Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Saturday, December 31, 2011

That's all there is: there isn't any more


English: A logo of the band "paradigm Shi...                                       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.

What this has meant to sales of my titles must be seen to be believed. Royalties cheques from BeWrite have never been this good. Sales on Kindle and Createspace for my indie titles are also amazing. They cannot compare with some of the newsworthy hits and their authors who have made the headlines, but for me, they are nothing short of astounding. Not a day goes by without some sales happening somewhere on Earth. This - until this year - was the stuff of dreams for small-name authors, unagented and without the backing machine of a large corporation.

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 must also mention family, friends and those on my emailing list, who receive my missives and act upon them. They include old colleagues from places where I have taught, authors I have met along the way, academics I have worked with, struggling poets, childhood friends and supportive family members. The friends I have made through my children's schools and hobbies, their teachers... so many came to my signings, launches and bought my books. I do mention Robyn Varpins by name - she is the artist who painted a large number of icons and reverential works for my launch. Without her input, the launch would not have been half the wild success we enjoyed.

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.

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  1. Great post. As an aside, I was bumbling along this evening and came across a terrific writer who had many books on Amazon. She was commercially published but the distribution of her work was a longer in print, few electronically published, poor metadata. There's a definite advantage to maintaining control in this ever-changing landscape.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more, Rosanne--and Linda!

  3. I'm feeling certain you'll have more next year--good luck and thank you for being an inspiration in 2011!

  4. Fantastic stuff, Rosanne.

    This has been my best year so far as a writer. My first mystery novel was published! I hope to, no, I WILL get the second one out in 2012, and hope to place and/or sell more short stories.

  5. A great 2011 for you Rosanne, but then you are a dynamo in getting things done.Enjoy reaping the rewards of hard work.
    My 2011 started well with the launch of Streets on a Map, but then health issues dominated much of the rest of the year so hoping for a better 2012.


  6. Rosanne, I've watched with interest over the past year as you and other self-published authors I've come to know thru the Amazon forums have achieved some success. It's certainly been eye-opening. This is a world I didn't know existed a year ago, and now it seems to have taken over the book business. It's amazing stuff!

  7. Nice things happen to nice people and it has been fun watching how your career has moved these last few months. It took a lot of work over the years to become an overnight sucess.
    Nash Black

  8. Oh, Irene - thank you for that. It's amazing what a lot of wonderful people I have met. You and mountainmama are among the ones who have noticed my work. It's great.

  9. One of the fun things about this indie-publishing thing is that it's like the movie business in 1910 - if you're determined to tell your story, nobody can stop you. It makes for a wild ride and a much bigger universe. It's been fun to get to know you, Rosanne, and to watch our 'children' go out into the brave new world.

  10. Rosanne, I am so happy every time I read or hear of your success. I couldn't agree with you more. The power balance is shifting greater amounts into the hands of readers and that can only be to the good of authors, although it comes with its own set of problems (ie, content filtering). I have just signed a deal with a traditional publisher after many years spent trying to break in, but I see it as a balance between pros and cons--there are very real advantages to the independent path. Congrats to you again on a great 2011 and may 2012 be better yet!

  11. It is very useful having a boot in both camps, Jenny - it's been fabulous in my experience.

  12. Great work Rosanne! I enjoyed reading your title, According to Luke this year for my blog, The Australian Bookshelf. Congratulations on signing another novel :-)

    I self-published my first novel, A Season Of Transformation in 2011 and it has been a great experience! My second novel, Intuition will be released early 2012.

    All the best in the future Rosanne.


  13. Well done Rosanne, you are such an inspiration both as a writer and an internet marketer. My biggest discovery of 2011 was to find out how much I don't know. As you know, I hope to catch up with you soon so I can learn more. Wishing you great success in 2012.

  14. It's nice to see a writer who is making the most of the changing world. It's very easy to lose confidence but you certainly have inspired me to look at new ways of getting my work out.

  15. Rosanne, I concur with all you've said about the paradigm shift. As I move towards my first Kindle publication I take your journey and your attitude as a splendid example of what is possible. Congratulations on all of your books and best wishes for 2012. I look forward to Camera Obscura!

  16. "I have written the equivalent of two novels in blogs, posts and comments"

    I have noticed, as well, the rather alarming amount of time and numbers of words one can spend in building/maintaining communications with potential readers.

    Nevertheless, social media is more targeted and (I imagine) effective than the old-school ways of promotion which were largely:

    1) Show up at a bookstore to sign books. Presumably the publisher has put someone out on the street nearby before the event to hand out flyers, sent messages to the press, put signs up in the bookstore, etc. Presumably a few people show up for your signing (but don't hold your breath).

    2) Show up at some TV show to chat for a few minutes to a TV host who almost certainly has never read your book, or possibly even heard of you. Hope (s)he gets your name right. Hope someone in her audience of millions (thousands?) isn't off doing something else when your cover is shown out-of-focus for 5 seconds.

    And of course, sometimes the publisher's marketing strategy was: Nothing at all. Hey, they published it, they got it in the stores. (After all, if you could have done that yourself, you would have.) Their job's done. The rest is up to fate.

    So yeah, publicity is time-consuming, and I have barely scratched the surface. It is exhausting, but the good news is that you can work at it as much as you can stand to. I could not get myself on a TV show right now no matter how hard I tried (I mean, unless I shot the Pope or something). But I can always keep digging up new book bloggers to haunt for reviews, or encourage my Facebook friends.

    Anyway. I'm glad to hear about the great year you had!