Navigating the Publishing Maze

How do you get your book published?

When I was much younger, I dreamt naively of thrashing out a bestseller with only an ash tray and some whiskey for company for months on end until my fingers bled. And then? Well, then I’d just appear – grizzled and unshaven – before some high-paid publishing exec, slap my manuscript on his desk with cool indifference and say ‘Read it. You’ll be glad you did.’

Easy as that. Mr Publisher would eat up my book, the dollar signs in his eyes growing with each turn of the page and I’d be left to wait for the royalty cheques to roll in and perhaps practice my money-swimming.

Scrooge McDuck

Duck, yeah.

But that’s not how it works. And I’m not talking about the physical impossibility of swimming through a sea of coins. Getting published is a long, drawn-out process; writing the book is the easy part. Or rather, it’s the less complicated part.

Writing is between you and the voices in your head. No one else has to be involved. But when it comes to publishing, you can’t do it alone (that’s not to say you can’t self-publish). This is according to a terribly insightful article by publishing aficionado, Mike R. Underwood: 25 Secrets of Publishing, Revealed!, posted on terribleminds.com.

Here’s what else I got from it:

  • Getting published takes time – a lot of it.
  • It’s probably going to take much longer before you can even add the first coin to your money pool.
  • Getting published via a recognised publisher means having an army of book warriors fighting to have your story heard.
  • Self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted. Also, it’s a misleading term.
  • Your editor deserves a medal, even before he/she somehow finds the time to deal with your manuscript.
  • Your book’s cover may have shit-all to do with your book. Just go with it.

But don’t take it from me. If you’re looking to publish a book, read the article. You’ll be glad you did.

– Aniallator.

Featured image: bookshelf by David Orban via Flickr under the Creative Commons License 2.0

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