Back in those gone-by days an author wrote and somebody else was delegated with all the other stuff. Like editing, that's what my editor was for to fine tune and correct the grammar mistakes. Times changed and to be a continued success, I had to learn. Not that learning is any problem for me, but change is always disruptive, but accepted grudgingly.
But anyhow back to learning more about the business of publishing. Vanity presses or self-publishing was for those who couldn't cut it in the real publishing world. Nobody had a strong following with those authors. The publishers had the inside track of promotion and advertising your book. They knew how to reach people who read. They knew how to get books into catalogs for book buyers in stores, especially those that were in almost every town. They knew how to get reviews of your book. They knew the cover designers. They knew everything. They were the gatekeepers for what people read. They knew best or did they?
getting their books published.
A small interuption for a story...
I spoke to an idealistic teenager last week during therapy. When she found out I was a published author she was in awe. She told me she was writing a book too. She had envisioned a life of becoming a best-selling author, the fame, the book signings, the television interviews and traveling. I asked her what was the premise behind the book, and genre, and she couldn't tell me. In fact she gave me a "huh?" look. After a few more well pointed questions, I determined it was a contemporary romance novel.
She asked about how to get it published and I asked her if it was finished. No. I asked her about projected word count, another "huh?" look. I asked about her writing history. None, no surprise there. I hated to bust her bubble, but I told her the realities of the industry. How hard it was to find an agent. How difficult if might be to sell the book to a publisher. I dropped the bomb of the 91-99% rejection rate. But I ended on a happy note and told her if that's what is in her heart to do, just do it being aware of the possibility of failure.
Back to publishing changes, I'm just too scatter brained today. Enter the internet. It provided a basis for authors to get their name out there. Blogs and websites became a had-to-have among authors even traditionally published ones. Social networking enabled readers to get to know you, the author, with only minimal face-to-face time. The advent of e-readers caught the publishing industry as a whole unaware. You could reach out to the world from your home. Sites sprang up everywhere for this or that part of publishing. You could get your book reviewed. You could have it professional typeset/formatted. You could find a cover for your book. More and more authors opted to publish on their own.
Yes, it all came at a price. But when you look at 70+% royalties in your pocket versus 12-17% even with the payout, indie (independent) publishing seems more lucrative. It still left me with 60% in my pocket so far in sales I've made. The stigma of self-publishing became less of a thumb-your-nose at the proposition. The shelf life alone makes it worth a try... three months versus eternity.
Have I given up on traditional publishing totally? Now why would I want to do that? I like the have my cake and eat it too side of the street. Until my agents and publishers say I can't and are willing to do all that I do for my indie books, I continue on being a hybrid author. Now I know they will eventually wake up and put it into new contracts, maybe in ten or twenty years, but until then more power and profits to me.
Keep writing and loving the Lord.