Virgin Author Ch 5 She's As Good As I Can Get Her! Now What?
She's as good as I can get her!
At the time of this writing, despite all my tawdry banter, I’ve actually had the inestimable pleasure of officiating two weddings. Messing around is fun and all, don’t get me wrong, but you can find the right one eventually. Things… click. They work. You find something in someone. Something you never quite could name, but oh how they drive you crazy in all the best ways. There’s something there, and continuing to only date them won't cut it. If you know what I’m talking about, then you can appreciate the analogy. If not, well… you’ll get your day in the sun. Don’t you worry. (I said, don’t worry!) I bring up weddings because they take a lot A LOT of planning. Even if you elope, you still gotta plan the sucker. Even Vegas weddings take some sort of tacit agreement and a trip to a 24-hour chapel. But one way or another, you find yourself at the altar, standing next to your love. The person that makes you glow. The completion of you as a person. The ying to your yang… etc etc ad naseum. You got to where you’re standing at the wedding because your relationship has gotten as good as it can through dating/courtship/arranged marriage alliance. Likewise, with your story, through editing and beta reading and all that other sexy stuff we talked about for two whole stinking chapters, you eventually get to the point where you’re ready. As ready as you can be. What’s next? You propose, of course, dummy. – And then you say I Do (and really mean it, like with witnesses and your mom crying and matching tuxes and everything). Even as I write this, the writing industry is changing. By the time this sits before your eyes, it’ll probably already be slightly outdated (ah hell, let’s be honest, it’s probably already outdated… but it’s something!). Ever since the introduction and rise of self/indie publishing, Amazon, and things like print on demand, the game has irrevocably changed. Once upon a time, there were 10+ Big Publishers. They were the only legitimate way to go big with your book and they knew it. Then, a vicious free-for-all happened: they started buying each other out. When the dust settled, there were basically only 5 left standing. Today, they’re known as “The Big Five” publishers. But there’s good news for you! They’re not your only hope any more, Obi-wan Kenobi. Let me explain… Author Marketing, Choosing Your Own Publishing Route, and Illustrators, Oh My! There’s three major ways to do this thing now. Publish that is. Let’s count them together, shall we? ONE: Traditional
While the Big Five aren’t your only hope, they’re still, you know… kinda a big deal. They’re still the proverbial literary king-makers of the industry. They have deep pockets and a global reach. They have pro marketing teams, they have Hollywood connections, they have fancy high-rises in the sky. Gold and glory await! … but at a price. It’s dangerous to go alone, too. The kitch is that they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. AKA, if you don’t have a literary agent, take your anonymous ass home. (Don’t worry, we’ll talk more on getting agented later, if this is the route you’d like to go) Attracting an offer from the Big Five is also slow. I mean YEARS in the making. While this is honestly depressing, that’s just how things work when they only take half the year to focus on hundreds of thousands of submitted manuscripts. If your heart is set on this route, you have to keep writing. Keep writing until you have multiple manuscripts in the pipeline. Stephen King said, ‘your best PR is your next book,’ – and let me tell you, from experience just how true it is. Regardless of which publishing path you choose (and you can choose more than one over time – that’s called being a Hybrid Author), keep writing. Unless you wrote To Kill a Mocking Bird (and I’m fairly sure you didn’t, ok), keep writing. Write because you love your story. Write because it’s who you are and it’s what you’d be doing on a cold Tuesday morning in March anyways. TWO: Hybrid
Barring the Big Five, there are plenty of other guys out there with muscle. Plenty of other delicious ladies. Publishers. Publishers, I mean. The biggest thing to watch out for are skeevy vanity presses. Look, you don’t want someone to just tell you Yes, I’ll publish you – but first you gotta pay me a bunch of money. That’s not how the game works. If you encounter anything like that, you’re being hustled, honey. Don’t bite. However, there are good guys out there. There are mid and small-range publishers who are hungry for the next awesome book – and who knows? It might even be yours! Unlike the vaunted Big Five, these guys don’t always insist on you being agented, either. Some accept unsolicited manuscripts. But do yourself a favor, if, brave writer, this be your chosen path: actually research the publisher before submitting. Use this magical thing called THE INTERNET and read up on them. See what kind of genres they like publishing. Read how they want you to submit and when. Another thing you can do is be paying attention to the literary market. For example, in 2018 in the YA Fantasy genre that I usually write in, stories involving Witches were off the chain. So, ergo, in 2019, the market is already flooded with stories about them. This is where regularly visiting book stores over time – even paying attention to the trending stories in your genre on major online publishers can help you. New books are typically released in the Spring and the Fall. It’s those times especially when you should keep your eyes peeled. If you have a story involving whatever it is that’s trending, the odds are that if you tried to rush to submit it then and there, you’d probably get passed on. But I’m here to tell you, that’s ok. It’s not a knock on you personally (you’re still as pretty and sexy as ever) or on your precious story. Keep writing. Submit again next year. There is a publisher right for you, you just have to find them, and be persistent and level-headed in the meantime. If you’re interested in small and mid-range publishers, another excellent question to ask yourself is, what do I want this book to do? If you just want to show off a little ditty to friends and families and maybe your small-town rumor mill, you might want to consider indie/self publishing, instead. And lucky you, look! That’s what we’re talking about next… THREE: Indie/Self Publishing
First off, let’s set the record straight again (again) on indie publishing. Only snooty ass-hats look down on it. Don’t bother yourself about them. The game has changed. We don’t have to suckle at the teats of a monopolized industry anymore (thank God). If you want to get your story out now, then by all means, do it. Drop it like it’s hot. (oh geeze, I just dated myself, didn’t I?) Right now, there’s plenty of indie publishers, from Amazon to Smashwords – and they’re all great at something. Again, this is a publishing path that warrants consideration. Don’t just rush off to join the Great War of our time without realizing what it’s going to cost you. First off, if you take this route you need to understand this is just you pushing your book. You book needs to gleam (not just because you wrote it) of it’s own accord. Plot itself is not good enough. We’re talking no grammar or spelling mistakes. Your formatting for any given indie publisher must be perfect. Your cover needs to rock (use a professional). You’ll need to get a barcode and ISBN (if the indie publisher doesn’t already offer one). And, to top it all off, you have to be your own savvy marketing team, on top of continuing to write. You have to plan your own releases and get the news out successfully. You need to set up author signings local bookstores etc. Can going Indie be done? Sure. But to make it work it must be done well. No exceptions. If you’re still a braveheart on this publishing option, here’s a few indie publishers to consider: - Amazon KDP: It’s free to publish, they include free ISBN’s, they have print on demand and e-book capabilities, Romance tends to sell best on their platform. Another thing to be aware of is that while they can offer you up to 70% royalties, the trade-off is that they’ll make you temporarily hand the rights to your work over to them. They also have a lower royalty option which is nonexclusive. Also also, more and more, Amazon is becoming pay-to-play, meani