Pursuing Publication: Why Do You Write?

Fairy Tales
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Once Upon a Time

Jacob A. Writer decided to write a book. He wrote his book, finished it and then researched how to get it published. He discovered there were two options for getting published.

1. Try to get a publishing company interested enough in his story to publish it.

2. Publish it himself.

Self-publishing was by far the easiest route to take, he found out, but it was cursed with a stigma. Only failed writers who couldn’t make it in traditional publishing went the self-publishing route. Or so many people thought.

Jacob didn’t want to wear the label of Failed Writer, so he decided on the traditional publishing path.

He spent much time polishing his queries, refining his elevator pitches (in case he was ever in an elevator with an agent or editor), and began submitting to editors and agents in the hopes that his story would be deemed worthy of publication.

If he was lucky, if the story was good, if the story fit the publisher’s catalog, if there wasn’t already a similar story in the pipeline, if the story was thought to have mass appeal, if the story made it through all of the editorial hoops, then just maybe… Jacob might see it on the shelf at his local bookstore one day. It would take months, maybe even years, but eventually, it would be there. Readers would see it and buy it and Jacob would make a small amount of money for his labor.

This was the acceptable and traditional way for a writer to share his stories with the world. And for a serious writer like Jacob, this was the path he walked.

Then One Day

Along came the Internet and print-on-demand vendors and blogs and PDFs and smart phones and eReaders.

Writers now had multiple paths they could follow.

They could start a blog and share their daily thoughts with the world. They could write on any subject they chose and publish their own words to the world.

They could write stories and release them as PDFs, available as downloads on their website.

They could work with a distributor to release their out of print titles in electronic formats that the readers could download to their smart phones or eReaders.

They could even release novellas and collections of short stories and rejected novels that the traditional publishers didn’t want through their website or the distributors.

And the writers found that the readers were hungry for good stories, regardless of the format.

Some writers began selling their books to the masses using distributors instead of publishers. And the readers bought the books, in great numbers if the books were reasonably priced. And for the first time, writers had a solid chance at making a living from their writing without having to trudge the long path of traditional publishing.

Now they could finish a story, polish it and release it the next day, directly into a reader’s hands.

And a question arose among writers, now that there was more than one acceptable way to publish a story.

“Why do I write?”

Jacob went to his friends and asked them why they wrote.

Traditional Recognition

Jane said that she wrote because she wanted to see her book on a bookshelf. She craved that traditional form of recognition that acknowledged her story had passed the strict publishing tests and been deemed worthy of becoming a printed book stamped with the publisher’s mark. Seeing her name on the cover of a book on the bookstore bookshelf gave her the validation that she wanted. Jane decided that she would continue to submit to traditional publishing. When her first book was released, she proudly sent copies to her friends, including Jacob, and her family.

To Be Heard

Phil said that he just wanted to tell his story. He wanted his words to find an audience, no matter how small. Phil chose to start his own blog, where he posts his thoughts daily. He has also considered publishing a memoir. He hasn’t decided yet if it will be via PDF, a print-on-demand vendor or through a distributor. His blog readership is growing and each post brings a few comments. He couldn’t be happier.

To Make Money

Tammy said that she wanted to make a living by telling stories. She decided to release her stories via the electronic distributors. By telling a good story and keeping the price of her ebook low, Tammy found out that she was able to make more money in a shorter time-frame than she could via traditional publishing with its long publishing schedule. Getting paid good money to tell stories is the best job she’s ever had, she told Jacob.

To Gain Fans

Gary said that what he most wanted was to have his own fan base for his stories. He loved the idea of people reading his stories and living in the world he created. He chose to release PDFs on his website and also released ebooks through the distributors at a very low price to gain more readers. After he builds a good following he plans to pursue traditional publishing as a means to a wider distribution.

Happily Ever After

Jacob thought about how each of his friends identified what they wanted out of their writing and choose a method of publication that gave them what they wanted. Some even decided on using multiple methods.

Jacob himself had a thriller idea he had been tossing around. It was outside his normal Western genre and his publisher didn’t want it. So he decided to release it as an ebook to see how his sales went. He’s excited about the future for writers as technology makes it easier for writers to reach readers directly.

Your Turn

Why do you write? What do you want to get out of it? Is it time to change the publishing path you’re on to better meet your goals?

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