So not true! So not true! So not true! Yes, you will hear people say this and you’ll even see it written many of times. No, it’s not easy but there are things you can do to make this dream a reality. Make sure your book has been edited well. Make sure you create a marketing plan, write out a book proposal and study the industry. You should also consider the small and medium-sized publishers who are more willing to work and develop a first-time author. Yes, it’s a dream to be published by Simon and Schuster, Random House, Penguin, etc., and see your name in lights, but don’t sleep on a small and medium-sized publisher out either. You never know, what they can do. Remember, the big guy started out the little guy and look what he has become.
Myth 2: Publishers only accept manuscripts through agents.
Not! There are tons of publishers who prefer to deal directly with the author. Key word being tons. There are lots of small and medium-sized publishers out there. Part of the issue is that writers only want to deal with the really big traditional publishers-Simon & Schuster, Penguin, etc. The fact is that some of those majors will only deal with a first-time author if they have an agent. The writer needs to broaden their publishing horizon and think about working with a small and medium-sized publisher. Writer’s Market (a reference book for writers and authors) lists over 1,000 publishing companies. More than ninety percent of those publishers do not require that an author have an agent.
Myth 3: If I have an agent, I’m guaranteed a publishing contract.
Uh no! Not really. While, the agent may think you have a decent enough book, a publisher might not feel the same way. They may think your book needs more work, it may not be written well, or it may not fit their needs at the present time. The other thing is that, while there are some really good agents, there are also some agents walking around in sheeps clothing. They are unscrupulous and ineffective. They don’t really know the industry and are more interested in getting a fee from you, than doing something for you.
Myth 4: I don’t have to edit my manuscript because the publisher is going to spend the time and money editing it for me.
What? Who came up with this stuff? A major part of whether or not your manuscript gets accepted is how the manuscript looks. A manuscript filled with lots of grammatical errors is a pain in the behind to read. It shows unprofessionalism and will most likely end up in the shredder or in the garbage. Yes, your manuscript will go through the hands of an editor, but the editor and the publisher will be very happy if they have very little editing to do. The less editing they have to do, the better it is for you. Hire a good editor before you submit your manuscript. Again, your manuscript is your baby, would you send your baby out looking like any old thing just because you know they are going to spit up on the outfit? I hope not! Make a good impression the first time and send in the very best manuscript you can.
Myth 5: Bookstores won’t carry self-published or fee-based POD published books.
As a publisher whose seen some really bad self-published books in the bookstore, I almost wish this was true, but it’s not. If the demand is big enough, they will carry it. Also, if you want the bookstore to carry your self-published book, you must! must! must! have a marketing plan for it. Those are your two options-either get it to the point where the demand is big enough for it that the bookstore is wondering why they don’t have it in their stores, or create a good marketing plan for it and present it to the bookstore convincing them that they should carry the book. You should also focus your attention on the local independent bookstores in your area. Build a relationship with them while you are writing the book so that by the time your book is ready for publication, they will be a lot more comfortable and willing to have your book in their bookstores. Authors make the mistake of seeing the book in publishing format and then approaching the bookstore owner. They are reluctant to want to do business with you because their question is, “what have you done for my business before your book got published?” If you can’t answer that, then you will have a much harder time getting your book into their store. Being selfless, instead of selfish will get you a lot further in your book publishing endeavors.
Myth 6: No one will review my book because it’s a self-published or POD published book.
Huh? Where’d this one come from? The worldwide web is your friend. Figure out what your book topic is and find the magazine that relates to your book topic. Find out who the editor of that magazine is and offer to send them a review copy. Another avenue is book clubs. Yes, you have the major book clubs out there who are very picky about the books they select and have a long waiting list of books to be read, but you also have the smaller book clubs out there who are hungry, willing and waiting to read and review your book. There are also book review services, where you pay them to read your book and they put their review on websites such as Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and other book purchasing websites who allow book reviews. You can also look for book blogs on the web. These blogs review books because they love books. Some include:
Yes, we would all love to have our books read by The New York Times but the reality is that until that happens, don’t ignore “the little guys.” They are the ones who will be buying your books and really telling their friends about your book.
Myth 7: Writing the book is the hardest part of the process.
Not! Nope! Not even close! When you have to promote, market and even get your own distribution, writing is the easy part. Convincing people to read and buy your book is not easy. Nor is figuring out ways to get your book out there and bought. When you realize that publishing is a business and far from an easy task, you will realize that writing is the easy part. It’s like women who’ve given birth-they say labor is the easy part. Raising a productive, ethically responsible child is the hard part. If your book is your baby, then you need to look at it this way as well. Writing is like birth, it’s hard but easy, but the real work begins with raising, promoting, nurturing and marketing your baby!