Just about the only hard cover publisher still bringing traditional frontier stories to market is Forge, and some of the mass market paperback publishers have gotten out of the business or even folded altogether. Somehow, it’s ironic that perhaps the biggest market for Westerns now exists in the Christian market.
Is this death-by-a-thousand-cuts because western fiction is just a niche genre targeting old white guys, the way many of the publishers explain it?
Well, maybe so and maybe no. Westerns and any fiction about America’s westering still represent THE American story. It’s what made us. And I continue to believe that people who read for the love of a good story and maybe a little education will read what crafters of Americana are writing.
If the stories are told honestly, with an eye to the real history and personalities of the people who populated frontier America,
Which brings me to today’s world and the amazing liberation of digital publishing, which is nothing less than a whole new, exciting way to reach that audience! Jeff Bezos at Amazon, the good folks at B&N, and print-on-demand publishers such as Lulu, CreateSpace, and IngramSpark have handed us the keys to the Kingdom.
For a few dollars, we can create a decent book cover (or have one created at a pretty reasonable cost), and get an ISBN. With a little effort, we can format our manuscripts, upload them, and be self-published.
Of course, self-publishing comes with some perils.
And quality still counts. A lot. More on those topics in a later installment.
For now, let’s celebrate throwing off the yoke of New York publishing for good...and start spinning good yarns for great people.
So...what are you doing to advance the cause?