Discovering New Authors

Joe and Donnie

J.A. Konrath reacts to Dark Justice by Donnie Light

I was reading a blog post yesterday about the “positive aspects” of being rejected by agents and editors. This blogger was touting the “growth” that can be experienced by an author by being rejected by the traditional publishing establishment.
The basic idea was that when an author gets rejected, the rejected author should take that as a signal that his/her writing is just not good enough yet, and therefore try even harder to hone their skills as a writer and produce a better book next time.
This blogger did mention that almost every successful book out there has been rejected, and that rejection is just part of the process. Of course there are countless stories about agents and publishers who passed on a book, only to find that book eventually becomes a bestseller.
My take is that this current system of submitting to agents and publishers, allowing your book to dwindle on the slush pile with little hope of getting a decent look from a qualified reader, is just totally messed up and inefficient.
My own book, Dark Justice, has been down this road. I gathered nearly 100 rejections before just letting the book sit on my shelf for a few years gathering dust.
Then, along came ebooks.  I had been reading ebooks myself, so it finally dawned on me that maybe Dark Justice could find an audience among ebook readers.
Since then, Dark Justice has sold a couple of hundred copies in both ebook formats and as a POD printed paperback. It’s getting an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon. I’m getting reader feedback, all of it positive. I’m even getting e-mail from readers who bought the book or borrowed it from their libraries, telling me that they are looking forward to reading my next book.
That is music to an author’s ears, and I love it that people are enjoying my work.
By no measure is Dark Justice a bestseller. I don’t have the power of a national sales campaign behind me, nor any big corporations out there pushing my book. But I have some readers, and they seem to be very hapy readers, which is the best incentive for me to finish my next book and find yet more readers willing to take a chance on an unknown author.
My experience with publishing Dark Justice myself has yielded far more in terms of feedback and building my writing skills than all of rejections from the publishing establishment.
I would love to get a traditional publishing contract for my next book.  But this time, I will not submit for years and adhere to each agent and publisher’s personalized requirements.  I’ll give it my best shot, and once again move to self-publishing if a traditional deal cannot be reached in a few months.
There is a change coming that is going to turn the existing model on its head.  I hope to be there, front and center, when that happens.