Thursday, August 2, 2007

Get Ready for The Long Haul And Don't Sell Youselves Short with Fiction Publishing Options!

As I fight for my own sense of creativity to write new material for fiction and to revise my current works, I like to drop by some of the writing/publishing boards and websites I have involved in over the years as a writer. My lord - how some things never change. It seems like some of the same topics come up over and over when a few new folks join. I'm not going ot lie, it can be very annoying, but thankfully there are sites that have taken care of this by posting topics for new participants to read over, which directs them to popular topics that have already beat beaten to death. One such site is Absolute Write Water Cooler. One of the topics that comes up on boards quite frequently and for some reason just escapes many seemingly rational people is methods of publication and what is the best way to go for a new writer - traditional pubishing house or self-publishing. My take is as follows:

Far be it for me to tell someone how to live their life or even which method of publishing is right for THEM, but to me, this issue is cut and dry. First, let's set the premise that we are talking about fiction. I say that because it is often much more feasible to self-publish non-fiction depending on the topic, but by-in-large, if your work is good enough and should be read by a wide range of readers, you shouldn't have to pay to have that happen. Trust me, even if and when you get a publisher to accept your work, you will still be pounding the pavement to promote that work or you won't publish traditionally again. First time writers (note that word, please) rarely get promo budgets unless they are already known and if you happen to get an advance and don't make that money back in sales - good luck with your next book.
But I digress, we are talking about self publishing vs. traditional and the fact of the matter - whether most people want to admit it or not - is that most people who self-publish fiction were or are unable to get their work accepted by a traditional house. Even worse, their are some people who finish a novel and then have the audacity to tell others that they shouldn't have to pay the same dues as the rest of us in regard to sending out query letters, looking for an agent, drafting, re-drafting, etc... Sympathy for those folks, I have not. I think that if you believe in your work and you make it the best it can be, if it's good enough, SOMEONE in the traditional publishing world will notice. This may take years to happen, but if you stick with it, it will. And no, that does not mean you have to publish with a large New York house, but the bottom line in fiction writing is that money should flow TO the writer. You should never have to pay for your work to be published and that includes PODS, vanity presses, and the evil institutions such as Publish America. (That's right. Sue me, PA!) If you are truly dedicated to your craft, the answer should be easy. Do your work; do your research, and follow your dream, but remember; dreams can take time!