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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Some Publishing Basics

This week I'm giving advice to the new member of my writers' group. Feel free to chime in with anything I miss.

Most of the discussion we had on his first meeting had to do with publication. Sure, he knew the novel wasn't quite finished, but he's anxious to get it out into the world. He found a "publisher" that would put together his book... for a fee. And now he's been getting emails from them urging him to submit his novel.

We directed him to step away from the vanity publisher...

The first thing to do is to finish the novel. And by finish, I mean it should have been read by critique partners and/or beta readers. It would be a good idea to have an editor take a look at it (this is one thing to definitely pay for).

Then, once you're sure you're ready... (Are we ever truly ready? There's always more tinkering to do. But at some point we must dive in.)

You must decide what route you want to take. You can submit to traditional publishers or do it yourself. (Last week we had a great post on the differences in publishers. Thanks, Carol. Perfect timing.)

Which is the right way to go? Well, that's a very individual decision. There are pros and cons on both sides, so I'm going to open this question up to you.

Did you (are are you planning to) publish with a publishing house (large or small), or did you go it on your own? Why? If you could go back and do it differently, would you?


Al Penwasser said...

I went on my own with "It's Not Just A Job." While I was able to quickly "get it out there," the royalties.....
Well, let's put it this way. I'm not going to Disney World.
I may be able to get a cup of coffee of Dunkin' Donuts, though.
The croissant will just have to wait.

Huntress said...

By all that is Holy, submit to the traditional market. Going the literary agent route might take you to the land of Published as fast as anything.

If it doesn't, find the promised land via small press or publisher. You will learn a tremendous amount of the ways, whys, and hows of this business.

Go self-pub but only after you've learned the ropes. You can screw up your brand with a bad book. Don't get too eager. Don't rush it.

I know, you want published. You want to be the debut author who submits to 16 agents, gets a contract, published in two years, and makes the New York Times Bestseller list. But that doesn't happen very often.

Janie Junebug said...

Penwusser, you needed an editor named Janie Junebug.

I have concerns about critique partners/beta readers, etc. Too many people offering too much advice can be confusing.


Liz A. said...

Thanks for the viewpoints. I'm glad to have all your perspectives.