THE ROAD TO PUBLISHING MY DEBUT NOVEL.
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So, let’s cut to it. If 2014 was the year of writing my debut novel, Blood, Ink & Fire, 2015 has been the year of getting it published.
Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly?) getting a book made is tougher than it looks. There’s a lot to consider, such as whether or not you should get an agent (see this and this and this), or whether approaching publishers directly is the way to go. And if you do decide to approach publishers, there’s the all important book proposal you may need to sell your work. Thankfully, there are all kinds of resources out there for new authors like me, but the biggest question I faced was this: What type of author do I want to be? Traditionally-Published? Self-Published? Indie-Published?
A strong case could be made for each, but it came down to this: which option would get Blood, Ink & Fire out to as many readers as possible?
Option 1: Traditional Publishing, The Big Five
The unpalatable truth about traditional publishing is that for a brand new writer, getting a Big Five publisher to accept your work and actually spend substantial marketing dollars on building awareness of it is quite rare. What’s a Big Five publisher? It’s one of these.
Even if your title is decently successful, it’s likely that a lot of the PR and marketing work needed to spread awareness of your book to reach national and international success won’t be there. The rule of thumb is said to be that publishers now spend 80% of their resources on their top 20% of titles. Doing the math, that’s just 20% of their resources going to the majority (80%) of their titles and authors. Speaking to both authors and those in the publishing world, it now seems routine to advise new authors to allocate a portion of their own time and resources to promoting their books themselves, which may be why established authors are kicking butt in self publishing.
Option 2: Self-Publishing
That said, self-publishing comes with its own unique set of challenges, especially if you’re not established. If marketing your book with a Big Five publisher is tough, imagine going it alone without one. The upside and downside here is exactly the same: it’s all down to you. Sure, lots of writers do it and have made a success, but it would be a mistake to think that their success was easily achieved.
After exploring the options, and chatting to members of The Hundred, I’ve decided to stay true to my own inclinations and go the indie publishing route.
Option 3: Indie Publishing
What is indie publishing? From my experience, it’s a cross between traditional publishing and self-publishing. You might call it co-publishing. It works like this: the indie publisher and I collaborate to produce the title, that is all the editorial and design work that goes into the finished product. Meanwhile, I as the author retain more creative control of the work than I would have at a big house, and less of the responsibility of promoting the book all on my own as I would as a self-published author. In exchange, the indie publisher provides things like marketing and product support, plus the expertise required to get a book into the marketplace. They benefit from my existing following (which is a solid number of passionate readers thanks to all of you!) and I retain a more substantial percentage of the sales, a percentage I feel is fair and equitable given my time investment in creating the work. It’s a mixed bag of collaboration and responsibility, and while it’s certainly not for everyone, it may hold some clues to the future of the publishing business.
I’ve been firming things up with an exciting indie publisher that’s new on the book scene. Together we’ve been hard at work planning a great release (plus some other awesome magic) for later this year. SO MUCH has been happening behind the scenes, and I’ve been waiting with bated breath to be able to share the inside scoop. Rest assured, I’ve been documenting everything as I venture down the road to publishing, and very soon you’ll be able to join me as I reveal my indie publishing partner in crime and everything we’ve been in cahoots on these past few months.
Stick around and I promise you won’t be disappointed.