Posted by: writerjames | October 4, 2009

The New Wild West

I just attended the Writer’s Digest Editors’ Intensive event this weekend, and my head is still spinning.  Aside from the fact that I got great feedback from Alice Pope about the first fifty pages of my manuscript (which she seemed to really like), I also came home with a lot of valuable information about both the traditional query-agent-book publisher route, and the new wild west that is the electronic world of books.

As a writer, I’m amazed at what we were told we could do online without in any way affecting our attempts to go the traditional route.  I guess I always thought it was taboo to do things like put chapters of a manuscript online for people to read, but apparently I was wrong.  Not only is it okay to do these things, it seems like it might help your chances of getting published.  If you are able to grow a following online before you even land an agent, it’s proof that you can build an audience.

There are other possibilities as well in this new frontier where there are not yet any set rules.  New technologies such as Amazon’s Kindle, the iPhone, and others are pointing toward a future where it may be possible to be a successful writer without going the traditional route at all.  With a small amount of knowledge, you can put work up for sale on the internet, effectively bypassing the agents and publishing houses altogether.  This may seem ambitious, but it is possible.  The kicker is, even this doesn’t have any bearing on a print deal, because the two worlds are completely separate.

I left the event this weekend feeling excited about the opportunities that are out there in the online world.  This is my first ever blog, so I’m learning as I go, but I plan to keep heading west and panning for gold.  We’ll see what happens…




  1. Hi James! Great that you are starting a blog! Bookmarked it. I agree with you! Change can be wrenching, but it’s also exciting. Publishing truly is entering a “brave new world.” Looking forward to your future posts!

    • Thanks Greg, see you Tuesday!

  2. James, You sound as excited as am about the conference I attended. Good for you! I’d certainly like to hear what you’ve learned about “what to post online.” I started a blog some time ago, posted some info, wiped most of it out, and not sure what to do with it. I’ve wanted to post my first chapter, but I keep changing it, and what if someone takes the idea? No worries?!?! My husband teases me about walking into a book store and seeing. . . Then he describes the book I am working on! I’d like you to share more!

    • No worries. As soon as you write it down, it’s basically copyrighted. The biggest potential problem is the stealing of ideas, concepts, characters, etc. However, one of my favorite quotes from this weekend was, “Obscurity is a bigger threat than piracy.”

  3. James,

    Love the new blog. Thanks for the info.

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