Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Are we there yet?

 Time sure has flown by.  Between my family and work responsibilities, barely staying ahead with my writing deadlines and book marketing goals, I realize, I am way too busy.   Oh, and have I mentioned being 26 weeks pregnant? Well, for this week anyway.

I have to admit that my blog entries have been few and far in between but that will change as I am focusing on staying as current as humanly possible. My co-workers will all be shipped to various military bases, leaving me some time to relax a little this summer.  Ok, who am I kidding ?  I’ll be busy taking care of finishing the sequel to Amethyst Eyes due in October and baby is due slightly before that.  It’s going to be quite the challenge. 
Emma has since been released
and AE2 is on its way.
Regardless, I have kept an eye out on all kinds of posts, blogs and articles on publishing and marketing. It is a vital part of the writing process. I was asked recently during my school chat with the Institute of Children’s Literature, about the different venues found in the ever changing world of publishing.  My answer was that the experience varies from writer to writer who have both their own feast or famine stories to tell. With all the contacts I have made in the writing world, I can find as many different ways that were attempted to get published as there are ways to tell a story.

There is no more “traditional” way to get published, because even that world has undergone a major overhaul.  You must write, read, revise and rewrite.  You must rewrite again until you are satisfied your book meets all the requirements to be published…and then hand it over for a critique and an edit.   After all that, you go back and take into consideration the editors notes, do a ‘final’ rewrite before you submit your work.  You want to share the fruit of your creative pursuits and hopefully earn some coin in the process.

So you sent your work out to potential publishers. Again.  And then again.  Yet again, just in case you missed some promising company that will agree with the exciting and unique book you have written. You might get an offer from a renowned publishing house that will take control of your work and then in the process, have you sign over your book rights.  Then your work might get the treatment you least expected, a cover you don't like, editing that looks like butchering and to top it off, little or no publicity or marketing. None of which translates into proper distribution or sales. Let’s face it…the traditional publishing houses can’t afford to go all out and promote some unknown author. They (TP) do have a distribution power unlike any Indie author can tap into without having to pay, but is it worth it in the end?

Assisted Publishing means you pay for any and all services, but you retain your rights…after a year or two, depending on your contract. They also offer portals into the bookseller world…for a cost, and we're talking a shiny penny here. However, it is a good learning experience, because they bring to light more possibilities than you can imagine, so if you are willing to learn, you will know how to build up your platform and what steps to take by being observant.
The cover for AE was to be more like this one
 than the almost black one they published
 without even showing me. Look up on the left 
side of the blog page, you'll see what I mean.

You can retain all control by self-publishing making you the independent author with limited everything but you stay in control of your work that you spent all kinds of time, energy and effort writing.  BUT! If your graphic skills and editing abilities are lacking, then for the love of Pete…pay someone to handle it. You get one and only one shot at a ‘first impression’…and there are no 'do-overs'.   SOmeone who decides to totally self-publish has a lot more work than just writing a great story. you have to oversee the edit, formatting of the various ebook formats, get your cover art, layout and Lord help us all, marketing. You must keep having faith in your abilities to get your work out there and if not, do everything in your power to learn how to do so.  You have the magic.

Oh, on the editing side…I remember a ‘conversation’ where some indie authors were complaining about the ISBN fees. I had to wonder if they had paid someone to edit their work or not…because editing can cost anywhere from $500-$900 per novel depending on work involved and length. If they were not willin gto pay for their ISBN, did they bother to get an editor? 
I liked my 1st editor’s comment… "If I don't think the book is worthy; I won't waste my time or your money on it." I appreciated her honesty and had her edit my novel.

If there is one piece of advice I can give authors and aspiring authors it's this...don't skimp on the details. Editing is the most important part of publishing, taking for granted you have a great story, and the cover should be right up there on your priority list.  After that, roll up your sleeves and get on the promotions/marketing bandwagon. It's one heck of a ride. Oh~ and remember this bit I was handed by an experienced, successful author, when blogging and promoting, don't overdo it. No one wants to come across as one of those pesky sales people, landing at your feet before the door has closed behind you. No more than 10-15% self promotion.