrs Wonderful. You get to pull the strings, control everything, decide on everything – oh, there are market forces, which dictate certain things, but all in all you’re the man/woman. The buck stops with you, and now you have no time for writing. Bah humbug you say – you didn’t want to be a writer anyway, did you?


Visit Tim’s website or his Amazon Author Page for more details about his work.

  1. Ey Wade says:

    It’s all so excitingly scary and well worth the trip. I’ve learned a lot, met awesome Indie authors (you included Tim) and would do it all over again.

  2. Thanks for the comment Ey. Yes, I agree. Learning to write fiction is only half the journey. As soon as you begin a new venture you invariably meet a potpourri of people along the way, some who are experiencing what you are, and some who become lifelong friends.

  3. Hi Tim,

    I’m definitely a writer first, but it’s true, if you self-publish, you have to do everything. The thing is, even if you trad publish, the writer usually has to do most of the marketing, and that’s what takes up all the time. When it comes to epublishing, trad publishing offers very few advantages.

    But, yes, if you epublish, you have to be willing to do everything, and that takes a lot of time and energy.

  4. Tim Ellis says:

    Hi Suzanne! I love to write, but not only does life get in the way, but promotion does as well. I don’t think people realise how time-consiming it all is unless they’ve done it. There’s the website and everything that entails in constructing it and keeping it up to date; the FB Fan Page – although I don’t bother with this; the blogging; the social networking; the tweets and retweets; and you can write-off Sundays because of #SampleSunday. There are FB groups to join – thousands of them if you’re not careful – people in these groups want to suck your time like milkshake; guest blogging; blog tours; interviews; book reviews; and, of course, you have to keep checking your sales on KDP every 30 seconds, your position in the bestseller charts; and then there’s the elation at receiving a 5* review and dying a little when someone tells you your baby is ugly as a slug… Yeah, life is full!

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