Monday, March 24, 2014

The publishing path is kind of like the road to Terminus

Yeah, so you're a writer working your way to this great unknown, but you know it's supposed to be wonderful. Terminus! *cough* I mean, publication. Yeah, and you're among others trying to reach the same goal. Some of them falter along the way. They get eaten up by metaphorical zombies in the form of self doubt, rejection, time and lack of motivation.

Zombies are the devourers of motivation.

The path is long and hard. Sometimes you have to kill Zombies on the way. It's not easy.

Sometimes you have to kill metaphorical "bad people"  that get in your way like plot holes, bad story lines, and flat characters.

Then what happens when you get to Terminus *cough* I mean publication? You really have no idea what you're getting yourself into. You feel relief, yet, something is still amiss. Yes, your publisher is really just a cannibal who will eat your soul.

I'm kidding. It's not that bad. Now there are people out there willing to prey on those who have given up on traditional publishing. They are the cannibals. Do your research before going indie. It doesn't cost all that much to self publish these days.

So, I reserve cannibal for the real predators out there, but the publishing industry can be a brutal reality, not unlike living in the zombie apocalypse, but you can do things to make the best of it.

These are things I've learned.
  • Most publishers do NO marketing for you after sending the book out to media unless you are already a name or you've written a series and they can see dollar signs in their future. I was very proactive in my own marketing, so mine did a wee bit more, but not very much.
    •  Be proactive and give them ideas, they may jump on board. If they don't, do research as to how to best get your book into people's hands without breaking the bank. Information is out there, you just have to find it.
  • Some editors are not very communicative.
    • If you are waiting for answers on your contracted book, bug them. If you are waiting for answers on an uncontracted book, give them their alloted time (if it's an option) check in and see what they thought. If they don't respond, move on. You don't have time to waste, because...
  • The process is painstakingly slow. Once you sign your contract, expect your book to come out 18 months to 2 years later.
    • There is nothing you can do about this. You must learn patience. If you have to stay all night in the trunk of a car while a herd of zombies passes by, you do it, no questions asked.
  • Don't think that having a great working relationship with your editor means you will work with them again. Sad, but true.
    • You love your editor, I know, but sometimes their house gets absorbed, sometimes they don't want your second book, sometimes shit happens and you don't get to work with them again. Keep their contact information though. I think it's perfectly acceptable (at least I hope so and if not someone should correct me) to contact and ask them if they'd like to see some future work.
  • It's okay to fire your agent. 
    • Sometimes these relationships aren't symbiotic. I know authors on their 2nd or 3rd agent. Find someone you click with. I know it's hard not to jump on the first person who takes you and if you feel you need to go ahead. But if you feel like they aren't doing your work justice, talk to them. If that doesn't work, you are perfectly in your right to terminate the relationship.
  • Getting a first book published doesn't automatically mean getting a second book published.
    • Yeah, the second book is the hardest from what I hear. I was agentless and didn't want to wait 2 years for my next book, so I went rogue. That may not be the answer for everyone. Do what is right for you.

Good luck on your journey to Terminus, I mean publication. I hope your experience is a rewarding one, as I truly believe mine was, and not full of metaphorical zombies, bad people, and worse yet, cannibals.

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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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