Things I Wish I Knew Before I Published: Part III

Being an independent author-publisher isn’t for everyone. I chose that path, but my path is mine. You must choose your own path. If you are weighing your options, this “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Published” series may help. Part I and Part II discuss big picture issues to consider. This is part III, the last post in this series.

Photo taken looking down at a manual typewriter with a man's hands at the keys, hope he's read the things I wish I knew before I published so he's prepared.

The full version of this post is on Writers in the Storm.

If you are not a writer and want to read something else, may I suggest you prepare for my late spring launch of If I Should Die by reading or rereading the sneak peek or character reveals.

Things I Wish I Knew About Rules 

The advice you can find about the “rules” of writing and publishing goes from one extreme to another. Some say there are no rules. Others give you a list of rules. 

Image is a view of a circular maze from slightly above it and far enough you can see the opposite edge. A female figure peers in the entrance. The rules of writing and publishing can appear to be a circular maze like this, and are one of the things I wish I knew before I published.

Traditional Publishing

When you consider traditional publishing, remember that these big publishers are corporations and they have both public and more private rules. They call their public rules “submission guidelines.” Often those guidelines are about how to format your manuscript. 

The harder to find or see rules are those common to corporations. Certain departments handle certain things. One publisher may tolerate stories that include guns or sex scenes. The next one won’t. Often these corporations do not share internal policies such as risk tolerance or political leanings or their alignment with causes you care about. 

Even the editors you submit to have rules. They don’t call them rules, yet they have certain expectations. They expect stories to be entertaining, to progress from beginning to middle to the end. Each editor has genre expectations and life events that influence their interpretation of your story. Some editors are flexible and open to having their expectations exploded by a skillful author. Others will not be.

What can you do? Know what’s important to you. Research the publishers and editor you’d like to publish your work. Ask questions of authors, agents, editors, and librarians. Can’t do it in person? Try social media.

Don’t be so eager to be published that you sign your first contract without knowing what it means to your book and to your values. Decide which issues are a no-deal for you in advance.

Rules in Independent Publishing

You may get the impression that there are no rules in independent publishing. You’d be wrong. 

Read the full blog post on Writers in the Storm.

While there are rules for just about anything in life, there are no rules about whether or not you like a blog post here.

What would you like to know about independent publishing or writing?

Image Credits

Top photo by Vlad Deep on Unsplash

Second image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

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