Rejection Letters are not a Badge of Honor

No SymbolI enjoy spending time with fellow authors, but one thing really does make me wonder, and that is when someone starts bragging about all the rejection letters they’ve received while their manuscripts sit collecting dust for months, even years. It’s not necessarily a badge of honor. While they’re collecting their rejection letters, my books are on the market and being read.

As I often tell people, the six-figure advances, and all the fame that comes with it, is more myth than reality. Unless you’re a celebrity, the odds of a traditional publisher, particularly one of the major publishing houses, buying your manuscript, especially if you’re a first-time author, are about as good as going to Hollywood and landing a role in a feature film.

That’s why I’ve never bothered playing the game. Frankly, it’s bullshit. I too have had literary agents express an interest in my work, and it never went anywhere. Experience has taught me that most literary agents are full of more crap than the Thanksgiving turkey. I rank them right up with used-car salesmen. Yet I hear, over and over again, “I sent an email to an agent, and they got back with me right away and wanted my manuscript, so I sent it to them, but it was months ago. When are they ever going to get back with me?”

Um…they’re not.

As I mentioned before, while you all are being jerked around, my books are being published and people are reading them. That’s because I started out doing something called partnership publishing.

Partnership publishing is when you take control and you pay someone to publish your book. Is that “vanity publishing?” No. It’s a business decision. It means that you believe in your work enough that you’re willing to invest your own money in it. It also means that you get to retain the rights to your work. It’s really a form of self-publishing, only this time the publisher does all the formatting, printing and distribution, which is something most writers don’t have the time, or the skill, to do.

With both traditional and partnership publishing it is up to you, the author, to do the marketing. With partnership publishers, however, you won’t have spend years of your life begging and pleading and jumping through hoops. You get your book published, in weeks instead of years, and a publishing partner won’t drop you if your book fails to meet their expectations.

Just like anything else, there are good and bad partnership publishing companies out there, so it’s best to shop around. The typical price is $2000 to $5000. That may sound like a lot, but please keep in mind that producing a quality book is a time-consuming process that requires special skills and special software. Most importantly, find out about distribution. That’s the key. If they aren’t distributing through Ingram or Baker & Taylor, or both, you’re going to have trouble getting your books in bookstores.

So, it’s up to you. Do you spend the next few years collecting rejection letters while your book remains unread? Or do you want to control your own destiny and get your book into the hands of readers? The choice is your. If you decide to take control, please come visit our website at www.goodoakpress.com and find out how we can create a book you’ll be proud of.

GM

So You Think You Don’t Need an Editor, Part 2

pen&paperIn my previous article, So You Think You Don’t Need an Editor – Part One, I discussed the fact that your editor is a fresh pair of eyes to go over your manuscript and give it the polish it needs to become a successful book.

I know for many of you money is tight, and unless you’re one of the very few lucky writers who gets picked up by a traditional publisher, you’re going to have to invest some of your own money into producing your book. Typically, at least in my part of the county, a good editor will charge around one or two cents per word, which means for an 80,000 to 100,000 word manuscript you’re looking at spending around $1000 to $1500. I know it’s a lot of money, and I know that some of you are tempted to take shortcuts. My advice: Don’t do it.

For example, it’s tempting to ask your friends, you cousin, of even your mom to do your editing, and while these folks can offer good suggestions, unless they have a background in journalism, teaching English, or other professional writing experience, they’re really not qualified for the job. Let me give you an example of what happens when you ask your friend or relative to do a job that should be handled by a professional. One of my friends once told me she had her mother help her with her income tax return. Her mother had no accounting or bookkeeping experience, and needless to say, her return ended up being audited by the IRS. They came after her, not only for the additional taxes that she owed, but with penalties and interest as well. She ended up paying far more for the penalties and interest than what she would have spent on a qualified tax-preparer. Likewise, when you have an unqualified person edit your book, it too can come back with penalties and interest in the form of bad reviews.

Remember, your editor really isn’t interested in changing your content. They are looking for things such as incorrect homonyms, dangling participles, improper paragraph formatting and other things that make you look like an amateur.

We’ve entered a time when anyone with a pulse and a computer can upload a book on Amazon Kindle and call themselves an author, which means the market is now flooded with badly written books. I’m reading all kinds of comments about this on various forums from frustrated readers who are tired of bad books and want some sort of vetting process. If you want to get those five-star reviews to make you stand out from all those amateurs then find yourself an experienced professional book editor.  Nothing will kill your writing career faster than having a poorly-written book with bad reviews.

My tip for the day.

GM