Writing stories isn’t something that I recently decided to do. I’ve been doing it ever since I could hold a pencil! In fact, when my kids were younger, I used to write short stories for them for the sole purpose of entertainment. I even wrote a novelette for Courtney called “Courtney’s Dinosaur Adventure,” in which I interjected her into the story because of her great love for dinosaurs.
During those years, I didn’t pursue writing as aggressively as some writers do, because I worked a full time job in which I commuted 80 miles a day and by the time I got home and cooked supper, washed the dishes, got the kids bathed and put to bed, I was exhausted, barely devoting more than an hour a night for writing. However, even through all that, I managed to get a short story published, as well as multiple poems and newspaper articles. Only in the past several years, since I no longer work outside the home, did I press forward in my devotion, and aggressiveness, for writing.
But it is NOT easy!
No publisher will accept an unsolicited manuscript. Meaning, if you have no agent, don’t waste your time. So, here’s how it REALLY works. And when I’m finished explaining, you’ll see why I opted to go with non-traditional publishing.
Every year I buy the most recent copy of the Writer’s Market. Inside that book are listings for publishers, literary agents, contests, etc. While there are literally hundreds of agents listed, there may only be a handful that accepts manuscripts for the genre in which one writes. I go straight to the agents section of the book, make a list of prospects, then begin my submissions. But here’s the kicker. Unless an agent specifically states in their guidelines that they accept simultaneous submissions (manuscripts sent to multiple prospects at a time), then you can NOT submit a manuscript to another agent until you’ve received a response from the one the manuscript was sent to, which could takes months, and sometimes, no response at all. Basically, it’s a waiting game with a hit or miss result. Which led me to begin researching other publishing options.
I looked into companies who specialize in self-publication but wasn’t too pleased with the results. Not only would that have cost thousands of dollars up front, but the writer also has to sell their own books because it doesn’t come with a marketing plan. That option was quickly tossed out the window.
That’s when I came upon the information about publishing solely with Amazon, and the more I read about it, the more I liked it. Like any other publisher, the manuscripts are first reviewed to make sure they’re in compliance with their publishing regulations, and if they are, then they provide their rules and requirements for publishing with them. If that agreement is acceptable, then comes the contract for publishing the manuscript in E-book format, paperback, or both. I chose both because while I know a lot of people enjoy reading on their Kindles or tablets, there are still those who enjoy the feel of a book in their hands and the smell of the paper while turning pages.
Like any other publisher, yes, Amazon does get a portion of the proceeds, and they should. But let me show you the difference…
Traditional publishing would first require an agent. The agent’s job is to find a publisher. The publisher will then assign the manuscript to a proofreader, then an editor, all of whom would get a percentage of the profits from the sell of the book(s). Going this route may not entitle me to keep all of my rights to my book, and that is not okay with me. Afterall, I’m the one that worked for months to write, edit, hone it and get it ready. Why shouldn’t I be able to retain all rights?
Non-traditional publishing, in my case, Amazon, provides all of those services without sub-contracting the manuscript out to various personnel to perform the duties that I listed above. I receive royalties from the sell of all formats, Amazon subtracts their fees, and I retain ALL rights to my books. Additionally, Amazon also markets the books in various ways and makes the books available worldwide if the writer chooses to do so. In a nutshell, I have complete and total control over the say of my work and they also provide me with charts on sales rank and author rank that are updated hourly. They provide me with reports on my private author page on the sales and royalties earned so that I can check it any time I want, or need, to. Some writers may not consider this to be their choice in publication, but for me, it was the perfect choice and I have no regrets. Not having to worry about marketing and agent submissions only leaves me more time to do what I love – writing!
I believe that as more and more writers learn of all these various options, they may very well choose to take the road that I did because of the very reasons that I listed. They become frustrated and impatient having to wait for an answer from an agent, and nothing will provide a worse gut punch than receiving a rejection letter after months and months of waiting.
My advice? Cut out the middle man/woman, take control of your own manuscripts and be in charge of all actions!
I’m certainly glad I did because it gave me the opportunity that I may have never gotten had I continued down the path of attempting traditional publishing.
Until next time….
Take care and God Bless!