Monday, 11 November 2013

Publishing is vast!

When I was in Madrid last week I saw a bunch of fellow writers from my old writers group. I had just finished Hugh Howey's Wool and was raving about it. This post-apocalyptic tale was indie published and went on to become a bestseller. Howey signed a juicy print-only contract with a major publisher, keeping control of the ebook rights himself. Smart man. Now there's talk of a film in the works.

I'll be writing a review later in the week so at the moment let me just say it deserves every bit of its success. I was surprised, though, when two writer friends said they had never heard of it. Both of them are science fiction writers, one of them with several publications under her belt. They're both well-read too, and certainly read a lot more in this genre than I do. Yet they hadn't heard of such a major success story. I bet I'm ignorant of many similar blockbuster science fiction novels.

Publishing has become vast. There was once a day when the majority of well-read people were familiar with any particular bestseller. Those days are long past. Now the market is fragmented, with fan bases that often don't overlap and may be entirely ignorant of each other.

How can a writer cut through this horde of new books out there and get noticed? I have yet to figure that out. The standard practice of blogging, tweeting, and networking only seem to go so far. I'm not sure anyone in this new publishing world has really figured out a magic formula.

I know one of the ingredients, though. An awesome book, like the one Hugh Howey wrote. I'm looking forward to reading the sequels.

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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