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This is a guest post from Allan Douglas. I really appreciate these guest posts during my time of life flux.
There is a tendency for authors, especially new authors, to discount the value of the established and venerated publishing houses; those establishments that have for, in some cases, hundreds of years provided the readers of the world, with quality materials to entertain, inform and enlighten. But suddenly the reverent awe in which we have always held these firms is being besmirched, like graffiti on a church by a pair of hooligans; a bratty upstart called Self Publishing and his sidekick Indie Press. Oh, sure, their cousin Vanity Press has been prostituting herself for almost as long as the Big Houses have been around, but she pretty much kept to herself and offered little threat to them.
Self and Indie, however, have managed to lure a sizable contingent of writers into their posse with promises of instant money and fast stardom. But, here are six reasons why authors should stick with the brick and mortar giants of publishing.
Rejection is so rewarding. You enjoy spending a year or more querying agents and wallpapering your office with the politely worded notices that you aren’t quite right for them at this time, serving as an everlasting memorial to your inadequacy.
You enjoy the challenge of rewriting your book to conform to the socio-political stance of the publishing house that has seen promise in your work.
You want to savor the prolonged anticipation and expectation of knowing your book is in the works and will be made available to the general public by stretching it out for a year or a year and half if possible.
An up-front cash payment of several thousand dollars is enough of a carrot to induce you to give up all rights to your work, trusting that the Big House will be actively seeking every possible opportunity to sell said work.
Because, should said work sell well enough to cover your advance and produce royalties, 5% to 7% of sales is certainly generous compensation for the paltry amount of labor and thought you put into the creation of one book. After all – how much sweat and angst can it take to produce a book that sells well?
Self publishing, like micro computers and cell phones, is a fad; merely a passing fancy with technology. Once the hoopla wears off, all reputable authors will be pounding on the doors to the hallowed halls of the Big 6 begging forgiveness for their sinful dalliance with this slick-talking upstart.
So, what’s it going to be? I say; hold tight to your Smith Corona typewriter and that curly-corded telephone and keep banging out query letters to feed your rejection addiction. After all; we ARE supposed to suffer for our art, aren’t we?
The egocentric liar who cowers behind the pen name Allan Douglas has been an author, writer, prattler, dreamer since the 1970’s, published mostly in magazines but has duped publishers into producing three books to date, one through a publishing house the others self-published – but they were just an experiment; like that first cigarette out behind the barn, just to see what all the fuss is about. Really!
He lives on a mountainside in the Cherokee National Forest in East Tennessee with an undeservedly wonderful wife, a genius border collie and a Prima donna English hound who is queen of the mountain. He serves as an ordained Elder in his church, is a master woodworker, former custom furniture maker and once dreamt of sailing the world in a Bristol Channel Cutter. But then he met a girl, got all twitterpated and lost is way. Stories about his life as a mountain man wannabe are posted to www.SimpleLifePrattle.com. He also offers hackneyed advice to misguided writers at his blog http://AllanDouglas.com/blog/ where he compounds his offense by making a feeble attempt to sell the progeny of his tryst with a couple of the members of Self Publishing’s posse. May he never live down the shame!
From Joanna: Top image is my own from Sydney Writer's Festival. The Green Room is reserved for authors who are speaking – I would say 100% of those are traditionally published at the moment – will that be changing?