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The Publishing Options of Today


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A lecture on publishing delivered to the English 210: Creative Writing class at Victor Valley College.

A lecture on publishing delivered to the English 210: Creative Writing class at Victor Valley College.

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  • 1. The Publishing Options of Today How to publish your fiction
  • 2. How to ‘make it’ as an author in three not-so-easy steps: Write a good story 2. Publish it 3. Repeat 1.
  • 3. Write a Good Story How do I know my story is ready to be published? ◦ Free of spelling and grammatical errors ◦ Strangers have given you positive feedback  Friends and family don’t count because they are biased.
  • 4. Write a Good Story Where do I find strangers to critique my story? ◦ Find a creative writing group that works for you ◦ Online: 
  • 5. Publish It Your publishing options 1. Traditional Publishing 2. Indie Publishing
  • 6. Traditional Publishing The way authors have been published for at least the past 50-100yrs Publishers control the distribution system to bookstores To reach readers, authors must go through publishers
  • 7. Traditional Publishing How to publish your short story traditionally ◦ Submit your story to magazines along with a cover letter (also known as a ‘query letter’) ◦ You will receive rejections letters ◦ Persevere
  • 8. Traditional Publishing Where to find magazines ◦ Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market ◦ Online: 
  • 9. Traditional Publishing How to submit to magazines ◦ Read the magazine(s) ◦ Learn the style of fiction that they publish ◦ Make sure that your story is a good fit for their magazine ◦ Follow the magazine’s submission guidelines ◦ Submit your story with a query letter
  • 10. Traditional Publishing How to write a query letter ◦ Make it concise (two paragraphs of no more than 3-4 sentences each) ◦ Tell them why you’ve chosen to submit to their magazine and why your story might be a good fit ◦ Give them some background information about yourself (esp. previous publications)
  • 11. Traditional Publishing Be patient and persistent ◦ Magazines can receive 100s of submissions but only publish a few stories ◦ It may be weeks or months before they can reply to you ◦ Do not hassle them for a quick response ◦ If your story is rejected, do not give up ◦ Find another suitable magazine to submit to
  • 12. Indie Publishing A viable option since 2010 Bookstores are closing and content is migrating online Authors can bypass publishers and upload their stories directly to online etailers Authors no longer need bookstores to reach readers
  • 13. Indie Publishing How to self-publish your short story ◦ Design a book cover and format your story so that it is compatible with online e-tailers and digital reading devices ◦ Upload your story online
  • 14. Indie Publishing Online distributors ◦ Amazon KDP  Kindle Direct Publishing allows an author to publish their story straight into Amazon’s store ◦ Smashwords  An online distributor that will send your story into the virtual stores of major e-tailers like Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo
  • 15. Traditional vs. Indie Time ◦ Traditional publishing involves a lot of waiting. It can take months or even years before your work is published. ◦ Indie/self-publishing is almost instantaneous. It can take a few minutes to a few weeks before your work is available to readers.
  • 16. Traditional vs. Indie Money ◦ Valid traditional publishers will pay you money upfront. All services (editing, art, formatting, etc.) are free. ◦ Indie publishing may include upfront costs if you choose to hire cover artists, professional editors, or formatters. However, the actual online upload process is free.
  • 17. Traditional vs. Indie Money ◦ Traditional publishers usually pay around 15% royalties for novels ◦ For indie publishing, you will not be paid upfront, but distributors normally pay around 70% royalties for all stories based on a list price that you choose
  • 18. Traditional vs. Indie Control ◦ Traditional publishers can make editorial, marketing, formatting, cover art decisions without your approval ◦ With indie publishing, you will control all aspects of how your final story appears
  • 19. Traditional vs. Indie Reaching readers ◦ Traditional publishing: if you’re published in a magazine with a wide readership, you could potentially reach 100s if not 1000s of readers. ◦ Indie publishing: if you’re an unknown author, your story may be lost in a crowded marketplace.
  • 20. Traditional vs. Indie Reaching readers ◦ Traditional publishing: a well-established magazine will already have its own readership and marketing plans. ◦ Indie publishing: without a built-in readership, you must devise your own marketing strategies, such as free giveaways, to increase your visibility.
  • 21. Traditional vs. Indie In summary: ◦ There are no guarantees with either route. Research carefully and choose the option that is best for you. ◦ Most of all, remember to keep writing and never give up. ◦ Good luck!
  • 22. For more information: Digital Book World: ◦ Publisher’s Weekly: ◦ Nathan Bransford’s blog: ◦