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Old 11-29-2008, 09:55 PM   #2
Falbe Publishing
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Location: Battle Creek, Michigan
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Hi jplumey,

I have been self publishing my writing for years (4 novels and 1 nonfiction and counting), I'll let you know some of what I have learned.

Like any writer, I spent some time seeking a publisher. This was a few years ago when ebooks were just emerging. I researched everything I could find about getting published and wrote query letters to agents and publishers. No one was interested. Now understand that no one was looking at my manuscripts. I was being rejected based on query letters. Why? Well, I was unknown unpublished author, i.e. Nobody. Agents and publishers are looking for Somebody, not Nobody. Although rejection sucks, I can honestly understand because every agent or publisher who looked at a query letter from me was thinking "How can I make money off this person?" And because I was Nobody, the answer is "I don't know" which equals rejection.

I've heard and read in several places that getting published comes down to simply getting a lucky break or knowing someone in the publishing industry.

Moving on...I chose self publishing for two reasons:

1. I really wanted to reach an audience with my writing and worked hard to make my writing worthy of an audience.
2. I am interested in business, which means I like promoting myself and trying to sell my work for money.

To answer your questions, I'd say you should look for a publisher who produces both print and ebooks. I see no reason to pursue exclusively one over the other. Both are viable products with markets. Getting into e-publishing might be easier, but does not mean you can't also find a way to be available in print.

I suggest beginning your endeavor by querying agents and publishers. You can research this online, read Writers' Market, and Writers' Digest magazine. You might get lucky and get a deal. You don't know if you don't try. As for getting fair terms, I have no idea about that. I have read that most publishers (print or e) do almost nothing to actually promote your book. Marketing is a cross for authors to bear. This is what being published and self published have in common. Either way you are marketing your work.

If trying to find a publisher goes no where for you, there are many self publishing methods. Many services like Lulu.com let you do both print and ebooks. There are countless print-on-demand services. You could set up with one of those (I think Booksurge ties in directly with Amazon) and you could make the ebooks yourself. (Or pay someone a few hundred dollars to typeset everything and get it into a few popular formats.) With your own ebooks you could set up a website and sell them. Using PayPal for online payments works great and PayLoadz for instant downloads works great too. There are alternative companies that do the sames things too. PayLoadz integrates with several payment processors. Also, I think anybody can publish his or her book for Kindle, so that's a big step toward at least being accessible to a large number of readers.

Personally, I enjoy publishing myself. I don't make a lot of money, but I do consistently get paying readers, and I get compliments from some readers, which shows me at least that I am capable of writing commercial-quality fiction (whatever that is). Maybe some day I'll make more money. I hope so. And if I sell enough, I might actually become Somebody and be able to get the attention of a big publishing company.

Essentially, I think you should find some affordable ways to self publish, at least a little bit, to get your work out there and if you don't like that, keep looking for a publisher. Self publishing does not preclude looking for a publisher.
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