Monday, November 24, 2014

PART TWO: PROCESS: TO AGENT-UP OR GO INDIE? A HYPER-TYPER'S DILEMMA.


Pussycats Everywhere!, published in the traditional manner
by publisher/distributor Firefly Books


Now that you've read part one... You have read part one, right?

*stares accusingly*

If you haven't read Part One you won't know what a galley slave is, among other things, so read it. And once you have absorbed that highly anxiety-producing section on having your weighty tome edited so that it really will be as magnificent a masterpiece as you believe it to be, we move on to the actual publishing of your manuscript.



There are pro's and cons to both the self publishing and the traditional agent-publisher route. However, some of those things won't show up until Part Four, so do your due diligence and read all the parts.

Here we go... Let's start with the traditional route. In the hierarchy of publishing, there is a
Published in the traditional manner...
by publisher/distributor Firefly Books
structure. At the moment with the pressures inherent in the industry, it looks quite a lot like the leaning tower of Pizza, although I picture it more like a half finished, partly burned out skeleton of girders, joists, and collapsing walls. On the ground floor of this structure there is a noisy seething mass of humanity spread far and wide. These screaming, whining, roiling, sweaty carcasses are us, the keyboard-chimps.


All of us are trying to climb to the next level where the agents are. As we climb, swinging from girder to girder, clawing our way slowly, so very slowly, upwards on the Mazola-smeared timbers, the agents, dressed in black designer duds and sucking back ten-bucks-a-cup coffee, ridicule us. They toss our lame galleys and queries at us knocking us off balance, and they shove us off with a well placed stiletto-heeled, thigh-high boot as they cackle with glee, watching us fall backward into the stinking mosh-pit cesspool of dejection and misery. They have to do this otherwise they'd be crushed under our stampeding feet, because, let's face it. There are just too many of us.

Up on the next level, out of earshot of the grappling hoards, are the publishers. The publishers sit in thrones and their grateful published authors peel grapes and feed them chocolate truffles as the agents are humbled before them, bowing and presenting your soggy manuscript. 

Why, you ask,  why oh why is your manuscript soggy?
Because it was made from your blood, sweat and tears... virtually all of your precious bodily fluids.

Every so often a keyboard-chimp makes it onto the agents' level, and the agent, brandishing your galleys, buys a publisher lunch at the Plaza Hotel and a carriage ride drawn by majestic steeds through Central Park, (the agents and publishers are all in Manhattan, right?) and a deal is struck. A galley-slave does a beauteous edit on the manuscript, a book is published, and a writer receives a royalty check. Hallelujah!

Illustration by Sheila McGraw for Where the Lost Things Go
self-published by Barbara Farnsworth
If you go the traditional publishing route, you will need to send query letters to agents. Each has very specific criteria and I strongly suggest you follow it to the letter or whatever time and effort you've put into your query, your email will be wrenched from its berth and tossed into the spam-bilgewater-spittoon of said agent's laptop.

Of course many an agent will tell you that they must be approached exclusively (no shopping your effort far and wide) but then their very next sentence will insist on six months to decide if they like you well enough to read a chapter or two, or not.

Presumably now you have a sense of the traditional publishing route. Now for the self-publishing...
Our hero, the keyboard-chimp, educates him/herself on the internet about all manner of Indie publishing houses, their benefits and downfalls: There's Createspace run by behemoth Amazon, Dog Ear Publishing, Friesen'sBook Masters.... lots of them. When the writer is satisfied with his/her choice, they submit their (edited, of course!) manuscript, pay a fee, and publish their book... BOOM, done. Pop champagne.

So what's the takeaway? In traditional publishing you may find yourself writing queries and glacially getting rejections or... nothing at all (rejection by omission) for years.

On the other hand, self-publishing can fulfill the desire for instant gratification, assuaging our impatience like dessert before dinner (or something like that) and you are the boss. You can make your masterpiece exactly the way you like it. However, it will cost some $$$.



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