Steve Piacente The Games Changed, One Self-Published Author's View

Once, back in the dark ages, like about five years ago, if you wanted to be an author, you’d write a book, scour around for an agent, and, if the stars aligned, get one and sign with a big-time publisher. That’s how it worked – there was one path, one key to the literary castle. If you couldn’t follow the path, you didn’t get the key, and all you got to write were cranky letters home.


If you did land one, the agent would have to find a publisher. If not, that would be the end. You’d bitch and mutter and vow never to write another word. Then, one day at the beach with the sun setting low, inspiration would strike and words would pour forth like draft beer during Game 7. After a time, you’d have a new manuscript.


And you’d try, despite that inner voice warning of impending disappointment, to get an agent to sell your book to a publisher. You’d daydream about a sweet movie deal, and which stars would play the leads. Then the agents would write nice rejection letters. Or ignore you altogether. Or take you on and give up if the publishers didn’t launch an instant bidding war.


Today the game has changed. Technology has provided a direct path to prospective readers. Screw the middleman and let’s all pay homage to the power of new media. Tools like Twitter and Facebook have enabled writers to find cover artists, illustrators, book trailers, editors, web designers, and, most importantly, readers.


In the rush to meet the masses, self-published authors should not overlook the ancient and proven value of personal contact. Peter Drucker said the most important thing in communication “is to hear what isn’t being said.” To hear what’s not being said, you need to be present. 


Witness our more savvy politicians, who routinely bypass reporters and use social media to communicate directly with voters. Note that they also hold town hall meetings, visit with editorial boards, and speak to the Rotary Club.


Bella, my story of an anguished widow who drags a DC reporter into the investigation of her husband’s mysterious death, took three years to write. I’ve spent the last year moving into a new field: creative marketing. Among the most important lessons I’ve learned is this:


Technology has indeed altered the landscape. Writers can reach millions of readers without the mighty agents and publishing houses. And there is a kind of frontier justice in the fact that real people – if you can connect with them – will decide if your book is worth reading.

But the connection is fragile. Folks are busy; they’re dealing with jobs, bosses, kids and dogs, and a million other entertainment choices. While some of your Web communications will hit the mark, many will fall well short.


That’s why Facebook isn’t enough. Get out there in the flesh. When someone stops by, look him in the eye and slip your custom bookmark into his hand as you shake it. He stopped because something interested him. He wants to know more about you and your story. Tweet away, and I don’t mean on the computer.



Steve Piacente is the self-published author of Bella (, a communications official at the U.S. General Services Administration, and an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter: #Wordsprof and Facebook:


Things have changed around here. I am now the published author by Trestle Press of “I Have Chrome Balls, Don’t You?” an “In Between The Collaborations”, “Down Low- Dead” with Vincent Zandri, “The Jersey Shore Has Eyes” with Big Daddy Abel”, “G.S.I Gelati’s Scoop Investigations Psychotic Detectives” with Thomas White, “Who Whacked The Blogger” with Benjamin Sobieck,“Thad and The G-Man’s Most Awesome Adventure” with Thad Brown , “Hotel Beaumont” with B.R. Stateham, and the soon to be released “Give Us Your Living…Now!” with HR Toye. All the stories are available @ Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and Smashwords. I am also the host of the wildly popular The G-ZONE blogtalk radio show. Thanks for stopping by today; We will see you tomorrow. Have a great day.









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