High Tide Publications, a traditional US book publisher, will offer my mystery story, Murder On A Monday, to readers in early 2018. Is this a big deal? Am I thrilled? Yes, yes, it’s a very big deal and I’m really thrilled!
Many people, including other writers, urged me to self-publish, but I resisted the coaxing. I knew what was best for me and I’m glad I struggled through the process of finding a traditional publisher.
The End of Writing a Book Signals The Beginning of Another Long Journey
When you write “The End” after completing the long process of writing a book, you are, in many ways, just beginning. The book must be edited, edited again, and again, and then professionally edited. Next, you must hand over the manuscript (MS) to your “beta readers” who are the people you have begged, pleaded with, or blackmailed into reading your masterpiece. You are looking for concrete information from them:
- Did you like the main character? What didn’t you like?
- Did you figure out Whodunit (if it’s a mystery)?
- What characters did you suspect as possible villains (ditto)?
- Were you puzzled by anything?
- Was anything said that seemed out of character for the speaker? And, so on….
You then edit the book again to correct any problems the readers discovered, or you dismiss all their comments because you suddenly realize that you had, unfortunately, asked only really stupid people to be your beta readers.
You are now ready to publish and must choose the process—or re-think your career decision when you realize your beta readers weren’t stupid, but everyone either hated the book or were bored stiff by it, no one had any idea of what point you were trying to make, and you have wasted many hours, many days, and, possibly, many years of your time.
A Writer Must Choose Between Various Publishing Options
When you are ready to publish, you have a variety of choices to make among the options available:
- Vanity Publishing – You hand your book over to a publisher who will do everything for you at an arranged price for a set number of books. This is a good option for people who want to publish, for example, a family history and want to distribute the book to family and friends. The publisher will help you make choices based on what you prefer and what you can afford. You may love the idea of a leather bound book until you find out what it costs, but the publisher will give you lots of options for all the key steps, and make sure you are happy with the finished product and the price.
- Self-Publishing – Because finding either an agent or a traditional publisher has become extremely difficult, the option of self-publishing is a popular choice for writers who want to sell their books to the public. However, this option requires that you not only write the book, but pay for everything you need to get your book to market—editing, formatting, cover design, ISBN and copyright arrangements, advertising, and distribution. Many authors take on as many or all of these tasks to try and keep costs to a minimum.
- Indie Publishing – These publishers will produce the electronic and paperback copies and get your book into the markets, such as through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and will take a percentage of the sales just as the distributers will. However, you are on your own with marketing and if you need a cover design or further editing, etc., you pay for these services just as you do when self-publishing.
- Traditional Publishing – The publisher offers the writer a contract, buys the first rights, pays royalties—and sometimes offers an advance on the royalties—puts up the money for further editing, design, printing, packaging, and then markets and distributes the book to the public as a paperback, hardcover, electronic, or all three. The publisher will also market the book but expects you to market it as well, and will help you do that.
Traditional publishing is a good way to make your book available to a lot of readers, but you have to be brave enough to accept a lot of rejection while you undergo a long search. Finding an agent to take on this chore can be as difficult and sometimes even more difficult than finding a publisher on your own. It took me many attempts but, finally, a traditional US book publisher, High Tide Publications, offered me a contract and will publish my murder mystery, Murder On A Monday, to readers in 2018. Whew! The search is over.
I’ll describe the long process in my next blog, and if you are trying to find an agent or a publisher, I can offer some hope.
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