Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG: Publication Path

Here we are already into September. Another month gone, and I haven't posted on my blog, or commented on other blogs. This is getting to be a bad habit. I'm forcing myself to sit and finish this Insecure Writers Support Group post . . .

September's IWSG optional question: What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I have always been on the Traditional Publishing path - get agent/editor; Agent pretties up the novel and finds publisher; publisher/agent handles media and advertising; big bucks roll in while I write the next book.

Anybody else start with that fantasy? How has that worked out?

I'm insecure about my writing abilities, so having someone else (ie Agent/publisher) say its good has always been necessary for my ego. After several years of Agent queries and not a single acceptance (I don't count the vanity press that cost me lots of dollars but taught me valuable publication lessons), I put the novel writing on the back burner and have been writing short stories which I submit to Publishers myself. None of these publications have been paid (though rejections have been sparse) and I am again questioning my "publication path."

Recently - like, over the last two to three years - I've been considering Inde Publishing. I'm not as confident in my writing skills as I pretend, so self pubbing is a scary prospect. And it comes with a lot of out of pocket expenses (huh, like the vanity press) for things like book cover art, professional editing, and publication fees; acres of promo work; and the ever present prospect of no revenue. Would anyone actually read it once its available on Amazon or other publishing sites?

I know, we authors write for ourselves, the sheer joy of creating a story. Well, that's starting to sound like a lot of bunk to me. I want people to read and enjoy my stories; and I want to get paid for it.

Really got to put the butt in chair and get the writing done before worrying over the publishing path though. As I stare up at my posted 2018 writing goals, I realize I haven't accomplished anything on the list. And, its already September.

As Vonnegut says in Slaughterhouse Five - "so it goes."

If you are ready to publish your polished story, and not totally ready for self publishing, visit Dancing Lemur Press, which also publishes the annual Insecure Writers Support Group Anthology . This year's genre is Young Adult Romance, with the theme Masquerade. Visit the Insecure Writers Support Group Home home page for news, updates and submission guidelines.

Please remember to visit and thank the IWSG founder Alex J Cavanaugh and this month's co-hosts: Toi Thomas, T Powell Coltrin, MJ Field, and Tara Tyler.




36 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've been in a lot of non-paying anthologies. That's why I'm glad the IWSG anthologies do pay.
had I headed straight for agents rather than publishers, I'd probably be just as disappointed now...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Self-publishing is cheaper than vanity publishing but it comes with a steep learning curve. You want to do it right.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Keep writing! I am a short story lover. I write them and I read them.

Teresa

Stacy McKitrick said...

At least you WROTE goals for this year. I didn't even do that much. I really need to get my act together. Maybe I need a Sep-Sep year goal. You could do that, too. Less stress when the new calendar year pops up. You already have your goals (that you ARE working on). Why don't we do that? It'll be a nice fresh start and then you don't have to feel so guilty. :)

Arlee Bird said...

Gosh, what is this with so many of us stuck in some kind of non-writing rut? At least as far as blogging goes. I've been very lax about posting and not commenting as much as I used to. I guess it's just one of those blah periods.

I too share that trad publishing fantasy that you describe. So far no publishers have been ringing my phone or pounding on my door. I guess I need to submit something to them first. That's always been my first biggest obstacle.

Going the self-funded publishing route is tough especially with limited funds. I think it can work if the product is right and one is willing to load cases of books in their car trunks and get out to peddle them. That can be tough.

It's hard to beat the deeper pockets that the big publishers have for marketing and distribution. And it's nice to have someone else with more experience and contacts doing that work.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'd love to have a badge of traditional approval, but the truth is, I'd write stories for a single reader if they asked for a story. Money is important, but I've never made decisions based on money and by trade, I'm a social worker, so my pay expectation bar is set really low. But yeah, some money would be nice.

dolorah said...

Alex: I like the idea of small publishers. I'm a risk taker that way :)

Diane: I've been learning by reading other author experiences.

TPowell: Awesome; short stories are fun to read and write.

Stacy: ooh, September to September, that sounds like a great idea. I agree, less stressful.

Lee: I think most "successful writers" have no time for blogging, lol.

Liz: pay is always fine. And I do love to write, when I have the time. I'm a social worker too, so yes, near poverty suits me, lol.

Cherie Reich said...

It is nice--and best--if we can be paid for our stories, but experience counts too. In whatever path we take, there is a lot of work to do.

Lynda R Young said...

It looks like we've taken similar paths. And feel the same about our writing. And then there is that time thing that can be so frustrating, lol. It's worth pushing through it all though. Stories come alive when they are shared.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm on that same path, though I recently realized that having an agent now may not even make a difference as it once did. I looked at several agent's "recently sold" lists and saw that they sold several books to small presses, where you can submit to without an agent. That really sank my dreams.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, I'm like you. Not confident enough in my writing abilities and ability to take on all the jobs to self-publish. Good luck with the short stories.

Pat Hatt said...

I self publish because there are far less hoops. If I did it for money, I'd have quit a looooooooong time ago haha better off shaking a can at a walmart parking lot.

Olga Godim said...

I fully sympathize with your experience. By now I'm totally disillusioned with the trad publishing mode. But self-pub has its own share of complications. See what works best for you.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's so difficult to get an agent, I stopped trying years ago. I'll probably try again with my next fantasy novel and start those rounds of rejection. I know you'll stay at it.

Juneta Key said...

I waffle on what I think I will do. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Happy IWSG Day.

Botanist said...

