Unless I see one that I truly feel passionate about, I usually hold my tongue on social media posts by authors (both future and present) looking for advice about writing. There are a few different reasons for this but, primarily, if I am not asked specifically, and the question isn’t regarding my personal specialty, I find it presumptuous to assume that I know the answer.
The other day I broke my own cardinal rule and posted a response to someone who said that they were struggling to find representation for a novel and were considering a significant rewrite to attract more options. As a (self-proclaimed) moderately successful self-publishing author who works with a publishing company that specializes in assisting self-publishing authors, I felt qualified to answer so I suggested that one method to test the market for their work would be to self-publish. This would allow the author to determine if the feedback was accurate (and a rewrite was truly needed) or whether said author simply needed to keep searching for the right connection.
The surprise to me came from an aggressive response by another person that stated self-publishing was terrible advice and that no traditional publishing house would touch the author’s work if it had first self-published. (I’m paraphrasing, for the record). Huh. Color me surprised.
Granted I don’t know this other person’s qualifications or publishing record but I do know that I receive offers every month from agents soliciting me to shop around my books for secondary print rights as well as directly from publishing houses offering to buy the secondary publishing rights directly. And, I think we all agree, my specific genre is…not mainstream.
While it may have been true at one time that self-publishing was a book’s death sentence, in today’s world of declining print sales, ever increasing genres and massive numbers of authors of all calibers, it isn’t anymore. In 2016, it isn’t uncommon for small publishing houses, and even some larger ones, to seek out books with a proven market because they know that the author already has a proven track record and reader base.
In today’s market, it is harder than it has ever been for a new author to bring a project to market through traditional venues. The large advances of the past are all but gone for all but the strongest of established authors. Publishing houses have decreased the number of books that they accept and, in most cases, a literary agent isn’t a huge help – publishers just aren’t taking risks on many new authors.
If you really love your work and want to see it in print but the literary agents and publishers are passing? Here’s what Nom de Plume tells their authors to do to make it happen*:
- Buy your own ISBN instead of using a create space issued ISBN.
- Hire a professional editor or submit your project to one of the hundreds of online editing services.
- Publish it on Amazon (regardless of your feelings about them). Do not enroll in KNP unless you’re willing to commit to 3 months exclusivity with Amazon, though. You can always do that later.
- Market it but don’t give it away! Buy an ad on Amazon and run a targeted ad on social media sites with a link. Don’t offer free books!
- Hold off on publishing in print until after you have seen the results from the first thirty days on Amazon (Kindle). This gives you a solid offer to make to a traditional publishing house if you attract one.
Most important of all? Don’t give up and never, never listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t. Get those words on paper and live your dream!
PS – And thank you because without you, I couldn’t live MY dream! ❤
(Remember my blog posts are unedited and we all know I’m terrible at self editing!)
*Printed with permission