I started this blog with a focused set of objectives. I wanted to learn about the state of the publishing industry. I wanted to re-establish myself on the web. I wanted to meet people who are interested in storytelling and dialogue with them about related issues.
Check, check, check.
So what’s next?
I have a lot of things I want to write. Novels. Stage plays. Screenplays. Nonfiction.
I have the time and freedom to write these things, but the opportunity is not open-ended. I need to take advantage of this moment, even if it means making a lot of compromises in my life and giving up on other things I’d hoped and planned for.
All I know is that if I don’t do this I’ll regret it, and I work very hard to make sure I don’t have regrets.
There are no guarantees, of course. I could complete all of the drafts I hope to write in the next nine months and have nothing salable — either because the market isn’t there, or because what I’ve written is not very good. But if the choice right now is between relying on myself and counting on others, that’s not a hard choice to make.
I’ll still keep blogging. I’ll still keep an eye on the industry. But in general I think I’m up to speed on the big issues, and that most of what’s happening in publishing will sort itself out without my involvement.
The good news, and it’s very good news from my point of view, is that even as the market value of writing heads toward zero, the opportunities to reach readers directly keep growing. To the extent that a viable business model may not currently exist, worrying about business models before I have content to sell seems a bit misplaced.
The only useful convergence I’ve been able to identify seems to be spending time writing while the market continues to sort itself out. So I intend to write. A lot.
— Mark Barrett
I tend to think having great content plows right through conventional business models anyway. Great content opens doors unavailable in the average joe business model.
How is Year of the Elm doing btw?
Most of the things I’ve gotten in life have come because I followed my convictions, even when I had to do so alone. I’m not saying I’m a good writer, or that I’ll write anything anyone likes, but overall I tend to do best when I listen to myself. (After doing my homework, which is what this past year was about.)
I know some good stories, and I think I can tell them in an acceptable fashion. If there’s a market for them, all to the good. If not, at least I can die without feeling like I gave up on myself.
As for Year of the Elm, people keep downloading the sample chapters — sometimes in odd spurts — and I never hear from any of them. 🙂
I do plan to turn it into a POD book and get it up on Amazon, so maybe that will change things.
That’s all anyone can ask for or really do, Mark. I think you have the right approach here, know the game, but the writing comes first.
I hope turning Year of the Elm into print helps. I quite enjoyed the sample chapter myself and would gladly keep going but I don’t like (read despise) reading on my computer screen.