Friday, February 6, 2009

Publishing On-Line and Vanity Press, and New Writers' Forum

During my research, I've come across many articles, ads, blogs, and websites that talk about the alternative to dealing with agents and/or publishers.

So many frustrated writers out there, weary from rejection, tired of the hype, the rules of submission, and on and on, decide to do it for themselves, like good sisters (and brothers) do. So, publish yourself and not have to deal with all that submission stuff, right? Hence: vanity. You want to see your name on a book jacket. NOW!

If any of you are even vaguely considering this relatively-easy plan for delivering your beautiful, clever words into the hands of your adoring public, think on.

Vanity press companies have always been here; some very well known writers from days of old used them. You write a brilliant book and you know it's word perfect, so why waste time waiting for one of those difficult, remote publishing people to recognize its marketing potential?

Are you really sure your book is so brilliant? Is it really ready? Oh, your Mom and best friend said it was? Your on-line writers' site said it was?

Look, writing rejection can be unfair, we all know that, but we also must accept that - in most cases - it separates the excellent from the mediocre (although trash does get through). Go browse any writing site and you'll immediately see the disparities.

On those sites, poor punctuation, spelling and grammar abound. Some writers even explain that the MS "still needs work". In that case, why is it there? Add weak story line, bad dialogue, unconvincing characters and you have an unpublishable book. No agent would touch it.

Agents Know what they're doing. If they were unnecessary, the profession wouldn't exist. Publishers trust them to offer only the best.

But why is it that even the very best writers get rejected, possibly through no fault of their own, but from some wicked circumstance that meant the MS was never seen by the right reader? (Well, that's what they tell themselves.) But, even for them, each time it happens, even without comments on the rejection slip, the good writer will take yet another look at the book. Perhaps there's still something not quite right here, after all, and they do some more polishing.

I could run up to Staples now and have them whip something up for me. I could flog it door-to-door, advertise it on eBay, put a big ad on my blog. But what would that do for my writing? Sure, I'd perhaps get feedback, but considering my belief in the brilliance of my book, I'd ignore bad reviews. I could be picked up by some hot agent who recognized its real potential as a hard cover best seller. Do you really think that's likely? I know you've read stories about self-published authors hitting the big-time. How many?

So, if you believe it's just been dumb luck that no one has picked up your manuscript, start researching print-on-demand or other self-publishing options right away. Oh, and you will need your check book.

I want to be published, not simply printed. I will never pay someone to produce my book; they will pay me. If you believe in your work - and you MUST believe in your work - it will happen exactly this way.

On a less cranky note, Emily Cross has started a writers' forum. We are all at different stages of our writing process, and blog postings can be hit-or-miss with your particular issue. This is a chance for you to talk about things that are important to you at this precise moment in your writing journey. The forum will handle all those questions as they present themselves to you. Here's the link:

See you there!


Emily Cross said...

wow fran, thank you for the link and what you said, it was amazing - thank you!

easy know you're a writer! :)

Lapillus said...

I would never consider self-publishing. I've done my research! Great post though Fran!

Melissa Marsh said...

I used to work for a self-publisher and I can tell you through experience that very, very few of the manuscripts were ready to be published. It's a great alternative for those that just want to see their book in print and that's it, or for those that want to publish something for their family. But if you want it to launch you to New York Times bestseller-dom, it will NOT work.