Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Fake it till you make it in publishing

Anyone who has just finished NaNoWriMo this year might be tempted to think that self publishing is a short cut to publication. And it isn't. Your book needs to be edited properly. It needs to be structured. Needs a great cover. Character arc. Compelling narrative. Engage readers. The list is long.

NaNoWriMo is timed perfectly in November, so writers can then use the dead months of the publishing industry to edit. December and January are so busy at agencies and publishers with them wrapping things up for the year that there really isn't any point in pitching until mid January of the following year.

So you write your first draft in one month, spend two months editing, and then some writers will choose the long road to publication by pitching to agents and publishers. I say this is a long road because I've walked it and I'm still on it, it can take anything from 2 weeks to 12 months for a reply. But I want to do the top down approach. For me, self publishing is the final option.

However, there are many writers are so eager to be published that they'll skip this part entirely and go straight to self publication. By the way, I would not advise this for anyone who has not experienced the proper editing process provided by a publisher, whether they are small press or a major publisher, the editing process sis similar. It's the hard work that takes the book from what a writer thinks is 'finished' to making it a real book that is 'finished'. I've done the editing process twice with a publisher and I would never consider self publishing without having had this experience. Because I want people to buy and enjoy reading my books.

So what is this post about? When a writer decides to self publish they're effectively saying that they have done all the work. There are some preconceived notions about self publishing. So a writer who wants to separate themselves from these preconceived notions might adopt the 'fake it till you make it' ploy and create their own publishing house.

It's easy to do. You set up a website, Facebook account, Twitter account, you enter these details in the 'Publisher' section on Smashwords and Amazon and voila, your work is perceived as no longer being self published. Reviewers who state they don't accept self-published novels - not any more. Book stores state they don't take self-published novels - not any more.

This 'fake it till you make it' attitude is ploy sometimes used as a therapy technique for depression. It can boost confidence and happiness. It can also act as the buffer for rejection. Many of us do this every day, put on a brave face and head on out into the world. Job interviews are probably the most common area a person will se the fake it till you make it ploy.

But does it work? In getting a job interview? Most likely.

In publishing? I'm not so sure. Amazon is littered with self published works disguised as author created small press published novels - i.e fake publishers. It has now become one of the things I search for when I check out a book these days. I'm fine if an author claims a SP novel is a SP novel, but I get a little put off when they use a fake publisher. In a way this is cheating because they're not giving any other writers a foot in the door or help with the editing and cover design process. They're just slipping on a mask and calling themselves Batman. The cheating by creating your own publisher makes me wonder what else the writer is cheating about. Are they cheating with their writing as well and not giving me indepth characters, a well structured and well written book? Are they cheating on the cover and internal structure of the book? Are they cheating on the character arc and ending?

What do you think about authors creating their own publishing houses? Does it make a difference to the way you purchase or review books? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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