This is a guest post by Matt Betts, author of The Boogeyman’s Intern (due out tomorrow!) and other amazing novels.
The secret to getting a novel published. Every writer desperately wants to know it.
The secret is… there is no secret. Publishing today is like the wild, wild west; there are no rules, and anything goes. What works for you, may not work for the next person. Traditional publishers, indie publishers, and self-publishers all have a fairly equal chance of releasing a book that sells or gets noticed.
Want to strike out on your own and publish your own book? Do it. Be aware that every detail of that book is on your shoulders. You must proof and edit (or hire someone to do it), design the cover and the inside pages (or hire someone to do it,) and get out there and promote it yourself (or hire someone to do it.) You’ll also need to figure out a distribution plan. Will you sell it at conventions? Online? Will you sell it through online retailers or your own site? You are in control of the whole thing and sales live or die entirely by your decisions. Doing all of this yourself, you could see your book available within weeks of completion. It’s quick.
If you go the route of the independent publishers or small presses, a lot of that burden is taken off of you. You’ll work with their editor or proofer to polish the book, but usually the cover art, inside pages and more are handled internally. You may have some input as to cover, but usually very little. A small publisher will generally have distribution in place, but you’ll still need to be very active in the promotion of the book if you want to see it succeed. It takes a little longer to see your book hit the shelves once it’s accepted by an indie publisher. There’s an editorial process, then the formatting and proofing. Once you’re finished think 3 months to a year (or more) before readers can have it in their hot little hands.
What about the big names? The large publishers? They’re awesome. They have huge distribution capabilities, they’ll help out (to an extent) with publicity and they’ll deal with proofing and editing. They are certainly harder to crack, as they mostly only take agented submissions. So, if you’re willing to spend the time querying agents, working with them to get accepted, then working with them to find a publisher, working with the publisher and editors to polish the novel to their standards, and finally get that book to print, this is for you. It has the potential to reach more stores, and more readers. Their promotions can be big for the right book. This process can take years, though. Finding an agent alone can take a few months to a few years. The process from there can take several more years. Not exactly instant gratification.
Many authors are now going with a hybrid model of publishing. Maybe they have a book coming out with a small press, but in the meantime they’re going to self-publish a collection of their own short stories. They’re using technology to keep more of their work coming out at a steady pace to fill the gaps between book releases. It still requires writers to get out and promote, but it also ends up being smart business-wise for them in many ways. Hopefully it brings in a slightly more stable income, and gives them a cushion for those times when the next novel contract is slow to materialize. It also keeps their name out in front of any fan-base they may have gained from the last book, and gives them something to read while waiting for the next one.
Be aware of all of these things as you finish your novel, and keep these options in mind when you decide where to submit it for publication.
The secret to getting published today? There is no secret, and your options are wide open. Write the best book you can and proceed however you’re comfortable doing it. There’s nothing to stop you.
About the Author
Ohio native Matt Betts is a pop culture junkie—sometimes to levels that are considered unhealthy by the Surgeon General. He grew up on a steady diet of giant monsters, comic books, and horror novels, all of which creep into his own work. Matt’s speculative poetry and short fiction have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals. Matt’s first novel, the steampunk/zombie/alternate history adventure Odd Men Out was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award for excellence in independent publishing. He is also the author of the urban fantasy novel Indelible Ink the sci-fi novel The Shadow beneath the Waves. His poetry collections include See No Evil, Say No Evil and Underwater Fistfight.
His new novel The Boogeyman’s Intern launches June 1st. You can find it on Amazon here: http://a.co/6TDw5tx
“The moments of humor are well-earned, and Brady and Zane are standouts….The ending manages to be both fascinating and endearing. An offbeat, entertaining look at timeworn mythical characters.”—Kirkus Reviews
“‘There is something under your bed. There is something going bump in the night. Something is following you.’ Betts’ novel finds a way to encapsulate that chilling sentiment in a surprisingly hilarious way…”–Booklist