If you are writing your first novel I want to share some advice with you. Whatever you do, once the manuscript has been polished to perfection:
DO NOT APPROACH AN AGENT WITH IT. EVER!!!!
Join writers groups and have them critique it. There are many very good editors out there and they are very affordable. They are also well worth it. Find one and have them work on your manuscript. Then, once it is in its final draft stage do not let an agent anywhere near it. I wouldn’t even let one of the old guard Big Five publishers anywhere near it either. They are the dinosaurs. A profitable future lies elsewhere.
So, what exactly am I supposed to do with it, oh wise Scribe, you may ask.
Publish it. Yourself. It is easy and it is free.
Go to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace or any other platform out there that is set up for independent publishing. They are easy to navigate. As for covers for your book, cover artists abound and are very affordable. My cover for Escaping Infinity was done by an artist in Germany and cost me $40. It won an award in a book cover contest, in case you were wondering.
Speaking of Escaping Infinity, if I had tried to go traditional with it (and I had an agent at the time I finished it) it would never have been published. It broke too many rules and didn’t adhere to a political agenda that has poisoned traditionally publishing.
So I fired my agent, reacquired the rights to my previous novels, started my own publishing label and published it myself. All it has managed to do is earn nominations for a Nebula, was a finalist for Best Sci-Fi Novel at the 2017 Dragon Awards (the premier award in sci-fi/fantasy) and picked up a few other awards along the way.
I’m not saying you are certain to match that success. But you just might and you might even surpass that too. And the bonus is you will get more money for your efforts. That I can guarantee.
Because I have made more money in my first year as an Indie publisher than I did over the two years I was traditionally published and with an agent – COMBINED.
That’s right, I said combined.
Because when my e-book sells for $3.99 on Amazon ,when I had a publisher and an agent, I was lucky to clear $0.30 from the sale – pre-taxes. When I sell that same book today, I make $2.80 pre-taxes.
Do the math.
But the publisher and agent help with marketing, you exclaim, and I don’t know how to do it.
Unless you are James Patterson or J.K. Rowling, any marketing done for your traditionally published book is done by – wait for it – you, the author. Oh, they’ll send out an e-mail and give your book a page on their website but that is all they’ll do. You have to hustle and get online and radio interviews, find online readers groups to promote your book in and do all of the social media posting for your book.
You are doing all of the work anyway, so why in the world are you giving them nearly all of the money your book generates in sales?
Yes, it is hard work, but so was writing your book. You and only you should get paid for it. So don’t fall into the trap of 20th Century thinking regarding publishing. Join us in the 21st Century and have a long and profitable career without the misery and heartbreak of the old guard gatekeepers holding you down.
But if you are still unsure you want to take that big step on your own, there are some smaller houses that are valuable to new authors. Superversive Press, Silver Empire, Castalia House and even Black Dog Publishing’s Tuscany Bay Books are excellent alternatives. Find one that accepts non-agent submissions.
Want to hear more about this? Check out this two-hour discussion on agents by several authors, both Indie and Traditionally published:
Want to see what a writer with 33 years of writing experience can give you? Check out my latest release: The Complete Trilogy of the Jack Del Rio Political-Thriller Series (Reservations, Betrayals & Endgames) here at Amazon.com in either print or Kindle formats: