How To Publish A Novel – Old & New

Self Publishing

Yes, I am a reader. A writer, not so much. They say that good writers are avid readers, so maybe there is a future for me in writing books about books! LOL. Because I am not a professional writer, what follows is not going to be expert advice. But being around books all the time and overhearing a lot of conversations about people working on trying to get their writing published, I think I can offer some simple and sound advice about walking the path of publishing a book.

First of all, I am going to restrict my writing to novels, only because that is what I know the most about. A lot of people are working on novels because that is one of the genres that is in highest demand. People like reading about other people, fictional or otherwise. People like drama. That is obvious because if there isn’t any around they will create their own. No, I am not a drama queen, in case you are wondering.

But back to the issue at hand. There are three main way you can get your book published. The first is to take the traditional way of going to a publisher with a finished product and submit it for review and editing. Your writing will be edited, so get over it. Many people enlist literary agents who have connections to a number of publishing houses to get in the door. Since this is a preferred choice of many experienced writers, the competition is fierce and the wait before getting approval is long. However, should you make it through the process, the chances of getting your name and your work in the eye of the general public is much greater than using the other ways.

The second choice, which is becoming more and more popular with first time authors, is using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. These are primarily e-books that will be shown on Amazon’s web site, which translates into free advertising. Like the traditional publishing route, every writer wants to get free advertising, so getting noticed is more than a matter of simply submitting your book for publishing. There is a royalty that Amazon takes from each sale, depending on the price of the book. The advantage to using Amazon’s service is you can get your book to market quickly with a minimum of red tape and processing.

The third possibility is to self-publish. If you are thinking that there is not an editing process with this method, think again. The best self-publishing companies have a set of standards that must be met before they will accept it for printing. But the advantage is that you have control of the entire process. No intermediary agents and no royalty fees per sale. It can be more profitable but you have to cover the publishing costs and do all the marketing and advertising on your own. Unless you are an experienced marketer or have advertising experience, the time and effort you spend getting competent at this part of the publishing process may be better used going a different route.

So there it is – your starting point. Keep writing, and reading, and you may one day find yourself on the best seller list.

Paper vs Pixel – Why I Like Both


I am a reader. Not an ordinary reader. I sit and curl up with a book during lunch, after work, and on the weekends. I read most anything good, depending on how you see the definition of good. To me all reading is good.

By the way, I should mention that I work in a bookstore.

People tell me I am pretty smart, or pretty and smart. LOL. That is all good too. But I am a bit tired over this debate about paper versus pixel. For you non-readers, the issue is whether paper books are better than electronic books such as Amazon’s Kindle. To me it’s all a bunch of nonsense. If you are an avid reader like myself, both have their advantages, if you know what you are looking for.

Paper has the nice real feel to it. It’s like you are actually holding on to the story instead of reading it. I have had the experience of walking into some of these old bookstores, the one’s that smell of old paper and dusty books on shelves. Nothing like it. Turning a page in an older book is done with care, as you can easily tear a page or loosen it from its binding. There is a history to books, more than the history in the books. Paper is sensory and that is definitely lost with the evolution of e-books.

But e-books have their advantages as well. The biggest and most noticeable is the fact you can have thousands of books at your fingertips that weigh virtually nothing. The prices are cheaper than many of the paper books, and you can keep them almost forever. Amazon has hundreds of free books that are in the public domain as well as some books by new authors who are trying to create new genres. The Kindle device itself is fairly inexpensive, so despite the critics who say that it is cheaper to buy used paperbacks, they just don’t know what they are talking about. The technology of e-readers has progressed, and using them is easier than ever. Many people questioned the viability of e-readers and e-books, but they continue to be proven wrong.

It’s not that the technology is perfect. If you run out of battery power at the beach, the incoming tide won’t recharge your Kindle. Paper books just need to be kept dry. The glare from the sun makes a lot of the e-readers difficult to see. With a paper book all you have to do is put on a pair of sunglasses, making you look smart and fashionable in one step! And there are those who make the case that most people only read a book once, so having 3000 books on an electronic device is overkill. As far as I am concerned, there are books I have read 20 times because they are great. Not all books are Harlequin romances or outdated technical journals.

For me, there is no argument to discuss about paper or pixel because books are about ideas and words, not the container they are in. Sometimes I think that people just have too much time on their hands.