Publishing a book in 2017 is a real art form. And there are rules for doing it. Unfortunately, no one can explain those rules to you. No one can even explain it logically to themselves. It is a form of voodoo and bingle-bungle flim-flammery that only the anointed like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling can use to cast publishing spells with.
So I will not try to tell you how to get published in 2017, even though it seems I have done it myself three times this year. I will only tell you how NOT to do it. I am an expert on that. I have the brain bruises to prove it.
First off, here’s my proudest achievement that came as a side effect of doing things in the worst possible way.
- “”The first mistake you need to make in publishing novels in the worst possible way is to turn to an overpriced print-on-demand service called Publish America. For more information about just how shyster-iffic and icky this publishing scam in sheep-dip clothing is, just click here. They published my first book in print, Aeroquest.
Publishing this novel was a mistake in itself. I had only worked on it for a year and a half. Compared to Catch a Falling Star which I worked on for seventeen years and had in my head since 1977, it was thoroughly underdone and only half cooked. Good novels are either baked at 450 degrees for a decade or more, or composed of prime ingredients that you have been keeping in your mental cupboard since childhood. The greedy, no good, evil publishers of this overpriced and under-cooked novel actually paid me a dollar up front and sixteen dollars in royalties total. I didn’t pay them anything. But they made one intentional formatting error in the climactic chapters of the story and wanted huge sums of money to fix and reprint it. They never lifted a finger to sell it to anybody but relatives and people I named as friends. It was a learning experience that thoroughly humbled me and taught me the primary lesson that “Mickey knows nothing about publishing a book.”
2. The second mistake you need to make to have a truly horrible experience in the publishing world is to make up your mind that you will pay for the process yourself, no matter how much it may take to do it, of both money and carefully carved out pieces of your soul.
I turned to I-Universe as a publication choice for the first of my babies that have gestated for more than a decade before being born. They have a submission process where they will evaluate your manuscript and tell you flat out if it is worth publishing or not. If they tell you it is basically crap and worthless, they will give you a vanity press treatment and let you publish as-is your piece of crap story with no editorial or marketing support. If they think your book is marketable, as mine was, they begin charging you additional publishing fees to work with editors, proof-readers, and marketers to make it all happen. The bills keep piling up, but you get to work with editors who have worked in the major publishing houses for years (I-Universe was bought by Penguin Random House so they have many seasoned employees to call upon). These editors will actually read your manuscript, offer real editorial input, and help you hone your work. They will also grouse about how the publishing business is disintegrating and offer betting odds on whether your book will make money or not that actually are rather distant from the shores of flattering praise. The marketers will help you set up a blog and recommend promotional programs for more money than you can possibly sustain over time. I only got a stock cover that didn’t look at all like the suggestion I gave them.
I have to admit at this point that this particular topic makes me windier than usual, and though I am only about half way done, the rest of this rant will have to be saved for Part 2. I am already at 700 words and only just getting warmed up. The full blaze is yet to come.