For countless years, writers have been held back by the idea of being stuck in a slush pile for all eternity, for their works to get no further than a stack of brown envelopes. After eons of thrashing away at typewriters and word processors, the fruits of their labour may never have amounted to much beyond a friendly rejection letter.
With changes in the world economy, it is in some respects even harder to break into the publishing industry, but now, with the ever growing importance of the internet, we are free to create our content as we please, and release it in its purest form. Not only that, but we now have the opportunity to prove ourselves as writers to the publishing houses by creating our own brand and finding our on audience.
It is a much more attractive prospect to publishers if a new author comes with an in-built audience who already enjoys their work. It makes the expense and effort of putting out a book rather easier to deal with, as there is already a supply of fans whop will pick it up. This is fantastic, as it gives writers an opportunity to hone their craft even better, thanks to the feedback and the opinions of those who have taken the time to check it out.
With more and more authors podcasting, offering books as free downloads and creating all manner of other online content to share with prospective fans for free, everybody wins. Fans of a particular genre are able to check out new content and stories by new authors, and those new authors are able to improve their skills from the ground level.
This should under no circumstances be seen as an excuse to put out any old nonsense- you are offering your content directly to your audience, and as such it should be the absolute best that you can possibly make it.
This is a great time for new authors who want to grow an audience this way- with readers wanting books they know they will enjoy, and publishing houses wary of unproven writers, we have a perfect chance to prove just what we are capable of. We may not have huge budgets and advertising staff, but armed with a computer, a microphone, some talent and a hell of a lot of determination, we have everything we need to make ambitions a reality.