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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

In Case You Missed It

 Part Two now under 'Weekly Article'

  Our First Tentative Steps into the Writer’s World
                                            Andy Evans & Vesna Kovac

 Part One

For most of us becoming published authors is a dream come true. We are like the child that closes their eyes momentarily to see our names festooned on the pages of a glossy magazine, the famous footballer, or the singer that has just made number one in the music charts.
Unfortunately for most of us the dream fades into reality the moment our manuscripts are completed.
As previously unpublished authors we expected the final full stop and exclamation mark was to be the end of our labours. We would now sit back and await the offers of publication sure to come. We knew little, if nothing of agents, traditional publishing houses, e-books or self-publishing.
Blindly we were drawn to the promise of success self -publishing could offer us. Our pages would be transformed finally into what we never could have imagined. Editors and designers would fashion our work into something that would be marketed world wide.
Naivety and a desire to see our names on the cover of a book clinched the deal. The publishers were readily available to speak whenever we had any query and so the handshake was struck.
Like the child on Christmas morning my heart skipped as I opened the parcel containing the one complimentary copy (to share between two writers separated by the Atlantic) of the finished article. Our names leapt from the cover and to us we had finally won the race.
Only when the glitter finally faded did we face reality. The book was riddled with flaws, editing had never taken place. I am quite sure that if we had submitted two hundred pages of the same word repeated, in exchange for money, this too would have been published in book form.
Countless telephone calls to answer machines finally resulted in a further financial request from the publisher, to put right any mistakes that we ourselves could find.
The promised marketing too never really started. Apart from online listings at Amazon and Barnes & Noble etc. everything was left to us. The promise had become hollow. Marketing was left solely in our own hands with nothing offered by the company that had promised so much until the deal had been struck. Contacting local newspapers and even production of our own book marks was left to us.

Print on demand sales can also be dubious. The publishing house has the overall account of just how many copies have been ordered for print. Authors have to trust only the figures that are presented within the sales reports given.
We are sure that yes, there are reputable self-publishing houses out there true to their word, who will work with the author ensuring the best possible success for both sides. Unfortunately however, it seems a growing market of never ending profit is being exploited by unscrupulous printing firms operating under the guise of publishing houses who are ready to reel in unwitting writers at any cost.
Google and the other search engines thankfully offer us some protection against the vultures circling overhead. 
Anyone wishing to pursue their dream along the self-publishing path is now armed with one weapon, a tool that is free to use. Before shaking the hand offering you so much in return for your initial outlay simply type ‘bad press’ after the company’s name. You will be surprised what you may learn about the people offering to turn your dreams into reality.

The next article will be about publishers that offer a traditional route but then turn around and say due to recession and changing times they require too an initial outlay from the author.

The third will be about e - book offers we have had and again the warnings others should look out for - andy

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