Not too long ago, I was at a conference and went to a workshop on publishing. The speaker was a traditionally published author who's decided that we authors don't need publishers. He went on to talk about how great it is to be an author right now because you can self-publish. Part way through his presentation, he told us about the publishing company he's started and some of the authors he's publishing. What?
It's wild and wicked out there in the trying-to-get-published world. On my first Muse Monday, I thought some might find the topic interesting. Or at least my take on the publishing process.
At times, I wish I'd started writing many, many years ago - before ebooks and small publishing houses existed. There was a time authors could approach the big New York publishers with less effort than now. But then there were fewer publishers and only one avenue. But then there were fewer authors. But then your books, if published, would always end up in bookstores. But then the Internet now makes it possible for virtually unknown authors to be found. But then...and so my inner debate goes on.
I've published three books, various lengths, and a stand alone story as well as two stories in an anthology with two smaller houses. The Wild Rose Press is out of New York (like the big guys) but is at heart an e-publisher who also sells hardcover books. They're a large romance e-book house. Melange Books is in Minnesota and is also an e-publisher who will also sell hardcover books. This size of publisher is approachable by authors directly. Meaning, I can submit a manuscript to them, on my own, without an agent's introduction. There are pluses to working with this size of house, and I am going strictly on what I'm told as I can't compare from my own experience. Smaller houses are easier to communicate with, you have more hands on with your book decisions and overall it's a more personal experience.
I've been very happy with my publishers, but because of their size, certain results of being published are not readily available for my books. For one, readers cannot walk into a bookstore and buy my book because they are lured by the way it looks on the shelf or by the "feel" of it. The store can order my book in for you, but if you don't know me...well, the obvious. Many authors don't feel this is a problem. With the Internet, readers can go shopping and may just find their book on a virtual shelf. I do have my books in a few stores, but that happened by me going into the store and asking if they would carry a few copies.
An agent can gain entrance into the big publishing houses or at least get an author's foot in the door. I signed with an agent last year. Personally, I'd like to try traditional publishing and see my book on a shelf in a bookstore that I didn't have to go into and sell myself to. The process had just started when it was stalled by Hurricane Sandy then the holidays. Now, I wait.
At least there are options. I'm not giving up on small publishers. Just like I haven't given up on brick and mortar book stores. I love ebooks. But I love holding a traditional book too.