The truth is simple: you have to think outside the box as a writer.
You can’t just write one kind of thing for one kind of publication. You can’t work on one particular manuscript year after year with no interest in starting something new. You can’t put all of your eggs in one basket, as they say.
It’s 2021, and there are so many ways to get your writing out there. Medium here is one way to write lots of inspiring posts that get people interested in your writing. You can blog on your own website. You can upload YouTube videos, or start a podcast, or create an audiobook.
There are so many ways to tell stories these days, and sometimes it’s important to take risks from time to time with our work and not just head straight for the traditional route that writers have been going after for centuries.
Since 2010 I’ve wanted to become a traditionally published author, with a literary agent and an editor I adore and a book on the shelf. Lord knows I’ve tried. Twenty-one books later, I’m still trying. I’m querying my latest novel as we speak!
But at the same time we all have to recognize that’s not the only avenue to get your manuscripts out there, especially older ones that have gone through the querying process and pitching process and might have come up short.
One way is self-publishing, of course. I self-published a novel to Amazon this month called Magic Hour I’m super excited about.
And I’m also really excited to try something brand new called Kindle Vella for another of my older manuscripts!
What is Kindle Vella?
The site is in beta mode right now and isn’t officially launching until July, but it’s a way to tell a long story in multiple episodes, like Wattpad and Radish. I first came across it earlier in June and became intrigued by it. I wondered if I had an older unpublished novel I could introduce to the world on this platform, and I picked out the perfect title!
The Luckiest Bookworm, a book I wrote back in 2014 that I have loved for seven years and have often wondered just how to put in front of readers, is going to be my guinea pig for Kindle Vella. It’s the perfect book for the platform before it’s forty fast-paced chapters that all end in cliff-hangers, and Kindle Vella looks to be best suited for books you write that have lots of chapters, not just a few.
Readers get the first three chapters of the book for free (which is why you want those first three chapters to be fantastic, and you’ll want that third chapter to end on a massive cliffhanger!), and then they have to purchase tokens to purchase access to additional chapters of your story.
What I like about this platform is that it will be a fun way to see how many readers bow out of my novel early on and how many stay engaged with it enough to make it all the way to end. Because, boy, The Luckiest Bookworm has quite the insane, memorable ending, and I’m hoping most readers pay for enough tokens and stick with this story all the way to the surprising finale.
I could just self-publish The Luckiest Bookworm. I’ve thought about doing so for a year or two now. But when I came across Kindle Vella, I decided to think outside the box and publish my book in an entirely different way I’ve never experienced before. And that’s super thrilling as a novel writer!
So, again, don’t think there’s any one way to publish your books.
I have writer friends who refuse to release their books in any format except traditional publishing. They’ve told me that if they can’t see their novel that way, then it goes into the drawer, never to be seen again.
I get that. Still the most promising way to get your work out there might very well be the traditional publishing model. And I’m certainly still going for it, too.
But I also think it’s important to think outside the box, especially with older manuscripts just lingering in a drawer. Try something new and different. Give self-publishing a try. Post one of your books one chapter at a time on your blog. At least once in awhile, do something that scares you!
Something I’ve always admired about Stephen King was how he would take chances on new publishing models, like the Internet with The Plant and like audiobooks with Riding the Bullet. He’s a superstar author who didn’t always publish the same way every time, and he’s also one who has stepped outside the box with the publishing of his short stories, too.
So give it a shot! Read about Kindle Vella and see if it might be something for you. Do your research on self-publishing and think about putting something online yourself. Keep trying to get a literary agent and publishing deal traditionally, too, but don’t have it be one-hundred-percent of your focus every second of every day.
We’re writers. We have so many stories to tell.
And we can tell them in any way we’d like.