Keeping afloat in a sea of self-publishers: a 5 step program By Benjamin Kane Ethridge
As promised here is the final part of the three day pit stop on the Benjamin Kane Ethridge blog tour
Keeping afloat in a sea of self-publishers: a 5 step program
By Benjamin Kane Ethridge
This list is in response to self-publishing authors who have no true writing experience to speak of. Self-publishers who are formerly published authors trying to sell their catalogue do not apply here.
So now, if you’re a proper writer, how do keep from being overlooked in this endless bombardment of mostly bad books?
1) Have your work vetted: if your work looks like trash, that’s an instant GAME OVER. Here’s the thing though—you can be a great writer and still benefit from a good, honest editorial review. So get one. Pay for it or find another author and trade and edit manuscripts with her.
2) Build, at very least, a modest to strong publishing history: Self-publishers, or self-pubbies as I like to call them, don’t have any history publishing, most likely. They’ll often have nothing to point back to except non-paying ezines, but if you spend your time in the trenches, your author bio will tell a tale theirs, truthfully, cannot. Plus one to credibility level.
3) Find a publisher who will offer everything a self-publisher can readily have: This can be everything from a snazzy cover to conducting e-book giveaways that bring outside readers. Let’s face the truth: the act of putting together an attractive book and manufacturing it no longer belongs to the elite publishing community. Everybody can do it now. People with large egos and large wallets can produce spectacular books. Plus, they’re willing to give a lot of them away to hopefully build a brand. Although the amount the self-pubbies give away is quite excessive at times, you don’t want a publisher who hordes every copy to make a sale, not unless you can easily move those books (but why would you be reading this if you could do that). You need a publisher who is willing to do what rich self-pubbies can do to an extent, but it doesn’t end there.
4) Find a publisher who will give you a fair percentage on E-book sales: This figure can be anything from 30% to 50%, but when negotiating this, consider how much the book will sell for. 30% for a 99 cent novel isn’t a great deal; either bump the advance up or voice your concern about the low price tag. This is where self-pubbies hold an advantage and a good publisher knows this. You don’t want too low of a price because then you’ll be tossed back like a rotten fish into La Mer du Amateur.
5) Find a publisher that will promote your work with all the ambition and intensity of a self-pubby: This is what dedicated writers are really at odds with. You can have your work in bookstores, but if your publisher doesn’t have a promotion machine with you in mind, then you’ll be worse off than the self-pubby who just gave away 8 thousand copies online. Why do people know the name of the guy who wrote, “The Werewolf’s Bathrobe,” but have never heard of your eloquent thriller? Well, because nobody has heard of the title and few have stumbled upon it virtually or physically. Boo! Not fair. But it can be prevented. If readers see that a publisher is promoting and not the author alone, it lends much needed integrity to the work in question.
6) One more for the road, and most important. Don’t give up. Keep writing, keep getting published. Save all thoughts of self-publishing for those days when you have the rights back to much of your older work and you see a demand for making it available.
I understand this is a sensitive issue to some people who have been burned by publishers, who have submitted for years and been given rejection after rejection. It’s not easy to take the path I’m lighting for you here, but the difficult paths are the most rewarding. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. If you want to be a publisher, publish. If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to do both, you better be good at both, because that ocean is boiling over with rotten fish and the smell can make it impossible to distinguish those shiny scaled beauties swimming amongst the rot.