Getting In the Door
by Bruce Skye
I use the phrase “getting in the door” to refer to becoming published. The process now is both easier and harder than in years past. If you have the money, you can easily get into print with a self-publisher or a print on demand (POD) firm. And, I’ve discovered some POD companies actually have literary agents on their payroll. So, you need to be extremely careful in seeking an agent, much less a publisher.
Having a literary agent represent you is perhaps the smartest thing to do. They know the people you want your work to be examined by. And they can get to them, you can’t. But, again, finding one willing to represent you can be extremely difficult. And with POD firms having agents in their employ, you may do yourself more harm than good.
Is it still possible to have a conventional publisher print your work? It is. But they tend to stay away from fiction and focus instead on self-help works and biographies. It does seem as if all they want are bestsellers and ignore anything that isn’t guaranteed to sell at least a million copies. And, granted, they don’t seem interested in taking the risk of promoting excellent unknown writers.
Another rule to remember: don’t go with a publisher who effusively promises to promote your work. Always keep in mind you’re on your own in this area. It’s your book, not theirs. Whether they even care if you succeed or not is extremely debatable in my experience. There are excellent book promotion firms available which do not charge the heinous $47/hour rates I’ve seen advertised on the Net.
So, it is easy to see your name on a book cover. However, it is not easy to get that volume on a New York Times bestseller’s list. So, in the end, if you’re not making money by what you’re doing, why bother? I write because I love it. And sometimes, someone writes a wonderful review which makes all the frustration and effort worth it. Let me share a portion of one such review of my recently published novel Grayrider:
Fans of sword-and-sorcery adventures and fantasy novels will enjoy this book. It is fast-paced with intricate story lines, and a depth familiar to students of Celtic lore and history. Written in a style reminiscent of Tolkien’s “The Two Towers,” the reader is swept into the story from the first page.
So I’ll keep at it. The question is, will you?