Can we get together and discuss this?

I know very little about self-publishing or e-publishing—or even small press publishing. I wanted to get that out of the way, so you understand I’m asking for information and discussion today, not stating an opinion from a knowledgeable viewpoint.

I do know that vanity publishing (where the author pays money to the “publisher”) is NOT something I’m interested in. But the longer I travel this agent query road, the more I find myself wondering about other publishing options. I haven’t given up trying to find an agent to represent my novel to a big name publisher (I have queries and partials out) but when I allow myself to read agent statistics, I tend to question whether I ought to face those facts with my head rather than my heart.

Consider this: established agents receive a conservative average of 50 queries a day—that’s almost 20,000 queries a year—but during that time take on maybe 5 new clients! Sobering odds, huh?

If you’ve ever looked up the agent who represented your favorite author, chances are you found that said agent “does not accept unsolicited queries.” The fact is the best way to get an agent to consider your query is by client referral. How many of you know an author offering to put in a good word for you with their agent? Show of hands.

For the most part, I search for new agents trying to build their client lists. They are just as hopeful they’ll discover the next best-selling author as we’re hopeful we are that author.

I know I’m not the only one who’s curious about the other publishing options. Natasha recently wrote a post about this. And super agent Nathan Bransford has written about e-publishing and self-publishing options.

So now, I’d like to know your thoughts. Have you considered (or chosen) one of these options? What do you know about the pros and cons? Do you think what you write should be a consideration? In the end, does it come down to a simple decision of why you write, whether you write just to share a story vs. writing to make money?

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Support your fellow writers!

Not so long ago, I wrote a post where I referred to this community of writers as a tapestry. I’d like to revisit that idea in this post.  We hear a lot of talk about social networking and self-promotion in the publishing industry. Long gone are the days when a writer could simply write and leave the sale of the work to their publisher’s publicity department. Nowadays, unless your name is already a household word, publicizing your published work is mostly up to you.

So here we are, already utilizing one of the best ways we have to publicize. And this is where the tapestry comes into play. If we want the weave to be stable and durable each strand of warp and weft must be strong. Each strand must be of high-quality twist. Single fibers spun together to create a continuous yarn.

Each of us is a fiber. Social networking spins us together. But what weaves that yarn into a tapestry? I believe it’s the support we give one another. Not only by visiting and commenting on each others’ blogs, which is very important for our often fragile egos, but by going the extra mile in promoting each other in these ways:

  • When you find a blog that teaches or blesses you, add a link to it in your Blog Roll.
  • Tweet or reTweet a link to the blog posts that spoke to you.
  • Mention names and link to worthy posts in your blog posts.
  • Remember to trumpet others’ published stories or books if you enjoyed them … or even if you didn’t, but think someone else might.

When I do these things, I help to weave that tapestry. I don’t stand a chance alone against the Big Name Writers. I need your help. You need mine. Working together we each succeed. Otherwise, we might just end up an ugly pile of threads.

In the Spirit of the Tapestry, you’ll notice, over there on the right, I’ve added links to some of my new favorite bloggers: Suzanne, Kirsten, Natasha, Dayner, and Victoria. You’d do well to visit those and my Writer and Poet friends’ blogs. And if any of you on my Blog Roll would prefer being listed under a different name, let me know.

I’d also like to honor a request to promote the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference. There’s a weekend session, June 12-13 or a week long session June 13-18. There will be workshops and classes for writers of fiction, non-fiction/memoir, children’s books, and poetry. Check it out.

Do you know other ways we can help each other get our names out there?

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