Everyone has aha moments in their lives. Well, most everyone, at least.

Sometimes, those aha moments are of a personal nature. Sometimes, they’re professional. But almost always, they are moments of great clarity.

Having that aha moment can feel like being struck by a bolt of lightning (at least, I assume so—I try to avoid actual bolts of lightning). I’ve had several aha moments, personal and professional. They can change the course of your life, or at least the course of your career.

Sometimes, that aha moment is smaller in scale. Like the day you realize a phrase you’ve used all your life actually means something specific (and, p.s., you’ve been saying it wrong all this time—embarrassing). Or the moment something you’ve been struggling to learn finally clicks into place.

We had a lot of aha moments in the WMG offices last week, because Dean Wesley Smith and I taught a class of professional writers how to put their own books into print.

Their first aha moment came, of course, when they first realized that they should, could and would put their own books into print. The second came when they realized we could and would teach them how to do it. The third, fourth, fifth came during the workshop.

Some aha moments were of a technical nature: “So, that’s what that button does!”

Some were about confidence: “Wow, I really can design my own cover.”

The list goes on.

But what they all had in common was the change-agent effect. The realization that something that seemed impossible was now not only possible, but also probable.

And that’s one of the main reasons Dean and I teach this workshop (here info on the online version and lectures, by the way). I can’t really speak for Dean, but for me, to be able to offer this workshop and help professional writers take control of their own product from start to finish…well, those aha moments are worth their weight in gold.

As fast as this industry is changing, it’s essential to ensure writers are empowered. Because the readers are sending a clear message: “We want good, professional-quality books. We don’t care if they’re self-published, indie published, or traditionally published. Just make them something we’d want to buy.” Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the ebook bestseller list. Traditional publishers are facing their own aha moment right now. And it’s not the good kind.

We take the reader-driven model to heart here at WMG. We embrace that philosophy in our own publishing model, and we pass it along to the writers we teach. We love this new world of publishing: as writers, as readers, as publishers.

Great writing is all about touching the reader in some way. Reader-driven publishing helps that writing reach those readers. It doesn’t take an aha moment to realize the benefits of that.


Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.