How To Become A Publishing Expert
There seems to be no end of people online with an opinion on writing.
And not only about what the best methods are for putting words on the page, there are also literally thousands giving advice on publishing.
I’m no publishing expert but it is clear to me that nobody really knows the best way to do it.
They are all just trying something.
That was until I discovered something yesterday.
The website I came across was busy with debunking all the myths associated with publishing. The most interesting part was a section on the history of publishing.
It was an eye-opener.
Like other things in the universe there seems to be a pattern with publishing. It moves in a cyclic motion.
Once upon a time everything was self-published.
One famous success story was Charles Dickens.
In his day there was no internet but he was able to leverage the onslaught of the industrial revolution.
He used it to his advantage to reach more readers than ever before.
This established his name forever.
The same sort of revolution is happening at the moment.
Great changes are still taking place.
The late 1800s heralded the advent of big machinery. Beforehand everything was handmade.
With machinery, products could be produced on an enormous scale.
Travelling the world was also changing. It took less time to move between continents enabling authors to go on tour and make personal appearances.
The same radical changes are happening now.
We have the internet to spread the word about our words much easier. We have print-on-demand making book production cheaper and more accessible.
You no longer need your own printing press to get it done.
International flights have never been cheaper.
You can do your own marketing and negotiate your own deals. You can have it all in your own hands.
Of course it’s a lot of work to do completely alone but there are lots of things you can outsource.
It’s quite a business.
This way of working was in force over a century ago.
That was before business cottoned on to how lucrative it was to sell authors and their books in volume.
The problem which I found shocking to discover is the way big publishers work. It appears that they print about three times as many books as they expect to sell. Getting on the bestsellers list is based on numbers shipped as opposed to the numbers sold.
Of the numbers sold, they have to compensate price-wise for the extra number of books printed. This pushes up the price of books.
It also means that huge amounts of books end up being destroyed.
It is somehow reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451.
Maybe Ray Bradbury was actually making a comment on the publishing system. The fact that the destroying of books actually occurs as part of the business model of publishing is astounding.
The myths debunked on the website brought home to me how important it is to think outside the system.
The system forces you to make choices for all the wrong reasons. Maybe it comes down to laziness.
If a system is in place then you don’t have to think for yourself. You can let the system do it for you.
You will get less out of it but you are also not required to put as much effort into it. I guess it boils down to that.
How much effort are you willing to put into it?
I have decided to write seriously.
I also want to make a living doing it.
This means that I will have to do a lot of work. Most of the work will not involve writing.
I will have to learn to become a publisher. Maybe by becoming a publisher I can help other writers. I will need a team.
I need designers. I need distributors. I need printers. I need editors.
The question of editing is a big one. I need to find someone who knows what they are doing. How much really needs to be edited? Does it need editing?
I think I’ve solved that problem.
I found a great editor and he is changing the game for me.
The greatest fallacy that came out of the article was that the bigger publishers have higher quality.
This is totally untrue.
If you are in control of your own product then you have the power to make it the best it can be. You are solely responsible for quality control.
You can control it much better than someone who is dealing with large numbers of different authors. It stands to reason that your product will be better than the mass-produced one.
It will require a lot of work to get myself up to speed.
That takes time. I feel the pressure of time. I must not let it get in my way though.
I will work through it. I will get there. I will publish a book and then another, and then another.
It will not be easy but it will make me happy.
I will make something that I am proud of. I will make something that people will want to read. I will spread my passion and hopefully infect others with it.
I will learn to become a publishing expert.
I can do that. I will do that.
I am capable of doing that.
Thank you for setting such a high standard Mr. Dickens. You are an inspiration.