If today's most successful publishers, editors, and writers wanted to share the lessons they've learned, would you listen?
If they wanted to write down those lessons so you wouldn't miss anything, would you read them?
If they also turned those lessons into actionable steps, would you follow their principles for success?
Just as Napoleon Hill gathered the wisdom of the business world in Think and Grow Rich, Titans Rising seeks to gather the wisdom of today's greatest Indie and Small Press authors and publishers to determine the underlying commonalities, which can reveal the unseen truths of the state of publishing today. Titans Rising brings all of that and more to those who want to better understand the rapidly changing world of 21st century publishing, where it is now, how it got there, and where it is going.
For the writer and publishing industry professional, Titans Rising will be the most important book you read all year.
"If you want to publish today you need to read this book."– Ron McMillan, Internet Reviewer
"Chris Kennedy and William Alan Webb have gathered insights from dozens of authors into a useful overview of the indie publishing industry for science fiction, fantasy and horror authors."– William T. Stroock, Internet Reviewer
"Each day I read from it made me more excited to be on this indie author journey while also giving me a charted map to guide my way."– Carlo_D, Internet Reviewer
Chapter 1 – Introduction
This is not a book about the craft of writing. There are many of those already on the market; the editors both have such works available through Quillcraft Press. Instead, "Titans Rising" is about something which mystifies writers more than the proper use of the Oxford comma, namely, the Business of Writing.
Napoleon Hill authored what has become perhaps the most famous business book in the past century with the publication of "Think and Grow Rich" in 1937. In that work, Hill is said to have espoused no philosophy of his own, but rather those of the great entrepreneurs of his day, with the focus on how they became America's wealthiest businessmen, regardless of their individual industry or business platform. That book was an expansion of Hill's earlier work "The Laws of Success," which might be even more applicable to the writer of today than "Think and Grow Rich."
Hill said that he studied the richest men of his day and distilled their experiences into 14 principles which governed their success. Why does this matter to 21st century writers? At its heart Hill's work is about self-discipline and individual work ethic, which are the foundation for any successful business, including a writing career, and it was the ongoing relevance of "Think and Grow Rich" that inspired the writing of "Titans Rising," and for the same purpose—to allow those who are re-creating the publishing industry to share what they've learned for the benefit of all.
It should be pointed out that some critics dispute the value of Napoleon Hill's works, as is inevitable with any book that draws hard conclusions and relies on self-motivation and self-discipline to achieve success using the concepts that are espoused. As of this writing, two percent of those who have rated Dale Carnegie's seminal work "How to Win Friends and Influence People" on Amazon rated it using one star. Does that invalidate the value of Carnegie's work? Hardly.
Yet, while such criticisms should not be ignored, they are critical to judging the work's value. In Hill's case, the objective reader has to decide if "Think and Grow Rich" stands up to the often vitriolic rants directed at what is, at its heart, an unrepentant glorification of the American Way of Business. If the reader rejects the criticisms, then the book's ongoing value is thereby proven to them. Should the judgment be that the criticisms have merit, then Hill's philosophies are disabused for that individual. "Titans Rising" is the glorification of such entrepreneurship as applied to a writing career, so you may judge for yourself whether to keep reading or not, depending on your own views.
If you judge sales as a definitive measure of continued relevance, then "Think and Grow Rich" remains among the first books that a prospective business owner should read. In 2007, Business Week magazine listed "Think and Grow Rich" as the 6th best-selling business paperback on its bestseller list, and on August 12, 2020, the Kindle version was the #1 Bestseller in the Amazon book category of Microeconomics. Likewise, a new edition released on November 22, 2021, the day of this writing, ranks as Amazon's #1 ebook in the category of Financial Engineering. On both dates, the book's overall ranking placed it in the top 99.98 percent of all books on Amazon. If that does not define "relevance," then the term has no meaning.
This book is a Treasure Map leading to success as an author. If that seems like a bold claim, it is not. A map shows you where to turn, how far to go (hopefully), and what to avoid. It actually does none of those things for you, however. Just like a real Treasure Map, you have to do the work. You have to walk the distance, figure out the clues, and avoid the pitfalls the map does not explain. Having a map does not reduce the fatigue, sweat, and sacrifice necessary to find the treasure, but if you follow the directions, it might reduce them.
The concept for "Titans Rising" is ambitious in the extreme, namely, to be the "Think and Grow Rich" for 21st century writers. "Titans Rising" is intended to be a unique book to help the modern writer achieve success. At its heart it is a survey to gather, categorize, and interpret lessons learned by a new breed of publishing greats, the innovators who are leading the market rather than following it. Writers at any stage of their careers should study the lessons contained herein, keeping in mind the adage that "if someone has what you want, do what they do."
This book has multiple entry points. It's a history book as well as a book about the writing business, and the lessons herein are applicable to a much broader, non-publishing-industry business audience. The beginning section is a brief, high-level overview of the history of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. If a broader approach was taken to such a task, then doing it justice would be a herculean work of epic proportion. Therefore, the authors have chosen to concentrate on a few specific writers in the various periods of this short history, and to use them as representations for the publishing industry in their periods.
Like "Think and Grow Rich," this book is meant to be timely and timeless. The stories related here are those of the new titans of publishing, the disruptors, people whose lessons will be studied in business textbooks for years to come by those who recognize that being a successful writer only begins with the quality of their prose. Their words and experiences will remain relevant for decades to come, just as Napoleon Hill discovered with the subjects he studied and wrote about.
If you read Webb's previous book "Have Keyboard, Will Travel," or Kennedy's "Indie Publishing for Profit," then you know both men are relentlessly honest about sharing their research, conclusions, and experiences. The co-editors of this book both do everything within their power to help less experienced writers who deserve a break, and, if they give an opinion, they map out the circumstances that led them to arrive at their conclusion. That way, you might examine the same evidence through your own eyes.
Now that concept is being expanded to encompass more of the movers and shakers who are redefining both writing and publishing. The mere fact of the Titans herein being invited to participate in this ground-breaking work proves the worth of their words. As a reader who is interested in the world of writing and publishing, or a writer doing your due diligence, you do not have to agree with the people profiled in this book, but you ignore their advice at your own peril.
Lastly, if the authors might be forgiven a moment's indulgence, we find it surprising that as of this writing in November of 2021, nobody outside of a tight circle of successful authors has really paid much attention to the rise of the Independent Publishing powerhouses that are in this book, and their relationship to more traditional publishers. It's fascinating to watch, if you realize what you are seeing. The business model these publishers are using to gain dominance in their genres is precisely the opposite of traditional publishers, and if that's not being a business disruptor, then what is?
These are amazing people who came to their writing and/or publishing careers from all walks of life and all levels of previous success, and who share one common trait: instead of seeing the existing publishing model as how things had to be, they saw the gaping maw of opportunity, leapt into the monster's mouth, and slew the beast from the inside. A traditionally published author who attended the recent 20Booksto50k® Writing Conference in Las Vegas expressed amazement at the sheer number of successful authors on hand and also the legion of aspirants. Despite tremendous success in the world of traditionally published science fiction and fantasy, the author in question had no idea that the Indie/small press world existed on such a scale.
Given all of that, how far back might we fairly trace the publishing industry to understand how we arrived at this point? Context is everything when judging the effects of evolution or revolution. If claims that the people profiled in this book are changing how books are produced and sold, that they are the disruptors of the 21st century, those changes will make no sense unless it is first established what they are disrupting.