How To Publish?

Now that I’m finished my manuscript, I’m in the early stages of self-editing my work. With NaNoWriMo, I just wrote and didn’t go over the previous chapters. I found that it slowed down the writing process because I would end up rewriting a chapter over and over again and only add a few hundred words to my work in progress (WIP). Instead, I just wrote and wrote and wrote. If I felt that there was a change needed, I would make a note and get back to it—which is where I am right now.

In the meantime, I’m thinking about what to do next after I finish polishing this manuscript. I have submitted a few chapters on Scribophile and the peer critiques are helping tremendously. I may use the critique partner matching program that is available from the Romance Writers Association.

But after I get critiques done on my manuscript, what next? I had the chance to talk with some peers at Toronto Romance Writers Holiday Social about their method of publishing. Some have their pros and cons.

Traditional publishing is easy, provided publishing house makes an offer for your manuscript. They would take care of the editing, cover art, and some promotion. They give an advance on your manuscript or half for future books and the other half upon completion. But watch out for clauses in the contract because they may require exclusivity with your pen name and only want manuscripts with certain themes or plots. Also, the royalties may be a small percentage of the sales.

Similar to traditional publishing are e-publishers. Your books are sold in an e-book format with print on demand. The royalties are a little higher than the traditional publishing.

Another option is using an agent. But this takes some work getting an agent to take your manuscript. This requires a query letter as well. But once an agent decides to take on your manuscript, they take care of all the legality in contracts with publisher to ensure you are protected. They work to find a publisher for your manuscript. They take care of the editing. They can also give an advance for your manuscript or half for future books. The thing is, they would take a cut from the profits of the book.

Both the above mentioned methods put in a lot of work in the editing and polishing of the manuscript, promotion, and selling.

Another option is self-publishing. With self-publishing, all the royalties go to the author. However, the author needs to put money upfront to pay for editing, cover art, and promotion. The more effort put into manuscript, the more books are sold, and the more money is made. If there are too many grammatical mistakes or the plot goes no where, expect a bad review. If the cover art isn’t attractive, the book won’t be noticed among the thousands of thumbnails for other books. If the book isn’t promoted constantly, the book isn’t proactively purchased.

There are many complaints for each type and also many success stories. It’s a big decision, but which is the best choice?


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