Thursday, January 26, 2012

Publishing steps

So, you've written a book: Hurray! (I've written 6) The hard part is done. Now you just need to get it published and watch the money and awards to roll in. You have a decision: to publish, or to self-publish.

If you want to self-publish you need to pay someone to make a great cover and then you format your document into an ebook ( or pay someone to do it ). After that, send it off to Amazon and Barnes and Nobel or Smashwords et al. If you want paper books, then you need to pay an on-demand publisher to get you copies. Now you just have to figure out how to let people know your books is available and worth reading. Twitter, Facebook and Blogger are your friends.

If you want to go the more traditional route, using a publishing company, its more complicated.

Don't bother to send your manuscript to a publisher - they won't read it. Search for an agent - but not one who guarantees you will be published or charges you for publishing! They are mostly crooks. ( or so I've been told )

To find an agent, you have to do the following:
  • Quadruple check your manuscript so there are no flaws in grammar or plot.
  • Write a bunch more stuff:
    • A one sentence summary that will make an agent see enough dollar signs to read your query letter.
    • A one page query letter of 250 words concisely and beautifully summarizing your novel to get said agent salivating. (there are websites dedicated to helping with this)
    • One or more of the following: (probably all of them- each agent has their own preferences)
      • A three page synopsis of your book which conveys just how cool your book is. It has to be concise, but thrilling, funny and moving - and told in the present tense.
      • A five page synopsis of your book which does the same thing with more words.
      • A ten plus page synopsis ( see above )
      • A 2 page, 30 page or a 4 chapter sample of your writing. (as per agents submission guidelines)
  • Send all that out to hundreds of agents - Personalized with their name and why you think their amazing agency should publish your book- unless they don't. ( read their blog carefully to find out ). You can send it:
    • By email - either always use attachments or never use attachments. Noncompliance is grounds for tossing
    • By snail mail package, including a SASE ( read each agents submission guidelines )), if you want to hear back from them.
  • Wait 2 to 60 days without bothering them with pesky inquires. NEVER CALL THEM OR THEY WILL BLACKLIST YOU!
After your wait of up to two months, you will most likely get the following letter:
Dear Author, I'm sure you are a nice guy/gal and all, and I am sure there is someone out there who would love to represent your book, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but it ain't us. Please do not send hate mail or letter bombs because we are nice - but overworked - people and we have children and love dogs too!"
If you you are lucky, one in ten will ask to see the actual manuscript ( or portion thereof ). So send it out, wait 2 to 60 days without bothering them with pesky inquires. NEVER CALL THEM OR THEY WILL BLACKLIST YOU!

Most likely you will get the same letter above. If you hit the jackpot, they will say, OK, you're our dude – sign this 100 page contract ( or maybe that is the publisher. I haven't gotten to this point yet )

For me, the rest of this is hearsay, but this is what I've heard said.

You have a contract! Now you are rocking! Your agent just has to find a publisher that says okay ( another 2 months ) When they find the publisher, then you are only 6-12 months away from becoming a real author!  On the bright side – they pay you somewhere between $1000 and $500,000. Guess which end of that spread you are going to land on?

Whew! Now you can get back to writing right? Wrong. While you are waiting, you need to develop your 'platform'. You have to make your name universally recognized and respected. You might get a few grand of help from the publisher, but they only heavily market the big winners. You have to figure out how to market your book and yourself.

Twitter, Facebook and Blogger are your friends.

Rinse, repeat.

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