Join writer’s groups who can offer you good, sound critique. I belong to one and adore their often slice and dice approach because it’s made me a better writer.
Having said that, I agree that not everyone will be picked up by a major house or even a small fry like us. At some point you may wonder about which road to take. Do I continue to submit? Do I look at other options? Do I put my book in the desk drawer?
The first thing you have to do is analyze the intent of your book. Yes, we all believe we’ve written the Great American Novel, and then we hit the intersection of Reality Checkpoint and Honesty Road. Is your book going to be of interest to a large number of people or is this for a specific group. Is it regional? Is it good? Most first novels should be put into the desk and left there while you begin writing another, better book. It’s a fact. No use fighting it. Most of us don’t have the writing ju-ju to crank out brilliance on our first try.
However, no one can tell you when to face that intersection – it’s personal. Some give up the submission ghost after six months, others after six years. But while you’re deciding what your time limits are, be aware of what is out there.
Self Publishing – The Omigod Factor
I would much rather see a writer self publish their book than get trapped into the POD paradigm. Yes, it takes some money, but you also have complete autonomy over your book – from print runs to pricing. I’m not going to go into all the machinations of self pubbing because that’s not what this series is about. But know that if you self publish, we can still be friends.
Are all PODs really bad?
There are POD companies out there who are honestly trying to do the very best with what they have. Admittedly, they don’t have much and their abilities are severely limited, but that doesn’t mean they’re trying to steal your dog and wear your new shoes while you’re at work. I’ve received emails from people who genuinely liked their POD publisher but see the restrictions by staying with them.
Case in point: I met a guy who had real can-do personality and a fairly good book. Unfortunately, it was a specialized work and no one wanted to publish it. He didn’t have the money to self pub, so he went the POD route and let them assume all the production costs. They allowed him to submit his own cover, and he took care to have an outside editor check his work. He didn’t care if his book was going to be in the stores because he made his money through seminars. In this case, POD worked for him. He sold a lot and saved his money so that when the next book was ready to publish, he self pubbed it and made a mint. But keep in mind, this guy can sell sand to Arabs. Can you?
He did his homework. He looked around for a good, honest POD company. I’m hearing you, “Dammit, Price, you said they were all pond scum!” Just like a handful of honest politicians (and if you find one, let me know), there are honest PODs. These are the guys who state right up front that they are Print on Demand. They tell you they don’t do print runs, they don’t market, and their primary source of income is selling to their authors. Again, I’m talking generalities here. A very small number actually do a bit of marketing, but this is limited because their books aren’t going to be stocked anywhere.
Keep in mind that while an honest POD can work for you, marketing your book is a full time job, and sales will normally remain pretty tepid unless you’re like my friend. Most people, however, aren’t like my friend. Do the research, analyze your personality type, and analyze the intent of your book.
If you’ll excuse me, a dump truck just pulled in front of my house with a ton of sand…
Coming tomorrow – the last of this series: Questions you should ask every publisher before querying.