by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
Don’t know if you’ve been following the fight between author and tv personality Stephen Colbert and his publisher vs. Amazon.com. Colbert basically declared war on Amazon.com last week since they would not honor pre-sales, plus other things. In a nice twist of fate, Colbert told everyone to go to http://www.Powells.com (Powell’s Books) here in Portland to order a book by a new author.
Boy howdy that worked. In fact, Powells.com barely had a heads up from the tv show staff before their servers came grinding almost to a halt to keep up with the order demand. As I watched the videos and read the online articles about the skirmish, I wondered what are a few of the things I’ve accidentally done over the years to survive this juggernaut of digital publishing madness. Besides chocolate, that is.
1. Built my own web site and kept it. Like the authors wrote in “Write. Publish. Repeat.” anything can change, go out of business or be bought in a nanosecond, including this blog. Stake a claim for your career on the Internet and S.P.U.D. – an acronym from one of our former search and rescue deputies – stay put until you die. I ended up with an “aged domain” and top page ranking in Google just by keeping my web site real estate since 1997 or the Pleistocene era, whichever you prefer.
2. Check back. Things change. When I first started my writing business my very common name URL was taken. Rats. So I built the business around Warrior Tales. Several years ago at the Willamette Writers Conference, a speaker mentioned to recheck to see if your name becomes available later. Queried that night, it was and I bought it! Since my name is very common, in 1997 I first checked Amazon.com to see how many authors had my name – holy moly – a ton. So I used my entire name with middle initial to get some separation between moi and the herd of other Kim Cooks online.
3. Self-publishers buy your own ISBNs. When I get ready to launch my ebooks extravaganza, having my own ISBNs means that no matter what Amazon.com, nook.com, itunes.com, kobo.com and the partridge in the pear tree do in the future, I can retrieve my digital work and move it to another home; the ISBN will always be tied to me and I won’t have to keep sending new ISBNs to readers to hunt for in the grand future of digital words. After all, we are all pretty much publishers now going our own way in this new adventure.
4. Keep writing. No matter what. Doesn’t matter if you have to take breaks to handle life’s roller coaster events, write when you can. The other day I asked myself if I got abducted by aliens never to return, the space kind not the green card kind, what would I regret? Besides not having the exclusive story on the whole alien thing? Not getting my stories written. So, write on!
(See Colbert wage war with Amazon.com) http://on.cc.com/1xd6bRS
(View Author Sherman Alexie chime in on the debacle.) http://on.cc.com/1xd660r