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To Publish or Not to Publish? Can You Handle the Truth?

If I'd taken that bitter pill and realised all that before writing my books, I probably would never have written them.

The ‘all that’ I’m talking about relates to what one apparently has to do to get published.

I thought it was all about the writing... obviously writing something really good that people want to read. But basically, just that.

Sweet naïve kid that I am.

From everything I’ve learnt, it appears that to have a snowball’s hope in hell of getting an agent or publisher to even glance at your work, one must:

  • Build a writer’s platform (rather than engaging a carpenter, that means one requires a social network platform, e.g. Web site, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)

  • Write a Blog

  • Belong to a writers group

  • Join a writing association/s

  • Have a writing network

  • Develop a face-to-face writing network

  • Have successfully published some short stories

  • Won some awards for said stories

  • Have a list of suitable publishers

  • Develop a list of suitable agents

  • Write a pitch

  • Develop a hook

  • Create a strapline (unrelated to tight rope walking or mountain climbing, I believe a strapline is a one liner that sums up the essence of your book)

  • Produce a synopsis

  • Design a phone pitch

  • et cetera

Oh, and by the way, ‘all that’ includes having a manuscript that is absolutely, one hundred percent ready to send out. Essentially this means your book has been vetted by a professional and been given the thumbs up. And that’s not a husband professional, or a friend professional. A fair dinkum, well experienced writing professional.

Hence, the last week has been spent not writing, but attending to ‘all that.’ It's the first time in twelve months I've spent time away from my novels, and it’s doing my head in.

In fact, I seriously considered forgetting about the whole publishing thing. It sounds all too hard.

Anyways, having inherited a DNA chip of Dogged Determination, I will do all these things.

Starting with building that bloody platform.

This may delay publication of my books for another decade, due to being sucked down into the vortex of time devouring Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other related activities, such as blogging, entering competitions and all that other ‘stuff.’

The information I've gathered from published authors, on the process of getting published, is quite disheartening. I was also shocked at the low income of most Australian authors.

Despite the discouraging news, I do appreciate the reality check.

These seasoned and successful professionals have torn away my veils of illusion, or whatever it was I wrapped in, and here I stand quaking at the precipice. Shiver, shake... give me my veils back... please!

Do I proceed down the precarious publishing path and its related undertakings?

This mission - if I choose to accept it - may eat me alive and destroy my soul so I can never pen another word. Yikes.

Or perhaps... I can simply self publish and whack my books online.

Self publishing. That my friends is a whole new pathway for me to explore.

Do I wish I'd known all this before I started writing my novels? Yes and No. Probably leaning more to the 'no' at this stage. Being aware of the scary reality may have stopped me in my tracks. However, I haven't come this far to quit now. It's made me all the more determined!

Don't let the harsh reality of publishing stop you from writing, but perhaps you could start chipping away at that platform.

Helpful Links

I found this comprehensive article by Ian Irvine to be a real eye opener. At the end he says:

‘Final lesson: Anyone who can be discouraged from writing should be.’

Phew. Brutal.

Ian lays out the ugly truth and I felt quite shattered after reading it.

In fact, it took two glasses of champagne to revive me.

Taking a Harsh Reality Pill (HRP) is always easier with a good slug of champagne.

That pill felt like one big matzah ball, let me tell you, but now it’s digested, I think I’m definitely the better for it. A girl's got to know what she's up against!

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