Every writer wants to share their work. Whether we want to admit it or not, we write for an audience of some kind. Hello? We’re story tellers! What’s the point of telling a story if there’s nobody around to listen right? Some writers are content with the small following. You know, friends, family, etc. Other writers want to go for the big audience and see their story as a book. Regardless of where the road ends, every writer has a publishing journey of some kind.
Publishing is complicated. There’s no way around it. What makes it so complicated is figuring out just how you want to go about doing it. There are so many different routes you can take now. Traditional vs non-traditional publishing. Agent vs flying solo. Mass audience vs private audience. Those are just a few, and it gets even more complicated as the world of publishing drastically changes because of this thing called technology. The internet, e-readers, it’s changing everything! Publishing your book can be as simple as one click.
But is that the way you want to publish your book?
It might be! I’ve certainly done my share of free publishing on select projects. It works for those projects. Then there are other projects that I have bigger dreams for, and those are the projects I keep out of the public domain. Here’s a small piece of advice: if you want to make money off of your book? Don’t put it up anywhere on the internet for free where everyone can see it. This can kind of screw things up later.
Say you’re like me and you have bigger dreams for your work than just publishing it for free on the net. Then what? A lot of people pursue getting an agent, which is good. I certainly want an agent! That’s one of my 2011 goals actually. I want to try and get an agent to represent me. Agents help you sell your book and hopefully save you from getting screwed over. They help you figure out what’s best for your book. Agents are hard to get. Remember, never pay someone to read your work. Don’t get scammed! Now agents are needed especially if you want to get a traditional publisher.
Ah, traditional publishing. This is how you see your book inside Barnes and Noble, etc. This is how you get that big deal with publishing houses like Scholastic, and well, just about any publishing house out there! Traditional publishers are good. They’re also hard to get into, but a good goal. That’s one of my goals as well someday!
But what about the non-traditional publishing? For example, there’s the independent publisher, and the vanity press. Both of these can work to your advantage as well if you invest the time and effort into it. You can be super successful with it, just like you can with a major publisher. Especially in this world of Nooks and Kindles and Smashwords and all those other e-publishing websites.
So what do you do? How do you know which avenue is best for you?
First you need to decide what you want to do with your story. I’ll use some of my stuff for examples.
I’ve got my coffee shop story, and my ever dramatic “Tales of the Blue” up at my Livejournal site (http://jenkinsjf.livejournal.com for those not familiar with it!). These are free stories and fun web series that I write on the side for kicks and giggles. I’ve never thought about seriously publishing them, though I think they’d make pretty wicked TV Shows, etc. Still, I’m being realistic with them. It’s good to keep some reality when you dream.
I have another project that I’m keeping to myself for the time being, fine tuning, and plan on using to query for an agent. This is a book I hope to sell and hopefully even go the traditional route with.
And then of course I have my Dragons saga which is set to be published by Astraea Press in February. This is a new e-publishing house (who’s still taking submissions for their launch in February, they could be your home too!) that specializes in non-erotic and clean romance stories (but they do take other genres as well). The type of story that Dragons is, fits very well with this publisher, and so do my goals for this story. And let me tell you, publishing through an e-publishing house is not any easier.
As you can see, the road to publishing can go to different places. When you know where you want your story to go? Then what? You research, and you figure out how to make those goals a reality. You don’t stop until that dream changes or until you achieve your goal.
None of these paths are easy. Even if you’re just publishing for your mom, it’s not easy. Especially if you want people to take you seriously. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll go through my personal journey of getting my work polished up and ready to be seen by the rest of the world. Let me tell you, it is scary, and it definitely takes some thick skin. First things first though. Find the home for your story.