Let me begin by mentioning that I’ve never published anything, nor even attempted to. But from my research and speculation, there is quite a few things that I have come to know of the publishing game. I will share it.
Let’s say you have your final manuscript ready. There are four things you can do from this point on.
- Number one, you can just decide not to publish it. You’ve read it again and you feel like it is lacking something. So you decide to rewrite it. This is a good way to pick in the right circumstances. Having a final manuscript that you don’t like isn’t the first step you want when getting ready to publish. However, simply giving up every time you finish because of the fear of rejection will get you absolutely nowhere. Your story will never be perfect. There, I said it.
There will always be something that can be better. Don’t let this get you down, though. If you’ve done everything possible to make this the best manuscript that you can make, then it’s ready. Of course, if you’re two years old and your manuscript is a series of scribbles, then your best just won’t be good enough. Which brings me to the next point.
- Self-publishing. This is a very delicate road to step onto. To self-publish is to publish the book just as you want it. But remember what I said. If your best isn’t good enough, what will happen when you are the only critic to your work? In general, I’d never self-publish. People usually resort to self-publishing after getting several rejection letters. But rather than seeing it in a negative way, see that the manuscript needs more work. Rewrite it. That’s what I would do.
However, don’t throw self-publishing out the window immediately. With the editing services that are available these days, you can still refine your novel before publishing it. Or maybe you’re just a genius. Either way, self-publishing might still be right for you. Christopher Paolini, the author of Eragon, self-published his first novel. It didn’t really take off, but then it eventually reached the eyes of a publisher and Paolini landed a contract. Self-publishing can be a great way for new authors to get noticed.
But my mind still sees it as this: Self-publishing allows you to skip the judging of other people phase of the novel. And since the whole business has to do with getting people to like your book...
Plus, you have to pay all the costs involved. Not so great.
- Lastly, you can send your manuscript to a publisher or an agent. Now, many authors deal directly with the publishing houses, but personally, I don’t like it. I’m not in tune with the publishing laws and fine script. I’m not saying that an author shouldn’t read up about these things, but you didn’t study for it.
Getting an agent means that you can trust that the publisher works with someone who knows what they’re talking about. Agents do this for a living, so it seems like a great idea. Plus, they get paid out of your check (a certain percentage), so they’ll do whatever they can to get you as much money as possible.
One tip that I’ve learned though, never pay a reading fee.
It doesn’t matter which way you go, really. The important thing is that you choose the route that fits with you. Some people might not want to have the extra expense of an agent. Some people may have the talent and skill to self-publish with only the help of a few external editors. It all depends on you in the end.
As for me, I’ll stick with an agent if I ever get that far.