Indie vs. Trad?
Independent or Traditional Publishing. Which route do we take? The answer is fairly simple: E-publish first, Traditional publish second, Make millions of dollars third.
So you’ve written the Great American Novel. You’ve edited the work to death and are confident it is a masterpiece, worthy of the Pulitzer. The next step in becoming a world renowned author is to upload your work to Amazon’s Kindle network. It’s easy to do and you have instant advertising the first month or two as the novel is displayed on the “recently published” search menus. You should even see some sales fairly quickly, as long as you’ve priced you masterpiece reasonably well.
I recommend 99 cents to start, just to get the ball rolling. After you made a few sales, then you can hike the price. At the risk of being labeled a Kill Joy, I wouldn’t hope for that one customer who’d pay you a million bucks for your little treasure.
“99 CENTS?” You cry out aghast. “But my work is Pulitzer quality!” You defend.
Yes, we’ve all written Pulitzer worthy material. Heck, I’ve written four books myself that I am certain will ALL be nominated for that award. (I’m settling for being nominated in lieu of winning. Don’t want to be too uppity you know…). The name of the game here is to attract large numbers of readers and the only way you’re going to do that is to draw them in with a very low price.
Ok, so you’ve set up your book on Amazon. I recommend also doing the same at Smashwords. This is significantly harder to do, but once you’ve accomplished this, your ebook will now be offered in a variety of formats that any consumer will be able to download and read on nearly any device.
In this day and age, you the author, are required to market yourself aggressively in order to produce sales. When I first learned of this, I was very disappointed. I really didn’t want to do anything to make my millions, but alas, I realized my thinking was “slightly” flawed and discovered that if I was going to get rich quick, I was going to have to work for it… bummer.
I researched the marketing aspect of publishing and discovered two books that stood out from the rest… and I’ll tell you what they are at the end of this presentation. Just kidding… Don’t you just hate it when a sleazy salesman man-handles you like that? I just want to choke him with his own cheap polyester necktie.
Anyway, here are the two ebooks:
How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks – All for FREE: http://www.amazon.com/Make-Market-Sell-Ebooks-Ebooksuccess4free/dp/1451537077
We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media: http://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Not-Alone-ebook/dp/B003VD1EQC
Phewww…. That was a lot of work. Now that you’ve done all of that, uploading, downloading, reading and don’t forget praying, you now can focus on the slow moving turtle that is the process of traditional publishing. UGH, just the thought of it sickens me. I’m not traditionally published, not yet anyway, but I do have an agent “peddling” one of my books (Tear in Time), so I do have some familiarity with the whole laborious process.
The first thing I recommend is to buy “2011 Guide To Literary Agents” . (http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Literary-Agents-Chuck-Sambuchino/dp/1582979537 ). It’s a bargain at $18.66. I spent weeks trying to research any and all agents on this planet. This book does in a few hours what the internet took me weeks to do (and the results of the internet were abysmal). This book is loaded with agents of all flavors. For me, I found a hundred agents that represented my kind of work. I would have paid double to save myself that much wasted time.
So… you have this great book. Your next step is to comb through it and pick out all agents (like I did) that could possibly represent you. Using an Excel spread sheet, transfer the contact info of each agent onto it. I know this really stinks, but I know of no other way to record the data. As I said, I did this with one hundred agents. It took me a day to do it (8 hours/approx).
I then compiled a query letter. The internet has butt-loads of examples of query letters to choose from. It will push you to the edge of madness trying to figure out which to follow. In the end, I picked the most profession example I could find and modified it to my liking. Here is a copy of it:
Month, day, year
Manuscript Submission Request
Christopher David Petersen
State, zip code
(xxx) xxx-xxxx (cell)
I am requesting permission to submit my manuscript for your evaluation. The working title is “Tear in Time”. The word count is just over 91,000 words. The classification of this book crosses several genres, namely: Suspense, Action/Adventure, War and Historical.
After an emotionally trying surgery, Dr. David Warner descends in a hospital elevator, triggering a time portal that leads to the Civil War, circa 1862. Stepping through the elevator doors, the time portal disappears behind him and now Dr. Warner must overcome the hardships of a primitive war, as well as discovering the secret to his return . He is befriended by Dr. Jebediah Morgan, an old Civil War doctor, and together the two embark on a journey that takes them through the greatest battles of the war, eventually returning to the time portal and ultimately, home.
As Dr. Jebediah Morgan fights to save the wounded at the battle of Chattanooga, June 1862, Dr. David Warner struggles to save a young girl’s life in present day. A victim of a drive by shooting, her wounds are too great even for Dr. Warner, resulting in her tragic death. Devastated from the loss of such a young patient, Dr. Warner stumbles out of the operating room and into the waiting elevator. Moments later, as the elevator stops at the bottom floor, the doors open to another time. Beckoned by Dr. Morgan for assistance, Dr. Warner steps through the rear of the elevator and into the Civil War. In an instant, the elevator disappears and Dr. David Warner is trapped in time. As the reality of his situation becomes more clear, David realizes the one man who can help him return is Dr. Morgan. Tough, intelligent and resourceful, Dr. Morgan helps David acclimate to the rigors of life as a Civil War surgeon. Their travels together take them from one infamous battle to the next, enduring the harshest of conditions, surviving combat, all the while discussing topics that range from modern medicine and modern living, to future history and the speculation of some of life’s most profound questions. As the two trade rolls as student and mentor, they develop a deep bond that carries them far beyond their own respective times.
(I’ve removed the ending to the novel for obvious reasons. In my real queries, the ending would be included).
Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.
Christopher David Petersen
State, zip code
(xxx) xxx-xxxx (cell)
After composing the plot and brief synopsis, I filled out the body of the query letter. Using my data from the Excel spreadsheet, I simply emailed the letter off to each agent ( a few at a time), making sure I recorded who and when I sent it off to. This is important so I’ll say it again. Make sure you record who you sent the letter to. Agents don’t like to get the same info twice and will reject you for your unprofessionalism.
After that, just sit back and watch all those lovely rejection letters flow into your inbox… And flow they will, which leads me to my own editorial…
Traditional Publishers are losing to self-publishing. This is not news. We all know this. Because of this fact, they are only taking work that has limited or NO risk. Therefore, they are passing up a lot of great work. A few years ago, there was no prestige in self-publishing (unless you made a million dollars). You weren’t considered a “real” writer unless you were traditionally published… not so anymore. There is a long list of self-published authors that have changed the way the world is viewing the self-publishing side of this business. Basically, if you’re selling books and getting good reviews, you are legitimate.
If you market your name and books well enough, you can actually make more money self-publishing than you can if you have someone else publish for you.
So the next question really is… is it even worth it to even push your novel toward the traditionally published world? Absolutely… having your book published by a large publishing house adds further credibility to your name. Consider it an advertising tool. Every piece of data that elevates your status as a writer will bring in more readers and help create further sales. It’s just that simple.
I hope this helped.