It's Written, Now What?

Along with media kits, web traffic, contests, and blog posts, there is much to learn about book publishing. 

by Terri Friedlander • More.com Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

 

So you have spent years of effort, agonized over every word and finally created a literary masterpiece — something you believe that every living being will enjoy reading and that will make you as famous as Ernest Hemingway. You are certain that your pages of deliberately arranged sentences will not only make the world a better place, but continue to entertain readers of all ages for years to come. Best of all is the feeling of immense pride that you can say the writer’s magic word — DONE! Does this sound familiar? Two years ago, my New Year’s resolution was to finish the book that I had revised, edited, and dreamed about. From opening “grabber” to final sentence, I could now say that it was the best it could be and my novel was finished. Now What?

The next step was to learn and master the unique language needed for an award-winning query letter, synopsis, and book proposal. Today, there are volumes of resources and examples on the internet for every type of genre and only a search button away. After seeking advice and finalizing these critical documents, it was time to head to my local library to explore The Writer’s Digest. In this resource, I discovered names of agents and publishers, addresses and summaries about how to submit the now polished query letter. Having already joined a writer’s group, I heard much debate about whether an agent was even needed in this evolving world of publishing (Kindles and Nooks). I went from learning how to be a writer to how to be my own sales person. And I thought that great writing was the hard part. Ha! Selling myself and my novel to a potential agent felt like rock climbing. I often thought it would never happen, and I’d never reach the top. The subsequent stream of rejection letters, e-mail messages, and postcards were varied, some brief, some encouraging, but all disappointing and another slippery fall backward.

I knew about the world of vanity publishing where anyone could publish anything if they were willing to pay to see their book in print. Having heard, in general, that the self-publishing route carried a negative stigma, I hoped to avoid this avenue, but admit that it was very tempting. (I would not judge any author who took this path because there are exceptions and success stories.) Also, as technology evolves, new e-publishing routes are advertised and available, again for a substantial fee.

Maybe I was never destined to be a published author or reach the top of Mount Everest. There were times that I occupied myself with other hobbies and stopped trying so hard. But even when I wasn’t climbing, I never stopped reading. I would search for each author’s website and then read about how they had overcome roadblocks to become successful and feel rejuvenated to try again.

Following another 20 queries to smaller publishers, Black Rose Writing replied that they wanted to see three chapters and, a few weeks later, sent me a two-year contract! I learned that with publishing-on-demand, the publisher takes care of copyrighting, registering the book, and obtaining the ISBN number. They also handle putting the book on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and even make it available on the Kindle. The author does not pay up front, but is required to purchase about 75 copies of the book in advance. All POD’s may differ, but I found that mine had a small staff and did minimal edits so I had to find and pay for my own editor. I wanted an editor who would do more than just add commas, and I hit the jackpot again when I found A-1 Editing Services after several sample edits from multiple places. While waiting for the manuscript edits, the publisher and I began to design the front and back covers to my book — no simple task. How much of the synopsis did I want on the back cover?  Then my vision of the art for the front cover did not match their suggestions. With no time to hire an artist and still meet the contracted deadline, I settled for what they created with some modifications. 

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