Wednesday, March 17, 2010
WRITING & PUBLISHING
I'm often asked how to go about getting published by those who enjoy writing and feel they have stories (whether fiction or non fiction) to share with others. I begin by asking them to think about who the audience is that they believe will be most interested in their genre of written work. Because as any company has to have an audience and marketing strategy, so must a person who wants to publish a written work. Books do not sell themselves, so we everyday folk who are not of celebrity status or national politician also have to have sales and marketing skills for self promotion.
For the writer who feels they have a great short story, whether fiction or non fiction, they can research various magazines seeking submissions. For novels, books of poetry, short stories, etc. a writer can find many books and articles on how to properly submit a manuscript to a publisher. One can also find on line and in books the submission requirements of any publisher.
From my personal experience, I self publsihed my first book, a memoir, after the death of our son in Iraq. This means I researched different companies on line to learn the costs I would have to pay them to set my book to print and how subsequent royalty percentages worked. I would be waiting until I could walk to the moon to have expected a traditional publisher to publish my first work since I was an unknown and had not attended an Ivy League School.
I already knew who my audiences would be and how to self promote myself which takes a lot of time, energy and expense. But it was worth it to me because of the passion I held to share our family journey in sending a son to war and coping after his death. And also, we found an organization to provide net profits to that benefits grieving military family members.
After my self published work was off the press from authorhouse publishing, I set up my own speaking engagements , book signings, media interviews and set off on my journey with my husband in tow. At an event where I spoke and sold more books than anyone because I wasn't afraid to approach folks and share what my book was about and gain their interest, a representative from a small house traditional publisher (NOT Print On Demand, self publisher) but a traditional publisher took notice and took a copy of my book back to their company in Minnesota.
After several members of their company team read my work, they offered me a contract to publish the book as a 2nd edition, and I took the offer. Because they are a small house, I did not receive any upfront funds, only a little extra help with marketing the book through their avenues of publications to various organizations. I can purchase copies of my own book at a discount, as one can when selfpublished, and make more profit when I sell them at engagements or from the trunk of the car!
Profits from book sells through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc usually get a writer about $1.25 per book. Selling without a middle-man can gain $4 - $6 per book, depending on the retail cost and discounted cost to the author.
So, to all who want to write, keep writing if you love it, self publish (publish on demand) if you want to, while you can also send manuscripts for up to years to various publishing companies depending again, on genre and subject matter.
For support, find writing groups who provide honest feedback which can require a writer to have a thick skin.
I believe I read that Nicholas Sparks, popular author of The Notebook and subsequent stories that have been turned to movies, sent many many copies of his manuscript of The Notebook to many many publishers years ago before his work was accepted.
Debbie MaComber known for her knitting club stories wrote for years and sent many many many manuscripts out before her work was accepted.
John Grisham, before fame, went from shopping mall to shopping mall selling his first book to prove he had what it took to write and sell books before his work was picked up by a publisher.
So, writing and publishing...it's hard work, its even harder these days since traditional publishing houses are more in the red than black. So, if for a person who wants to write, wants to share a story...research everything you need to know on the internet about publishing, purchase good books about writing and publishing, learn good marketing and sales skills, speaking skills, lose fear of public speaking, keep on writing, don't give up, and go for the dream...as for me, my stories are those I want to be a testimony of how faith and God has worked in my personal life to inspire others, to help those grieving, or to connect with people in such trying times.
Hence, I continue to blog and write stories or speeches that I can share as soon as I can find the next group I can carry the stories to.
For more info about me go to : http://www.heartofahawk.com/ or google: http://www.deborahtainsh.blogspot.com/
God bless and lead each of you whose dream is to write, publish, and share.