I’ve been looking forward to getting back with you all for over a month, ever since Tina invited me (thanks again, Tina). When I looked into it, I was shocked to find the last time I had been a guest blogger here was about this time, 2 years ago. I reread my last post and was shocked again at how much has changed for me in such a short span of time.
And I know, big things have been happening here with the writers in Seekerville. I can’t believe how many books you ladies have published these past 2 years. Much has also changed in the publishing world these past 2 years (which I’ll get to in a few moments).
A Few Quick Updates
Back in November, 2012, I was here talking about my “new” novel, The Reunion. It had just come out then, and I was hoping it would do well. Thankfully, it did. It has become my 2nd-highest rated book on Amazon (265 5-Star reviews so far). A month ago, I signed a movie contract for the book with a production company. They are adapting the screenplay right now and plan to turn it into a full-length feature film.
For most of the last 2 years, I’ve been co-authoring the Restoration series with Gary Smalley. All 4 books have now been written, 3 are already released (The Dance, The Promise and The Desire). The 4th, called The Legacy, will come out in April 2015. SEE THEM ALL HERE.
In the middle of that series, I wrote a stand-alone novel called, What Follows After, which came out last April. This book up until now, has been my most suspenseful novel. Library Journal even called it an “excellent psychological thriller.” Reviews like that surprised us, since my other novels are often compared to books by Nicholas Sparks.
But it gave me an idea. I enjoy reading suspense books. Two years ago, I had pitched a story to my publisher that they liked but rejected because…it was “too suspenseful.”
Seeing all the dramatic changes taking place in the publishing world, I talked with my agent
about this idea. She said since the publisher had passed on the story, I was free to write the book and publish it myself.
So, I did.
When Night Comes, my first indie novel and first true suspense novel, released on November 1st just a few weeks ago. As you can see, the cover looks very different from my other books. Which brings me to my main topic about this brave new world of publishing.
Breaking Publishing Taboos
I’d like to talk about some of the big changes I’ve observed in the past 2 years. One of the things I love most about Seekerville is how many of you participate at the end of each blog post. To encourage this, I’m offering a free signed copy of either a) my new novel, When Night Comes b) one of my books with Gary Smalley or c) my Christmas novel, Remembering Christmas. All you have to do is jump in on the discussion at the end of this post.
Consider the 3 issues I raise next as discussion starters. I’ll tell you what I think and how these things have affected me as an author, but I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on them, too.
I’ll start by saying…it feels like the publishing world is going through a seismic shift right
now. I think we’re in a corridor of time similar to when the horse and buggy finally gave way to the automobile.
So many things are changing in publishing. Things that have always been a certain way are that way no more. What do you think about these things? Where do you think all this might end up in a year or two from now?
Authors Must Only Write in One Genre
That’s always been the rule of thumb. You have to establish your brand and, once you do, you better keep writing the same kind of books. That’s what your readership expects.
That’s certainly the advice I was given, and I heard this same view taught at many writer’s conferences. To a certain extent, I get why. Most readers tend to prefer reading a certain kind of book. If they find an author they like, they want that author to keep writing those kinds of books. If an author ever wanted to write in another genre, they must write under a pseudonym (another name).
In the last few years, I’ve seen this longstanding rule fall by the wayside. I’ve watched numerous traditionally published authors publish indie books in a different genre, keep their same name, and succeed.
Still, I was pretty nervous as I prepared to release When Night Comes. What would readers say? Would they hate it? Would they think it's too different? I love reading suspense novels and want to be able to write both kinds of books. Would they tell me, "Forget that, you better stick to the Sparks-type books."
So far, that's not what they're saying. 18 reviews came in the first 5 days. 14 of them were 5-Star (the others were 4-Stars). Here's a sample:
“In a change from his romance novels, award-winning author Dan Walsh turns his strong character-driven narrative writing to a page-turning nail-biting suspense thriller combined with accurate historical fiction. As well written as any novelist currently writing…Walsh shows himself to be a master storyteller regardless of genre.” – Writing Truth Blog -Jorja Davis
“Dan Walsh’s unique plot twists keep the surprises coming at breath-taking speed. When Night Comes had me in suspense with every turn of the page. There’s much I’d like to add to this review, but I don’t want to post any spoilers. When Night Comes is a must-read for suspense lovers.” — Author, Ann Shorey
Only Writers Who Can’t Make it Self-Publish
Not long ago, indie and self-publishing was frowned upon in the publishing world. The only people who’d even think of going that direction were people who had no other choice. Writers whose work was “not up to par,” who keep getting rejected by mainstream publishers.
This thinking has also fallen by the wayside. So many authors who have previously been published traditionally, even some huge bestsellers, have gone hybrid or totally indie. Some have even turned down lucrative contracts with major publishing houses.
How about you? Have you purchased and read any books by indie authors in the past few years? How do they stack up compared to traditionally published books?
Indie Books Will Always Remain on the Fringe
When my first novel, The Unfinished Gift, came out in 2009 (not that long ago), indie books were most definitely on the fringe. Ebooks, for example, represented only 3% of my sales on my first royalty statement. Self-publishing and indie books were rarely talked about at writer’s conferences. If they were, it was in a negative connotation.
Now some studies show, indies are inching toward the halfway mark on the publishing sales
chart. They’re even being accepted in prestigious writing contests. So many brick-n-mortar bookstores have disappeared. Many traditional publishing houses have folded or cut their staffs in half.
Some are saying traditional publishing will soon be on the fringe. Others think it will go the way of the Titanic. What do you think? Using this word picture, is traditional publishing a) getting close to the iceberg, b) already hit the iceberg, or c) going to safely avoid the iceberg and make it safely to the shore?
Dan Walsh is the award-winning and bestselling author of 12 novels, including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery and When Night Comes. He has won 3 Carol Awards and 2 Selah Awards. Three of his novels were finalists for Inspirational Book of the Year. Dan is a member of ACFW and Word Weavers. He lives with his wife, Cindi, in the Daytona Beach area where they love to take long walks with their dogs. Click Here to connect with Dan or check out his books.