Self-Publishing Reasons To Be Cheerful – Part 3 or (Sheila, Take A Bow)

A comment from Sheila851 was left on yesterdays Self-Publishing Reasons To Be Cheerful – Part 2 and it was extremely thought provoking and I think very much encapsulates how self published authors feel about ‘standard’ publishing and why so many are more than cheerful to pursue self-publishing despite its stigmas and challenges for authors.
Here is Sheila’s comment and my own response to it.

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I published a middle-grade mystery with Infinity Publishing. I was very pleased with the end result. They were very helpful and responded to questions within 24 hrs and I liked the finished product, which they print on their own equipment. I would use them again.

I sold close to 300 books by selling in my town, and heard very positive responses especially from the children 9-12 years old.

I was under the impression that even authors published by standard companies had to do much of the legwork.

It seems obvious that if you are a new, older author, if you want to see your book in print, you must do it yourself. How many rejection slips can you stand, especially if it takes 6-12 months for a reply? The system is a monopoly geared to youth and repeat authors of best sellers. I gave up!!Thanks for posting your experiences. I would agree that Infinity are know to be a strong and reputable POD publisher. The are also unusual in that as you point out they do the printing in-house.

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Sheila,
I don’t entirely agree with you when you say that ‘standard’ publishers are not really for ‘new, older’ authors who submit manuscripts. A writer can start writing, and writing well at any age, young or old. J K Rowling is a case in point. And remember, every commercially published author was once a ‘new’ author.
Though I do take your point. The period of time taken for consideration of a book by a publisher is outlandish, not to mention that most published books can take anything from 6 to 18 months before they hit the high street bookstores. From the time of an author submitting a manuscript to a publisher, even when it is accepted, it can take more than 18 months to 2 years before it sees the light of day.
Nevertheless, following the normal commercial path to publishing can help to teach an author valuable lessons in patience, dedication, and the feedback to hone their writing talents. Too often, I find that an author considering self-publishing is more influenced by an impatience to ‘see their book in print’ than the countless rejection slips collected along the road.
The system of publishing certainly does have to change. In particular, the long held elitist rules of submission ie, the practice of publishers frowning on authors who submit to more than one publisher at a time. Why not, I say, don’t literary agents court multiple publishers with an MS all the time?
One of the most common things I hear editors at publishing houses bemoan is the slush piles they have to wade through, week in, week out, yet, the same editors claim to know within a handful of pages if a manuscript is really going to be suitable for their publishing list and of a good enough standard to publish and market within a few pages. So, if this is the case, why does it take so long?
Publishing is no different to many other facets of business. Every company wants to shift as much of the ‘dog work’ off somewhere else if they can. Hence, 90% of medium to large publishing houses use a literary agent as their ‘screen’ and will not entertain an unsolicited MS. They know a reputable literary agent will not submit a manuscript unless it is professionally edited and as near as possible to publishing standard. This is now the norm, but it was not always the case. The youth of today have far greater literacy skills than say the youth of 30 years ago. And I bet many are more savvy about skills like selling, promotion and the publishing industry in general.
Regarding publisher’s monopoly being geared toward repeat authors of best sellers – well, I think it is not so much a publisher looking at repeat best selling authors, but rather their doggedness in trying to repeat best selling formulas of novel and non-fiction theme. Again, this is something which has changed about modern publishers. They seem to want the ready-made formula to drop through their letterbox. There was a time when publishers were far more independent in editorial thinking – cared more about creating trends, genres and literary movements, than benignly following whatever sells well.

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