Monday, October 17, 2011

The Top 5 Misconceptions I've Heard About Traditional Publishing

As the release of CRACKED inches closer, one day at a time--77 days to be exact--I've done some reflecting recently. On my journey. On things.

For nearly two and a half years I pined for, dreamed of and shed tears over THE ALMIGHTY BOOK DEAL.

Know this: it is worth waiting for.

Since the book deal I've heard tons of misconceptions or assumptions about being traditionally published with a Big Six publisher. Some make me smile. Some have me scratching my head.

MISCONCEPTION: That you have to pay a literary agent up front in order for them to take you on as a client.

TRUTH: Legitimate literary agents don't charge up front or pre-publication fees. Ever. They read queries, submissions, client manuscripts and client revisions as part of their job - no money is exchanged. They sell their clients' books and earn* a commission. It's that simple.
*Earn is underlined because a good literary agent does just that, he/she truly earns commission by working tirelessly on behalf of clients and is a true champion of their writing. 


MISCONCEPTION: That I'm either rich now or I'm going to be rich. And famous.

TRUTH: I typically give a little smile and say something to the effect of, "Awe, thank you, but I seriously doubt it." It's not the norm for published authors to become rich and famous. I'm 100% okay with that because that's not why I write.



MISCONCEPTION: All books being published by the Big Six had to follow some formula in order to have gotten the book deal in the first place.

TRUTH: While I can't speak for every book being published by the Big Six publishers, I can speak for mine. There was no mandated formula. I wrote CRACKED before I had an agent and an editor. The story, the characters, the everything was created formula-free. And it still landed me a publishing contract.


MISCONCEPTION: That I had to pay money in order to have my book published.

TRUTH: A wise man on Absolute Write said, "All money flows towards the author." That is absolutely the case with traditional publishing. However, if self-publishing is a better fit for you and your journey towards publication then there has never been a better time to a writer. Your options are wide and varied. But be sure to check the uber-helpful and informative website PREDATORS AND EDITORS to be sure you are making a sound financial investment.


MISCONCEPTION: Wasn't I afraid that agents and editors would steal my book idea?

TRUTH: This one had me scratching my head. First off, I've never heard of this actually happening. Second, I only queried legitimate agents--carefully selected and researched (querytracker.net and predators & editors and the absolute write forums were my go-to sites while researching who to query). Third, legitimate agents and editors are on the writer's side. Always.

In closing, every writer's dream is different. Unique. To assume all writers dream of traditional publication is about as ludicrous as assuming all high school girls dream of being cheerleaders. I assume neither. And speaking of assuming, a lot of misconceptions are just that - assumptions. Research and take the time to get informed. Shape your dreams based on realities, not misconceptions. Your dreams will thank you.