The Writer and The Industry – David and Goliath

The Writer and The Industry – David and Goliath

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

This week another deal was struck, causing major ripples with readers, writers, and reviewers. Oh. My.

Penguin’s imprint, Berkley, purchased Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno series, including a first printing of 500,000 copies of each book, and the purchase of world and audio rights. The deal inked went into seven-figure territory.

Reynard’s writing began as fan fiction. Thousands of readers loved his books enough to rave about them. And they told two friends, and so on. Sound familiar? Fifty Shades ring a bell?

{stands up and applauds the authors} Good for them. I whole-heartedly support the successes of writers in this difficult to break into industry.

What does this amazing deal mean for us writers?


…and everything.

The publishing industry suffered upheaval in the last few years with self-publishing and e-books shaking the brick-and-mortars. Those that rely on the success of the authors don’t take chances. They want dead-ringers. The beast is an animal we wish we could tame. Alas, we cannot.

The formula hasn’t changed for a writer. Write the best story possible. Get the story out to agents and publishers. Catch someone’s eye… and away we go.

Ahhhh… but therein lies the secret of success. We must catch someone’s eye.

What did Sylvain Reynard and E L James do differently than so many others? The Marketing Fanatic in me is fascinated by their stories.

They started small. They used networking, websites, and social media to gain exposure for their work. When support for their writing flooded in from fans, they were encouraged to reach a broader base through publishing.

Isn’t that what we’re all doing?

Are there critics upset about the wild successes of an author’s quick rise to fame? Of course. There will always be naysayers. Debates and discussion are fueled by opposite points of view.

What does all the excitement mean to me?

{smiles wide}

A grass-roots writer rising up into the big time means that the world is filled with possibilities. Starry-eyed writers, working diligently as they spin stories flowing from their hearts, can have their books published and share their dreams with everyone who wants to escape in them.

There is plenty of room in the industry for the big successes. Some are literary masterpieces and some are wildly popular due to their raw cult appeal. Some are game changers.

Reynard and James are not pioneers in breaking out due to their preliminary accomplishments. Amanda Hocking and John Locke are recent indie-author icons. Don’t forget James Redfield who self-published The Celestine Prophecy, selling 100,000 copies from the trunk of his car—and then the publishing world took notice.

It matters not to me the reasons why someone garnered all the successes that came their way. I’m thrilled and motivated by their rags-to-riches fairy tales. My role as a writer, beyond writing the best novel possible, is to support other authors. I celebrate their successes and support their dreams.

They are my successes. They are my dreams.

I am David. The barrier into the industry is my Goliath. All it takes is one small effective stone to bring that giant to its knees.

{looks at the stone sitting on my desk}

…the ripples of casting that stone … go on infinitely.

I look forward to the day when our time comes, my friends.
Keep believing. Keep writing. Keep supporting.

Kat Bastion

© 2012 by Kat Bastion

The Twitter Trap – Social Media: Blessing and Curse

The Twitter Trap – Social Media: Blessing and Curse
© 2012 – Kat Bastion

Have you been sucked into the Twitter Trap? How to use this valuable social media tool to your advantage as a writer may seem like a straight-forward concept, but there are writers who get it and those who don’t. In the social media craze too many are missing the point.

Who am I to say so?  {WARNING: Self-promotion moment…dusts off and puts on my marketing-major hat} Besides creating and implementing successful marketing campaigns for businesses, I’ve expressed a keen interest in all things marketing; specifically what works and what doesn’t. This post is my opinion and is based on observation alone.

Now, back to Twitter…

If used correctly, Twitter is a fabulous place for networking with like-minded people. It’s a quick and easy way to connect with many who have the same interests as you. If your followers like what you have to say, they’ll RT (Retweet) your post to their followers. Then, they’ll tell two friends…and so on…

Ahhhh…but therein lies the key to success, doesn’t it?

1. You have to network. That means talk to people. Carry on meaningful dialog. Post about your favorite books, the melting of your keyboard at a steamy love scene you’re writing, or a survey about who is hotter: Jericho Barrons or… well… just that Barrons melts your panties.

2. Dialog is two-sided. Check out the person replying to your post. If their bio or timeline seems interesting, follow them back, so you can see what they have to say and engage them on occasion. No one enjoys being the only one to strike up the conversation, or you come off as stuck-up. #JustSayin

3. Have something interesting to say. Provide your followers with something of value. An inspiring poem. Your favorite quote. Something funny that happened to you that day. Your amazing very first blog post that you’re so damn proud of. {gestures up and down along the side of this post with a hand flourish}

Where do so many go wrong?

Some rarely or never engage other people and only post about themselves. Their timelines are filled posts that say: Love me. Buy my book. Like my Facebook page. Love me. Buy my book. Like my Facebook page. Over and over…and over again.

Others may engage your replies with a comment back, but never follow you. No matter how many times you talk to them. If they aren’t famous and don’t have a million followers who buy their books, songs, movies, etc. purely for the love of their work, they appear unapproachable after a while.

Oftentimes, the only interaction some narcissistic people have with other people is thanking people for loving them (RTing their self-love.) Who’s their target market? Zombies?

If all they post is repetitive regurgitation of how much they love themselves, I have to wonder…who’s paying attention? Duplicate boring posts get blurred into the background of the timeline. Like flier-blindness at an overcrowded bulletin board, no one reads what you have to say when nothing is fresh or new. The poster of the mundane loses followers, or a discerning person looking at their timeline never follows at all.

The goal is to get people to buy your amazing book, right? Does following 25,000 people and having 25,000 followers translate into people buying and loving your book? Maybe the zombies. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a decaying eyeball falling onto a page I’ve carefully crafted—the undead are not my target market. 

No matter what social-media train you’re on, it’s important to spend the time to make quality connections. Very busy and famous rock bands, actors, and authors make the time to connect with their fan base on Twitter, because it’s so easy to do. More importantly, they see the value enormous value in it. It makes them human and relatable.

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! …. We all have to be careful of our time on Twitter. The lure of escaping into another realm can be addictive, and the time-suck can deaden creativity. In order to keep our writing flowing, we have to watch how often and when we visit social media. Make sure the time you allot to Twitter counts. Engage others, follow people that you like, and have something interesting to say.

Think about your goals. Are you trying to gather the largest number of followers and likes? Or, are you trying to write the best book, novel, short-story, poetry?

Most importantly, make sure most of your creative time is spent polishing your work to be the very best piece ever written. Because at the end of the day, nothing sells a book faster than rave reviews spreading like wildfire across the meaningful network that you’ve successfully created.

I hope you enjoyed this first blogpost of mine! Please comment, share and RT if you enjoyed it. {nothing wrong with a touch self-love…smirks}


© 2012 – Kat Bastion