Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest Post: The Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Writing

Everyone, please welcome Charity again to talk to us about about the publishing process. I'll be in the back, handing out cookies...

The Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Writing
by Charity Bradford

Welcome to number 2 of the Top 5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Writing. This is part of the Mini Blog Hop for The Magic Wakes blog tour, and came about from a discussion the author had with a group of teen writers. The blog chain starts HERE.

2. The Publishing Industry (Many ways to publish—Always changing)

This is publishing at its simplest definitions. A starting point if you will for your industry education.

Traditional—Finish your book, send out queries to get an Agent; they shop your MS to the Big 6 5 publishers. (I have heard of agents shopping books to mid-sized publishers as well.) What you get: help with contract from the agent, an advance against the royalties (which I believe means you don’t make royalties until after you’ve exceeded what you were paid in advance) from the publishing house, and the house puts up the money to edit, design the cover, print, market, and distribute the book.

Mid-size—These publishers prefer to work through agents, but they are not closed to unagented queries. What you get: royalty rates are similar to the big NY publishers, but advances are a lot smaller. The house puts up the money to edit, design the cover, print, market, and distribute the book.
Small—You don’t have to have an agent to approach these publishers. You query the acquisitions editors. You get: they put up the money for an editor, cover, design and print of book, help with marketing but not as much as traditional (a lot is up to you), distribution, and royalties. Some houses may offer very small advances, but usually nothing is offered.

Self—It’s all you! Hiring an editor, design/formatting, book cover, getting ISBN, marketing, printing costs, complete control is in your hands as is the financial risk of printing.
What are the main considerations you should think about before choosing which route you want to go?
Time—This varies greatly between the options. Traditional publishing may take years for a book to hit the shelves. Small publishers deal with fewer books and therefore can get them out faster—maybe a year or less depending on their load. With self publishing you can have an e-book out in days or weeks, print copies within six months or less.
Money—Editors, printing, marketing, and distributing all take money. Lots of it. Do you have it? Or do you need an option where someone else funds all the little details?
Control—Who has it? Do you need it to stay sane? Are you flexible enough to let someone else make changes to your novel, choose your cover, and when/where/how it goes out to the public? Granted the different sizes of publishing houses will involve their authors to varying degrees. You just have to decide what works the best for you.

Q4U: What is it that YOU want from the publishing experience?
Next up is The Process.

5 Things I Wish I Knew About Writing Before I Started Mini Blog Hop Alex Cavanaugh--Intro to Blog Hop Cally Jackson--Time Elizabeth Poole--Publishing Options Kay Froebel--The Process Mason Canyon--Critique Partners Katy Sozaeva--Platform Building


  1. Thanks for having me over so often this month! I've enjoyed visiting.

  2. I love that we have so many options these days as to how to publish and we don't have to go all or nothing. We can do some of each. Although, with traditional in such flux at the moment, it's hard to know which way is up with them.

    1. So true! Part of me wants traditional big publisher even now, but I'm not waiting for things to settle into the new normal. With all the options I can start building my career now.

  3. Good assessment of the entire whirlpool of facts. We all want success but there are many ways to get there....

  4. It's so funny. I frequently get in arguments with people because SO MANY PEOPLE view a 'one option is best' solution. It's just not the case. I hope to have two traditional strands (or mid or small publishers--but big enough to make bookstores) with my mystery (already going) and YA, but I have the odd book I will publish here and there that I may just self-publish... I know I don't have time to do what traditional publishers want for THREE STRANDS of career. But I don't want to NOT write those books, either.

    For me, though, the biggie for traditional is two-fold: I am not careful enough about every last detail to be the one in charge, in spite of wanting a really professional product, and... I'd like immortality... what I mean is I want my books to be dug out of boxes in attics a hundred years from now and READ. I don't think eBooks will have that longevity even if they are still technically available.

    1. Hart, I love that you mentioned seeking traditional and doing small or self for projects that don't fit in the main thread the big publishers want us to stay in. Good luck getting all you want!