Firstly, you might need to disassemble your fantasy to create a new reality. The life and creation of your book is at stake here so it’s worth undertaking the necessary soul-searching.
The publishing options are far greater now than ever before.
The decision for aspiring authors to secure alternative publishing paths usually comes after stepping down from the traditional route and embracing alternative publishing (such as hybrid publishing, partnership publishing or self-publishing, indie publishing). This often occurs after a string of rejections; an authors patience with the traditional process has wavered; or their personal publishing ambitions have changed.
Pickawoowoo is working with more indie authors now than in the past decade. Many are opting out of pitching their work to traditional publishers as a first resort as they become conversant to the many upsides of publishing independently. Others may come to this decision as a last resort. Alternative publishing paths involve paying to publish, so money is a big consideration for authors.
The million dollar question (or at least a couple of hundred dollars) is do you value your work enough to pay for it to see the light of day? Many authors believe that if the traditional publishing industry rejects your work then it isn’t good enough. This is not so. Many traditional publishers readily accept the same manuscript through their vanity publishing divisions (pay to publish) … what is known in our industry as monetising the rejected ‘author slush pile’ (vanity publishing). So why vanity publish when you can self publish?
Publishing independently allows you to create the experience you want. Author services companies such as Pickawoowoo, give self publishers a traditional house experience with hand-holding, a built-in team, and a book coach to guide you through the publishing process, whilst you call the shots.
Independent publishing is a emerging middle ground for authors, and in many cases you can replace the experience you always dreamed of having, although you pay for it instead of being paid for it (at this stage of the publishing process). However, when 100% of the publishers compensation (you as the publisher) starts to materialise in your bank account, you will see your hard work is not in vain. The comparison with a traditional publisher is 7-10% of net profit or a vanity publisher at 50% … both measly figures.
Ultimately, deciding to self publish is a huge deal but it is the first step. At this point you work with a publishing partner such as Pickawoowoo to ensure your book meets publishing standards and protocols. Thereafter you have some options if you still aspire to be traditionally published but only after you have established an author platform.
In our opinion the only validation you need towards your books worthiness is your readers.
Nevertheless if you still seek external validation by traditional publishing houses then go for it by all means, but also be vigilant and follow best practices.
Shopping direct to publishers
Pickawoowoo encourages authors with niche or non-commercial projects to approach publishers directly and bypassing agents (although some only accept the agent route).
- Remember, showing you have an author platform is important.
- Try to align with a publishing house that is a good fit for your genre.
- Check the publishers website for submission instructions first to ensure you meet their specs. If not available then:
- Send your query letter to editors instead of agents. Remember that larger publishers will not accept unsolicited queries but there are many small to medium-sized publishers who do want to work in partnership with savvy authors.
- Follow up after two months if they don’t get back to you. If you still haven’t heard from them move on. Ultimately you can cast your net wider but be warned many publishers don’t like to back anyone who has done a mass mailout. These get binned automatically.
- If you get to the negotiating stage, a rule of thumb to follow is this:
– if you receive a zero advance offer then try to negotiate higher royalties. If possible seek monetary support as well from the publisher for your ongoing marketing and publicity.
– if you get an offer always get support to go over the contract and to negotiate better terms. If you don’t ask you don’t get.
Shopping direct agents
Fact: agents only get paid when they sell your book. For example, a $5,000 advance gives an agent a meager $750 (15% commission). So agents only represent projects that they think they can sell for significant money.
- Pickawoowoo encourages authors to limit the number of agents they pitch to – no more than 15 at any given time. Follow up after two months and follow this simple advice: if they don’t get back to you, they don’t want to represent you.
- Agents have a trained eye toward what publishing houses want and they do vary in terms of responsiveness. They make the assessment based on whether your book is really publish-ready (so showing a book in its final stages can entice them, but not all of them).
- Agents will evaluate your author platform (or lack thereof).
Once again, if you get an offer get legal advice on your contract and always be prepared to negotiate.