Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stop the Presses!

Not too long ago, the phrase "Stop the Presses" meant a big story was breaking and that the editor wanted to make sure it made the upcoming edition. Today, many presses - especially newspapers - are literally stopping their presses.


Advances in technology, digital publishing options, e-books - all the formats/mediums that were once scoffed at by the established publishing industry a decade ago.

The latest entry into the foray of digital publishing?

Barnes & Noble with PubIt!.

The tag line?

Live Your Dream and Sell Your Books (with the world's #1 bookseller).

I'm actually very excited about this next step for B&N because just about everyone else has gotten into the self-publishing side of things because it's actually a money maker. BUT, mostly for the publishers.

Now, this isn't a slight against the publishers. It's about time they all recognized this market. However, burgeoning writers beware - just because you write a book, doesn't mean it should be published. One of the pitfalls for new authors is to know when a book is truly ready for publication and not just a first draft. Historically, this has been one of the benefits of publishing with a traditional publisher. In the days of lots and lots of small publishing houses with lots and lots of editors the relationship between editor and writer was beyond what most writers experience today.

But companies offering self-publishing options are actually providing some robust and affordable assistance as well. These companies include traditional publishing houses as well as those companies that have always been in the self-publishing arena. These days, one is not necessarily better than the other - it just depends on what type of book the author wants to publish, the potential market/readership, upfront costs, promotion budget and more.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

So, what's a new writer to do?

Regardless of your path to publishing, learn your craft, and I think the best way to do that is to consider yourself an apprentice. Just as with a skilled wordworker or the art of masonry, there is an innate talent that is refined and developed over time and practiced with a mentor or master teacher.

For writers there is a plethora of writers groups, both in person and online; as well as book after book on the craft. Critique groups abound, although make sure you find one that fits your needs and temperment. The tried and true rule of just writing everyday has developed many writers who are now bestsellers.

But in the end and regardless your path to publishing, enjoy the process. At our Love Is Murder Con a few years back, David Morrell told a rapt audience that given that it takes about a year or more to write a book, in the end you want to enjoy the process and look back and be proud of what you've produced. Otherwise, why spend a year of your life on something that doesn't provide that kind of fulfillment!


Debra St. John said...

Thanks Terri, There's lots of food for thought here.

The publishing world sure is changing...sometimes on a daily basis.

Deb Larson said...

Good advice, Terri! Thanks for sharing.

Morgan Mandel said...

I agree about the danger of publishing when your manuscript isn't ready for the public. Tar gives the author and self publishing a bad name.
Morgan Mandel