Thursday, August 2, 2018

Writing Madness: Journey through Publishing

From small presses to Amazon's Kindle Platform and beyond, I've spent the last decade teaching myself and following an uncut path through the publishing world. It's been a rough ride, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. This world has become my home and I'd like to share a few of the things I've learned.

When Witch Hunt was finally finished it was sent out to publishers and I waited and waited. It was submitted to a few larger publishing houses and with each rejection letter I took a breath, did some revisions and after a little time submitted it to the next publisher. Finally Witch Hunt, and later Fox Hunt and Fire Hunt, found a home at Cobblestone Press. The contract offer shocked me. My husband had to read the email for me. By that point the rejections had become heartbreaking and I was really questioning if I should even write at all.

Then the real work started. Cobblestone is a small press and while they offer everything a larger publisher does, they taught me the importance of marketing on the author's end. In this day and age the author has to market too. It's a must. The publisher can't do it all anymore. So, once I cut my editing teeth I was on to learning the craft of marketing.

Mistakes were made. Lessons learned and in the end I wish I could have done a lot of it differently. Even now, I have issues finding what tactics work to bring readers to my books. It's an ever changing pursuit that every author learns at some point.

All that marketing research and what have you, led me to the wonderful world of self-publishing. Not my favorite way to publish, but also not the horrid beast it was once made out to be. With Lost Relic I learned that there aren't many publishers willing to touch an interactive romance novel. I didn't find any to be honest. So, self-publishing was the way to go.

In this new world I had to learn a lot more than just marketing. It was time to find a trusted editor and a book cover design. All of this was done on a pathetically small budget, but reaching back into my art student history I managed to teach myself graphic design. (At least enough to create a cover I loved.) That saved some money. Biting the bullet and hiring an editor was and will always be a must.

Just Beyond Daybreak followed the self-published path some time later. I tried traditional publishers first and a few wanted changes I wasn't willing to make. That's something an author needs to consider. Are the changes a publisher wants worth it? Is it going to change the story more than you want? Think about these things carefully. Every author will have different answers to those questions.

More recently I've dipped my toes into finding homes for short stories. I've talked about PenPee, a short story website. It's still the early stages of learning this platform, but I'm hopeful. Short stories can be posted onto the site and authors earn a little every time someone reads a chapter. I can't hire an editor to read through my short stories. It's just not economical at this point. Instead my beta reader gives a story a once over and I use Hemmingway Editor. This website is awesome. Paste in the story, let Hemmingway do it's work and bam, basic edit suggestions.

These different publishing paths all have their pros and cons. There are people who scoff at me for having nothing published through a big publishing house. That's fine. I haven't given up those large publishers, but I understand there's more than one way to put a book out.

My journey is still going and there are lots of paths in the road ahead. The best advice I can honestly offer to any fellow writers looking to publish is simple: Do what works best for you. Take the bull by the horns and learn what you need to learn to make it.

Peace and Love!

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