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"If you write without getting published, then there is no use in writing at all.” Those are words of wisdom from someone who wants you to seriously consider publishing your book. But before you really do so, you will do well to consider these questions: 1.Have I actually written a best – seller? 2. Do I believe that people will read my book? 3. Is my theme such a timely one that the public should know? 4. Am I expecting responses from my readers? 5. Will I benefit in one way or the other from the publication of this book? 6. Will I be contented even if I don’t make money?
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If you answer in the affirmative to one or more of the above questions, then do not hesitate to listen to the above advice to publish. It will, therefore, be nice for you to know different publishing channels available, so as to enable you make an informed decision. Trade Publishers Also called commercial publishers, these are the big fish in the publishing industry. They include Longman, Macmillan, Heinemann, Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Doubleday Books, Little Brown and Co., and Brace Jovanovich, among others. They publish without asking for payment from authors. My advice to you is that if you are pre – published, if you are a new writer, do not waste your time submitting your books to these elephants. Because they will not publish you! Yes, they have published a few unknowns like Eric Segal (LOVE STORY) and Kathleen Winsor (FOREVER AMBER) But what about the countless others who got the polite rejection slip: “We are sorry your book does not meet our present needs. Good luck.” I am among that number. I got a rejection slip from one of them, one year after submission! Can you imagine that? Twelve calendar months! And in the end, you would have to pray to the god of good luck, to get a publisher. And after another one year, another rejection slip. Another prayer. So you would have to spend a lifetime looking for a publisher, after months or years of hard work, writing your book. The point is that they don’t have the time to read your book. Or they can’t recognize a good
book if they see one. Or, they can’t afford to risk their money publishing a new comer like you, without hope of getting huge profits. Or, all of the above. But consider: If you were a great writer, perhaps a Nobel Laureate who had written a magnum opus. Or, if you were some celebrated politician with a memoir about your dalliance with some red – lipped prostitutes. Or, if as a scientist, you had written a book about how time travels backwards, titled THE THEORY OF BACKWARD MOVEMENT. And you even promise to take your readers in a space ship to witness some epochal events –- pick your choice -– the fall of Carthage, (history), the splitting of the continents (geography), Noah’s flood (religion), and the real thing - the Big Bang (Science). Do you know how the publishers would react? All of them, the above ones I have mentioned, and others not named, would rush to dangle certified Bank checks with ten digit figures before your smiling face! But try sending your unsolicited manuscript, you unknown writer; and be damned! Let’s illustrate this point further. Do you know Jerzy Kosinski’s THE THIRTY – NINE STEPS? Yes, one writer had that best – seller typed, and submitted, as a manuscript by a new writer, and waited for an answer. And what reply did he get? All the trade publishers rejected it. All the agents told him, “no way’”. And to worst the experiment, Random House which originally published the book, threw it out as an insignificant book. Yet, this was a National Book Award Winner. Even, some other best- sellers were “randomly” rejected. Like THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair. Like Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE. Like MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION by Lloyd C. Douglas. Do you now understand what I mean when I say you should not go to them? But you have another chance. Subsidy Publishers Also known as private or commission publishers, subsidy publishers are a better choice; if you can pay to get your book published. And they pay higher commission or royalties, than the trade publishers. They include Vantage Press, Minerva Press and Avon Books. Now, paying for book publication has a long history. Many great writers started that way. Edward Fitzgerald financed the publication of his monumental work, THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM. Thomas Gray paid to publish his classic, ELEGY. And what about Edgar Allan Poe? He sponsored the printing of the book of all times, TAMERLANE AND OTHER POEMS. And Leo Tolstoy doled out money to pay for the publication of the best novel on earth, WAR AND PEACE. The list has not ended. What about Thomas Hardy, Alexander Pope, T.S.Eliot, Alfred Lord Tennyson and many others? They did likewise. Why not submit your book to one of these subsidy publishers now? But suppose they don’t appeal to you. You have another choice. Self Publishing Yes, you may decide to do it yourself. Print and publish your work. Go round, promote and distribute your book. Become your own manager, accountant and clerk. And more! Then ask yourself: How far can I go? Do I have the time? Do I have the experience? Can I bear the health and physical risks? Well, it is up to you to decide. And remember what Hippocrates said: ”Ars Longa: Vita brevis -– Arts is long, but life is short.” If none of the above appeals to you, you are not to tuck away your precious manuscript in the attic. And go bungee jumping! Life after all, “is not a roller coaster” someone says. So, why not try the exciting world of Internet Publishing. Internet Publishing Did I say exciting? Yes, of course. The world had been dragging until some whiz kids got their magic boxes together and said: “Let the computers be connected!” And there came the Internet. And the dot com bomb. So, at the touch of the button, you have the world at your feet. Isn’t that exciting?
You, the writer has so much to gain from the Internet. You can do your research there, read all kinds of books, and do the ultimate –- publish on the Internet. I am not going to do a dissertation here because I do not know so much about the subject (pardon my ignorance.) I even understand that there is going to be a “new” kind of Internet, soon (pity me.) The first thing I will tell you though, is that dragons live there. The second is that many dot com companies are closing shop. And the third is that there is no hidden secret to success in the net than hard work, as in real life. (Is Internet not real?) The fourth is that the Internet is your shortcut to success. Do you want to find out? Why not visit the experts as you read on. Two publishing opportunities are open to you on the Internet. What are they? you may ask. E- BOOK PUBLISHERS Just as you have the traditional publishers, so you have the electronic or e- book publishers. But be careful! Many of them out there don’t know what they are doing. And remember, you are going to do business with someone you don’t see. So you will have to ascertain the credibility of your publisher. These are the categories of E- book publishers I have observed from my own personal experience. Which is your preference? 1. Targeted Publishers These ones publish selected books targeted for special audience. They publish How-To’s, books on Business planning, web site, search engines, Net Etiquette, humor and others. If your book is on these subject matters you are free to submit. 2. Submit, ready to sell. These publishers would want you to submit your formatted E- book ready to sell. But the manuscript would previously have been submitted for approval. And you would not be asked to make any financial commitment in this case. If this appeals to you, submit. 3. General Publishers Submit your finished manuscript of any genre to these E- book publishers. Pay for the publication and go to bed. They will handle everything from formatting to publishing and promotion. Your book will even be available as an E- book or Rocket E – book, paperback book and audio book and in several, other forms (as you may desire.) Interested? Then submit! PRINT-ON-DEMAND PUBLISHING Your book can now be published in paper back or hard cover and be made available to be ordered online anywhere. This technology is known as print-on-demand (POD). The copies are as good as the ones from the traditional printing houses. And there are no unsold copies. For a list of publishers, simply search the following on the Web: Trade publishers Subsidy publishers E-book publishers Print-on-demand publishers But if these do not appeal to you, and you have the training and computer experience, you may play Stephen King—publish yourself!
Arthur Zulu is an editor, book reviewer, and author of Chasing Shadows!, How to Write a Best-seller, A Letter to Noah, and many other works. For his works and FREE help for writers, goto: http://controversialwriter.tripod.com mailto: email@example.com
About the author: Arthur Zulu is an editor, book reviewer and published author.
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