Letters To The Editor For August 23rd

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Kudos!

Angela, I just wanted to let you know how much I really enjoy WritersWeekly!

I’ve been receiving it for quite a while. I print off the various articles and take them home and read them (when I can really soak it in).

Self-publishing is a whole new way of doing things … and your forum is a great place to learn because of your willingness to share, as well as others.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate The Weekly, and all your efforts!

Dede Bright

Max’s Disappearing Act!

Hi, Angie …

I just read your Max story, practically holding my breath the whole time. All I can say is, (1) good luck with your mischevious little boy (who might well turn out to be a “creative”), and (2) you sure know how to write a page-turner.

Hope you have a safe trip.

Mariam

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

The self-publishing path to traditional publishing, from my experience, is the only way to go for the non-fiction author (I know nothing about fiction/poetry). But once I was traditionally published, I was sorry I went that way!

My experience was back in the late 80s, when it was REALLY HARD to get consideration as a self-published book. Today, despite some of the letters, I believe it’s almost too easy to “publish” yourself, as people fall for some PODs and other entry points that have no integrity at all–just want to take your money for service.

In addition to all the good advice from Angela and others about absolutely having your manuscript professionally edited, and choosing the POD, editing and other services super carefully, I’d like to offer another self-educating tool.

Read the professional library review publications at your local library, especially Booklist, and then call them and ask for any review guidelines they have for a book like yours. Look up the professional reviews for a book comparable to yours (ask the librarian if you don’t know how to do this). Then make sure your book meets those guidelines.

Had I not read Booklist’s guidelines for reviewing my projected travel/reference book I would never have known the vital importance of the introduction in non-fiction books. Tell the public (and potential reviewer) what to expect from your book, and then make sure you deliver what you promise in the book. That separates the accepted from the not accepted.

That effort earned me a review in Booklist, which I absolutely needed to be taken seriously, because I had no qualifications whatever to be writing the kind of book I had done. No traditional publisher would have looked at it. With that Booklist review, however, I had no trouble getting offers from several publishers. They didn’t care about my qualifications once the Booklist review process had approved me for library acquisition.

Booklist is unique amongst the review journals libraries rely on. It only recommends books libraries should buy–it doesn’t review a book and print a negative opinion, as Library Journal, and many others do. And even way back then it didn’t hold it against me for being self-published because my book FILLED AN UNFILLED NICHE in public libraries.

Why was I sorry? (Being traditionally published) took all the fun out of it for me and there wasn’t enough additional money to compensate for that. It was slow. They own you. I had to do a second edition for them when I’d lost interest, and by that time, they had lost the wonderful editor I had worked with on first edition. The new one was an idiot.

If I had my life to live over, I would have invested MORE money in the project, hire fulfillment service which I hated, a bookkeeper, etc., and kept right on self-publishing. I might still be having fun with it!

The one man who wrote in and said he was keeping his Booklocker arrangement along with getting a traditional publisher is being so smart.

Maggy