About this time last year, I received the fantasy fiction challenge during an online discussion about self publishing and the fantasy genre. As a notoriously difficult reader to please, one acquaintance got tired of me dismissing all the fantasy authors they recommended and suggested – nay, demanded – I attempt a fantasy novel myself.
More than a Fantasy Fiction Challenge
This is the current challenge; fantasy fiction; write and self-publish. It’s going further than that. Anyone knowledgeable about indie publishing will tell you one standalone book is not enough to recoup the investment in time and effort. The challenge has become a series; three novels and a possible fourth follow-on anthology of short stories.
Go large or go home.
This isn’t my first attempt. Back in my twenties, I started what would be classed as an Urban Fantasy novel today, the bones of which still exist. That was back in the day when traditional publishing – the modern day robber barons in charge of presses and distribution – jealously guarded the librarian’s ladder to the bookshelves (bad metaphor, stick with me). Back then you had to get an agent or catapult your manuscript directly over the walls of a publishing house. Both tended to lead to an immense pile of rejection letters. I ceremonially burnt all of mine just a few years ago when I moved house. Lulu’s print-on-demand was gaining a foothold, but distribution was a closed shop.
If anything, Trad-pub is even worse, now that most of the mass-market imprints are consolidating under just four mega-publishers. There is little or no middle market, and the indie presses struggle to survive. Bookshops are under twin assault from Amazon and the supermarkets.
The New Indie’s
And yet more books are published today than ever before. Amazon’s KDP, Ingram Spark and a host of others now provide POD alongside the growing e-book market, including Apple, Kobo and Google Play Books. You can be an international best-seller within days of releasing a book.
It remains a complex market. The creative side is just one aspect of indie publishing; marketing, promotion and brand-building are essential.
First milestone achieved in the fantasy fiction challenge, but it’s a long road ahead.