Carol Buchanan Interview

Carol Buchanan, the author of the self-published novel God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana, winner of the 2009 Spur Award for Best First Novel, is interviewed by Francis Hamit at Self-Publishing Review:

I met Carol Buchanan online, when we were both posting to the boards of the Amazon Shorts program. Both of us were frustrated by the barriers currently erected by the mainstream publishing industry to new fiction, and both of us decided to do it ourselves.

2 thoughts on “Carol Buchanan Interview

  1. Mike,
    I have an interest in the subject – I’ve just released a non-fiction book through non-traditional channels (parent’s guide to paintball): I’ve got a distribution deal, marketing deal & etc with third parties (not hired help) which takes it outside the normal ‘self-publishing’ domain as is often the case with specialty niche markets.
    Based on your piece I visited the website with the interview and poked around a bit – agent sites, marketing sites, promotional sites, etc., and – maybe I’m terribly biased but – all I see are a bunch of hopefuls and a bunch of other folks trying to make dollars off of that hopefulness; most of the ‘service’ websites look and read like those ‘get rich quick’ websites (promoters and publicists who use those techniques are about the LAST folks I’d pay to “help me”…).
    Regardless of the frustrations and with the exception of subject matter that I’m uniquely qualified to write about (and market to), I’ll still take my chances with the traditional publishers…

  2. Gee, Steve, everyone would prefer a traditional publisher. It saves a lot of time and effort you can better spend writing. However, older writers like Carol and myself find ourselves dealing with a situation where we can only submit through agents and agents don’t even bother to respond 90 percent of the time. Mainstream publishing has become highly disfunctional when it comes to fiction. Read Karp’s commentary in Publishers Weekly, or the piece on SPR from the Militant Writer, or George Perkins opinion piece today in SPR and you will see that there is a growing movement here that says that we can’t wait for other people’s permission to reach our audience. So we organize ourselves into teams and turn out books that people actually want to read. Mr. Karp’s commentary that there are too many books that look like other books being very relevant here. BTW I, too, have a distribution deal. You can buy my book at any general bookstore in the world, even if it is not on the shelf. No one is getting rich, but some of us are making money. The entire experience has been very revelatory. Best sellers are not made on merit now, but by brute strength. Flood the channels with copies, promote the book briefly but everywhere, take back half of what you shipped and move on to the next one. There was a self-published best seller last year. The author got an exclusive deal with Costco, and his book into their 468 stores next to the New York Times best-sellers they normally carry. That was enough to sell more than 66,000 copies.
    More power to him. You need to look a little deeper at how all this works. “Brick and mortar” distribution”, not online sales, are the key here. Getting the books into the stores and displayed on the shelves is they path to big sales. Self published books have a hard time doing that for all sorts of reasons. But quality has very little to do with that. The book has to be available to the casual buyer.

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