Image via Wikipedia This year, 2011, proved to be a most extraordinary one for me as an author.
I am sure that those of you who have followed its progress, in one way or another, as reader or author, have realized the changes that have taken place in the industry, this year, right under our noses. What is significant to note is that some of the shift was instigated, supported and promoted by a different set of people, for a change.
Rather than the powerful conglomerates affecting change, it has been the individual author, but much more importantly, the individual reader, to direct the way the publishing world has flowed. Authors on their own cannot - and will never be able to - cause or manoeuvre a paradigm shift the like of which we have witnessed since October 2010. Readers have flocked to the works of independent authors and small publishers like never before. Now, to determine which came first is a chicken / egg dilemma people are deciding for themselves. But something happened to book pricing this year. Something happened to the way readers read. Something happened to WHAT is being read, and something big enough happened to change bottom lines.
More able writers than I have addressed the shift and there are some very good blogs to be read that sum up 2011 in a masterful way.
Here, I am going to put down a few sentences on how my career has shifted, in just twelve or so months. My second novel was launched by BeWrite Books in March. In April and May, I started to independently publish my back list of short story collections, with the latest, Encore, coming out a few weeks ago. This has swelled my available titles to ten. But that's not all. In the middle of the year, BeWrite Books accepted my third novel, Camera Obscura, which will be launched in 2012. And I also released a number of short stories for quick reads at affordable prices.
I end 2011 with much hope, and with wishes of the same for the many authors I have met along the way. Many have helped me to make decisions, and to formulated plans of attack, and without them I would still be floundering. Without naming them individually, they include colleagues on LinkedIn discussion groups, who have argued, advised, tried, tested and reviewed until they were blue in the face. Colleagues on ANZauthors, which comprises authors from the Antipodes with a wealth of experience, from which I benefit every day without fail. Colleagues on the much-maligned Kindle threads, whose humour and good nature showed me how to - and how not to - go about discussing my fiction. Individual bloggers who have interviewed and hosted me and my titles on their sites, introducing me to a host of new fans. Editors who have published me previously, in journals, anthologies and as publishers - they have participated and helped. The marvelous team at BeWrite Books, without whose innovation and far-sightedness, According to Luke and Death in Malta would never have seen the light of day.
I doubt there will be another year like 2011. It's been impossibly hard work. I have written the equivalent of two novels in blogs, posts and comments, but it's been more than worth it. Although I do not measure success by numbers of book sales, it does count that I have never sold so many books before, in just twelve months. It is the stuff authors dream of. But it's over now - in the words of Ludwig Bemelmans, there isn't any more. We are all going to have to devise new ways to keep up with the changes, and new writing to supply the canny readers to whom we owe so much.
Thank you one and all - a last comment, perhaps decribing your year, would be most welcome.