Friday, December 17, 2010

Publishing

I have written about publishing before; back in October of 2009 - http://annalwalls.blogspot.com/2009/10/memories.html - where I remembered what it was like to finally get published for the very first time, and coincidentally last October http://annalwalls.blogspot.com/2010/10/to-publish-again.html - where I talked about becoming published again.

Trying to become published is something you need to decide just how much you really want. It is by no means easy. You can't just hand a stack of typing over to someone and 'poof' you have a book. There are a lot of things you need to consider and a lot of pit-falls along the way.

There must be a million publishers out there, and a good deal of them are more than willing to take your hard earned dollars in exchange for publishing your book, but you have to be careful. There are also all too many of them who just love to milk you for you very last penny and still not give you a real book. "Oh just go to this approved editor and purchase their services." "Oh and just pay this reader to read you book to judge what market your book will do best in." or "Pay this expert to decide on the best title and font to use on the cover." These examples are facetious but I did encounter a couple such publishers but I don't remember all the tasks they recommended I do. Their requests will all seem totally logical. The best you can do with a company like this is take notes, find readers and editors that you trust and hire them to do the job you're comfortable with. Be wary of any publisher who asks for money without some kind of solid promise like a contract.

The best way to do this is a google search for editors or joining a writing group where members exchange their work. A great resource to ensure your safety is a site called Preditors & Editors - http://pred-ed.com/ - these fine people have done their homework and there can be found most any company involved in most any kind of publishing you might want to do. It's definitely worth a look-see. There are other sites - writer's beware, for instance, who devote themselves to writer's safety in the publishing world. By all means, lean on them hard. And if by chance what you're looking for isn't there, ask them about it - they answer, which is the greatest, if you ask me.

Book publishing is only part of the picture. Before you ever want to go that far, you need to make sure your book is the best it can be. Learn everything you can soak up about the writing art and then keep looking for more and better ideas - there are lots of people out there willing to share in their expertise. Some things won't work for you, and some things will, but never be so self-wise as to discard anything. Always be willing to make changes. Always be willing to take criticism and use it to make your writing clearer; you never want to confuse your reader. You want your story to flow, hopefully without notice, directly into your reader's heart.

A fabulous place I've found for very helpful feedback is http://www.YouWriteOn.com - It's a writing contest - one I've never made it better than mid-level, but even mid-level is great. Winners get free professional editing and publishing by a top publishing house. But for the purpose of this blog, it's the feedback that's important. You will be swimming in the company of a lot of writers in all degrees of professionalism, and they are all very nice and very helpful in their comments. I learned a lot there.

Finally, after you've done the best you can with your work, you need to find a professional editor, again one you trust. These people know their job - it's their life. I've met a couple and I've been able to learn even from them, and that with only a sample edit. Never trust that you've caught everything - you never will. Without a professional editor, you risk publishing a work that will ultimately disappoint your reader and tarnish the reputation you want to build.

And don't forget, during all this work, it might be advisable to search for a good agent. This person will find you a publisher and can ensure all the legal stuff is as in-your-favor as humanly possible. I have been watching for an agent ever since I came on line April before last. I haven't found one to fit yet, but that doesn't mean I'll stop looking.

Do you still want to get published? Do you want to self-publish or would you rather go traditional? Do you want your book available as an e-book or a book-book, or both, or hard cover? An agent can help you with all of this though he or she probably won't be interested in promoting your self publishing career. That's not to say you can't make a successful career out of self-publishing, but it isn't an easy road. However, the road to traditional publishing is no easier.

To become published is a long hard haul, and that is totally not counting the writing of the book you want to publish. So, if it's what you want, be prepared to be in it for the long haul.

Happy writing and good luck with your publishing endeavors

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a new potential author I thought this article usefull. So, thanks to Anna.

lisankumar said...

Very good article, Anna. The journey to being published isn't for the faint of heart and a thick skin is a must. I don't think people always realize that going in. But they learn quickly if they don't want to sink!

As for editors, there are also some critique groups out there where members do a line-by-line edit of each other's work. Of course, in these groups people can be in varying stages of their craft, but this type of group is still a valuable tool for those who can't afford an editor.

shellflowerf said...

Thanks for sharing your advice. I took your lead this summer and did some work on YouWriteon.com, which was very helpful. You get informative, adult reviews on the site and you basically get what you put into it in a reciprocal way, which isn't always the case on other sites, so it's nice that way. Good on you for keeping at it and trying to go forward with getting published. Good luck!

S.M. Carrière said...

Nice post, Anna. What you say is absolutely true. I did myself and my novel a great disservice by jumping in before I was ready. There was so much I still didn't know. Trying to publish traditionally has been a huge learning curve.

To answer your question, I would still want to be published traditionally. I think it might be a need for validation to some degree!

Anna L. Walls said...

Being traditionally published would be nice, and I do wish I'd waited to publish until after I'd learned all the things I've learned since. But self-publishing isn't so bad any more, I think. Or maybe I'm just running into more writers who are being more careful about what they allow out there.