Jumping the gun

I was wading through my Submissions folder last week and came across an interesting submission that I’d received the end of January. I began reading it and thought this would be perfect for us. I went back to the email query the agent had sent to get more details. She had included the author’s website, so I mosied on over. Wha’? There, at the top of her page, was the proud announcement that her book – the one I was reading – was now available on Kindle via their CreateSpace thingy.

Blink blink.

If I may offer a bit of advice – I would strongly recommend NOT doing this. We editors are touchy, black-hearted folks and we hate nothing more that feeling like we’ve been scooped. And putting a book out on Kindle is a scoop of sorts because you’re basically opening up your hand for anyone to see and exposing what cards you’re holding.

If you really want to be published, get a good agent. If you already have an agent, then get out of their way and let them do what they do best.  Jumping the gun like this is doesn’t make sense. Furthermore, dare I say it, it’s unprofessional. This is akin to the writers who vanity publish their books because they think it’ll give them more exposure to hungry editors. In reality, it acts as a repellent.

Yes, I see why they do it. They’ve heard the Cinderella stories about getting picked up for a multi-gazillion dollar, 50-book deal. But for every ONE of those deals, there are thousands whose books have a one-way ticket to obscurity.

If you’re serious about being published by a mainstream publisher, then I strongly recommend not jumping the gun and scooping possible editors by publishing your book, either via vanity or e-book. For starters, many of us won’t touch something that’s already out there. Do I want to hassle having two versions of your book out there and risking your unedited book being confused for my thoroughly edited book?

Nope. It’s simply not worth it.

Exposure comes in all sizes and shapes, and the best exposure is your platform. The bigger it is, the more excited an editor will be to fight for your book. But a Kindle version is simply that. It takes time to develop a readership, and the longer you leave that book up, the less likely an editor will be touch it.

Instead, relax. Let your agent work for you. Start writing that next book, take a walk, drink a pitcher of margaritas…anything…but don’t jump the gun.

10 Responses to Jumping the gun

  1. NinjaFingers says:

    And while CreateSpace is a useful service, the only books that belong on self publishing services like that and Lulu are ones that there is solid evidence are good and well written, but simply lack enough appeal for a publisher to pick them up. Niche stuff.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sheryl Nantus, Lynn Price. Lynn Price said: Don't be in such a rush…Jumping the Gun http://bit.ly/h7dZzF […]

  3. cillaclare says:

    Actually, I think more authors are seeing the likes of Amanda Hocking making good money by self-publishing on kindle and other platforms and want to jump on the bandwagon. Whether or not this is the advised thing to do, remains to be seen. If the book is good and their platform is better and they’ve done the hard work, maybe it will pay off. Or maybe not. But, it is a dilemma authors are facing nowadays with self-publishing becoming a real, viable option.

  4. Sally Zigmond says:

    Yes, but id you have an agent (I wish) who is actively seeking publishers, as this writer’s agent is, then you don’t go and self e-publish. Why would anyone want to do that? It undermines everything your agent is trying to do on your behalf. Hold your horses.

  5. cillaclare says:

    Sally – true, and if I were the agent, I’d be pretty upset about it. So I wonder if this is something along the lines of a misunderstanding between author and agent?

  6. PattiZo says:

    As for me, I will be content to self-publish my stuff. Consider the article in USA Today conerning self-publishing. Authors without platforms, without agents, are selling and making money. You may not make great money, but you may make something. And something is better than nothing.

  7. Thank you, Sally, you said exactly what I was going to say. My post isn’t about the decision to vanity publish, but whether to print your book (or Kindle-ize it) for the sole purpose of attracting an editor’s attention. This is counterproductive to the intent.

    Patti, I was a bit shocked at how misinformed the USA Today article was…and these kinds of articles usually are, for the sole reason that they don’t do the proper research.

    All I could think was that this article would fool a lot of good people into thinking a pot of gold awaits them at the end of the rainbow. Nothing could be further from the truth. For the very few who actually make money, thousands see nothing for their efforts. I hope you’re one of the exceptions.

  8. L.S. says:

    I personally consider self-publishing a last option.

    PLAN A – Query all possible agents

    PLAN B – (after rejections) Try publishers directly

    PLAN C – (after more rejections) Self-publish *IF the book doesn’t die after so much rejection, poor thing.

    But, I mean, won’t it just sit there? Online? That’s what I always assumed.

  9. I personally consider self-publishing a last option.

    I see this a lot and it makes me cringe to some degree. If someone is experiencing hundreds of rejections, could it be the work simply isn’t marketable? If not, then why would anyone want to commit it to print?

    This is my main beef with self-publishing. Consistent rejection is Mother Nature’s way of suggesting you write a better book. Self publishing, in many instances, shortcuts the invitation to learn from one’s mistakes.

    Instead, those mistakes are being printed up to an unsuspecting marketplace – where it will die. The only thing gained is that the author’s ego is fed by claiming they are a “published author.” It’s empty and meaningless.

  10. L.S. says:

    I wish I’d posted my original comment. (It got a little long.) At the end I mentioned the unlikeliness of a book being publishable if the first two plans fail. Self-publishing, which I admit I’ve always dismissed, would be a last resort for someone like me who loves their book and wants it out there. Still, it’s not the same and, well, there’s no ego to feed here. Most writers I know are pretty self-conscious about their work, myself included.

    Many best-selling books were rejected again and again, while books that are picked up fast can be awful. In my opinion, rejections don’t necessarily make them bad, just unmarketable. I guess it depends. I haven’t even written my first query yet, so I have a long way to go, a lot of rejections ahead of me.

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