I recently finished my first novel, after writing it on and off for over 15 years. Sigh. Now comes the not-so-fun part–trying to get the thing published. Double sigh. Already I am running into difficulties, and I haven’t even sent the manuscript to anyone yet. This is an on-going post on my progress.
There are four main ways to go about getting a book published nowadays. First, the traditional method. Send your manuscript to multiple publishing companies, and hope one doesn’t reject you. Second, use an agent. The agent, once you get one to accept you and your paper baby, does the leg work of finding you a publisher. Third, use print-on-demand or vanity publishing. A fourth, newer option, is to turn your story into an e-book and sell it online.
I tried the traditional method first. And promptly found out what every other aspiring author will also discover–there are a lot more writers other there than there are available publishing houses. I bought the 2005 Writer’s Market, sat down with my highlighter, and found those houses who:
1. accepted new authors
2. accepted unagented writers
3. accepted historical romances.
I found seven that sounded promising.
Of those seven, two weren’t taking new manuscripts, one had changed their guidelines and longer took romances, and one said look online for guidelines, but there were no guidelines online (I suppose that’s one way to cut down on the number of manuscripts sent in.)
One publisher didn’t allow any profanity whatsoever. Which was a bit of a problem, considering half the characters in my story are soldiers in the middle of a war. Soldiers tend to cuss a bit. Most people would probably swear from time to time when being shot at. For the sake of realism, I included the mildest of profanity (I don’t hold with it myself). On the other hand, after reading some of their published excerpts, I’m not sure I’d want them to publish my book. Talk about cheesy writing! I may be a new writer, but I’m not a new reader, and I know bad writing when I read it.
That left two publishers. But both these houses insisted on me being an aggressive marketer, down to submitting my market plan and describing what experience I had in advertising. Now, I’m very shy in person (I don’t like to even phone people I don’t know), and I have an extremely difficult time “selling myself.” That’s the main reason I wanted a publisher. If I was an outgoing self-promoter, ready to approach bookstores, newspapers, TV shows, etc. (these were actual requirements), I’d do vanity publishing, sell the books myself, and cut out the middle man.
So, the traditional publishing route looks to be a washout already. Unless I try to get an agent, which will probably be my next step…as soon as I get up the guts to contact one.
Next post…Print-On-Demand/Vanity publishing.