Friday, July 15, 2011
Conversations with Straw Man 3 - How to publish?
(continued from "Conversations with Straw Man 2 - How to be a good writer?")
In which our hero talks about something he has read a lot about and done very little of.
Disclaimer: I am far far from being qualified to explain the intricacies of the publishing industry, but since I know I will be asked this over and over because I already have been asked this over and over. Here is my attempt at an answer.
SM: Now how do you publish.
ME: Traditionally speaking there are two steps to publishing.
1 - Write good material.
2 - Send it to a million publishers until someone agrees that it is good and publishes it.
ME: There is very little to say about the first step. Everyone tries to make good material, even when they say they are trying to make bad material out of irony, mockery, or practice they still try to make it as good a bad material as they can so I can't give any short advice past, keep practicing.
ME: The second is a more complex issue because between what a writer thinks is good, and what a publisher thinks is good you will find three totally different opinions, sometimes four or five different opinions. The real trick here though is too try, over and over and over again. Every great work was rejected numerous times before being accepted.
ME: I will also mention that a lot of poetry and short story contests are funded on submission fees and not on magazine sales so watch out. I have a low opinion of anyone that charges their content providers instead of users, especially when most of those who pay don’t even get published, they are worse than vanity presses.
SM: And what do you think of self publishing?
ME: Self Publishing is the next big thing. With all the possibilities being made available online** or through mobile applications self publishing is where the world is going to go, cutting out the overhead of middle men (which is a very significant overhead these days) is just too appealing. Also being able to go directly to market to judge how viable a story is instead of the educated (but mostly wrong) guess of a publisher is also appealing for everyone who doesn’t write formulaic material. self publishing is where I am looking for the next few pieces of work I plan to put out.
ME: However I want to point out that self publishing is not entirely a solved problem yet. A publisher does provide a lot of services for their fee which can mostly be summed up as "marketing". A good publisher can get your work known while your blog dwindles to obscurity.
SM: Like this blog?
**As of this writing Amazon has a lot of options for a would be author but they charge some hefty fees. You can put your material out for free in a blog, website, piratebay; and there are numerous other sites and companies in between that enable publishing for a small fee, and the mobile application market is growing book readers, and to a lesser extent narrative games the way a poorly lit damp room grows fungi.