Thursday, February 15, 2007

What Does Being Published Mean to You?

We've talked about this before, but it keeps coming up so I'm going to address it tonight.

I keep seeing posts on loops where newbie writers insist that self-publishing makes sense because (1) they don't want to give up all their rights and control and (2) because finding an agent and traditional publishing take too long.

I'm not sure where the "giving up all their rights" comes from. Maybe it will help if you think of signing a contract with a publisher like renting a house. The owner (you) still owns the house (copyright). You are merely leasing the right to the house (manuscript) to a renter (publisher) for a specified period of time at a specified rate. When the lease (contract) expires, use of your house is returned to you. During the period of the lease (contract), you can't sell the house (right to publish) to someone else.

As for giving up control, yes, depending on what you agreed to in your contract, you do lose the right to control everything. Even famous authors don't usually control the title, cover and blurb. So, if you don't want anyone editing your 200K-word sci-fi novel, maybe you should self-publish. Then again, maybe you shouldn't. [grin]

As for the process taking too long, I think that's all relative. Would you expect to have a baby in less than nine months? Would you expect to earn a pilot's license overnight? It takes time to learn a craft and to learn the industry.

If shortcuts are what you want, go the electronic publishing route. There are tons of well-respected e-publishers out there, and you can be published in as little as three months. It's fast, AND you get paid. It makes way more sense than PAYING someone to publish your work.

I'd suggest you take some time and think about what it is you want. There are lots of good options out there that don't include giving up your hard-earned cash.

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