Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rant alert...

Please excuse me. I’m going to have another rant about self-publishing. I’m going to be horribly, terribly brutal here: chances are only one out of every 1 000 self-published works is worth the money you spent on it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, digital publishing is opening a lot of doors for people who wouldn’t ordinarily have had an opportunity to get their words out. And there are those arse-hats who’ll tell you that the traditional publishing industry “closes doors” for “deserving” authors blah, blah, blah… Before asking for you to give them money to publish your works.

It doesn’t work that way, hun.

Here’s the secret. If you’re a good author, a publisher should offer YOU a contract in order to publish your work. You sure as hell don’t have to PAY for that. And, guess what? If you’re a good author, your work will sell and you’ll earn money. In exchange your publisher keeps a percentage of the royalties. After all, they designed your nifty cover art, had an editor go over your words and they help place your novel in the market place.

There’s an exchange of energy here. Everyone wins.

When I wear my content editor hat, it means I have to assess manuscripts and, based on my comments, my publisher will decide whether to offer contracts. Content editors and slush pile readers are gatekeepers. We are the ones who turn away written works that still need polishing. Think of us as an immune system to keep the body of literature healthy.

A lot of wannabe authors don’t like us. We’re the reason they receive form rejections.

Well, guess what? So you’ve been rejected? Maybe it’s time you hold up that mirror and actually ask WHY your novels keep getting rejected?

Maybe it’s time you join a writers’ group? Maybe it’s time you start APPLYING the constructive criticism you’ve been receiving? That’s if you’ve bothered to listen.

Here’s another secret: writing is hard work. It requires you to read books critically. It means that if you’re writing paranormal romance, you at least ensure that you have a passing familiarity with the genre. It means that you need to work hard to constantly improve your writing.


Digital publishing means that you’re just one more small fish in a very big pond. You’re all competing for attention. This means you have to work your nuts off to ensure your manuscript is polished to within an inch of its life, this being whether you go the small press route or DIY.
And here’s another secret: a fool and his money are soon parted. If someone offers you the deal of a lifetime, it’s probably too good to be true.

1 comment:

Sonya Clark said...

My thoughts about self-publishing come down to this: it's for people who can afford it. I can't afford to hire an editor, cover artist, book designer, and who knows what all else so I have to be good enough that a publisher will offer me a contract. I figure if something I write can't meet that threshold, maybe it's for the best it stays on the hard drive. I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable asking people for money for it.