Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Girl with the K-Mart Tattoo

By Laura Spinella

I often pass on the suggested topics at The Club. Not because the query isn’t thought-provoking, but I am the girl with a racquet from K-Mart while most have been taking lessons from the pro for years. This time, for a few reasons, I felt like I had something to say, partly because of my new gig and mostly because I just turned in a manuscript. The latter has provided a good chuck of time to mull things over, including the effect of the changing climate in publishing.

Since last fall, when I’m not writing books or newspaper stories, I’ve been working as the editorial/content manager for AuthorBytes. They specialize in author websites, design and construction from the ground up. The owner thought an in-house author would make for a unique piece to the AuthorBytes puzzle. He was right. Well, at least from my point of view. Initially, the computer end was like being told I was working pyrotechnics for Metallica, but I’ve found I don’t have the aversion to flames that I thought I might. On occasion, I get to chat with A-list authors, which is a tough perk to find at most part time jobs. But the thing that’s been really surprising is the amount of time we spend integrating social media into websites. Even more surprising is how things like Facebook and Twitter have become part of a complete web presence. It makes the climate tropical in that social media is as much a part of publishing as the midnight buffet on a cruise ship. You just don’t want to miss out.

I recall a discussion about social media at GBC about a year ago. We all agreed it was an important tool, but the consensus was that social media wasn’t the main marketing artery leading to publishing success. But I don’t think publishing is the same as it was even a year ago, an industry that grows a new tentacle with every change of the tide. The steady trend of authors taking complete ownership their work is real, and I don’t see how wisely executed social media isn’t a path that leads to some level of accomplishment.

Not post related, just Happy Friday!
That path also takes me back around to my newly submitted manuscript. A year ago, I’d be all pins and needles, waiting for agents and editors to render an opinion. I’d be certain that life was doomed, culminating with a very off with her head moment if my book wasn’t well received. While I admit there are needles jabbing, and a positive response would be my first choice, it’s no longer my only choice. This, more than anything, is what I’ve seen evolve during the past year in publishing. The stigma that was once so thoroughly attached to self-publishing seems to have faded, particularly if you already own the credentials of published author. I believe it’s truer for non-fiction than fiction, though check back next week and that notion also may have changed. Along with several members of this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to observe other authors who, for whatever reasons, have chosen an alternate route to publication. Surely, you’ve seen the same, and I’d be curious to know if your ideas about self-publishing have changed or even come full circle. If you’ve done it, tell me what’s better about it. I have no idea if the concept would work for me, or if I’d be any good at all the parts required to be the autonomous ruler of my own book. On the other hand, in a business where more doors tend to close than open, it’s a window with an incredibly intriguing view.

Laura Spinella is the author of BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, Best First Book, NJRWA, 2011;, Favorite Book of 2011. Visit her at or on Facebook.


  1. I love that photo with the tennis racket. Too funny. Best of luck on the new manuscript.

  2. Great post. I think you're so right that self published authors are not being stigmatized these days the way they were. Many of them, in fact, are turning out to be brilliant marketers as well as accomplished writers. Wishing you good luck with your new manuscript, but as you say, a pass these days merely means that one door closes, but another one opens. (And thanks for the Gabriel Aubry picture!)

  3. Thanks for the morning happy photo!

    I'm wondering about the self-pub thing myself, but I know I can't wrap my head around one more new thing yet.

    In the meantime...I just received my RWA mag with info about a romance book consumer survey. I found these numbers surprising and cause for wonder as to why I get neurotic about social networking:

    41% of readers report visiting an author website
    83% do not, and will not follow an author on Twitter
    70% do not, and will not follow an author on Facebook

    So are we authors socially networking with one another????

    1. Yes! I'm so glad I've met you and read your book, but I'm sure you wish I were really a hundred readers!
      I hope this means we can give up on Twitter.

  4. Thanks, Karin, thought you'd appreciate the tennis photo! Deborah, it changes every day, doesn't it! Christa, those are some fascinating numbers. Sometimes I do think we are chatting among ourselves! But as traditional venues for promotion continue to vanish,I do wonder where that leaves us??

  5. Wow, there's an old phrase from the Sixties that comes to mind. Stop the world, I want to get off! It's moving pretty damn quickly, is it not? I think all we can (must) do is play to our strengths and be authentic about who we are. Also, I suspect it depends on the demographic of our audience. Younger women/men might be more likely to be immersed on the Web while Romance readers might be a slightly bit older and not so inclined to roam...just guessing though.

  6. I'm sorry but you should not have posted that picture of that guy if you expected us to read your actual words. Kidding. Kidding!

    Great post, Laura.

  7. Right there with you, Sheila!! And Lauren, I admit my motive was ulterior. Even if you hate the post, you gotta love the graphic!!