A good idea is a great start..
You have writing talent. Your friends say that your work is worth reading. And now you have come up with The Idea. You feel it in your bones.
Characters are starting to form, becoming more real to you. A subject and a theme have come to your attention. It looks like you have a great story in you. But how do you get from this point to publication?
So many writers
Tons of books are published each year. There are hundreds of thousands of new titles published. But with so much submissions there is more competition than ever before.
So how do you increase your chances of getting your books and stories published? It is important to think smart about this and be your own best friend and best helper.
Getting an agent
Before you start contacting every publisher that you have ever heard of, you should first consider if the representation of a literary agent could help.
A literary agent represents the interests of the writer that she acts for. A good agent will advise you on your writing and on the market in general, she help you find the right place for your writing.
She will help to promote and sell you and your work to the appropriate publisher, fight for the best deal and, importantly, she will provide useful advice and support throughout the process.
Submitting work to publishers
If you do choose to submit directly to publishers or if have been unsuccessful in finding an agent your next option is to contact the publishers directly.
We’ve all heard of the slush pile, the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that every publisher has;
every so often we hear of an author who was plucked from this slush pile and then receives a three-book offer and a cash advance. Sounds like a dream come true.
It could be you
And it’s true, this does happen – but it’s like a lottery. If you really want to get plucked from obscurity by this means you will have to be very tenacious or just plain lucky!
In order to improve your chances, it is vital that you research the market. Remember that publishing is a commercial business. You will have to convinced publishers will need to be that there is a potential market for any book that they decide to publish.
The internet have made self-publishing much more viable. If the traditional publishing route is not working out for you, or if you simply want to increase your chances, self publishing is worth considering.
There have been success cases where authors were rejected by publishers and agents only to achieve success in self publishing. But do not underestimate the amount of work involved.
Self-publishing is a massive undertaking!. However, one major benefit if you do go down this route, is that you will have to learn a lot about the publishing world, going past the knowledge of many writers.
A self-publisher will be in charge of:
You need to choose how your story will look. Choice of font and font size are important. If you publishing in offline ‘physical world’ format, what weight paper?
You need to design the cover.
Editing -for grammar,etc.
It is vital to go through your work and check for typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and logical errors.
If possible get someone else to read through your work, someone with a natural talent for editing.
Editing – for story
If possible get someone or a group to give you feedback on your story plot, character development and story tempo. Don’t be tempted to do this too early though!
Criticism at the embryonic stage can be counter productive.
You have to decide how much your book will cost and whether you will give discounts or special offers?
Getting an ISBN
Getting an International Standard Book Numbers is important as it allows you to get your book stocked in bookshops and libraries.
For How many copies should you print? Should you do a print run or print to order? Again, this is not needed for online copies.
How will you get the word out about your book? Who will review your book? How can you best engage the press? Will there be interviews and features in the newspapers?
Will you sell the book yourself or hire someone else? Can you get sales people on commission only or should you pay them a salary? Do you have any useful contacts in bookshops, etc?
How will you store your books and where? How will you get orders? By email? By phone? How will you deliver the books?
Invoicing and accounting
You may need to set up a company or at least register as self employed for tax purposes. In what formats will you accept payments? Will you have an online shop?
How can you pay for the activities which you need? Should you work in a ‘day job’ and use this money to pay for sales people, advertising, paid-for reviews, etc? or should you work mainly on your book, investing your time instead?
The line between vanity publishing and self-publishing can be a narrow one, but generally I stick to one rule: if you are pay someone else to publish your book, then it is vanity publishing.
Remember that mainstream publishers invest in the promotion of a body of work and make their profit from the sales.
They do not require an up front fee! Vanity publishers make money from upfront charges and do not guarantee any success. They have little or no incentive to sell your book.
Free publishing with Glitterbug chat stories
The benefits of free self-publishing in new Media
A new option which has become available to new and emerging authors is the mobile-first fiction arena. Growing massively with readers, especially young adults, chat stories or mobile first fiction is going from strength to strength.
There are a growing number of chat story apps out there. Chat stories are fiction pieces told as a series of text messages. The messages appear on the screen one by one and the reader taps to see the next message.
This easy to read format makes reading on a mobile device much better and allows users to pick up stories and read them on the fly.
Our app, Glitterbug chat stories, allows authors to write and publish chat stories for free.
Writing a story with Glitterbug chat stories has many benefits:
1. We are a relatively new app so you can get in at the start and write stories which readers will notice.
2. In our first two months we have over 2000 downloads of our app. This is growing each week.
3. Writing in this format can help you to reach new readers quickly and promote your other works. We are happy for you to add a link to your other work on your author page.
4. Mobile first fiction allows you to cheaply and quickly distribute your stories to a wide audience without worrying about sales, logistics or initial costs.
5. You can reach a whole new generate of readers in a growing market.
6. Glitterbug chat stories can help to engage with readers, get feedback and ratings for your work.
7. Build up a loyal fan base and show this to publishers!!