Getting published, part 4

There are certainly advantages to being published by a large conglomerate publisher–prestige and recognition, for example, as well as (usually) a larger advance and larger print run.  Sometimes there’s more publicity support.  Disadvantages can seem insignificant–the sometimes difficulty in getting to speak with your very busy editor and the danger of being dropped if your book sales don’t meet expectations are two of them.    Then of course there’s the huge problem of being accepted by a conglomerate publisher in the first place.  In today’s tight market and the increasing “bottom line” mentality in any large corporation, entry opportunities for beginning writers are decreasing.

Ah ha!   We come to the thousands of small press publishers in the United States and elsewhere.

As authors who have worked with both large and small presses affirm, the friendly and individually caring attention in a small press can quickly trump advantages in a conglomerate.   Some legitimate smaller presses do offer  advances, good editing, decent royalties, publicity support, print runs of a thousand or more, and a connection to major distributors like Baker and Taylor and Ingram.   But beware…there are also “vultures” out there, promising publishing and maybe even some of the advantages listed above.   The first sign of a vulture is a request for payment for services rendered.   They do give those services, but problems down the line often outweigh advantages.  More about that later.

No matter how you publish, you’ll eventually need to take off your writing cloak and become a sales person.  The time to begin promotion work is while you’re writing your book.  Perhaps you can think of gimics related to your story and writing life that offer promotion topics.  You should certainly begin cultivating connections with media representatives–from small towns to as high as you can reach.  Get a web site.  Get to know book sellers, at least in your home area, learn how they operate, visibly buy books from them.  Investigate sources for a few promotional materials.  (Posters?  Flyers?  Book marks?)  Save money to pay for a few of these if your publisher doesn’t.  Learn about writers’ conventions and conferences if you haven’t already, and begin attending a few, especially those close to home.   Even the biggest publishers won’t normally pop for fancy book tours and Morning Show interviews for beginning authors.

Next…”Writing is a creative effort not wholly unlike acting or painting or music…BUT…”


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