My foray into the blogging business started when I read a brief article in the Economist about augmented reality. After writing a novel based on AR, I started this blog because I thought there was a lot more to talk about the nascent technology and was I ever right. It’s been about eighteen months of posting about augmented reality on The Future Digital Life and about ten months with Games Alfresco. I’ve written close to three-hundred and fifty posts during that time, which in retrospect, seems like quite a big number for a short time.
And no, this isn’t a goodbye. I plan on continuing my regularly scheduled musings on augmented reality for the foreseeable future. However, writing novels about augmented reality was what got me into this in the first place, so I thought I’d do a regular post about the writing side of my life. Since Rouli does the Weekly Linkfest on Games Alfresco every week during this time, I thought it’d be best to post on Sunday.
So here we are.
The first question I’m going to answer, because its one I receive from time to time, is when is that AR novel actually going to come out? This is both an easy and a hard question, and one that I’ll ramble on about before I actually get around to answering.
The novel, The Digital Sea, has been done for about a year. Since I finished, I’ve been sending submission packages to various editors in the publishing business. When I first started sending out packages, I thought I’d get answers in short order and have a book out by summer. Boy was I ever naive.
The book publishing business is painfully archaic. As my day job is an engineering manager for Toyota, I have a good idea how successful businesses should be run. The publishing industry is anything but a successful business model. Is it working right now? Yes. Will it undergo major changes in the next few years. Absolutely.
The basic issue with the publishing industry is they’ve outsourced their ability to find new talent (which should be a core skill, imho) and their lead time on books is horrendous. Even if I were to receive an offer for The Digital Sea today, for which I would get an advance, it would be another two and a half years before the publisher ever saw one dime on my book.
The main reason why most businesses fail is not sales or profit or anything else, but cash flow. Requiring your business to manage a two and a half year lead time means a whole lot of juggling and an industry obsessively focused on managing risk. I’m not going to go into a ton more (today) about the publishing industry’s woes, but just point out that the traditional publishing industry is a difficult nut to crack right now.
So where is The Digital Sea in this whole process? Like I said, out making the rounds at publishers. I’ve had a few come close to pulling the trigger, but no dice yet. I also have a few that are still reviewing the initial package from ten months ago. It’s a long and painfully slow process and one might ask how one deals with all that waiting.
The answer is easy. Write more.
Since I reorganized my priorities a few years ago, I’ve been writing at a steady pace, keeping up with a regular schedule and meeting my weekly goals. From when I typed the title page of The Digital Sea two years ago to today, I’ve written 500,000 words. That’s two and a half novels and a dozen short stories and novellas for those that are counting. My most recent augmented reality novel, Ghost and the Nether, just started the long journey through the publishing circuit this month. Currently, I’m working on a new augmented reality novel called Gamers that I should have finished in February.
At this point, I have no doubt that I’ll be published. It’s just a matter of time now. And while I’m waiting, I’ll keep on writing stories, of which three-quarters are about augmented reality.
And the novel that started it all, The Digital Sea? When I first started sending it out to publishers, I had an idea that maybe I should forgo the traditional route and publish it digitally only, keeping with the theme of the name and of the world within. As the last year has seen massive upheaval in the traditional publishing world and the digital publishing market has exploded, I still might.
(photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikonvscanon/ under Creative Commons)
Good luck with the book.
You should put it out digitally. Generate a little income and buzz. Then the publishers will be coming to you. The one thing they love is something they are sure will make them money. The paper publishers are slow and today the slow are dead. Let them rest in pieces.
I actually have plans for that option. The industry is changing fast and that’s one of the things that’s changing.