I fully admit that I was, at one time, a print publishing snob. I thought the only good novel was published by a N.Y. publisher who would print my manuscript into a beautiful paperback book that I could hold and cuddle. Over the years I’ve slowly changed my mind and in the past few months, my outdated idea has been proven completely ridiculous.
But first let’s discuss the reality of the publishing world. I don’t know if you realize this, but getting published by a N.Y. Publisher is hard. Damn hard. Pretty much like winning the lottery. But all you have to do is write a good book, you say. Yeah, well, let’s face it, we’ve all read books that suck and we’ve wondered how the hell that book got published. Truth is, what we consider good is relative. And that doesn’t just apply to readers, but editors who buy books as well. So while we might think a book was terrible, all it takes is for one editor to love it.
And although you might be published it doesn’t mean you’ll get published again. I know many, many, many authors who are having a difficult time getting another contract at the moment. Do their books suck? No. Is their writing bad? Nope, not at all. So why aren’t they getting published? Who knows. Economy is one popular excuse right now, but in actuality there are many reasons that have nothing to do with the author’s book or writing ability.
So what’s a writer to do if you can’t catch the attention of an agent or editor? Give up? Sure, if you want to. But for some people, giving up isn’t an option. You’ve got a book people like, perhaps it’s won writing awards, agents and editors have been interested but for little reason end up rejecting it. What do you do? You can shelve the book or…perhaps…self publish.
But you don’t make any money self-publishing, you might say. Yeah, well, there’s a reason why authors published with a N.Y print publisher often have to work a regular job as well as write…the money in publishing is far from great. But what about promoting, you might ask. If you self-publish you’ll be responsible for promoting your own book. Guess how much help I’ve had promoting my book? Very, very little. Again, in most instances even with N.Y. publishers you’ll have to promote your own work.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying that self-publishing is for everyone. I do think an author should try a print publisher first because if you get the right print publisher, you can make decent money and get your book in front of thousands of readers, which can gain you a fan base. And yes, many people who self-publish won’t make enough money to buy lunch at McDonald’s. But self-publishing is certainly another option for those who have run out of options. And yes, there have been a few self-published authors who have met with great success. Karen McQuestion is one such author. After striking out with agents, Karen put her books up on Amazon Kindle. A year later one of Karen’s books is being turned into a movie. Yes, a movie.
So coming up, I’m going to be interviewing three people who have self-published, one who found fame, and two new authors who hope to: Women’s Fiction author Maryann McFadden, Paranormal Romance author Edie Ramer and Urban Fantasy author H.P. Mallory. So come back soon to hear their stories of perseverance and for your chance to win a book or two!
Update…. paranormal author Zoe Winters will also be guest blogging! Zoe is super knowledgeable about the entire self-publishing process and has had great success, so she’ll be able to add a lot to our discussion.