Thursday, March 20, 2014

Traditional Publishing

                We are back for more fun on The Zealot, this time beginning to focus on publishing the manuscript.  Before I begin, think it would be very stupid not to mention, at least briefly on goals or dreams.  I think this is very crucial before you start to consider your direction in publishing your own manuscript, especially these days with so many choices out there.  Remember as I ask you this, there are no bad goals and your goals can and will change.

                So, what do you want?  Do you want to make a 6-figure living from writing?  Would you be satisfied supplementing your salary with part-time income?  Is your goal simply to put down on paper a novel and see it completed?  Or a series of short stories?  Is your dream to then take that one step further and self-publish them hard backed for family members with no intention of public sales?  Is your goal somewhere in between?

                For me, originally, I just wanted to see if I could write a novel.  Get it down.  Finish it.  That was the goal.  Guess what?  I had no idea what that meant.  I didn’t know writing a book meant 10 – 15 drafts.  Now I do.  And now my goals have changed.  I don’t want to make 6 figures.  If I do, whoopee, let’s have a party.  I’m almost old.  My priorities are different now.  My thrill is waking up.  Well, you know what I mean.  My thrill is achieving the goal of writing the novel.  If I sell some copies, I might just puke.  Then I’ll write another one.  Then I’ll puke some more.  You may have a different goal than me and that’s okay.  Let’s go get them together.

                Please understand that I could spend the next few months on publishing and not cover everything and it would be sooooo boring too.  Yuk!!  As Bush senior would say, “Nope.  Not gonna do it.”  Let’s start with traditional publishing today.  Bookstores are still out there and so are agents and so are publishing houses.  The facts are in today’s world it’s indeed tough for a new author to crack through to get an agent or a publishing house, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

                If you choose to go this method, you will need three things for the most part.  Go to a large bookstore and buy Jeff Hermann’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents.  You can’t miss this book because it’s over 1,000 pages and weighs about 50 pounds.  You name it, it’s in there.  They have the addresses and email addresses to agents, and publishing houses, big and small.  They also give you examples of query letters and synopsis’s, the other two things you will need in your tool box.

                Word for word, the query letter and the synopsis, I believe are tougher to write than the novel itself.  The query letter is only three paragraphs long with only one of those telling the agent about your book.  Good luck.  Have a nice day.  The synopsis, depending on what the agent asks for, might be anywhere from 2 to 8 pages long, giving an overview of your book.  Examples, as I said before, can be found in Hermann’s book.

                If you go online, there are numerous sites that can help you with query letters, including and  A lot of these sites will work with you to help make your query letter better.

                The traditional method of publishing is tough, no question about it.  I have tried it.  I have had agents request samples of The Zealot, with mixed reviews.  This was before my last revision.  I ‘m glad I went through the process and would again and honestly if my goals were different, I would send out more query letters now and hit it hard.  The fact of the matter is, after the research I have done, and with my age and my personality and my goals, it just isn’t for me. 

                Stay with me through this entire process.  Six-figure incomes can be made from self-publishing these days.  It is not uncommon.  In the next post, I will begin, and I repeat, BEGIN to cover the self-publishing incredible explosion happening today.


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  2. "almost old"??? Dude, you were there when they invented dirt.

  3. I look forward to your posts on self publishing, Keith. Curious to know what you and our readers think of epublishing. A couple of questions: can't we go for both? In other words, can epublishing lead to traditional publishing, if a magic eBook sale number is reached? By the old is dirt?

  4. Yes Randy, I think we can go for both. The problem is we have to commit to one. Once you start down the path of e-book, as you will, the process will go fast. As far as can e-book lead to traditional, yes it can. I will get to that as well in a future post, because the stories that are coming from new authors are pretty amazing.

  5. Thanks Anonymous for your kind words. As for you Mike, I may have been there when dirt was invented, but you tested it.