March 12, 2015

Internet Shopping at its Best

I'm not looking for shoes or a new purse or the latest gadget, but I am shopping online. The Internet is the best place for some pre-purchase research and I am doing my homework. No buyer's remorse for this gal!

I am shopping for a publisher for my new full-length paranormal romance novel. In many ways, shopping for a publisher is very similar to shopping for any other product. You base your decison on your identified need, value, quality, price, reputation, recommendations, and reviews.

I am a picky shopper and I have the luxury of being selective. Writing is my passion, but it's a hobby for me, not a career. There are many ways to approach this decision. I imagine it unfolding in front of me like a decison tree with little boxes full of questions. Each answer determining the next step. This a highly personal and individualized process. My choices are my opinion only.

Assuming your book is publication ready, you are ready to begin.

Traditional Publishing versus Self-publishing:

The first decision is whether you submit to traditional publishers or self-publish. Both come with pros and cons. A traditional publisher, especially for a new author, brings experience to the table. A book requires professional editing, cover art, and a marketing and promotion plan. A publisher will guide and lead an author through the process since they are monetarily invested in the outcome. With self-publishing you make all the choices yourself - selection of editors, cover art, selling outlets, and price setting - but you also take on all the financial risk. Professional services cost money and, with any investment, you get what you pay for. A traditional publisher has submission guidelines, they may be looking for a particular genre and a specific word count, or limit submissions to agented material only. This could limit the number of companies you can choose from. Wait time for submissions also tend to be longer, from six weeks to six months, and publishers tend to disapprove of simultaneous submissions. Self-publishing gives you the freedom to publish what you want, when you want.

As a new author who has only published one book, I lean toward traditional publishing. I feel, at this time, I lack the industry connections and savvy to publish my own work.

Trade Book Publisher versus Independent Publisher:

Do you aim big or small? When you think "trade book publisher", you think the HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster's of the world. These companies, for the most part, publish the books that land in brick and mortar bookstores. The bigger, more established companies bring reputation and continuity to the table. Some will accept unsolicited, unagented material. I have no idea if they pay better, but I know the wait times tend to be longer. Independent publishers. The last frontier, of sorts. These companies vary in size and age. Some only publish eBooks. Some opened their "doors" yesterday. There seem to be so many of them, how could you ever find the right company? The same way you sift through the massive amount of information on the Internet - research, recommendations, and reviews. Do you like their book covers? Have you read any books published by them - how was the editing? Were there any obvious errors in the book? Are there spelling errors on their website (I have actually seen this - huge warning bells should go off if you see incorrect spelling or grammer on a publisher's website!)? What do their published authors say about them? Do you know anyone who has published with them? Have you checked any online forums?

I lean toward the Independent Publisher. Somehow I think my paranormal romance will find a home with one of them. Which one? I have no idea. Despite my comprehensive research, it still seems a bit trial and error at this point.

This is a very simplified version of the many decisons that must be made before your book is published. I am by no means an expert. I am fumbling through this process the same way I imagine other new authors do.

Are you an author? What decisons have you made with regards to publishing? Traditional vs self-publishing? Trade book vs Independent Publisher?

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