This is a recent letter I wrote to a frustrated friend who was trying to decide how to go about getting his first book published. His idea was to start by trying to obtain an agent, but really didn’t know which way to turn. He knew that I self-published my last two books, but was concerned about the stigma about doing it this way. I set him straight.
Here it is:
I can definitely understand your frustration! I went through it a few years back when I was trying to get my first book published. I thought that I’d get at least one book published, then get an agent. Then I did some research on the publishing scene to get some perspective. I must have sent querries to around 75 publishers, then had a couple who wanted Quantum Earth. I chose a small publishing house in Maine. I thought that was the hard part! Little did I know that as far as marketing and publicity I was on my own, as are most authors in the business, including those published by the bigger houses you may get to publish your book with the help of an agent. Even the big houses don’t even put your book into stores for you. They also don’t help one iota with marketing. Some may give you a couple free books to pass out for review, but it’s only the big guys who get such things as advances and tours.
So you see, having an agent doesn’t guarantee anything except one more person to take a piece of your pie, so to speak. I’ve sold many books with my publisher, but received such a small percentage from MY hard work that I decided to self-publish. I found a great friend on facebook who has connections to get your book published within a week, getting a special custom interior and fonts (with pictures if you wish), have your book listed with amazon and createspace, plus a marketing portfolio, all for $500. I have done this twice so far and am extremely satisfied with everything. My friend worked with his experts and delivered exactly what I wanted and more. Now I am in complete control of my books and profits.
From my research the stigma attached to self-publishing is quickly falling away, and I and many others believe it is the wave of the future because of the changes in the publishing industry. You can even contact J.A. Konrath on facebook (he’s a friend of mine there), who has lead the way by becoming extremely successful as a self-published author.
Here’s an interesting article you might like: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/jefishman/2010/12/the-10-craziest-business-practices-of-the-book-world/
This guy has also written other cool articles you can check out.
The cure for frustration is to make yourself as informed as you can. There are a lot of good resources on the net to educate you so you can make an informed decision about what you want to do next.
I wish you much luck! If you have any other questions feel free to ask.