Friday, April 25, 2014

@SandyoNathan's Thoughts on Should You Self-Publish or Use a Traditional Publisher? #PubTip

You hear a lot of conversation about whether an author should self-publish or go the traditional route. People get pretty steamed up about the topic. The discussions I’ve heard miss one important fact: traditional publishing is not an option for most would-be authors.
The path to traditional publication begins with the author signing with a literary agent. (This may require major voodoo.) The agent then sells the would-be author's manuscript to a publisher. (More voodoo) Once sold, the lonely manuscript must navigate the perils within the publisher’s walls. (Meaning that it doesn’t get suppressed because a famous author is coming out with a new book) And finally, pop! The new author’s new book comes out, and is given a few months to earn back its advance before its pulped. This process takes years.
Until a would-be author gets and agent and navigates the gauntlet, the options are: don't publish or self-publish.

Here’s a true story: mine. After attempting to write the magic query letter­­––a query is a three paragraph, one page letter that can convince an agent that he should take your book over the 15,000 other queries he gets a year. After being rejected many times, I hired my editor to write the thing. She has thirty years in the business and was the editor-in-chief of a major writers' magazine for many years. Her version was rejected just as fast as mine. I watched a good friend, an attorney, send out query letters by the dozen. Hers came back just as fast as mine. Clearly, this process was impossible, or at least impossible for me.

I gave up trying to get an agent. I now have nine books published by an indie press––mine. My books have won twenty-four national awards in contests for independent presses. I can speak definitively about "self publishing."

For one thing, "self publishing" as an entity doesn't exist. An author can get her words in print a zillion ways, from doing all the design and composition herself to hiring top designers. “Self publishing” runs the gamut from a single stop at your local print shop to setting up your own LLC and sinking everything you've got into it.

Another bit of knowledge I’ve gained: writing and producing one's own books takes much more work than the discussions of the topic indicate. If you have any quality standards at all, "self publishing" is a license to work 24 hours a day.

Self-publishing means conferring with editors and designers and proofreaders and printers. It's selecting professionals, setting up distribution, warehousing, and shipping. It's writing and rewriting. A smart indie-publisher will find ways of doing these tasks effectively, but its still an orgy of work with absolutely no guarantee of getting any remuneration.

Sound appealing? Some people do very well financially as indie publishers/authors. They have a magic ability to charm via the Internet. Plus they work even harder than I do.

Would I start my own small press if I knew what I know now? Yeah, with knowledge born of experience and some new information.

For instance, I currently know a number of authors who have won the magical prize: a traditional publisher puts out their work. They are uniformly unhappy, working as hard as I do for a tiny fraction of the money. They never feel secure, as their last book may really be their last if it doesn’t sell. They never know what their earnings are because of the magic accounting of their agents and publishers.

Having an advanced degree in counseling, I’d say the personal system in which a new or midlist author finds him/herself is about as toxic as any on the planet.

Something else. I'm sixty-eight years old. I don't have thirty years to spend wooing an agent, only to be passed over by some twenty four-year-old whiz kid when I finally get a contract. The publishing industry is known for discrimination based on age. Why fight it? I'm doing what I want to do, and well.

Fortunately, I have the right qualifications: I’m a work-o-holic from Silicon Valley.



Will Duane owns the tech revolution. It's 1997; Will's been the richest man on the planet for twenty years. He can sway governments and ruin lives. Will's latest mission brings him into conflict with all that's holy.

He and his corporate hot shots reach their destination, a Native American spiritual retreat. Their luxurious motor homes enter the Mogollon Bowl, a geophysical anomaly where anything can happen. Now Will can spring his trap.

Grandfather, the powerful shaman leading the retreat, seeks a world where love is king, a world of peace and harmony. This vision has haunted him all his life. His corporate guest is the key to making his vision real. Grandfather knows exactly what Will Duane wants.

A malicious force steps into the action. Both men's hopes are dashed, as a sacred place becomes the playground of evil. A malevolent power tries to claim their lives and souls.
You won't forget this modern day fable, a high-speed, high stakes fantasy with visionary roots.

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Visionary Fantasy
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with Sandy Nathan through Facebook & Twitter

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