Saturday, January 14, 2012

THE MOST FAQ

I get asked this question a lot. HOW DO I GET PUBLISHED?


The answers are not as simple as 1-2-3 but let me try to break it down for you. Publishing a book as we normally think of it, has changed a lot with the advent of the Internet and e-books. Even mid level writers are leaving traditional publishers in droves as the ease of doing it yourself becomes easier and more profitable. Those who have name recognition and a loyal fan base are finding that not having a traditional publisher allows them more freedom and profit.

There are three ways to get yourself published:

1) Traditional: this involves sending your manuscript to a well established publisher who will take weeks or months (in one of my submissions, two years) to look at it and let you know. Most traditional publishers require that only literary agents submit manuscripts which means you won't even get read unless you can find a literary agent ready to go out and pound the streets to sell your book. Writer's Market is an invaluable tool to find publishers who publish your genre, their submission requirements (always follow them to the T or your manuscript will find their circular file), and any other info that you might need to know. This is how writers used to have to do it and I started by doing this. Rare is the writer who gets accepted by the first publisher or agent that they contact (J.K Rowling is the exception, not the rule). John Grisham was rejected by 20 different publishers before someone took a chance on A Time to Kill.

2) Vanity press: These are publishers who will print your book for a fee. No rejection, no critiqing of your manuscript (oh you can get it edited for an extra fee). Basically they charge you X amount of dollars to publish X amount of copies. You get the copies and you sell them for whatever price you choose. The more $$$$ you are willing to shell out, the more they will do for you. It is an expensive option and vanity publishing has a reputation of being low quality writing because the writer is not subject to quality standards. You pay the money, they'll publish any old tripe you write, no matter how god-awful it is.

3) Print on Demand. The Internet has changed how to get published. Sites like lulu.com and others allow you, the author, to download your manuscript into a website and send it to a publisher who will print a copy of your book (or ebook) as orders come in. Overhead is lower and you're not stuck with a bunch of books that you can't sell. Even better, sites can just publish you in e-book form with even lower cost and you get to choose the pricing.
New independent publishers are going for a print on demand operation because it lowers their risks, especially for new untried authors. This approach has allowed many more writers' voices to be heard who might not have succeeded so swiftly under the traditional approach.
Whatever route you choose, there is good and bad. You need to decide what kind of approach would work better for you. For me, I didn't want to pay someone to print my stuff. I felt my time and effort that was put in was payment enough and if it was good enough, someone would want to print it. In the end I was right. Others don't want the hassle of trying to get "discovered" and lean toward vanity presses. Others possess the patience and skills to do it themselves using the Internet and technology now available.
Whatever you decide, good luck and happy writing!

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