I am by no means an expert at publishing, nor even self-publishing for that matter. I have, however, learned a never-ending amount of do’s and dont’s since I began my published-author career in 2015.
There is one question I would challenge any and everyone with should they desire to get their book published: why are you wanting your book published?
I ask that plainly, as the obvious answer is “to have a book published”. It’s an awing and phenomenal achievement–to be able to write a book, to have a complete story full of characters, settings, and progressing plot-lines. To finish something and have it officially finished.
I chose the self-publishing route for my first novel because I knew my dream of landing a traditional publisher was not something I could hope for at the time nor commit to. But I failed miserably when it came to confidently just “publishing” my book.
I decided to try marketing it–which costs… a ton. The problem? It’s one thing to be a published author, it’s entirely another to be a marketed author. I didn’t want my book published to have an official milestone, I wanted to be a marketed author–but with no name, no followers, no agent, no website, no history in publishing books, and no previous work to build off.
Which made my second publication completely justified to fail as well. I decided to try putting my name out there for myself instead of paying blindly to self-publishing agencies. Not trying to say all self-publishing agencies are evil and twisted, but they only care about the money, not result. At least a traditional publisher cares about the result, or they wont be making any money.
I do want to keep publishing books, so the self-publishing still appeals to me. I have, however, changed my answer as to why I am wanting to publish: I want to make a career of it. By “it”, I mean creating and sharing stories. I want to get to a point where I might actually commit to it entirely, knowing my passion is providing for my family, my first love.
I improved a lot with my second book as far as marketing goes. I actually held a book booth locally that was awesome and pointless because I haven’t followed up with any more booths. I have invested plenty into social media and building up a base that, though they may not know me for my work, will at least catch wind of my work as it unfolds.
So yeah, that includes setting up a website, a twitter, being more persistent in blogging, and building a repertoire for my next release–where I plan to test the waters as to what self-marketing might accomplish for a no-namer.
That being said, I have found that the most valuable selling point for any author are these two things: connections and… reviews. Connections get your work into the right hands to get your work into more hands to get your work more feedback to get your work more reviews to get your work into more hands to get… blah blah blah so on, so forth and to sell.
I have not yet mastered getting people to actually, for once, review, and I have absolutely no connections whatsoever.
Landing a traditional publisher would be the dream connection and the feedback from that experience, whether positive or negative, would give me something to go off. Feedback, not from friends and family, but from strangers, is essential for growing your marketing skills and marketed writing.
So why the blog title? Two publishers? Two offers? Two refusals?
Yes, I have had two publishers want my recent publication: Fauldon’s Dream and the Karier of the Task. Oddly enough, while more people tend to like the Grand Attraction, more publishers like Fauldon’s Dream.
The problem herein is the publishers. I don’t care how convincing a copy/paste letter with two sentence structure changes is, but is ANY publisher mentions a “contributory contract”, they are not a publisher.
They are a vanity press.
They are a pay-to-publish–just like any self-publishing company, only they guise it under the impression that they have better connections than a self-publisher.
I have a self-publishing package already set with my self-publishers. I still don’t have reviews. I have my book available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and practically any other online bookstore–but still no reviews. I have my books available on Smashwords, presently even for free, and I have over eighty downloads for both titles in under twelve days, BUT STILL NO REVIEWS. Being on New York Times gave no reviews. Being on Publishers Weekly gave no reviews.
Reviews. Reviews. Reviews.
Neither of the publishers that accepted my manuscript actually cared about the results, only the “contribution” I would make to them should I sign.
It’s disheartening but also a challenge. I am even more thrilled about my next novel as it will shake the waters I have begun to fill in self-marketing. Who knows, perhaps I can then turn my attention to actually pursuing a traditional publisher.
But to do that, I need a connection. And to obtain that connection, I need feedback.
If I keep at it until I have enough repertoire to reach the right connection… and by “connection”, I mean the most valuable asset to getting noticed by a traditional publisher (aka the Big 5). That asset is a literary agent.
That would be both my connection and my review.
To let’s do this. #bringiton #selfmarketing #selfpublishing #author #writer