-What can you tell the writer who gets feedback from publishers that they’re “almost there?”
I can only guess, and it depends on what else they say. If they also say to submit a revision, then I’d say go to work. If they offer specific notes on what shortcomings are, I’d say feel encouraged and go to work. If that’s all there is, well, that’s probably someone just being polite, but you still have to go to work to figure out how get all the way there. For one of my novels, “The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles,” I had two literary agents rave about how much they loved it and how much fun it was and how they loved the character—and then say they just didn’t know where they could sell it, so no thanks. Publishing is, after all, a business of selling and buying.
-What are your opinions about the methods of publishing now available to writers—traditional, e-books, hybrid?
First, let’s consider the terms. “Traditional” I take to mean being published by a publishing firm. In that case, keep in mind that also includes ebooks (I like the hyphenless version of the word). The big plus for landing a traditional publisher lies in marketing. They have the machinery to put out word of your book to many thousands of outlets. Bookstores can and will order from them. I think the big minus is the small share of the proceeds an author gets, percentage-wise, at least when compared to self-publishing.
I suspect that your “ebook” category refers to self-publishers, often called “Indie writers.” Here, an author can publish in both print and ebook formats, though some go with just the ebook versions, which costs the least—the only real expense is a book cover design, and that’s something you can do for less than $50 if you have the talent.
As for “hybrid,” meaning authors who have been with traditional publishers but are now going to ebook formats for subsequent works, I figure whatever works. If an author has built up a strong brand and an automatic audience, then I think going the Indie route can generate a better income because the author keeps a much bigger percentage of the proceeds. Even if an author doesn’t have a big brand, it can be a way to extend the life of a book if they can get back the rights to the book and publish it themselves. I know authors who felt that their publisher didn’t do a very good job of marketing and have gotten their rights back to explore publishing on their own.
-I know you do more than editing. Can you tell us more about that?
I work with small publishing houses and Indie authors in my book design business, designing covers and interiors. I also help them get their accounts set up with Ingram Spark, CreateSpace, and other print-on-demand resources, and with ebook distribution through Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords. Almost all of them have published both print and ebook versions. I have had a couple of clients for whom I both edited their manuscript and designed their books, an ideal situation if you ask me. An aspect of “going Indie” I hadn’t thought of was brought out in a recent conversation with a traditionally published author. She hated her book cover and had no say in it. Working with me, you have total say and will love the cover.
-You are a regular contributor to the Writer Unboxed blog. Where else can my readers find you?
Well, they can find me at my blog, Flogging the Quill, wherein I “flog” first-page submissions by writers and offer links to articles of interest to writers; at my “books” website, where you can sample and purchase signed copies of my novels and Mastering the Craft of Compelling Storytelling; and at my book design and editingwebsite that has useful information for people interested in self-publishing. Oh, and there’s a little bit of fun to be had on anotherwebsite of mine.
Thanks, Ray. It's helpful to know there are resources like yours out there for writers. I appreciate your visit.
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