Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Publishing Pointers

Traditional publisher or self-publish? That's a question I often hear from aspiring authors.

Let me say that it's more difficult going the traditional route. There are several steps that you need to go through to find a publisher for your manuscript. Writers know what that entails. A lot of work!

For those interested in self-publishing, it's having the money to have your manuscript printed. Aside from writing the manuscript, you can skip a few steps.

A few years ago there was a stigma attached to self-published books. Most were simply referred to as products of vanity publishers that would put practically any manuscript in print if the author paid the price.

While the author was in a state of euphoria when the book arrived -- seeing the title and byline in a bound edition -- it didn't last long. After looking inside the book, the writer realized it could have used some editing. And then they realized that it was difficult getting the books into bookstores. They discovered that it was even difficult selling their book to friends and relatives -- with mothers being the exception.

I met one writer who was talked into ordering 5,000 copies as the publisher told him that the unit cost would be cheaper than if he had about 1,000 copies. That's true. But the publisher didn't tell him how difficult it would be to sell 5,000 copies. So the author several thousand books in unopened boxes in his basement. I haven't seen the author since our encounter, but my bet is that he still has several thousand books in unopened boxes gathering dust in his basement.

Self-published books have gained some acceptance in recent years as publishers offer editing and layout services, and some of the books have found coveted places on the shelves in bookstores. And online venues such as Amazon and B&N have opened doors, even providing services to writers to self-publish books.

My advice to writers is to research their options and talk to published authors, especially those who are self-published, about their experiences. Another piece of advice, if you plan to self-publish, is to treat the process as if you were going through a traditional publisher. By that, I mean, have your manuscript as clean and polished as possible.

Until the next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment