So for a while now I have been sitting on a couple of “finished” and unfinished pieces of material that I thought would make for great books. The thing is, I never knew the best approach as to how to get a literary agent and how to get published and all that jazz. Now however, thanks to things like e-readers, ebooks and iBooks author I am able to get my material into format that looks like a book but also gives it a chance of getting published.
Yesterday I listened to the Tested podcast episode where Adam Savage chats with Andy Weir (posted below). In it, Andy chronicales the journey his book took to becoming a major motion picture. He essentialy lays out a road map for would be authors, such as myself, to follow. Does it garentee sucess? No. However, if give me a better jumping off point than I’ve ever had before.
The following are notes I’ve taken to sumerazie what I feel were the importan “plot points” or take aways from his journey. This is more for me, but I also that that if people didn’t want to listen to it, they could just reference these plot points. hope it helps.
-Andy started by just writing all the time on the internet. He had gained thousands of regular readers by the time he started writing The Martian.
-When they liked his stuff -he serialized his material- they could sign up for his mailing list and get updates when he worte more
-He then wrote a short story that got “millions and millions of page views”
–The Martian was just one of the things he wrote; he just decided to write a serial about a guy who gets trapped on Mars
-He posted a chapter at a time and fans would come up with corrections as he went along; he soon gained experts and editors in different fields
-He told his fans that he reserved the right to go back and change things if he thought of a better idea or if corrections needed to be made. In other words none of his material was set in stone
-Then he would get emials from people that said “Hey, I really like The Martian but I really hate reading it in a bunch of web pages, can you make an e-reader version?”
-So, he made an e-pub and posted it on the site
-Next, he got more emails from people saying that they like the book, “I’m glad you put it in an e-reader format but I’m not very technically savvy and I don’t know how to download a random file from the internet and put it on my e-reader. Can you just post it to Kindle […] so I can just push a button and get it?”
-He then looked into Kindle Direct Publishing; you just post it up there, you set what you want the price to be, set what you want the royalty to be, and then that’s it
-He wanted to make it free but Amazon doesn’t allow you to do that, you must charge at least 99 cents. The lowest you can set your share to is 30% and the lowest price you can set is 99 cents
-Now people could read it on his website, they could download the e-reader file for free, or they could pay 99 cents to have Amazon put it on their e-reader for them
-Within a month or two more people had bought it from Amazon than had downloaded it for free and soon it started getting reviews on Amazon, it started doing really well, word of mouth helped it to spread and then it finally made it into the top sellers. He was able to surmise that compared to others, his was selling “abnormally well,” about 300 copies a day
-Then it made it onto the sci-fi top ten and it made it into the technical top ten, once it got there he said, it really spiked because undecided readers look at the top tens and just download whatever looks sort of interesting
-From there it got the attention of Random House -Crown Publishing
-An editor at Crown Publishing said he wanted to make a print edition but he wanted an opinion from outside the company so he talked to a colleague of his who was a literary agent and had him take a look at the material and tell me if he thought it was publishable
-The agent said “yes I thing its publishable” then he went to Andy and said “do you need an agent?” to which Andy said he did (need an agent)
-The agent then turned to Crown Publishing and said “lets talk about how much you’re gonna pay for the thing”
-The same week they closed on the book deal he closed on the movie rights with Fox
Now granted his stories were specific to his situation and there were many factors that played into his success. However, this is, in my opinion, a good jumping off point for where I could potentially try and start a side career as an author.