I just spent the last ten minutes debating on whether or not I should continue with this topic - at least TODAY. But as I stared at my current mess of notebooks scattered about my bed, I remembered my own experiences as an author - especially in the beginning - and figured, fuck it. Why not continue the conversation? Now once again, before I begin, I have to put up a disclaimer: I am not an attorney. For all legal advice/questions/concerns please contact an attorney, someone with a JD and a license to practice law in your state. This blog is just an opinion piece, and nothing more.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's continue.
Now let's say you just typed "The End" (or whatever statement you wrote to conclude the story) on your manuscript after spending countless hours on a story that is just destined to be a top seller. You've already joined dozens of author groups on Facebook and you have made note on a few "publishers" who appear to be the best in the literary game. Their authors seem to be making thousands on Amazon each month, but more importantly, you notice the support each author gives and receives as it relates to their work.
And you want in.
Social media tends to be a dark forest of smoke and mirrors. What "appears" to be lathered in success is often one big lie. But the problem isn't exactly the lie itself, but the reason behind its appeal. Many newbie authors simply do not want to do the work that it takes to gain readership and establish the platform. There is an expectation that whomever one signs with is responsible for the making of his or her career and that my dear friends is not true. Even authors who are signed to the big publishing houses are obligated to participate in their own success.
You want the easy way. But the truth is, the road to your definition of "success" is never going to be easy. So and So Presents is not going to be your ticket to a successful launch of your writing career and I can say that with complete confidence. So and So Presents will not pay for a solid editor to improve and correct your work. So and So Presents will take your manuscript and upload it to Amazon just as he/she will do their other authors. The more books one publishes on Amazon, the more likely he or she can trick the algorithm into his or her favor to push his or her work into the faces of new readers. That is why So and So Presents will expect you - the author- to push out books every month-90 days so that your work will be in a constant flow of rotation. However, your books will never be edited to perfection; paid promotion will be slim to none; your cover will look the same as the next author as will the storylines; you will probably never hold a paperback copy of your book; your book will only be available on Amazon and Amazon alone and most importantly, how are you going to learn the business of publishing from someone who is just as limited as you are?
I know that was a mouthful and to someone who is signed to So and So Presents, I probably sound like a hater. But, trust me, I'm not. I'm here to spare you pain and unnecessary suffering. It's tragic to see authors who made the fatal mistake of signing to a FB publisher just because it really boiled down to the need (of the ego) of being signed to someone. The last thing I don't believe any of you would want is to find yourself pleading with your readers and author peers to pressure your "publisher" into freeing your from your contract. Or, you are now engaged in a hard core Facebook beef with your "publisher" over royalties. Keep in mind that traditional publishers are highly selective of who they sign and what kind of books they publish each year because it all boils down to money. FB publishers take on any and every Joe and Harry just for the sake of having authors.
Before you just submit your manuscript to anyone, research the publishers who fit the market you are looking to sell your books in. Find out if there are any scandals surrounding them, do they have a HISTORY of scamming authors? And again, keep in mind most traditional publishers do not accepted unsolicited material - meaning if they did not ask for it, do not submit it. You have to have an agent to do so.
If you are looking for an agent or just need more help with understanding publishing and what to look for, I suggest checking out agentquery.com. This site is a huge database of literary agents and it offers insight on the genres that they are looking to represent. This website also provides information on how to submit a query and tips on navigating the publishing world.
So that concludes today's blog. I will continue this conversation in part three. Until next time...