Well, it’s the New Year and as usual everyone and their brother is rushing out the commentaries about what they’re going to do, what they’re NOT going to do and what the old year was all about.
While 2007 was a rather interesting year for me it hopefully won’t be anything like 2008. So, without further blathering, here’s tips on what I learnt in 2007.
Publishing a book is NOT for the naive and goodhearted. If you’re looking at publishing a novel go forth and pick up a copy of Jenna Glatzer’s “The Street Smart Author” before you even LOOK at a contract. You can grab a copy off of Amazon and if I had that book a few years ago I wouldn’t be as heartbroken as I am now.
First thing you need to know – a publisher who does NOT have a distributor means that you, the author, are screwed as far as getting your book onto shelves in your local bookstore. And no, that doesn’t mean having it listed with Ingram’s and Baker & Taylor, as many small presses will brag about. Those are just warehouses that can be ordered FROM – you need a publisher who will be hooked up with a distributor who will actually sell your book to bookstores. If you don’t have a distributor then your chances of getting the book onto the shelves is less than zero. Trust me on this. This also means that it’s likely your publisher is also looking towards the authors to purchase the majority of books to keep them afloat so that YOU, the author, can then resell the books at conventions, booksignings on consignment and out of the trunk of your car. A bit of a problem, of course, if you’re not independently wealthy or wish to run the old credit card up and beyond your limit. But, of course, no one is forcing you to buy your own book so… the publisher doesn’t fall under the auspices of being called a “vanity press” but you can read between the lines. If the book’s not being pushed into bookstores… who’s the audience it’s being pitched at?
Second, remember Yog’s Law – money flows TO the author. ‘Nuff said right there. You might not get rich being published but you sure as heck don’t want to go into debt.
Anyway, I highly recommend Jenna’s book. If you’re REALLY cheap and don’t want to fork out the bucks, head on over to my new favorite site – http://www.wowio.com . free books for the taking!
Now, don’t freak – we’re not talking bootleg or anything like that – the books are sponsored by various companies and you’ll have to bear with the advertising on the first page – but you can get Jenna’s book there and literally hundreds of other books for free. Yes, for free. I’ve downloaded a ton of useful nonfiction books, some fiction and some classics. Comic book peeps will love a chance to get some of the more… unusual stuff out there. And, again, it’s all legal.
2008, hopefully, will be a better year for the Wookie and I. 2007 saw his mother pass away, the loss of my fuzzaloid Jazz (who lived with me for 17 great years) and a lot of mental stress from the two events above and the release of my first novel. I’ve decided to return partially to my first love of short stories, fanfiction and nonfiction spurts on Associated Content (yes, that site. I’m over at http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/188/sheryl_nantus.html if you’re interested. Or not. Appreciate the visits!). I’ve got two novels that I’ve just finished and started the never-ending cycle of editing/pitching and we’ll see where that goes. I’m also considering self-pubbing a short story collection of my already-sold stories; putting them into print form for those who may have missed the online release. We’ll see. I’m also getting active in a local Go club and starting up a local Pennwriters monthly meeting in Uniontown; a sort of support group for writers. At least I can warn them away from making the same mistakes I’ve made.
Right now we’re dealing with car repairs (the Wookie had to swerve into a cement barrier and scraped the passenger side of the car along with tagging the side-view mirror), our new Wii not working yet (waiting on a new sensor bar) and hopefully getting our large behinds into more exercise and just plain old tired of 2007.
So… onwards and upwards! Huzzah!
(Either that or I’ll be hitting the booze pretty heavily… *chuckles*)