The Highest Hurdle: Publication
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sent my first book, Crystal Unicorns, out to more than fifty agents and publishers before I stopped and reconsidered. Several liked the book but were afraid of the premise, underage antagonist, episode of sexual assault and murder. It was nothing I had not seen in other books or movies. They just weren’t willing to take the risk. Ultimately, they are in the business to make money, not chances.
I also had to admit to myself the book could be better. So I made changes and had it edited. I reached the point where I felt confident enough to publish. I chose self-publishing. Win or lose, it would all be on me. There are several thousand copies of Crystal Unicorns out there now, most given on free e-book promotions. I’m very proud of my first attempt but also glad to, with my second, Shark Bait, to have a publisher who believes in my work.
That second book is rough. If your first book was a success, then there is the concern you are a one-hit wonder. If it didn’t do so well, will the next be the same. Don’t doubt yourself. Commit to writing the best work possible. If you study, the second book will be even better than the first because you absorbed information and advice.
If you traditionally publish, folks assume that at least the book was edited properly and passed a publishers quality checklist. Doesn’t mean a reader will leave a rave review but the words are spelled accurately and the grammar is correct.
But e-books garner a suspicion of poor quality, mainly because there are few quality controls. Anyone, literally ANYONE, can put a book on Amazon and the other outlets. Maybe it’s for the pride of saying you’ve been published, maybe to try to make a quick buck (predominately non-fiction), or maybe you truly believe in the work.
If you want to jump that particular hurdle, make sure you put in the work. Research every aspect of writing. Edit, Edit, Edit, have Beta readers go over it, have it professionally edited. Pay for a great cover. Make sure your blurb catches the eye. Go over the proof to make sure everything lines up. What font did you chose?
Then make sure your marketing conveys the quality of the book. Learn to manage technology like Hootsuite to schedule your posts. Contact your newspaper for local coverage. Hand out business cards with contact and order information on it. Mail flyers to bookstores and libraries to ask about setting up a book signing.
OurWriteSide.com and OWS Word Mafia group on Facebook have lots of advice to offer on all aspects of book publication and marketing. Rev up your search engine and use every key word you can think of to find information.
Publishing is a hurdle we all like to clear. In a perfect world, we all find lovely agents and publishers to launch our bestsellers leaving us with nothing but time to write. It isn’t a perfect world so make your decision about trying for traditional publishing or going for self-publishing. But no matter what you chose, put out a quality product.
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