I often hear from people who want to write a book but don’t know how or where to begin. Or from people who have already written a book that’s ready for publication but don’t know how to get it published. I recently began a new blog series, Writing and Publishing Tips From Authors Around the World, to help writers.
The fourth contributor is best-selling U.S. author Susan Wingate and she’s here to talk about the road to publication.
THE ROAD TO PUBLISHING by Susan Wingate
On the road to publishing, authors are met with many choices. Some sound fabulous right away and some ring of a distant benefit but all choices can be difficult to make when considering one’s career.
Some questions might be…
Do you plan for your next three novels or do you stick to the one you are working on and don’t think of any other projects until you finish the one in progress?
Will you promote your book or simply slip into the next project without much concern for the success of your latest completion?
Will you hire an agent or will you go it alone?
These are only some of the many choices authors must make and none have easy answers.
As a hybrid author—that means one who is traditionally- and indie-published—I have made a lot of choices. Some were good choices and some not-so-good. But the not-so-good choices are ones I look back on and think, “Okay, I learned from that and I won’t do it again.”
The good outcomes you simply repeat until the outcomes change. And things change fast in today’s digital publishing landscape. Things change with the winds that course through our science fiction lives.
I remember “way back” when we use to attach playing cards with clothes pins onto our bicycle spokes. That was pretty awesome then. What’s awesome today is getting a watch phone and thinking about my latest electronic notebook, or sitting on my couch in Washington state and playing solitaire or chess online with someone in Turkey.
Today’s world looks and feels completely different. People carry around computers with them, they talk on the phone and read a book as they walk down the street. They can play with toy-store clones that fly over their neighbors’ backyards and, now, they can even plan on purchasing their virtual-world pair of eyewear in these next coming months.
We don’t live in a simple time and the publishing world has changed with it and surprisingly, fairly smoothly. Some can even argue the publishing world has played a large part in changing the world—with the advent of audio books and then shortly afterward, eBooks—devices with which to read our books has created faster and easier reading and has created economic adjustments between the predecessor paperbacks and hard cover books. Where we once sold eBooks for $.99 we can now with a clear conscious sell that same book for $9.99.
Paperbacks have adjusted upward along with hard cover books.
If you consider the past and the advent of paperback books coming onto the scene, the prices were low and affordable and hard back books had to come down to keep up with intended sales.
But that’s not what we’re seeing with eBooks. We see prices adjusting up, not down and with those eBooks rising in price, we see paperbacks and hard copies adjusting up right along with the eBooks.
So, how do we, as writers, make choices about this new world we live in?
Well, one easy answer is to find an agent who will then find you a publisher and who you might, if you’re lucky, hit the brass bell and sell millions of your stories to the masses. However, chances are that you will, even with an agent and publisher, sell fewer than a million copies. Most likely you will sell fewer than 10,000 copies.
So, what do we do?
Well, for selling and promoting, I like to play around with the social aspects of selling and spend time on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social sites available.
As for my writing, well, I just keep on writing. I keep my head down until I finish my next story but I never stop starting new ones as I go. I like to keep my creative juices pouring out of my fingers even when the info coming out doesn’t apply to my current novel.
And when the book gets published I give it a good 3 to 6 months of promotion, all the while working on another story and on and on, remaining on course and building my inventory of novels.
My latest novel, THE DEER EFFECT, is in its sixth month of promotion and even the world of promoting books looks different than 10 years ago. Instead of mailing out direct ads to libraries and bookstores, we send an email newsletter with enticing images with links to buy sites.
I can think of no other industry that has adjusted so smoothly to all of these digital changes than the book industry. But being so involved in this industry, well, maybe I also hold with that comment a sense of pride in how publishing can change the world. And I am proud of the publishing industry. When I think of past novelists like Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Austen, and Ernest Hemingway, how can I not feel a little like boasting? How can I not strive for a place on the plaque?
I write books. ~Susan Wingate
My website is: http://www.susanwingate.com
My book page is: http://www.susanwingate.com/books
You can find me on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/authorsusanwingate
My Twitter page is: http://www.twitter.com/susanwingate
My Amazon page is: http://amzn.to/1KP2s6d
You can find me on B&N at: http://bit.ly/1EW9SAS