There Are No Shortcuts on the Road To Publishing Riches
The term “overnight” success, especially in publishing, has taken on a whole knew meaning since the onset of Print-On-Demand and Ebook industry a little over one year ago. Writers saw this new “Electronic Publishing Revolution” as a way to avoid painstaking submissions and endless rejection letters while seeing their works in print and available to the reading public.
“Overnight” almost everyone who could pick up a pen and write a check, could also pick up a pen, write a book, and become a “published” author. And, with over 30,000 titles from one POD company alone, it seems that almost everyone did.
At the start of this new industry, Print-On-Demand publisher iUniverse promoted a few select authors in book review sections of major newspapers. Although the quotes were meant to entice new authors, their implication was the opposite. One of the first quotes was of a woman standing with her arms folded under the words “iUniverse saw something in me no one else did, a successful author.” The implication being that she had been rejected by everyone in the publishing industry, and if she could get published, anyone could…for $99.00.
Promises of seeing their novel on the bookstore shelf, fans lining up for a signed copy, their name on the New York Times Best Seller list, and, dare I say, a guest spot on Oprah’s book club had hundreds of writers submitting their life’s dream to the one place they knew couldn’t and wouldn’t reject them, as long as their manuscript was accompanied by a signed contract and a signed check.
The content wasn’t important. POD was a quick, easy and fast way to go from day-job Joe, to “published author”.
With dreams of becoming the next Stephen King, or Danielle Steele, wide-eyed POD authors with their just-off-the- press novel in hand, walked into book stores expecting to be greeted with open arms. Instead, what they found more often than not was a closed and locked door.
“Overnight” bookstore owners, both large and small were inundated with requests from unknown authors for booksigning events. What had once been a dream, quickly turned into a nightmare as store after store began to refuse to stock POD titles. Barnes and Nobel, once in partnership with iUniverse.com, recently issued a new policy for all stores not to host events with POD authors. Mainstream writers organizations such as the Authors Guild and Romance Writers Association will not recognize POD or ebook authors as qualified for membership. Newspaper book reviewers won’t touch a POD publication, and most independent book stores refuse to host a POD author event. Bookstore owners, especially small independents would rather dedicate their resources for known authors who have gone the more traditional route and have a large publishing house stamp of approval. (The traditional publishers also take returns, one thing POD’s do not)
Any successful author knows that “overnight” success takes years of hard work. Hosting book signing events nationwide and having fans line up around the block for autographed copies of your book may be your end goal, but unless you’re willing to pay your dues to get there, it’s not going to happen. Unfortunately, there are many POD authors who expect to be treated as if they had. It doesn’t and it shouldn’t work that way. If you wish to be treated like a professional, you first must learn everything you can about the profession, especially now when the competition is fierce.
POD is a totally different process from traditional publishing, and any writer who chooses the POD route for publication should understand that they are not going to be treated as if they were a traditional author, not without a great deal of hard work and even harder effort. If you wish to be treated as a professional author, you must begin to act like one. This means do your homework before approaching anyone to promote your book.
Having your title listed on Amazon.com and a variety of on-line bookstores is only the beginning. The kind of exposure you’ll need to create the necessary buzz about your book is going to require almost as much time and energy as it took for you to write it, maybe more.
The Internet has hundreds of web sites dedicated to POD authors. Start with is your POD publisher, they usually have the best reference material available. Join several POD egroups, especially the ones that are specific to your genre. Ask other authors what methods they use to promote and market their books and learn how to use these techniques to boost your book sales. There are several very good articles right here on the Amazing Authors Showcase, and they also have their own egroup and web ring available at no charge.
If you have the finances, hire a professional public relations firm, but be sure they have good knowledge of the Internet as well as enthusiasm for your book. But don’t fool yourself into thinking just because you wrote a book, agents and publishers will be beating down your door.
The POD industry is both a blessing and a curse. With thousands of titles being published at an alarming rate, getting your book noticed is going to be a long journey and there are no short cuts. For authors who believe otherwise, the road leads to nothing but a disappointing dead end.
- Posted in: Publishing Commentary