One thing with proper self-pub is that you should never have to pay for the actual publishing. Other costs can also be managed down depending on how you go about it and how much you are prepared to take on for yourself. As far as writing confidence goes, you might try joining a good critique group. A decent group will give you loads of help to improve, and the self-confidence that goes with it.

Gwen Gardner said...

Huh. I had that same fantasy. Lol. Just keep at it, Donna. The more you write, the better you’ll get and then one day you will come across the right fit.

dolorah said...

Cherie: all true

Lynda: Nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Chrys: yep, I've been seeing that myself. A lot of Agents are closing shop and becoming small publishers.

Natalie: good luck to you also.

Pat: lol, I hear you on that

Olga: I've been watching your experience closely as I consider you an excellent author.

Susan: it seems lately Agents only pick up authors who have achieved certain self publication sales heights. They only bet on a sure thing anymore.

Juneta: thanks

Ian: I've done crit groups, and don't like the "group writing" feel. I do like to exchange crits as I finish a project though. Thanks for the publishing tips. I really need those.

Gwen: good advice :)

Tamara Narayan said...

When I wrote my last novel, I took about a year off from blogging and I don't regret that at all. I'm toying with the idea again, but doing one blog a month for the IWSG isn't too much. I have stepped back from saying yes to other blogging activities such as blog hops, promotions, contests, and co-hosting. They may be fun and generate good-will, but I need a lot of free time to write something I'm happy with. The less distractions and time-drains, the better.

Carol Kilgore said...

The best thing is that we have options and it's becoming the norm to be a hybrid writer. Do what feels right at the time, and if that's writing and submitting short stories, that's the thing to do. Keep writing!

Lisa said...

At least you're getting your name out there, even if it isn't paid. That is good. I agree, this is not a business for pansies. This is hard, hard work, and having to do it all alone makes it even tougher. Hang in there. As long as it's feeding your soul, keep going. If it doesn't feed your soul anymore, let it go. You are not alone...!

David P. King said...

Yep, started out with that fantasy, but am grateful for the bridges I've built along the way. Keep following your passion, for it helps with the torrents of work that come with the territory. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Even if you go indie, you won't want to skimp on those things that polish a book--professional cover, professional edit, etc. That should give you more confidence in your writing, especially if you hire a good editor who is brutally honest.

Loni Townsend said...

I say, if traditional publishing is your goal, don't give up! Keep on querying and submitting!

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI Donna,

Looks like we are in the same place. We've also been at it for around the same amount of time. Stubborn mules we are. LOL... Your stories are WORTH reading and should be enjoyed. And yes, Payment is a must. We take so much time and energy to craft a wonderful story. Why shouldn't we get paid for it?

Hang in there, sweetie.... I'm with you along this LONG journey to publication.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - you're on the right path ... you're writing. Getting into unpaid anthologies ... at least your story is out there ... keep submitting around - while taking intelligent ideas from our blogging friends and go with whatever route you feel comfortable with ... but learn as you go - take care - cheers Hilary

Toi Thomas said...

Happy Be-lated IWSG Day!
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.
Thank you for sharing your story. It's a lot to consider, so I get your insecurity. It seems, though, that you are on the right path. You are writing. You can also capitalize on those unpaid anthology features by promoting them. You may have a growing fan base and not even know it. I don't have a lot of fans, but the ones I do have are loyal (all 20 or so of them). ;)

Christine Rains said...

I've been in a lot of anthologies. Some paid, others didn't. All of them good learning experiences. Keep on pushing forward.

Yolanda Renée said...

It's been a year of hit and miss for me too, but that's the way the ball bounces and I'm over stressing about it.

You'll knew when, how, and why you get where you want to be when you arrive. Moving forward even slowly isn't wrong. Trying it all and learning the process is what it's all about, but yes, writing isn't a non-cost proposition. Unless you want to post your stories for free on a blog, it's gonna cost dollars to make it exactly what you want. And believe me even when you think it's there, you'll change your mind. :) You are one talented writer! Believe it!!!!

dolorah said...

Tamara: I've taken blogging breaks; they help.

Carol: hybrids are a thing now :)

Lisa: getting my name out there is why I started submitting short stories.

David: I think those connections are very important.

Donna: I know a few good people for those services :)

Loni: thanks!!

Michael: lol, yep, I'm stubborn and just keep kickin' this thing around. Glad to have you along.

HIlary: I've learned a LOT from my blogging friends, and I suppose I will continue on - I quit every frew months . .

Toi: a fan base is quite a cheerful thought :)

Christine: yep, good learning experiences.

Yolanda: thanks for the encouragement.

Nick Wilford said...

I know what you mean about wanting to share those stories after so much work has gone into it. It's great news that you've had acceptances for stories, paid or not - we need that affirmation to keep pushing on. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Kalpanaa M said...

It’s nice to be published in anthologies, even if they’re unpair and it’s even nicer to get paid. It has been a slack period for writing for me as well. Let’s hope we get going now. Happy IWSG day!

Kalpanaa M said...

Not unpair but unpaid. Typo

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Dancing Lemur is an interesting name. I wonder where they came up with the name for it.

Nas said...

Keep reading and learning the writing craft. And keep writing. Going indie is really great. You have all the control of your book. You just need the right person on your side. Please do not go to a vanity press.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I hear ya. Every method of publishing comes with its own pitfalls.

If you do take the indie plunge, do yourself a favour and learn everything you can about book marketing first--Joanna Penn at The Creative Penn is a good place to start--without signing up for those ridiculously expensive courses.

I was a marketer for ten years, so thought I had it covered, but I didn't. Not even close. There is so much to learn, and to do. Also, a pro editor and cover designer are musts. Let me know if you want referrals--mine are awesome, and reasonably priced.