Sunday, December 13, 2009

I hate publishing

In the last month or so I’ve come to a realization that shocked me. I have recently discovered that while I love writing, I hate publishing. With a passion.

I had dreamed of being a writer as a little girl and when I got older I re-embraced that dream. I began writing again and enjoyed the creative process. I grew close to many of the people I met as I honed my skills and shared with other writers. Then one day, what I thought I wanted came true. I received an offer to publish my manuscript. I was going to be a real writer. A published author.

What I didn’t realize was all the shit that comes along with publishing. Like most people, I guess I had been under the impression that the bulk of the pr for a book would be handled, or at least orchestrated, by the publisher. I assumed there would be some support from the publisher related to marketing of the product they were publishing. What I discovered was that, at least in my experience, the bulk of the pr has been left to me. This is a recipe for disaster for someone like me. I know zip about pr. I’m not a “people person” who knows how to chat people up. I have no business experience and was left with little to no concept of how to promote the books that were being published.

Talking to other authors from other publishers, I’ve learned that it’s not just my experience. According to what I’ve been told even authors who are known find themselves responsible for orchestrating some of their pr, often handled by either a professional firm or by an agent; two things I have no involvement with and don’t think I want to.

During the few years I've been involved in publishing my work, I've heard again and again about writers being mistreated and cheated by their publishers. I can't say that's been my experience, but I can't argue with their experiences.

So while I’ll probably always write, I don’t see myself publishing again for a long time. If I do, it won’t be in the erotic romance genre. But that’s a whole other moment of confession.

7 comments:

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

I am SO with you on the promotion business! Ah, to some day be rich enough to hire someone to do it!

Of course to do that, I'd have to sell a lot of books, which would require publicity, which...

Makes your brain hurt, doesn't it?

Jennifer Hudock said...

I have talked to a lot of authors who publish about how they get the rotten end of the PR stick. With all the work they do, and the little pay they actually get, most of them would be better off self-publishing and keeping 100% of the profits.

Anny Cook said...

Yep. Been there. Done that. And truly know two or three people who never did a thing to promote their books and they're selling fine... Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

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Sandra Cox said...

I hear ya. I suck at marketing myself. I just want to write and submit my manuscripts. I had a non published friend ask me how a particular publisher she'd submitted to would market her book. If I'd been drinking coffee it would have spewed all over the keyboard.

The Wood Blog said...

I've heard this too, Jae. I hope it doesn't stop your writing though! Happy Holidays, :-)Pru

Corey Blake said...

Jae,
I understand your frustration. Most of my writing clients were having similar experiences and so I opened a publishing division of our company to assist writers in getting their work out there. What I've discovered is that those who have become successful have been willing to marry art and business. Our company takes a much lower royalty of only 25% and offers a 25% discount on marketing and PR services to our clients. Some of them spend $1,000 a month with us and some spend a lot more. Because my profit margin is right around 25%, we don't profit off of these services. We make money when the books sell as a result of our efforts with an author. It's a different way of thinking about publishing that puts the risk and the reward with the author, while also surrounding them with a communicative team of professionals, as opposed to commercial publishing, which puts the author at the mercy of the publisher. Before we ventured down this road, our clients who worked with commercial publishers felt taken advantage of and pissed off by the experience. We offer the opportunity to take control of your own destiny. We're certainly not for everyone, but for artists who want to get their work seen and don't want to sit around waiting for permission to do so, we provide a valuable alternative. I don't say this because I think you should try to publish through us, because I'm not sure that's the answer. My point though is that we all have to think differently as the publishing marketplace continues to change. Wishing you the best.
Corey Blake
Round Table Companies.
www.roundtablecompanies.com