Publishing: Choose Your Own Adventure

“May Days.” Age: 10. Don’t laugh. It won first place at the Ohio State Fair.

What’s your favorite fairy tale? Mine is the one in which I’m a children’s book author.

When I was little, I imagined it as: unknown girl is destined, acts, triumphs, and lives happily ever after. Maybe even throw in a TODAY show appearance.

But that flight of fancy didn’t take into account the state of the world when it came time for me to act on this presumed “destiny.” Back then we didn’t even have <gasp!> the Internet. Swoon and wail as appropriate …

Technology is kaleidoscoping my publishing fairy tale into a nail-biting choose-your-own adventure. (Yes, they still make them. Might I recommend Your Grandparents Are Zombies?)

In addition to the traditional method of printing a book through a publisher, there are these newly scythed paths:

  • self-published printed books
  • text ebooks
  • enhanced ebooks
  • lightly interactive ebooks
  • interactive story-based apps
  • and progressive outliers like this new game-console-based “virtual” book:

I should mention this doesn’t even take into account the storytelling opportunities through the mammoth entertainment realms of video games, movies, and music. (By the way, did you know people now devote more money and time to video games than to movies? True! Though I personally think games are in the awkward prepubescent stage of storytelling, but they’re getting there … )

So here I stand, countless endings waiting for the turn of the page. Unfortunately, this time I can’t flip to the back of this book and skim the outcomes before proceeding. (Admit it: You did it, too.)

So, what do I choose?

  • What are your favorite examples of these new book formats?
  • Which ones do you use (or would rather not use)?
  • For my “industry” friends, what’s the buzz at BEA and the like?
  • For my writer friends, what did you choose and how did you go about it? Are there any other “endings” you’d like to revisit?

Every good Hero’s Journey needs mentors and allies. Maybe you’ll be the Obi-Wan to my Luke, the Gandolf to my Frodo, the Lady Jessica to my Paul.Lady Jessica Paul Dune

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6 thoughts on “Publishing: Choose Your Own Adventure

  1. Ever the optimist, I like to spin this era in publishing as “the golden age of content.” There is a huge hunger for good content, no matter what the delivery. While it may be confusing for would-be authors to wade through the options, it does mean there’s more opportunity than ever for writers to connect with readers. I still believe in traditional publishing, and in my classes, a vast majority of students still want a traditional book deal–even if bells and whistles may be added to the e-book version of their printed book. Why not have the best of both worlds? My view: Until you have a significant enough platform or following to generate self-published book sales, go with a publisher and get the benefit of their marketing and distribution savvy.

    1. True. The traditional path currently remains my top choice. However, for people (or my case, subjects) that publishers don’t want to gamble on–especially amid economic fears and speculations about the future of the industry–it’s nice to have several alternate routes, confusing though it may be.

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