Yes it is a changing world especially for writers and authors. As you probably know already the big Traditional houses are merging with smaller imprints and it's getting harder to find a regular traditional publisher. You can't even approach one of them without an agent. If you are published by one you can consider yourself extremely lucky. Remember there are a lot of publishers out there. some good some bad. If you are paying to be published you are self-published.
What is a self-published author to do to get his or her book out there and noticed?
First and foremost it must be the best it can possible be. After my first book was out for two years a customer showed me where I had spelled the same word two different ways. In the same paragraph. Ouch, that hurt. Here I was selling it and it's the first time anyone had showed me my error. Just this past weekend a friend was looking over another book and I'd slipped up and my dyslexic fingers had made a grammar error.
The moral is to never edit your own work. I re-published the first book with a different illustrator and fixed my spelling error. The other book I've fixed and have to upload again.
Authors are not perfect but our book have to be.
The changing world of publishing has made it possible for authors to self-publish, by passing the traditional houses. Technology has made this possible. without this new technology most of the self-published authors would be waiting for years to see their book in print.
I work with some very talented authors who will largely go unnoticed because they choose to go self-published.
You have to do your own marketing. There is no way around it.
Recently on a trip by plane up to Massachusetts i was sitting next to a woman who was listening to an audio book. I talked a bit to her and told her that I was working with someone to produce my first audio book and gave her a rack card for my recent book
Everyone needs help publishing their work. There are so many ways to get your book out there.
There is traditional which I talked about in my last blog and self-publishing which I touched on briefly. What I'd like to do today is ask you to tell me what you want to know. That's what I like doing the best. Helping new authors find their path to having a published book in their hands.
I started out with my very first book, Just Batty, in 2010. A friend I was visiting had written a children's story about her granddaughter and a dragon. It was cute.
I went home and the next day I challenged myself to write one with my grandson in it. The south Florida Museum was having an exhibition on bats at the time and I love all creepy and misunderstood animals. So Just Batty was born.
I decided to see if I could get it published. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. I went on the internet and looked up publishers. A few of the Traditional publishers were names I recognized.
None of them were accepting submissions directly from the author. I then looked up agents and learned you had to send them a query letter first. I kept looking and fell into the subsidy publisher trap. I sent one my manuscript and they wrote back how wonderful my little book was and they would be thrilled to publish it. Great I'm on my way I thought.
Next came finding an illustrator. A great children's book has to have a great illustrator, right? I quickly found that I couldn't afford a great illustrator. I settled for a college student at the local art college. I wasn't thrilled with the results but she was all I had.
I sent all my files to the subsidy publisher and finally held my published book in my hands. I'd spent over $2000 and the publisher convinced me that I needed a book trailer, $400.
Then I should put my book in several international book fairs at the discounted price of $600. Oh and you need to buy some advertising materials, $250. A cardboard display box and a few 11x17 posters arrived. I paid a ton of money I didn't have on a book that was not that good to begin with.
A couple years later I had the book re-illustrated by a much better illustrator and I learned some of the technology necessary to self-publish my books. I've leaned a lot in the years since that first book. I want to help others avoid the mistakes I made.
If you have questions about publishing, illustrating, copyrighting, anything at all please leave a comment or send me an email. If I don't have the answer I know someone who will.
In the meantime I'm writing another novel. It's coming along slowly, and I hope to have another children's book out in the spring.
Have a great day and spend some of it writing and planning your next step on the author's journey.
Publishing 101 is a course I would like to give to all new writers that have a book in their heads or a manuscript written and don't know what to do with it. There are several questions you have to ask yourself before you hunt down a publisher.
Do you have a children's book or an adult book? Different publishers work with different books.
What is your objective with writing the book? Is it a cozy memoir for just the family. A novel you know will be on the NY times bestseller list.
Does your children's book hold a message the whole world should learn from or is it just for fun.
After you answer these questions you can think about how you want to publish. You have two basic choices. You can go the traditional route. You need to find an agent to represent you. How do you find an agent? You send out a couple hundred query letters and hope that one of them will like to give you book a chance. After you have an agent you have to wait while he shops your wonderful book around to publishers who may or may not think your book is worth their time and money. If you find one, wonderful, terrific, all the best. They take your book and maybe do another edit on it and make all kinds of changes. They pay you an advance of a couple thousand dollars and whoopie, you are a traditionally published author. You get no more money until the publisher makes back your advance. You still have to do a lot of the marketing yourself.
The other choice is self-publishing and it's becoming more and more common. Self-published authors have to be better than their Traditionally published counterparts in order to stand out. Do not go to a publisher off the internet that wants to charge you thousands of dollars and leaves you with a garage full of books you can not sell. Do not pay thousands or even hundreds of dollars to any publisher you have not researched, asked about, and checked out 'publishers and predators' on the internet. Ask your fellow authors how they publish, How much did they have to pay ? What are the royalties like and how often do they get paid? I have heard lots of horror stories from new authors about the money they paid and then the publisher went out of business. I have a friend that paid $20,000 dollars for her book to be published several years ago and still has cartons of unsold books in her garage. Please do your due diligence and think about what you are doing.
I would like to recommend using a micro publishing company similar to mine. They are springing up all over the place. It's usually an author that has learned the ropes the hard way and wants to share that information with new authors. Since they only produce a few books a year, you get individual attention and no question is too small. Contact your local writers organizations and ask if any of their members are publishers. Micro publishers know people in the business and can find you editors, formatters, cover designers. All the things you need to make your book the best it can be.
Some charge by the project, page count, word count, or time spent. I charge by the time actually spent with my fingers working on the computer keys for you. I have terrific editors, illustrators, formatters all working for you and your book.
Another good thing about a Micro publisher is that you are working with another author, Someone that shares your passion. Their reputation rests on the quality of your book.
From the active mind of Brenda M. Spalding