Publish? Forget it?

I am teetering on the brink of biting the bullet and putting my novel up on Smashwords and Amazon. But true to form, instead of doing the hard yakka involved in pushing myself over the brink – reading the volumes of advice and information available on the net, or even downloading and printing the volumes of advice and information, so that I can kick back in my recliner and read them in comfort – instead of doing any of that, I’m raving on here instead.

First up, it’s probably a sign of my ambivalence. If agents don’t want it (which they don’t), shouldn’t I just assume it’s not worth reading, and consign it to the bottom drawer? Is this just a case of vanity and self-indulgence trumping commonsense? I wrote it on the strict understanding (with myself) that was NFP. So what am I thinking?

Secondly, it’s quite possible (likely?) that the whole process is beyond my technical ignorance, and it will end up looking like a dog’s breakfast. What’s more the cover will cost me money I don’t have, (if indeed I can find a designer who’ll do what I have in mind), and the business of extricating myself from the American tax system is potentially a can of worms.

But worst of all, if I put it out there, I’ll have to sashay on out after it, the very thought of which is so hideous it sends me scuttling for the mole hole whimpering with fear. But there’s not much point in doing one without the other: at the very least, I’d need to recoup the cost of the cover. I do have a Facebook page (on which I haven’t posted for months), but tweeting is a mystery I have minus desire to fathom, and telling everyone how brilliant the book is would be a downright lie, thus violating the first golden rule of my upbringing. It isn’t brilliant. It’s fluff. Reasonably well written fluff, I hope, and reasonably entertaining on a wet Sunday, but spectacularly lacking in the profundity and spiritual insight needed for the Great Australian Novel. (Which I didn’t set out to write and never will, but that’s beside the point.)

So having now pretty much managed to convince myself that the whole idea is stupid, I shall go and read someone else’s book (far better for my blood pressure) and think again tomorrow. Maybe.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Publish? Forget it?

  1. bkpyett says:

    Helen, I do hope you are able to hurdle the difficulties and get your novel published.I would love to read it, as I do admire the way you express yourself.Shall be very interested to hear how you go.

  2. I say, if you can navigate the technical hurdles, publish it. Promote it until you recoup your expenses and then call it a day. You needn’t get all gushy and mushy and tell “fibs”. Let us buy it and read it and we’ll promote it for you!

  3. ChristineR says:

    Helen, I’m sure your work is wonderful. The thing is, only a very small percentage of novels can be picked up by agents or publishers – huge numbers of decent writers miss out. Economically, it makes sense to self publish. The publishers are not handing out much in the way of advances these days, unless you are a big name already.

    It doesn’t sound like you submitted directly to publishers, Helen. Four or five of them take unsolicited submissions by email only, directly from writers – or they were when I last looked earlier in the year. Only at specific times of the month or week. For instance, (just checked websites) Pan McMillan Australia, Manuscript Monday, first Monday of the month, first 100 pages and synopsis,inviting pretty much everything except picture book submissions. In fact, this is the only way that publisher will look at any manuscript. Read within 3 months, if you don’t hear anything after that time they don’t want it. Allen and Unwin also only accept submissions via their Friday Pitch.- ANY Friday, first chapter, outline, short synopsis, and if you don’t hear within a fortnight, that’s it. None of them give feedback or enter into any correspondence unless they are interested. There are others, too.

  4. Thanks so much for that, Christine. It’s an idea – but I think I might have lost faith in traditional publishing now that their promotion is so minimal you still have to do most of it yourself, and it’s the self-promotion bit that really sticks in my craw. Maybe I just have to shut my eyes and jump.

    • ChristineR says:

      You only have to self-promote as much as you are comfortable with, Helen. Just let the reviewers do the job for you. A simple information page and an image widget in your blog is a minimum. I get turned off by pushy blogs. (M-R is an exceptional because I understand her need to promote Chic.) 😀

  5. Helen, Christine is right. Harry Potter was turned down by 37 publishing houses before being picked up. The author is now, I read, worth more than the Queen. I hate the “learning curve” of the tech stuff. There are many companies that will do it for you for a fee – BookBaby and Convertabook are the ones I’m most familiar with. Amazon will let you use CreateSpace for free and make it available in digital and print. I have a book and an article on Amazon now: LIM-R-IDDLES REVISITED and Kindle single article: THE FUTURE CHURCH – A SATIRE.
    Also 2 books ready to go live – one HOW TO SELL ART TO INTERIOR DESIGNERS, co-authored with Barney Davey who has all the expertise to publish and promote. Type in his name on Amazon and you’ll see what I mean. He’s built a “platform,” following and income stream that will let him retire and just write in September.
    My HOW I MANAGED NOT TO BECOME FAMOUS will go live as soon as the editor I hired finishes details – when you couldn’t take it on – and will probably be published with CreateSpace. I have one more finished ready to go to my Toronto Canada editor, Martha Jette: SALES TIPS FOR ARTISTS and am 17,000 words into the first of a series of short – clean – mysteries. All this between caregiving for my wife with AZ.
    At 70 you’re still a youngster and at least twice as smart and talented as I am. Get your book out and published. I want to buy the first copy.
    Dick Harrison – Any of your readers who type in my name on Amazon/books – please do and invest the $299 or .99 and leave a review. I’ll reimburse you. Reviews are one component in how Amazon ranks books in the categories the author chooses and are very important.

  6. MANY of us are self-published, including me. Considering what often IS published, it certainly is no judgment on you. I went through Amazon and have never been sorry. You’d have to do your own PR, but honestly, you’d probably have to do your own anyway, even with a publisher. They don’t give you much. If you want a book tour, you’ll pay for it anyway and I can connect you with people who arrange and manage virtual tours — all the rage these days. I often participate in them and apparently, they work. A few best-sellers have resulted. So no need for despair.

    The thing about Amazon is they really pay you whatever royalties you earn. Promptly, immediately, directly. I’ve never had a moment’s hassle with them. And that is not something you can say about every group.

    • Thank you for this, Marilyn, I really appreciate the encouragement. My hesitation is more about a lack of faith in myself, not self-publishing, which is obviously the way of the future. There’s so much I don’t know – including whether the book’s worth reading, although i’ve done the right thing by it and had it professionally assessed and edited. So now i’m embarking on the steep learning curve and hoping I don’t fall off the mountain.
      What is a virual book tour? sounds terrifying!

  7. In my above post, the cost for LIM-R-IDDLES REVISITED IS $2.99 NOT $299.00! Now you know know why I need an editor.

  8. Helen, you had something you wanted to say, that’s why you spent years writing whatever you wrote. Now your challenge is to let the rest of us read it. I self-published Dream Wheeler last year, after numerous publishers turned it down, and I’m so glad I did. It was the story I wanted to tell. If someone reads it and enjoys it, marvellous. If not, it doesn’t matter. The book is out there now. Last week I gave a talk about Love in the Outback and someone asked if I had published anything else. Yes, I said, and I told them about Dream Wheeler. I sold eight copies that day. So don’t let fear hold you back, all that will guarantee is that no one will ever read your book. Spread your wings and fly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s