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Publishing | Overview

Publishing used to have one option. Write a novel that may or may not be the new masterpiece of our time. Submit it to agents with an excellent query letter. Get rejected because it's too new, or the agent works in a different market, or the book isn't really ready to be published. After piling up rejection letters on the dart board an agent would pick up the book and submit it to publishers. Then your agent collected rejection letters until a publisher decides to take on the book. And the publisher would have an editor who may or may not be competent in the evolving English language. The publisher would worry about the cover, marketing, getting your book sold. You would get 6-10% of the books sale price. (See my reality check)

Yes technically you could directly submit to publishers but few books make it past the slush pile when sent directly. Publishers didn't and still don't like it.

Then Vanity publishing emerged and people could pay to see their book in print. New small publishing houses began to pop up and people self published the hard way by doing everything themselves then paying a printer. It got a bad rap from just about every traditional author and writer's group everywhere. Around this time Publishers started to expect writer's to take on more and more of the promotion of the book, down to hiring a publicity agent. Blogs became a necessity and in general neither option was that attractive.

Then CreateSpace emerged and broke the dam. Suddenly the independent artist was on the rise. Why pay to get a book in print when you can publish on demand through the worlds' biggest book store? (See related articles: CreateSpace, CreateSpace how-to)

Sure there are still writer's groups that grumble about inexperienced writers publishing. They have a point, it's important to get to a point of expertise before publishing. But once you do option three is a legitimate way to get your book in print these days. There are plenty of organizations dedicated to the independent author and while the world of PoD is still new, it's an exciting time to join the fray.

What do I recommend? Well it depends. Do you enjoy crafting a book from cover to cover? I've tried it and I certainly do. But it's a crap tonne of work and not for everyone. Can you bug your best friend into doing it for you? Do you want the recognition a traditional Publishing house brings you? Do you want to join a writer's organization like SFWA? (Only possible if you go traditional) these are questions I can't answer for you.

No matter what your choice I highly recommend checking out Writer's Beware. They're a little doom and gloom about self publishing still. But it's for good reason.


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