How does someone who enjoys writing go about getting something published? Especially if that person is in no way familiar with the publishing world. Nor does that person know anyone in the publishing business. In the most literal meaning, they are starting from scratch.
I am one of those people. By day, I’m an engineer, and in my free time, I enjoy writing fiction—short stories, flash fiction, 53 word stories, novels, you name it. I have a vivid imagination, and have always allowed it to create wild scenarios. But, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to transfer my ideas to actual stories. Doing so, one story in particular, Escaping Revenge, took grip of my writing hand and hasn’t let go. As I see Escaping Revenge coming to an end, I romanticize about it becoming an actual book.
But, I’m an engineer. Stackoverflow doesn’t help me here. And, I don’t know anyone in the publishing and writing world to ask for advice. No editors, copywriters, journalists, etc. I also don’t have any merit. I haven’t published anything, and again, not knowing anyone in this business … well, I don’t really have anyone to tell me if my writing is even good. Instead, I’m surrounded by those like myself who write code and design circuit boards. A place where others actually scoff at being grammatically correct and using complete sentences.
So, how in the hell do I go about publishing a book? Where do I start? Like most things in life I’m not familiar with, I turn to Google for help (opens web browser, searches publishing a book). The 10,000 foot view from Google shows me three basic paths: self-publishing, small/local print publishing, and traditional publishing. But, as I narrow the focus on each one, I come across lots of subjective articles. Everyone has their own story. Thousands upon thousands of websites and blogs. Do this! Don’t do that! (sigh)
While I do see some common “rule of thumbs” to pay attention to, it’s not a cookie cutter process, and nor did I think it would be. Ultimately, I’ve learned that publishing a book comes down to both talent (the obvious prerequisite) and luck (consider the roadblocks some of the big name authors faced on their journey). So, while I can shit in one hand and wish in the other all day, I still need to improve my chances in addition to building some merit. Step 1: Create an “author” page and explain myself and my stories … done.
So, this is my journey mapped out in the form of blogs. My own subjective thoughts on the publishing process. But, I hope mine will seem more like a case study in the end vs. a “how to” series. I don’t intend to share each and every conversation, email, letter, etc. that I send to someone. Instead, I want to share the actions I take and the basic structure of my thought process and let you know how I fare. My goal is to be transparent. Perhaps certain things I face will be showstoppers for you. I’m not claiming to prove my method is superior than others, or that I somehow have a magic formula. I simply consider my journey open source: feel free to clone or cherry pick any piece of it you think might work for you.
I’m sure I’ll add other random thoughts along the way too. I hope you enjoy the ride.