Originally posted: Tuesday, 8 May 2007
So You want to become a published author. First things first: what kind of publication are we talking about?
Is print the only medium that will satisfy you?
Or, would having an electronic publisher accept your manuscript for eBook publication make you jump up and down with joy?
If print is the only avenue you will consider:
There are more options open to you now than there were when I began, and the electronic age is responsible for that. The holy grail of publishing is to get a publisher with a Manhattan address to accept your novel for publication, but it is a tight market. Even established authors toss and turn some nights hoping that their publisher will not dump them, praying that the industry doesn’t turn away from whatever their genre or sub-genre is. I would say that if you believe in your book, and feel that it is marketable, then go first to try to get a publisher interested in it. It never hurts to aim high.
Here is an explanation of some terms for print publishers other than the big New York publishing houses:
1 – Vanity Press/Subsidy Press: this term seems a little outdated to me now, with the explosion of self-publishing and Print On Demand services revolutionizing the market. Subsidy or Vanity Presses require a full or co-payment from the author to publish the book. These publishers are not at all concerned with the quality of your work – though they may pretend to be – and are only concerned with getting the most money out of you that they can.
2 – POD/Print On Demand: These companies may accept your work more readily than a large publisher because they have the capacity to print small runs, based on the popularity of your book and how the orders come in.
3 – Self-publishing: A popular and viable choice. There are two ways of doing this.
A) You can pay a company like iUniverse, who will take your manuscript and do the technical work to turn it into a book. For this they will charge you a fee based on a ‘package’ of services ranging from simply printing and binding it from your electronic files, to doing all of the work needed to turn your MS Word, WordPerfect or RTF (Rich Text Format) files into compatible, printable work, as well as designing a cover and providing you with some copies, and carrying your book in their online store.
B) If you are technically gifted, you can do all of the work yourself – including designing a cover on your own or using one of their templates – and publish your book through a print company like CafePress or Lulu. You will be able to purchase copies at a set price, and/or offer them for sale on the company’s website, setting your price high enough that you will make some profit.
Be very careful to know what you’re getting if you go with someone online, and never ever sign a contract without fully understanding it. Do research, check them out, and for that purpose I would advise you to go to this website:
The ‘Preditors & Editors’ page, among others, has good advice for anyone thinking of signing a contract or paying someone for their services.
As far as electronic publishing goes, there are different ways to go about that, too.
Check out eBook Crossroads for a list of royalty paying e-book publishers:
Also especially valuable is their page about eBook publishing:
It all comes down to the same advice: you CAN get published, but first you must do your research, think about where you fit, and then formulate a strategy.
And be careful out there!
I know the desperation to get published, and how it can make you think of doing things you may even have been warned against, but be careful and be cagey. Don’t commit more money to the enterprise than you can afford to lose, and don’t expect to get published – or get rich – overnight. It generally takes a long time to find a publisher, even once your skills are up to snuff.
Some general advice to start with:
Do be certain you have a good grounding in the basics of writing. That means spelling, grammar, sentence structure and paragraphing.
Do have a good sense of the market, where your work fits, and your quality – honestly – when compared to others.
Do understand the basics of the business. There is lots of advice out there on the ‘net, but be careful who you listen to. Advice from someone who wants your money is rarely worth it.
Do, above all, keep writing!
Don’t rush into self-publishing or eBook publishing for your novel if you intend to try a more traditional route; large print publishers will often not touch a book that has appeared in eBook or self-publishing format unless it has sold an astounding number of copies!
Don’t give up; the difference between a published writer and an unpublished writer is often persistence, not ability or talent.
More to come another day!!!!