On Publishing

For a while now I’ve been looking into different publishing options. What I’ve found is that I just don’t get it. It’s strange, really. I’m sure it’s probably all a lot simpler than my brain makes it out to be, but whenever I research into things like traditional vs. self-publishing, how to properly submit a novel to a big publisher, and what an accepted author can expect to earn, my head always ends up throbbing and I have to walk away from the computer for a while. Funny, right? I can dismantle an industrial valve that’s almost the size of me down into it’s tiniest components, and then turn around and put it all back together again (and have it work!), but when it comes to information on how to publish a book my mind shuts down on me and refuses to comprehend anything.

The main issue I’ve been battling with is whether to go immediately to self-publishing or try to submit my novel to one of the big publishing companies. I’ve read tons of information and advice on this argument. I’ve understood very little of it. There are a few things I’ve picked out, such as the idea that you’re more likely to make decent money if you go with a big publishing company, but then again you might go through years of rejections before getting accepted (or worse, never get accepted). With self-publishing you have to do most of the work yourself and you might never make a red cent, but your book will be published. It all comes down to what is more important to you…having your book out there, or eventually making money off of it.

For me I think it really comes down to impatience (of which I have a great deal). It would be nice to see my book printed by a big publisher, to see it on the shelf of a big-box book store, and to make some genuine money from it. But at the same time, I have the impatience of a hungry two-year-old…I want my appetite to be satiated now. The idea of spending months or years submitting my manuscript to publishers and sitting at home twiddling my thumbs while I wait for a response fills me with dread and makes my eye twitch maniacally. I’m just not a waiter; I hate waiting for anything.

So in the end I’ll almost definitely self-publish. I’m just so close to finally finishing one of my novel ideas that I can’t stand the idea of waiting any longer to have it (maybe) be published. While it would be amazing to make actual money doing what I’ve wanted to do since grade school, it’s more important to me to actually complete a novel from start (conception) to finish (printed book), and I want that printed book in my hands asap, thank you very much. πŸ™‚

10 thoughts on “On Publishing

  1. If you’re interested in paying for everything up front, doing all the work yourself–or paying professionals to do it for you, things like cover design, (maybe) editing, digital formatting, promotion (starting a facebook page, twitter account, buying adds)–then self-publishing is a good idea. Personally, I would rather write another book then spend all that time doing all the work to publish it myself. Also, I’ve done a lot of research and found that even if all the big publishers reject your book, there are THOUSANDS of indie publishers who still might say yes and who will do all that work for you–and pay YOU to do it!–and you really only have to wait a few months.

    Sidenote: You can’t submit your book to a big publisher (like HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster) yourself. You’d have to get a literary agent to do that for you. It’s a professional submitter who doesn’t get paid unless the publisher buys your book, and then they get a percentage (like a real estate agent). But you can submit to the smaller, ever-eager indie publishers mentioned above yourself. They usually get back to you with a “yes” or “no thanks” within three months. And you can send your book along to dozens at the same time, to increase your chances of hearing a “yes” sooner!

    • Thanks for the info. I’m still working on my final decision (I probably won’t decide for sure until the book is finished and formatted properly for publication), so it’s good to keep gathering info. πŸ™‚ I’ve been reading things here and there about indie publishers as well; I just don’t know if I trust them or not. Since I’m such a huge newbie to this stuff it’s hard for me to trust anyone other than myself or a firmly-planted, well-known publisher. When it comes to dealing with other people I’m just really anxious that I’m going to get screwed somehow, you know?

      • Well, a lot of indie publishers are really well-known, firmly-planted, well-established publishers. They’re just smaller. For example, Algonquin Books–publisher of Water for Elephants and Big Fish–is an independent press. Very well-respected and obviously is very successful in selling their books. And a lot of University presses are considered indie as well and they publish fiction (you’re not going to feel iffy about the University of North Texas Press, which publishes books of poetry, for example, and is supported by a well respected university and is a fully accredit member of the Association of American University Presses, are you?)

        Just look for indie publishers that have published good books in the past, for a long time, and are members of respected publishing associations.

        But I know what you mean. You do have to be careful. I wouldn’t trust an indie publisher that’s only been established in the past three years and maybe only has one book in print (authored by the founder) and a few shady sounded ebooks “forthcoming.”

        • Yeah, I’m a bit antsy. lol I’ll definitely keep in mind what you’ve said though. It would definitely be nice to be published by an actual publishing company, if only for the “acceptance” of the thing. πŸ™‚

  2. It’s a huge learning curve. No matter how much I read or research the industry, it just doesn’t make sense. I think this in large part because its changing so rapidly. Self-publishing and e-books have literally turned everything upside down. I’m in the process of writing and submitting query letters, but I have self-publishing in the back of my mind. I figure I might as well try both outlets, if for nothing more than the experience.

    • Agreed. There’s just so much information to take in!

      You mention writing and submitting query letters…this is another of the issues my brain doesn’t like, especially since everywhere I go insists on a different method for writing said letters. I even looked at one publisher who had two completely different sets of rules posted on their website with no indication as to why or how to choose which method you should use. Confusing!

      • This is exactly where I’m having so much trouble. There’s a set format, yet there isn’t. It’s like a huge guessing game that involves some sort of telepathy.

  3. I did some research on this myself, and in terms of self-publishing, I’m pretty much sold on e-books over vanity press (i.e., self-published hard copies). Printing hard copies is risky, because odds are good you’ll actually LOSE money and getting actual stores to sell your book would take tons of time and effort, yet gets at only a tiny market. Something like amazon’s Kindle Direct Self-Publishing (or similar places) seems pretty good to me. Some of the things I took away in my research were:

    1. Sell your e-book for cheap, especially if you’re a new author. We’re talking $1 – $3 here. People will take a risk on that. Same rationale as selling smart phone apps for 99 cents. Sell to lots of people for little money.

    2. Get a REALLY nice book cover. Maybe spring for a professional job, if you can’t do it yourself. Similarly, spend lots of time making a very compelling summary of the book for prospective readers. These are the hooks.

    3. Proofread the hell out of it to get rid of any typographical errors. Nothing is more unprofessional in publishing than typos or bad grammar.

    If you like, I can help proofread when the time comes. Though I do academic writing, I’m pretty good at identifying problems in grammar, typos, etc. Just send an email.

    • Thanks for the offer, hon. I might just take you up on that. A friend put me onto this website called Critique Circle, and it can be pretty good sometimes, but other times I feel like the people critiquing put too much emphasis on their own personal tastes rather than your actual writing. It can be a little off-putting sometimes, you know?

      The cover part is the one that’s going to get me. I don’t know how to go about doing the cover. I know what I want, but it would require me to have some artistic or photographic ability, which I don’t. CreateSpace has a pretty good system for helping you design covers, but you still have to have the IMAGE you want, which is going to be the hard part for me. 😐

  4. I am really inspired along with your writing abilities as neatly as with the structure on your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it your self? Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

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