Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Alligator in the River by Morgan Mandel


Well, today they captured a baby alligator that was swimming in the Chicago River. What made this event so unusual is that alligators are not common to the Chicago River. Anyway, the poor critter will be watched for about three months, then hopefully released somewhere it can adapt. They say it was probably somebody's pet, since it looked well fed and in good shape.

I like to use everyday examples and tie them to my writing experience. Many writers swim around, do their best to follow the rules and try to get somewhere, yet all along they're swimming in the wrong place. The problem is how to know where the right place is. Is it better to go with a small press, a traditional press, or perhaps strike out on your own by self-publishing through ebooks, or print on demand?

All of us alligators need to make that decision. We can't expect someone to scoop us up and make the decision for us, as happened to today's gator. Take heart, though, you can always change your mind if needs be, or do a combination. Right now, I have two novels with a small press, one is self-published, and all are also in ebook form. I've submitted a partial to a traditional house, but am undecided what my next course will be. When the time is ripe, I'll take action.

Now, where do you swim? Or, aren't you sure yet?

Morgan Mandel


Dorothy Thompson said...

Mornin'! I've talked to authors about this and every one of them has a different opinion and I think the reason for that is that no one really is sure which way to go. I mean, sure they all want traditional (even though some won't admit it) but you know, all you need is a good marketing force behind your book. You don't need a fancy traditional publisher to sell your book and that's 99% of the goal - to sell the book. There's also a saying 'never put all your eggs in one basket' so Morgan in my opinion I love what you are doing. You can also take from each those experiences with each publishing format that helped or hindered your growth as an author and form some sort of opinion on what worked for YOU. Truthfully, when I was still marketing my self-published ebook (have to revise before I sell anymore because of dead links), I was making more money with that self-published ebook than I was with any of my other books. However, with an ebook such as mine where it has to be constantly updated, in the long run I was making more with my print because of the short run with it. So what did I learn from it? I learned that of all the formats I was published, the self-published electronic book became the winner in terms of sales for the short period it was out compared to my other books that were in print. So you really should have fun with all formats and determine which one sells more and make your own conclusions.

J.W. Nicklaus said...

I like to swin where the pines stand as close as they dare to the waters edge; where the wind sifts through the boughs in a sweet hush; where mill ponds can be found, undisturbed by man or beast.

Inevitably I awaken to the sound of flushing effluence and urgently scan my canoe for a paddle, only to come up empty.

Sometimes the water flows within and around me. Other times it offends my nostrils with acrid and bitter smells.

But I keep swimming anyway, knowing eventually I'll see the other shore.

Unknown said...

First, to the person who needed an alligator as a pet...my sympathies. There are other things much more fluffy and attentive. :)

I'm sort of like you, Morgan. I have a lot of eggs with one publishing, recently signed six contracts with a new venture just starting (but only because I know Lea Schizas and admire her,) and I just submitted to a major house, too. Still looking to score that final touchdown in writing...the one that makes me a "real" author in the eyes of my family, and not just "pretend."
I may never make it, in which case, I'll still be very proud of my accomplishments. So, I think I'm a swimmer...just doing the breaststroke and trying to stay on top of the water. :) Great blog, by the way. You never disappoint.

LK Hunsaker said...

I'm a goldfish in an alligator tank, I guess, since I'm only indie and plan to stay that way. Would I take a contract if offered? I don't know; it would have to be on my terms at least to an extent. But not all of us want a traditional contract. It's not only a matter of not admitting it. I never tried for that because I researched the process and decided it's not for me.

Of course, the irresponsible person who owned and released the alligator learned a lesson, I hope: don't bite off more than you can chew!

N. R. Williams said...

In today's market, the unpublished author has a steep grade to climb and a mountain higher than any on this planet to reach the top of. I've tried the traditional route, I've been told for years that it was the only one to do. But I would rather have a few people read my books and love them than to have it sit in a desk top file. So, I'm going to try the e-published way. After all, one of my hero's is L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz. No one would publish him so he did it himself.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Mona Risk said...

I like to play it safe and swim in known waters, and publish with a contract. But I hate the promotion headache and wish someone could do it for me.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Morgan,

I'm a gator that swims in several adjacent ponds. I've looked at the big pond a coupla times, but the fence around it keeps me on the outside looking in.

Lately I've been enjoying what I have more than longing for something else. At first, this felt guilty because striving for the ultimate dream has been ingrained in me for so long. But there's a lot to be said for mental health and enjoying the journey, er, swim since we were talking about alligators, and living fully in the moment.

Sure if that gate to the big pond opens, I'll swim on over, but until then, small ponds rock.

Maggie Toussaint
MUDDY WATERS coming Oct 2010

Patricia Stoltey said...

We have so many alternatives, and new opportunities keep popping up. The main thing we need to do is stay informed and keep up with changes (but not necessarily follow the latest fad). My mysteries were published by a medium-sized traditional publisher for hardcover and Harlequin's mystery book club for the paperbacks. My two new manuscripts are not mysteries, so I feel as though I'm starting over.


Cara Lopez Lee said...

My memoir & I are swimming in the small press river at the moment, and I'm loving it. Though I've received almost no advance, I'm enjoying a lot of input into how my book is edited and marketed, and I'm getting great personal (if not financial) support as I prep for my October release. I hope to stick with Ghost Road Press to publish my novel, if GRP is still around then.

BTW, I love your title for this post. Great attention-grabber!

Deb Larson said...

Morgan: glad the gator is out of the Chicago River. And the water seems to get murky at times for me as a writer, but I keep swimming and that's what counts.

DL Larson

Margot Justes said...

I agree with the comments above, we need to do what works for us individually. The most important thing is to keep writing, after all, that is what we love to do. Hopefully someday, somewwhere we'll find that perfect pond.