Thursday, November 08, 2007



For anyone who’s just joined us, this post is about getting your first book out there. Over the past four weeks we’ve gone from coming up with that big idea that propels your book from your head to the page, to writing, re-writing and finally getting it out there to agents and in some cases small publishers.

Now that your book is officially “out there” what do you do? Well the first thing is to have patience, because with some exceptions (for people extremely lucky, very connected or both) it’s usually going to be a waiting game. As mentioned last week, agents rarely get back to you quickly and from this point on it will be a combination of managing your expectations and not letting yourself get discouraged by rejection. The one comforting thought is that even the most successful writers have experienced rejection, many of them for years until something finally hit. So the first thing that you do is to muster all of your inner resilience to just keep getting your book out there.

If you’ve exhausted all of the agents or small publishers that you initially identified, you may want to go back and identify another round. At this point, you may also have gotten some instructive feedback (as part of one of the rejection letters, as I did) which will give you an idea of some areas that you can re-write. Never be afraid to go back in after you haven’t read your manuscript for awhile and take a fresh look. Often it’s after months (or sometimes much longer) of not having read something that you can really look at it with fresh eyes and understand what may not have been working. You may also want to have someone else who hasn’t read the book before and who is either a writer or someone with a good literary eye, read it and critique your manuscript again.

At this point, you may also want to consider self-publishing. I don’t have any personal experience with self-publishing and I know that for some people it is a very viable option. From what I’ve observed from people whom I know who have self published, the major issues are distribution, money and your own time to promote the book. Before you think that once you get a conventional publisher you just sit back and wait for the book sales, think again! But we’ll talk more about promoting your book in a later blog. With self publishing you don’t generally have the benefit of an extensive distribution network with the major chains and independents, so in addition to promoting your book to consumers, you’ll also have to promote it to bookstores that you would like to carry your book.

The challenge in getting book stores to carry a self-published book is that often they cannot take the books on consignment from one of the major distributors, thus they can’t return the books if they don’t sell. Many self-publishers opt to do the book festivals (ie renting a booth), the internet, Amazon. Com or other online distributors and to by-pass traditional chains. Some self published books have become huge sellers that way and through word of mouth, but it can be very challenging. There are companies that will self publish your book, and do much of what a conventional publisher would do, including in some cases limited distribution. However, these are upfront cost that you have to cover. Again, I do not have personal experience with self-publishing and if you’re considering that route I would recommend that you research your options well and preferably get recommendations from someone who has had a positive experience with a self-publisher.

In the meantime, if you opt to stick it out until you get a conventional book deal, keep focused and positive on getting your book published and soon the waiting game will be over! Next week we’ll talk about what happens when you finally get that book deal.

If you’d like to know more about my book A DEAD MAN SPEAKS check out my website at or you can email me at adeadmanspeaks

Look for part six in this series on November 22nd!


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