Thoughts on Writing Part Two: Publishing

Once the manuscript has been completed and edited to the best of the writer and his/ her beta reader’s efforts, it is time to send that sucker off for publication. Or at least attempt to get it published. But how should one go about getting it onto the market? Should one go a traditional route with either a large publisher or small indie house? Maybe doing it yourself is the way to go?

At the end of it all, that decision is the writer’s alone. As a writer, ask yourself, “what would be best for me?” Are there instances when one work would be better published traditionally while a different work may best be published by the individual author?

A lot of the decision rests, I think, on how much work the author wants to put in addition to the writing. Increasingly, the writer has a larger share of marketing duties even with a major publisher, but he/ she is not running the whole show like self publishing.

Now, with self publishing, there is a stigma attached. The common attitude is that the work is poorly edited and (generally) crap. This is not always the case, but that is the stereotype. A core disadvantage self publishing faces is  the lack of gatekeepers, those who keep detritus out of the marketplace. But by the same token, if there are a lot of self published titles out there, then all but the best (or most popular, which isn’t necessarily the same thing) will sink to the bottom.

Often times, self publishing could be seen as a money sinker with little chance of making a decent enough profit to make a living on. With the rise of e-publishing, those concerns are, perhaps, a thing of the past. Depending on the cost of producing the e-book or the website, the costs of publishing online may not be to prohibitive.

That still does not factor in the need for readers who will actually contribute or pay for reading the story. Of course, is getting paid necessarily the main goal of writing? Or is it the pleasure of knowing that someone out there is enjoying something you wrote?

Going a more traditional route is equally fraught with problems. Finding an agent, hashing out a contract, and the need to sell a certain number of copies to make financial sense are all things to think about when it comes to either large, small, or indie publishers. Often times, at least two gatekeepers have to be passed before a publisher will pick up a manuscript for possible publication. Then comes the editing process that can still derail the project. And does the work, once published and out on store shelves, sell well enough for the continuance of the contract?

Personally, I’m still leery of self publishing. The costs of print on demand or paying for physical publication then peddling the books to bookstores are prohibitively expensive (in my case). So that is out. I’m more open to online publishing and e-books (though I don’t have an e-reader myself). I just need to do more research on publishing online and electronically, before I feel secure to make a decision.

I do love the feel of physical books and comic books. And that bias plays a role in my leaning towards a more traditional route. Now, there is a difference between solely prose publishing and comic book publishing. Solely prose publication prefers an agent. Having an agent, getting past that initial gatekeeper, has become so helpful as to practically become a requirement.  Comic book publishers still accept direct submissions of proposals. Each company does have their own unique submissions policies. And some companies, like DC, recruits from the convention circuit (but having an online presence helps).

Whether one chooses to publish with a large (or small) corporate publisher, a small indie publisher, or doing it yourself, the choice of publication route is the writer’s alone. Do what you, as the writer, think is best for you and your work. Every possible route is replete with stories of success and nightmare. Be aware of your options and think hard about what you want to accomplish.



Posted on April 8, 2012, in Books, Manga and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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