Today self-publishing opens up a whole new world to the writer. Not only can writers still pay for the services of vanity publishers, but they can publish relatively inexpensively via sites like CreateSpace as well as set up their own small presses as I did with Paws n Claws. They can publish direct to Kindle, Smashwords, for iPhones etc, etc. And this means their work can get out there into the world.
On top of that the stigma that once surrounded self-publishing seems to have been largely dispelled and agents and publishers now have a way of assessing how proactive authors are in self-promotion as well as look at previous sales and whether they have a fan-base already established — testing the water. This will help them sell a book to a publisher.
That said, if the work has that elusive WOW factor we all seek, it makes no difference. They will take you on anyway regardless of social presence or previous sales. But they will look at it if it exists, for sure. And this was a question I asked a couple of agents.
It’s not the same world it used to be for sure. Opportunities exist in ways they never used to and with the right degree of knowledge and some appreciation of the business models, relative nobodies can achieve great success. But (oh here it is) a HUGE number of people do not. It’s hard work.
I think it’s great this opportunity exists. I really do.
But I do have concerns that knowing this other way is out there can hinder the development of some writers.
Yes I did say that. Yes. I. Did.
Let me explain. Rejection, painful as it is, for me anyway, has been the fuel that drives my desire to be the best, if such a thing is achievable. I seek validation in acceptance from the industry, as hard as that ladder is to climb. I could have chosen to publish my novel at Bridge House relatively cheaply. I could have created an imprint with my own press and done it that way. And I did think about it, many times. I still don’t rule it out in the future. This isn’t about saying that isn’t good enough. No. Don’t misunderstand me. But for me, I am a control freak when it comes to this journey of improvement. This need to write the perfect story, especially the perfect novel and I know this probably does not exist, or is only in the mind of the believer. But I try anyway. I strive to get better and better.
So rejection ignited or added more flames to that fire. In this world of opportunity I still see the agent and the big publisher as the ultimate. I am thrilled to have been signed to Parthian. Thrilled isn’t a strong enough word for it. They are a great publisher with a great reputation and I am still dancing! I hope it does well and I hope I can find me an agent for the next novels.
What rejection did was teach me I wasn’t good enough — yet. And yet is the important word. So I did and still do everything I can to be good enough.
My fear with doing it yourself, is side-stepping, or perhaps short-cutting and not learning to be as good as possible. But let me say — for some. Not all. And this is where critique and copy editors are invaluable to process.
If you do self-publish don’t rely on a friend or even a teacher who knows grammar, or even just another writer friend. Do it right. Have someone professionally assess your MS. Then have it copy-edited and proofed before you go to press. If what you produce is well written and good quality, you have the best chance for some good sales.
But it’s more than that. While you expect a flurry of sales from family and friends, it’s going beyond that — way beyond that. And only the truly most loyal of friends will keep buying your books if they didn’t like the first one. It’s about return custom. It’s about correcting what stopped the agents and publishers picking it up. Right? Let me say that again — it’s about correcting what stopped the agents and publishers picking it up.
So make sure you do it right. Some might not agree with me, I speak only as my own work ethic dictates, and hey maybe there is a little touch of delusion thrown in there knowing how tough the industry is — but is that such a bad thing?
Well, that’s me for today. Feel free to comment.
I am currently building up a mini series in the In The Spotlight Series called Spotlight on Crime so have been in conversation with some crime writers. If you want to take part or know someone who does, then please let me know.
Have a great Tuesday y’all!
Welcome to my madness …
Really good link about publishing … LINK