Thursday, December 17, 2009

Understanding Terms

I discussed briefly in my last post that there are a million ways to get published now, as technology seems to make the process easier. But the more there are in numbers, the more scams. I'm going to assume for a second that Reader is just beginning to research publishing. This is not meant to be condescending, but to provide a platform from which to discuss the industry as a whole. In orders to do so all Readers should be expected to have the same knowledge and so if I present Reader with said information.... Reader gets the point, yes?

All right, then. Self-Publishing: you got the whole thing done yourself. You wrote it, got it edited, went to the printer and so forth. You got the art, the design ... everything. You sent out the Press Releases, worked on getting it in the stores, blogs. Yeah, the whole enchilada. And you take home the moolah after the checks are written.

Vanity Presses: demand thousands for the honor of self-publishing. You still do the whole marketing and such, and you pay for "packages" but all in all your desire to be published is something a place like this is taking advatage of. Read this.

Publishing on Demand (POD). This is like Lulu. Lulu offers services, but doesn't charge the author outrageous amounts. In fact, going through Lulu for 50 volumes at 200 pages is $100 less than finding the cheapest digital printshop and bindery in town and having them done there. That choice is one of convenience rather than money, should Reader ever be in the position to make the call. You pay for the books and you are self-published, but Readers can go online and order your book and Lulu will publish on request.

Traditional Publishing. Agent and Editor and Writer have contracts, agreements that arrange royalties and the like. Publisher makes arrangements with bookstores, kicks a marketing campaign off the ground to get your book to sell. You have a team working on your book, people in various arms of the publishing company who are implementing the plan to get your book read.
You get to write, and write to the deadlines and do the revisions and work really, really, hard to make sure the book Publisher gets on the shelves don't stay there long.

Reality: Publisher prints way more books than ever sell. Bookstores make no money, you make little and Publisher --hopefully-- makes enough to consider releasing Book #2. Which, naturally, is up to Publisher.

Small Presses are still publishers, but their resources are smaller in comparison. Their marketing schemes and print runs will not have the same budgets, nor will the advances be quite as comfy. Still, they have advantages as well.

Writing is about art. Once you get your head submerged in the creative waters coming up for air, while a necessity, is not always desirable. A writer's life is dependent on the two: reality and imagination. So, in order to work toward publication we have to figure out which way we want to go. We have to acknowledge the realities of the industry in order to understand how to publish. Recommendation: start this research well before you think your work is ready. And bare in mind that many authors have day jobs. Writing is always done for writings sake, and the ideal of writing-as-a-career is for those of us whose other passions are just not as strong as the one for writing. Passion, ironically, makes practicality essential.



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