Adventures in Publishing

As you all may know… I do a lot of writing projects.

One of them is my own attempt at a science-fiction setting.  The first book in that series, The Second Gate, has been sitting largely finished with no real hopes of being published seriously.  It had a short e-book run that no one cared about, and for good reason.  It was just the barebones manuscript with no bells and whistles… and wasn’t even worth the $.99 it was sold for.  But even then, it’s chances of seeing the light of bookshelves is somewhere between slim and none.

“Why is that, Tommy?” you ask.

Okay, you don’t ask that.  You really don’t care.  But I’m gonna tell you anyway, because this is my blog post, and I’m morose and cranky.

Firstly, getting a major publisher to sign onto it has been an exercise in futility.  All these discussions have gone the same way (pretty much to a fault):

Publisher: “Yes, we have your manuscript.  We like it.  We’d like to publish it.”

Me: “That’s great!”

Publisher: “We’ll contact you shortly with a contract and the sale of copyright forms.”

Me: “Uhh… I have no interest in selling the copyright…” (hears clicking noise) “Hello?”

Basically to sum it up, it’s reached the point where major publishers don’t even want to talk to me.  Their line in the sand is the line they try to take with ALL authors.  Any refusal to transfer all copyrights to the publisher is a non-starter, and ends any negotiations.

“But Tommy… there’s self-publishing options!” You might say, if you cared enough to entertain my bitter rambling.

Well there are problems with self-publishing options too.  First of them is my problem… I can’t sell myself.  Mostly because I have next to no worth in my own abilities.  It’s something I’ve been getting better at, but I still have a hard time with the idea of saying, “Hey!  I wrote this!  You should buy it!”  I can’t fake enthusiasm in myself very well (can’t you tell?).

Secondly is a problem that frankly all of the publishing world shares… the price they charge prospective readers is just too damn high.  If I wanted to produce a short run of my novel (a 500+ page novel) would cost you the reader about $25… for a PAPERBACK.  Even if I split it into two parts (which is possible in the manuscript), I’d still be looking at roughly a $15 cover price in order for me to make anything resembling a decent profit margin. 

And the e-book option?  Yeah, I went down that road.  Amazon and Barnes&Noble gouge the living hell out of those (you make a pittance if you attempt to charge less than $10 for an e-book… which to me kinda defeats the purpose of a medium that supposedly costs a fraction of print media.

Anyway… I’m sorry for the rant.  But that’s my adventures in publishing.  Any of you try to break into that world?  Got any secrets, ideas, or commiserating of your own?  Misery loves company, they say.  Feel free to share your tales.

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