Thread: Getting things published?
12-31-2003, 12:09 PM #1
Getting things published?
I was wondering if anyone on the board has gotten things published before, books and the such, and how hard it is to get things published. I mean I walk into a bookstore like Chapters and they have TONS of books, and it seems almost everything can get published these days.
Anyone here in the writing field? Freelance or maybe newspaper/magazines, stuff like that. Has anyone ever published a book/novel/poetry/etc...
I really enjoy reading and writing, so I've thought about this for some time.
Any info/advice would be helpful
12-31-2003, 12:15 PM #2
I've had a few things published in my day. Non-fiction mostly. It really wasn't that dificult...I just saw the ad in the back of Penthouse and sent in my letter and next thing I know there it is in black and white!
12-31-2003, 03:29 PM #3
Terinox, get the book "The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book, 14th Edition" by Dan Poynter.
It is about the best that I have seen on this subject. Lots of information...
You can also do a web search on self-publishing.
12-31-2003, 11:45 PM #4
Yeah sure...I guess you could do that to. If you really wanted to.
01-01-2004, 12:32 AM #5
There are lots of what's called "vanity presses" that will publish anything you care to write. The deal is, you give 'em your document and several thousand $$$, and they send you several hundred (or thousand) books, and what you do with 'em then is your problem. Prices are in the neighborhood of $1 for a small paperback in large quantity, and upwards, depending on size, pages, how fancy of a cover you want, etc.
If you want to get published, look for a magazine called "Writer's Digest." You should be able to find it at most larger bookstores where they sell magazines. The company that publishes that magazine also publishes lots of very good books on the various aspects of writing . . . they've got titles on eveything from writing song lyrics to writing mystery, science fiction, romance, etc etc, and can give you pointers on how to submit your manuscript to non-vanity publishers so you can get $$$ for your work. They also put out an annual list of publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts, and arrange them by what sort of material they accept, how much they pay, how much stuff they publish each year, and their addresses. Worth its weight in gold to the professional writer.
Anyway, if you're lookin' to get into professional writing, they have resources to get you started.
01-01-2004, 01:01 AM #6
realityarts & Tock, thanks a bunch for the info!!
reality, I'll check that book, and see how good it is, they might have it at chapters, i'll check it out next time i'm there, and yes, I have done some searching on the web, there are some good websites with advice as well, just wanted to know if any of you bro's knew anything
Tock, thnx for the advice, next time I'm at chapters, I will give that magazine a shot too, see what kind of info are in it, and that vanity-press thing, where they print books for you is not so bad of an idea (if you have the money) just to get started, and spread the book around for a critical point of view.
01-01-2004, 03:15 PM #7
This thread was Taylor made for me. I've done a lot of writing for national magazines (including mags like Muscle & Fitness) and I also write fiction, so I'm very plugged in on book publishing.
Feel free to PM me for more information, but my big question would be, "What do you want to publish?" Do you want to publish just to see your name in print? Or is there something you really want to say? Do you want to write fiction or non-fiction? Before you can publish, you need to think it out.
To get published in big magazines with no experience is virtually impossible. You really have to start at smaller specialty mags and regional magazines, work your way up, and build a set of clips. Eventually, you might be able to do bigger magazine stories--but it takes years.
As for books, again, it depends on what you're writing. It's very hard to break in writing fiction--since so many people think they can do it, but very few actually do it well. Non-fiction, self-help, etc. might be a little easier to get published, but you're still talking about years of writing and research. You also have to get an agent to get any book to major editors. There are many hoops.
None of which should dissuade you if it's what you want to do. Every Olympia competitor made it through their first workout--and every great author starts by sitting down and writing that first story. Be patient and good luck.
01-01-2004, 03:21 PM #8
One thing about vanity presses . . . It used to be that the mainstream publishers (Prentice, Harcourt, Harper, etc) considered authors who had only been published by vanity presses about the lowest of the low in the heirarchy of writers. It would be different if you self-published a title that sold zillions of copies, 'cause then they'd figure they might make a few bucks off ya.
