Basketball And Publishing Fiction


Before I get started, I want to remind you I have two polls I’d love to have you take part in. The first is for the CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award (you’ll find links to the articles in the post), and the second is the What Do You Read poll. With this latter, I’d really appreciate it if you shared the link on Facebook, Twitter, or email. The larger the sampling, the more credible the results, so I want as many people beyond A Christian Worldview Of Fiction’s regular visitors as possible to be a part.

Basketball and fiction?

I’m a huge sports fan, but most of my teams haven’t done all that well recently. Except the Lakers who pretty much have owned the century up to this point. 😉

But in the current playoffs they’re having trouble with the number seven seed New Orleans Hornets, a team they swept during the regular season. Many people are stunned that a team which lost its leading scorer weeks before the play-offs, a team with the youngest coach in the league, a team that is clearly undersized could stay close to the two-time defending champs. It’s David and Goliath all over again.

But why should we be surprised? The Hornets are talented, prepared, disciplined, determined, and relaxed. Nobody expects them to do well, so they have no fear of letting anyone down. Consequently, every positive thing they accomplish — winning game one on the Lakers’ home court, tying the series at two apiece — is met with praise and wild excitement whereas every downturn is met with nonchalance.

And this relates to fiction, how?

Publishing is in a turmoil. In some respects you can divide publishing endeavors into the Lakers (traditional publishing) and the Hornets (independent ebook publishing). Oh, there are others in the game — the San Antonia Spurs, Memphis Grizzles, Dallas Mavericks and the like — but in this particular contest, we’re looking at two players.

Traditional publishing has history on their side. And size. And money. Ebooks are the young upstarts with no expectations. Along comes a phenomenal success like Amanda Hocking, and people begin to believe.

The champs can be dethroned. A new player is about to take over. Which means size and experience doesn’t matter.

Oh really?

In the article I linked to above, Amanda herself makes a sports analogy. She says that to claim traditional publishing is dead is like saying in the sixth inning of a baseball game in which you’re behind 8-2, that you’re the winner. Actually, no, the “winner” has yet to be determined, and just because you scored most recently is no reason to assume the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

In all of this publishing chaos, there’s really only one thing the writer can do — write well.

I’m a firm believer that God will take care of bringing audience and story together. Yes, the writer has responsibilities in the promotion of his work, but the best promotion can’t overcome so-so stories.

I might convince my ten best friends to buy my book, and they will because they care about me. But when each of them tells their ten best friends, will they buy my book?

That second level in the network isn’t going to spend money for my sake. They will do it, though, if they’re convinced by their friends that they’ll get a good product.

And when that second group tell their ten best friends, all they’re talking about is whether or not the book is good. The author, unless he’s an established writer with a recognizable name, will no longer have any sway over whether or not the third tier of friends buys the book. Purchases will be decided on the merits of the story.

Interestingly, that process is the same whether a writer publishes with a traditional press or whether he chooses the self-publishing ebook route. It all starts with story. And we writers would do well to put our primary emphasis there (she said to herself. 😉 )

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