Publishing Lottery

It took years to write

So, you’ve checked your manuscript, the numbers are right, all the boxes are ticked, your contact details are included, you’ve met the deadline (if there is one) and you have sent your work to the right publisher. The problem is, there is no cut off point, no TV announcement of winners and if you are unlucky enough, not even an announcement of non-winning via the dreaded Rejection Slip! Welcome to the publishing lottery.

The debate about whether to self-publish or go the traditional route rages on. And there remains that persistent mind-set that being published by one of the ‘Big Name Houses’ is the only reputable way to go. One of the stigmas that surround self-publishing is that of independents not making a living from their work. How many times have you been asked “Do you make a living from it.” It may be helpful to know that even an average Author with one of the Big Houses may struggle to make $10,000. Here in the UK, the majority sell less than 300 copies. Overcoming stigma then is about challenging the perceived wisdom and proceeding with confidence.

A look at the figures may help you to break free from the ‘if only’ thinking of all lottery players.There are 86,300 Publishers world-wide; of that number 300-400 are mid size publishers and only 6 are large well-known publishers – the rest, all 86,000 of them are self publishers. Those who submit their manuscripts to the ‘Big Houses’ in the hope of fame and fortune might be helped by knowing that out of the tens of thousands of manuscripts submitted every year, about a dozen are selected by each. Welcome to the Lottery!

I am fully aware of the old arguments about self publishing and I acknowledge the validity of some of them – such as the risk of the market being flooded with poor writing. However, for those who know that their work is good and who have taken the time to have it reviewed, self publishing is the way to go.

With enhanced technology offering a Global readership, economical marketing and promotion opportunities  and Social Networking, the world is open to what you have to offer. I am an avid reader of self published books and, of the 100 authors I have in my Kindle, how could any of them ever have attracted me to read them if they hadn’t used the internet to market their books. We all know the old stories of the vanity publishers, but let’s not confuse that with Self Publishing enterprise that remains firmly under the control of the author and his or her collaborators.

My argument is not that people should shy away from the ‘Big Publishers’, but rather, that self publishing is seen as a viable and reputable alternative where the lottery has failed to pay off. I have numerous friends, who,  suffering numerous rejections have concluded that their work is trash and canned it. The publishing world is a business and structured on a firm set of business protocols, so their rejection of your manuscript isn’t about it being trash, it is about straight forward business decisions that may not favor you at the time.

My plea therefore is, if you have given up on the lottery, don’t can the manuscript – self publish. Click this text to see who have succeeded at self publishing and why?

Look out for my next post:

’10 Surefire Ways to Self Publishing Success’.

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