I only mention this so that if you're the sort of person who would much prefer someone else do all the marketing of your books, you'll need to go to a regular publisher, and when you do, it'll probably look better if you don't have a history of vanity publishing.
If you read "How-to-publish-and-sell-your-own-book" (or something similar) you'll find that you can make just as much $$$ if you market and sell 1,000 copies on your own as what the big publishers will give ya if they sell 20,000 copies. It's easier nowadays to sell your own, thanks to the internet. You could set up your own web page, sell on eBay, and Amazon (and maybe Borders, too) will list your book then bill you for whatever orders you get.
A lot depends on how you market your book, and a lot depends on what kind of book it is . . . if you're gonna do fiction, well, customers are probably going to put an author's name they're already familiar with in the search field . . . if you're book is non-fiction, I'd imagine that a potential customer would put the topic in the search field, and your book would be one of several listed, so your chances of a sale would be better . . .
There's a few good books out there available through Writers Digest that cover all the business angles of selling books, which is really most of what ya need to know to make $$$ in the business . . .
Good luck, and let us know when you've got something ready to sell . . .
01-01-2004, 05:46 PM #9Originally Posted by Venice
My sister has also always been into reading/writing, and so we thought about writing a book together, most likely fiction, because it's easier to play around with.
01-01-2004, 05:46 PM #10
I have a friend who published his own memoir and it came out looking great. He put a lot of money into it. He hired an editor to work through the manuscript so it read well, had art direction, the whole nine yards.
Still....he would tell you that if he'd had the right chance to not self-publish, he would have done it in a heartbeat. He decided to go that route because it was a very personal book for him and he didn't like some of the changes the publishing house editors wanted.
If it were me, I wouldn't think of vanity publishing as a first choice. I'd think of it as a nice option if all else fails. Ultimately, if you're looking to build a career in publishing, a book published by a small publisher is still a lot more impressive to editors than self-publishing because even a small press run shows that somebody out there (besides yourself) was willing to invest a little money in printing your work.
01-01-2004, 05:48 PM #11Originally Posted by Tock
01-01-2004, 05:50 PM #12
If you're looking to write short fiction, the best way to go is to write stories and submit them to literary magazines. Not the New Yorker or giant magazines, but journals like Alaska Quarterly, Tin House, Glimmer Train, etc.
It's not easy to publish short stories because the competition is fierce. However, this is how writers starting out make a name for themselves. Agents and editors will want to see at least 3-5 of your published stories before they'd even consider representing/buying a short story collection to publish.
01-01-2004, 05:51 PM #13
Hey, another side question: If you were to ask for very little money from the publisher, would that help in the whole publishing aspect of it. As in they see you are a no-name and wut not, but you ask for virtually nothing (just to get it out there).
01-01-2004, 05:56 PM #14
They're not going to publish your work--even for free--unless it's where it needs to be. Even if they don't pay you, there are still expenses. Paying the editor, art design, printing. Every book is an investment and doing it for free won't do anything to help you get your work published. Here's an article from Mediabistro to look at.
01-01-2004, 06:11 PM #15Originally Posted by Venice
01-01-2004, 06:42 PM #16
Ter, have you thought of having a talk with a lit or journalism Prof at your university? Or even the folks who run the student paper (mostly journalism students). Those people are usually well connected in the whole literary world (be it periodicals or books).
I used to go out with a journalism student back in college and she was way plugged in to the whole publishing business... it was almost scary!
It might be worth looking into.
01-01-2004, 08:58 PM #17Originally Posted by Red Ketchup
01-02-2004, 12:14 AM #18Originally Posted by Venice
I agree . . . for sure do the vanity press thing only as a last resort, and only if you are positive (which means lots of people you don't know have ordered copies) you can sell it yourself.
50% of being a writer is knowing how to write, the other 50% is knowing how to market and sell your stuff. Since you're in school now, you could plan on taking a few classes in marketing, see what you can pick up to help you sell your stuff . . .
Anyway, pick up a few books on what it takes to get published. It's discouraging what it really takes, but with a lot of skill and talent plus some imagination an luck, you just might be the next Issac Assimov . . .
Good luck . . .
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