Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Don't Surrender the Fate of Your Novel to Publishing Executives



Have you unconsciously surrendered the fate of your novel to the whimsical tastes of publishing executives? Do you think your book can't move forward without the financial blessing of others? Agents and publishers can certainly boost our careers, but I'm not sure they can break them. In all likelihood, our destiny lies in our own hands. It took several years worth of groveling at the heels of those in the publishing industry for me to comprehend this.

Even though you've probably spent years visualizing the success of your book, how much time have you devoted to thinking about the specific things you want to achieve? Perhaps you have a vague fantasy involving money and fame. These things are definitely desirable, but chances are there's more to it than that. The act of creation ignites something within us, even if we can't put our finger on it. There's a lot to be said for fully experiencing the moment we are in.

Many of us hold our own dreams hostage by assuming things have to play out in a specific manner. In my case, I wrongly believed the only way to turn my manuscript into an audio book was to first have it published in hard back. Under this scenario, I would have had to sell a barn full of books before anyone would ever consider producing it in audio form.

Once I understood I had control over my own dreams, I formed an LLC called Straight to Audio Productions and produced my first audio book. I recorded and edited an 8.5 hour project using nothing but a mic, a mixer and a laptop. Miraculously, I was able to get my project listed for sale as an mp3 download on Audible.com. After that, I built an actual studio and went to work recording Jitters-A Quirky Little Audio Book. That project went on to win a 2011 Audie from the Audio Publishers Association in the multi-voiced category.
If you are having trouble getting through to the top brass in the publishing industry, try to find the courage to publish your book anyway. E-books and desktop publishing companies make this process inexpensive and easy to do. Don't miss the chance to live your art just because things aren't happening exactly the way you had envisioned. Outcomes are over-rated anyway. The biggest thrills come from fully experiencing the projects you're passionate about. Completing something you've been working on for a long time can be anti-climactic, so the trick is to enjoy the process. Whatever you do, try not to get attached to the outcome.

When you run out of ideas, wing it. I've met very few people who work in the audio book industry, so in my business I make everything up as I go. Sure, I've taken a few wrong turns, but it's definitely been an interesting journey. This lack of an industry blueprint has left me free to dabble with different ways to tell a story. Unlike most audio books which have one person doing the voices for all the characters, my audio books feature full cast of actors who tell their stories directly to the listener. I've also taken the liberty of experimenting with different forms of narration. Since the lead character in Jitters is a radio shock jock, I thought it would be interesting to narrate the story through a series of newscasts. With Yikes! Another Quirky Audio Book, I used a series of narration pieces called “Examine Our Navel.” Like it or not, I probably couldn't float this idea to any traditionalists in the audio book industry.


It might seem risky, but there are advantages to “going rogue.” For one thing, you don't have to follow any rules. Don't be afraid to explore the unknown. Some of the best stuff comes from impromptu moments.

I'm sure we would all love to spend a few days in the Gucci shoes of the publishing industry elite, but let's not assume this group has it better than we do. Along with the perks comes more pressure. Rather than focusing on what our project lacks, perhaps our energy would best be spent being grateful for what we already have. Besides, there's no telling where our books will end up – not knowing is half the fun!

Adele Park's Website: www.yikesaudiobook.com
YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPotQyyPsuo&feature=g-upl

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