NaNoWriMo Word Count: 3 and a half, approx, give or take 1,000
So, even in the twilight hell that is NaNoWriMo, I’ve been exploring different publishing methods lately, mostly through the efforts of some very talented Dublin-based authors and their publishing experiences. And the results of these investigations are absolutely inspiring. I am a total pessimist (I have been known to see the downside of kittens and warm fluffy towels), but even I have been forced to see the good in some options available to authors nowadays.
1. Assisted Publishing (Carolann Copland’s Summer Triangle)
Summer Triangle is a fantastic and absorbing read (I already read a draft before it was published, but when I got the finished paperback I found myself carrying it with me everywhere so I could dip into it every chance I got) but this book is not easily shelved. Is it crime? Romance? Thriller? A family saga?
Successfully weaving subjects such as young adults, the consequences of impulsive behaviour, family dynamics and disasters, cross-cultural divides, Islamic fundamentalism, unexpected parenthood, terrorism, alcoholism and the violence of first love, Carolann chose assisted publishing (with Emu Ink – www.emuink.ie) in order to better place her book. And seeing how it’s working out for her, I think she was dead right. She may well have got lost with a larger publisher, in an industry where if your book crosses genres, they can’t manage the challenge.
From the outside looking in, it seems to me that assisted publishing gave Carolann a better deal. By assisted publishing here, I mean that yes, she paid them a fee, but this is not some sort of half-hearted consultancy: they offer a full service, and crucially, they don’t accept everyone who knocks on their door. Unless they think they can sell your book, Emu won’t take it. As part of her package, she got all the structural and copy editing, proofreading, cover art, e-book digitising and traditional paperback publishing. But here’s the kicker. They also promote it. Emu Ink are a small press, eager to grow, and hungry for success. They have the direct line to book distributors and industry PR of traditional publishers, but more investment in their titles, making each and every sale more precious to them.
2. Self-Publishing – Johanna Buchanan’s The Cinderella Reflex
The Cinderella Reflex is a charm-riddled rom-com about professional women who spend their time talking about how independent they are, all the while waiting for some loser on a white horse to come along and rescue them. We all know those women. Feck it, we’ve all been that woman at some point in our lives. You won’t find a funnier way of looking at this phenomenon than reading this book.
The Cinderella Reflex is a true self-published work in that Johanna pressed the ‘Publish’ button on Amazon KDP herself. She hired an editor and cover artist separately, and is the one doing all the marketing and promotion work.
As her background is in journalism and radio production, Johanna is particularly well placed to manage this, so it makes a lot of sense. It means that she can get her book out how and when she wants it, stick to her convictions on it, and not have to wait around for 2 years whilst someone else makes the decisions. Also, I think anyone looking at her cover will see that she has an eye for this sort of thing. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but for some, as I outlined in this post, it definitely makes sense.
So Yeah, This Is What I Think
When I see the traditionally published authors I know going through the agony and the… well, agony of slush piles before getting a deal, only to spend 22 hours a day on their blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Stumbleupon, Reddit and GoodReads anyway, doing their own promotion like everyone is expected to now, I find myself wondering what benefits traditional publishing is giving them really.
I’m going to be doing a few Q&A sessions with small publishers and presses in the near future, because I think I’m a little bit in love with them. I’ll keep you posted (see what I did there? Eh? Eh????!)