Please don't groan but IT'S NOT EASY TO FIND A PUBLISHER!
I write because I MUST and though I'd love a publisher of my very own...I have yet to find one. That's not to say I don't keep trying but self-publishing helped me hone my craft and put my work on the market...and yes, I've sold a few!
- Before you send anything, anywhere, check your work:
- is it written well?
- is it a 'new' story?
- does it have a common sense plot?
- does it have believable characters?
- Find an agent (no, I haven't yet) *sigh*
- Research appropriate publishers for your work.
- Be wary of scams - no reputable publisher or agent asks for money (until the deal is made and your books are being published /sold).
- Vanity Press - is exactly what it says it is and will print anything if you have the money.
- Send a professional letter to agents/ publishers:
- stick to guidelines.
- keep the description tight and short.
- list credits (if they are appropriate).
- ask...would they like to see?
- three important areas to include:
- who is the protagonist?
- what is the dilemma?
- will it be resolved?
- Take rejection well!
- It takes a while for a reply, about 100-1 that it'll even pass the first stage (usually one glance at the first page) and thousands to one of being a possible acquisition!
- They do want new writers, so KEEP GOING.
- Be honest with yourself.
- Keep writing.
- If you become famous (not necessarily for writing) it'll be easier!
- I took this route because...well, I think it's obvious and it's a wonderful feeling when your book arrives on your doorstep.
- I found www.lulu.com, a wonderful online marketplace...and it's free to upload your work and they even let you use their front cover designs if you're like me and just can't get a handle on Photoshop (even with the 'Dummies' book). I just download one that's on offer and add it to the cover section when I'm publishing. So far I've found ones that are suitable. It's easy and free to join lulu.
- The tutorial is helpful in lulu and there's an online help live chat which is invaluable. It's a steep learning curve but I'll help if I can. Take it step by step.
- You can upload your content as many times as you like for free (after you've found the million mistakes...and you will, trust me on this...as proof reading is more difficult than writing).
- Distribution is the major drawback but there are ways to help promote your work.
- buy an ISBN...though only AFTER you are completely sure your content is PERFECT as you'll be charged to change anything at this time. But an ISBN makes your work available in the general marketplace not just within lulu. Lulu will explain all this. Note - having an ISBN raises the price of any book, so beware of your cut and you don't price your work out of the market. With Gone, I published it twice - one with, one without an ISBN to give people a choice. Gone is now for sale on Amazon and loads of other sites.
- join forums...lulu has hundreds...but be careful not to promote too much. I did this in the beginning and oops, I was put in the literary dungeon. Actually, it was a mistake, I'd posted on too many forums at once and...no excuses, I did it and I'm sorry. But I can understand the reasoning...nobody wants to hear you blather on and on. Everybody hates spam. I use forums to chat, be helpful, have fun and if my books get a mention then hey, hey! I've made some good friends and sold a few books /had reviews... Of course I'm going send out invites to my website!
- join Facebook and MySpace or even IMVU and chat...let everyone know who you are.
- create a website!
- I suppose it's difficult for bookshops to deal with 'one-offs' /one-to-one author but that doesn't mean you can't try.
- My library accepted Gone because it had an ISBN and they were promoting local authors...try it.
- Some argue that self-publishing is only useful to sell to family and friends...maybe? At least you're trying.
- Some are insulting when they talk of 'self-publishers' - you can only ignore them or let them drag you down.
- Be professional.
- Print on Demand (POD) - hmm...maybe poor quality and it costs money? At least with lulu, the quality of printing is high and very professional and you don't have to pay until you order.
My favourite lulu forum is the Literary Knights...my thread is: Julie's comments on your books...and beyond! Discussions range from 'how nutty can you be' (join the nutling madness), philosophical 'putting the world to rights', downright soapbox moments, hints and tips, friendly shoulders, advice...and sometimes our books!
Advertise Your Book is another good one...to be a member you must comment on other people's books. You'll easily find my thread...Julie's comments (again!)...it works so why change it?
Keep submitting, keep writing, keep trying
and be proud of what you've done!