The Long and Winding Road
Each journey begins with one step. I chose the road less taken. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Self-publishing. Every author has faced that long and winding road to publication. What path did you choose? Self-publishing is a quick method, sometimes with large reward at the end, but like all tempting paths, it is fraught with danger – poor editing, poor marketing, lack of shelf space in bookstores, lack of professional recognition. While traditional book publishing has remained fairly constant at 280,000 books or declined slightly since 2000, self-publishing rose from 200,000 in 2008 to 764,000 in 2009. Either we have had a surge in great authors or there is a lot of trash out there to sift through for a lierary jewel. Don’t get me wrong, there are great self-pubbed authors doing well. I am not opposed to self-publishing. I have done it twice and got better results than I expected. It may be for you, but don’t think garbage will make you rich. They say crap floats, but it doesn’t in the literary world.
Vanity press. What can I say. I’m no fan of spending money to be published. It’s kind of like paying people to read your book. Not really, but it feels that way. I don’t know many people who have recouped their costs through vanity presses. If you want to self-publish, see above.
Small press. There are some excellent small presses out there publishing some good stuff. I have published through Damnation Books and Severed Press and have been pleased with the results.Good editors make a difference in the finished product. I am now working with Montag Press on my new YA sci-fi novel, Oracle of Delphi, and my editor Mara has made some excellent suggestions that did not occur to me. Having a professional edit your novel is always good. Paying an editorial service can be expensive. Unless you expect to sell to a big press company, it might not be economical. Other advatages to small press are shorter turnaround times for publication and a better chance at acceptance.
Big press. It is nice to be accepted by one of the larger publishing companies – Avon, Pengiuin, St. Martins – but the odds are long and it might take a year or two to hear from them, even for a rejection letter. If you can wait, go for it. I do submit to them, but I also submit to smaller press. First come, first served. I’m 58 and I’m not letting moss grow under my feet. Some definate advantages of big press is an advance and recognition, but editing is sometimes no better than small press and, unless you are a big name, it is still up to you to sell your books.
The face of publishing is changing. My Kindle e-books are selling very well and inceasing weekly. Lower cost is one factor. Proliferation of e-book readers is another. I’m all for it, although I still prefer a book in my hand. I’m into bookmarks, I guess. Whatever road you travel, try to make the journey as enjoyable for others as possible. Write well, write often and write with the reader in mind.