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Monday, August 29, 2011

What do you really want? A look at Publishing options.

That's the question of the day, week, year isn't it? What do you REALLY want when it comes to your writing career. Sometimes its hard to know.

For instance, do I write because I must to stay sane? Yes.
Do I want to see my name on the cover of a book? Yes.
Does that book have to be published by one of the big publishers? I dunno?

The last question is where the soul searching begins. The publishing industry has changed a lot over the last few years. It's going to keep changing. This means self publishing, e-publishing, small to mid sized publishing is all good now. It's a valid way to get your work out there and into the hands of readers. But is the outcome the same?

There's still a lot that I need to learn about these options, but the one thing I know for sure is that if you put the work into the editing and marketing any of these options can bring success.

So what is the level of success you want? What will be enough?

Indie Publishing (or self publishing)--There are so many ways that you can do this now days. Indie Publishing gives you complete control over the publishing process. You foot the whole bill so you choose the cover, the book size, formatting, fonts, how many books to print, or if you want just e-pub, where/how you market. The only down side to this is you still need to pay an editor to go over your book. You need to make sure you are putting out the best product you can.

  • Don't self publish simply because you don't want to go through rounds of revisions with editors or because you can't handle rejection.
  • Do self publish if you have polished your novel until it shines but it isn't quite right for the mass market. There's a market for every book, but sometimes great writing is turned down simply because agents and publishers aren't sure they can sell it.

Small to Mid-sized Publishers--Here you get the advantage of having professional editors and others round out your Team to put out a quality product. They help with all the formatting issues, have artist to provide covers and help you come up with a marketing plan. The great thing is since they are smaller than the biggies, there is a family feel. You get more attention.

This idea is looking better and better all the time. You don't need an agent, you still play a big part in the process but aren't solely responsible for everything. That sounds good to me.

  • Don't go this route first if you really want to be the next JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer.
  • Do go this route if you've gone through a hundred agents with no luck.
  • Do go this route if your novel appeals to a certain niche group of readers. Just make sure you do your research and find the right niche publisher.

The Biggies (New York Publisher, the ones we all recognize...)--Generally need an agent to go this route. You still have to play a big part in marketing yourself and your novel. You lose a lot of say in the process, but that doesn't mean you will be unhappy about the choices made (I'm thinking book covers and such).

The biggest problem with this route is it is so impersonal. Do we even have an idea of how many people are writing books now? Agents are wading through hundreds of queries a day and so its hard to catch their eye. After you get the agent you have more waiting as they try and sell your book to a publisher.

  • Don't go this route if you are faint of heart. There is a lot of rejection involved.
  • Do go this route if you are patient and can take being told no.
  • Do go this route if you feel this is what will validate you and your writing.

Whatever it is that you want right now, work hard for it. And don't be afraid to give something a year or two before re-evaluating your goals.

Which brings me to my question for you.

What is it that you want to accomplish over the next year and how can Unicorn Bell help you reach that goal?

Please be specific so we can serve you better.


Stephen Tremp said...

Although self published, I would like to find a small to mid sized publisher. I tried the Big Six and received lots of rejection letters. This time around I'll seek the middle of the road.

Charity Bradford said...

Thanks Stephen! Maybe we can research some small to mid-sized publishers and share our findings with our readers.

Brooke R. Busse said...

Right now, I just want to write a few novels I'm proud of. While the idea of an agent is exciting, I don't know if the idea of a teenage writer is exciting to them. Not that I'll let that hold me back. I just need to perfect (right) my stories and figure out where I want to go with this first.

mshatch said...

great post, huntress; thanks :)

L. said...

I have been thinking that I would want to polish up my manuscripts and start seeing if there was any interest in them late this year or early next year... but with the industry in such a state of flux, I don't know.

Research on small and mid-size publishers would interest me, too.