The Thing About Publishing

July 22, 2016

 

Let’s face it, saying you’re a book author has a lot more cachet than saying you’re a blogger or a fan fiction writer. Being a book author gives you a level of credibility like almost nothing else. It’s one of the reasons I decided to jump into publishing.

 

I use to preform my poetry but, over time I stopped preforming. Without the constant stage presents people were always asking me, what are you doing about your writing? Didn’t you use to write all the time? Did you finally give up?

It was really frustrating because I had this online secret life that no one really knew about. At the same time that I want to scream, “But I am writing! I write fan fiction and have an online following of thousands!” I felt like if anyone found out about my online writing, I’d find the nearest hole in the ground and live in it. 

 

Thankfully, book publishing is different now. Being self-published is no long considered crap material. The entire concept of publishing has been turned on its head. Some people argue that being published by a Big Company is more for “vanity” reasons than anything else.

 

In traditional publishing, the author completes his or her manuscript, writes a query letter or a proposal, and submits these documents to a publishing house. An editor reads it, considers whether it is right for the house, and decides either to reject it or to publish it. If the publishing house decides to publish the book, the house buys the rights from the writer and pays him or her an advance on future royalties. The house puts up the money to design and package the book, prints as many copies of the book as it thinks will sell, markets the book, and finally distributes the finished book to the public.

 

If you decided to traditionally publish, that’s fine. In fact, that great.

 

On the other hand the process is a bit different for self-publishing. An author who decides to self-publish basically becomes a publisher, PR and their own marketing committee. The author must proofread the final text and provide the funds required to publish the book, as well as the cover artwork. The author is responsible for marketing and distributing the book, filling orders, giveaways and running advertising campaigns.

 

Fortunately, the Print on Demand technology now used by some self-publishing companies (Create space and Lulu as a few) means that authors can have fewer copies printed—only as many as they need, in fact. Which is a lot better than stacks of unsold books gathering dust in the garage.

 

I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about self-publishing. People spending thousands and thousands of dollars on publishing. Money spent on cover work, editing, website design and marketing.

 

Let me tell you, I am a DIY busy body. There is nothing that you can go through in life that someone has not already written a book, blog or pinned about on Pinterest.  Luckily everything I make from my book sales is put in an account and from that account I recycle that money and pay for my books, the marketing and this website. I have a super awesome support system of family members who help spread the word and my sister and cousin help me with editing. Of my own money starting out I probably put $200 dollars into my publishing career. So far that investment has been doing fine.

 

But enough about me!

 

Here’s the real take away, your readers don’t care who published the book. They care whether or not the book is good. I mean, every writer experiences some level of anxiety about putting a book “out there.” We writers, are sensitive souls and the fear of rejection is real, but a book is your legacy. Make it a good one and fight for it.

 

Mark Victor Hansen, have you heard of him?

 

He’s one of the guys who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul — a book that has made millions of dollars and spawned countless spin-off products. Yet, that book was rejected 140 times. Mark believed in his book, refused to accept the rejections, and kept going.

 

I’ve written my books with the idea to start a conversation with my readers. My stories show that while yes, you can break a woman temporarily. It is a real woman who will always pick herself back up, rebuild the pieces and come back stronger than ever. Although my books don’t sell quite as well as Hansen’s or J.K. Rowling’s, I have received countless emails from readers thanking me for telling these stories.

 

In a small way, my books have changed people’s lives and that’s really big for any writer. And it’s something I’ll fight for, as long as I can. 

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