Dread And The Fugitive Mind

As I do more research I am coming to the conclusion that my best option is probably to remove my books from publication before trying to interest a traditional publisher.

Yes, I know that there are success stories of self-published authors who interested traditional publishers, but those are all people who were successful in self-publishing first.

I’m not.

From a business standpoint my self-publishing efforts have been a failure, and as such, having my books on the market is a liability.   From what I have read, I would be better off presenting myself as a total unknown (which isn’t entirely a lie–I’m mostly unknown) than as a failed self-publisher.

I’m not going to do anything right away–it’s my habit to contemplate and consider options and chew things over before I act.  For one thing, there is no guarantee that any traditional publisher is going to consider my work under any circumstances.  What I write isn’t safe, I don’t fall neatly into a particular genre, I don’t have clear-cut good guys and bad guys, and my books aren’t “just like” a proven best-seller.

However, I am finding that self-publishing isn’t working for me.  I am losing money and wasting huge amounts of time with no return.  I do believe that it is a viable alternative for many authors, and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from trying it.

For me, though, I don’t have the skills of a promoter, I don’t have the time to devote to it, and I don’t have a large disposable income to spend on it.

If I am going to make a career of writing, I will need to work through an existing publisher.  Increasingly I am seeing that traditional publishers want nothing to do with self-published authors, unless the author has already proved her- or himself as a top selling brand.

As I say, I am still considering options, however it seems at this point likely that in the near future that I will remove my books from Amazon, shut down this blog, and concentrate on sending out query letters.  I won’t try to conceal the fact that I did self-publish, but I suspect that I am more likely to get a response if I present that to a publisher as a phase in my life that I am done with.  A mistake that I have since corrected, a heresy, if you will, that I have repudiated.


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Dread And The Fugitive Mind

  1. sknicholls says:

    This is certainly a decision that you have to come to terms with on your own. I read a lot of Anne R. Allen’s blog, and some others who are hybrids, or have traditionally published and what I am hearing is that publishers want you to already have a web presence and fans…even if they are fans of short story, not published books. Most still expect self-promotion and marketing by the author. I would hate to see you lose ground on what you have already established. There are soooooooo many publishers. There has got to be a traditional publisher of speculative fiction who would appreciate your accomplishments, so far. The greatest challenge would be in making that connection. Maybe someone like EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing:
    or the others here: http://www.speculativeliterature.org/Writing/pubs.php
    Maybe Tor is not the right match for you, but someone is.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      As I say, I’m still looking at options. However, I have seen that a lot of traditional publishers refuse to even consider any work that has been self-published.

  2. Hmm…really sorry to hear this :(. What are your plans concerning The Book Of Lost Doors, out of interest? Are you planning on trying to get them traditionally published, or are you planning on something new?

  3. Do you mind if I ask what it is about self-publishing that costs money?

    • MishaBurnett says:

      Editing, mostly. I really should get my books professionally edited, which would be a couple of thousand dollars each. That’s far more than I am likely to ever make from sales on my own.

  4. kingmidget says:

    I wish you the best of luck with this. If I were you, I’d try to find small publishers that handle speculative fiction (not sure if that’s the right word for it), and science fiction. Seems to me there is a market out there for your stories. It’s just about finding the publisher who sees it. The problem is that small publishers typically expect authors to come with their own plans for marketing and promoting the book.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      And that’s going to be a bit of a problem. I do have a fairly popular blog, and twitter feed (I keep gaining followers for both) but I don’t seem to be able to translate that into sales.

      • kingmidget says:

        Yes … I’ve learned that the vast majority of people who follow me on my blog aren’t going to read one of my books. Unless I give them away for free. Which is one of the reasons I agree with TJ Theiren’s outrage over the whole “follow/like” travesty that is WordPress.

        As I said … good luck to you. I hope you find an agent and/or publisher that will get you the recognition you deserve for the Catskinner books.

  5. VictoriaJoDean says:

    Perhaps it’s not all or nothing at all. Stop the self-publishing costs but retain the twitter/blog, etc., so that you maintain your following? There’s a company that for a reasonable fee – a couple of hundred for a year’s service (?) – does the heavy research for the writer and gives a list of the best agents/publishers to query for our product. That type of assistance could be an option as well.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      I’m not going to do anything drastic any time soon. I don’t see spending a couple hundred dollars out of pocket to get a list of people who might be willing to look at my manuscript, though. I’ve already lost way too much money trying to promote my writing. I don’t need something that is just going to be an expensive hobby.

      • VictoriaJoDean says:

        The way I looked at it, if you have time to do the research, then you don’t need them, but if you’re busy working and writing, then someone else does the research, you send out the query letters – so similar to what you’ve done, except they do all the research. Just another tool that may or may not work for you.

      • MishaBurnett says:

        Fair enough. At the moment while I have very little time, I do have more time than money.

  6. Oloriel says:

    I wish you good luck with whatever you set to do, I think telling you something else, aka additional infos and advices, won’t do you any good. For me, eprsonaly, I am still stupid enough to believe there there is a small rpess that will fall in love with books, not care about the triffles around it and promote it cause they love it – AND I do really hope this exists and it is exactly what happens to you.

  7. Elle Knowles says:

    We will miss you if you go away – but only until you become a famous traditionally published author, which may happen sooner than you think! Have faith and keep pushing!

  8. Unfortunate news, to be sure. Seems like if you aren’t planning to hide the fact that you are a self-published author, might be best to keep the online presence, though maybe remove buy links and move forward with content not focused on your books. Seems like a publisher would look more favorably on someone who has a following than otherwise, but for all I know it might not matter one bit.

    Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.

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