In between killing my knees with weeding and packing this past weekend, I spent some time thinking about what to do with Not About Love.
I’ve reached the conclusion that due to its length (only 60,000 words) I’ll be hard pressed to find an agent willing to take a chance on it. So I’ve decided, once I have time to, you know, actually do anything other than pack, unpack, and clean, I’m going to hunt down an epublisher.
Listen to me. I make it sound like it’s a given it’ll be published. Oh well. Positive thinking, ya know?
Anyway. It takes as much, if not more, research to find a suitable epublisher as it does querying an agent. I feel like I not only need to understand the submission guidelines, I need to understand their financial outlook. And this is the hard part for me, considering I got a D in my international business class in college.
Going epub has some advantages over a traditional publisher. Some writers whose word counts aren’t that high stand a chance of getting published. Royalties can often be higher (although you need to consider the sale price is lower than for a print copy). But it isn’t just understanding the royalty structure. What’s the publisher’s overall financial picture?
If the publisher is small but produces quality product and you’re not necessarily relying on book sales to pay your bills, by all means, go for it. For some, the thrill of being published, being able to say, hey, I’ve got my very own ISBN! is more than enough. Or you could look at it like a stepping stone to actually landing an agent.
I want to make money! you whine. Sigh. We all do. It’s what makes the world go ’round. So maybe that publisher isn’t the best one for you.
So you take a look at their marketing strategy. Some might not have huge marketing budgets (in fact they might be non-existent), some may be able to blitz as well as one of the major publishers. You’ll have to do at least some of it yourself-and yeah, your sales will partly be driven by how much effort you put into it, and how big an internet presence you already have. Do they post ads in trade mags for you? What about sending copies to reviewers? Are they on Goodreads? I found one publisher, Samhain Publishing, because of one of those stupid blinky ads for one of their books on the sidebar. Annoying, sure. But! It got my attention. That’s the whole point.
And there’s blog hops and promos and all sorts of fun and exciting things.
So what am I looking for Not About Love?
Someone with a solid reputation. Someone who’ll put that ad up on Goodreads. Someone with a solid plan for promotion. Someone who’s not going to end up like this company (and a very good reason to make sure you understand how well, financially, the publisher is doing). Oh, and someone who’ll offer it in print, as well.
Print? Print you say? But the whole point was to go digital!
Eh…mostly. See, I have an abnormally large number of friends and family who have not joined the e-reader revolution (myself included) and it’d be nice for them to be able to further my endeavors by purchasing a copy.
But that’s just me.
And then, of course, there’s the whole self-publishing thing. But consider this when you think about self-publishing: not only are you doing ALL of the marketing yourself, there’s the cost of getting the thing published. You have to pay for an editor (and if you skip this part, you ought to be shot). You have to pay for cover design, and layout, and if you want it available in both ebook AND print, there’s the reformatting cost. Cary Graham, to self-publish his debut Remnant, spearheaded a Kickstarter campaign. He ponyed up $3,000 of his own funds (if I remember correctly) and asked for $5,000 in donations through the campaign. He succeeded, and if you look at the finished product, it’s fabulous looking, but think about it. That’s eight grand. Do you have eight grand lying around? And that doesn’t include the cost of an editor. That’s just for formatting and design, and he got a deal on the book cover, because he knew the graphic designer. Some of us *raises hand* don’t know any graphic designers.
So that’s my reason for not self-publishing. To produce a quality product costs more in outlay than I currently have sitting around. To some, it’s not a barrier. There are plenty of self-published authors out there who have written fantastic stories and found a way to make it happen. Those people are far more innovative than I am.
The lovely and talented Kristin Lamb just returned from Thrillerfest and published this post on what New York and what the traditional publishers need to do to keep up in a changing reading world. It’s sparked discussions all over the social media world and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are clumps of writers standing around at RWA Nationals whispering about it. Maybe you should read it and spark your own discussion 🙂
There you have it. My plan, minus bullet points. One I intend to put into action…in September. Because no one does any work in August.