Modern authors rewrite the process of publishing

When one envisions the process of an author getting a story published, it is easy to picture the struggle of finding a literary agent and getting rejected over and over again from large publishing houses.

This process has been transformed over the past decade, and many authors now consider self-publishing to be the ticket to sharing their work.

That was the case for local authors Jim Goodwin, Lynda Tod and John Wemlinger. After discussing the process with each of them, it is clear that the road to publishing comes with as many twists and turns as the stories they write.

Wemlinger meets with readers at a book signing event. (File Photo)

Wemlinger meets with readers at a book signing event. (File Photo)

The appealing aspect for many authors is the control they have throughout the process. Tod, author of children’s books “Kirb Appeal” and “Tara,” said that this was pivotal for her decision to self-publish.

“If I went through a regular publisher, I would have needed to have someone else do the art pieces,” Tod said. “The first book I wrote, my grandchildren helped illustrate. So I had a lot more freedom to do what I wanted.”

When seeking out an independent publishing company, an author must be realistic with their goals and do their research on the company.

Wemlinger, author of “Winter’s Bloom,” said that choosing a self-publishing company can be a lengthy process.

“The conundrum for the author is that there are a lot of self-publishing houses from which to choose and, as is the case in almost any venture, it is the responsibility of the ‘buyer to beware,’” he said.

Goodwin used an independent publisher for his books “The Truth is In Her Genes” and “To Find What Was Lost.” He also advised authors to be vigilant about the company they choose.

“Check the companies you are interested in publishing with. There are many scam companies out there, so spend a lot of time checking reviews,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin

GOODWIN

Typically, independent publishing houses have packages an author can purchase which will determine how the book is printed and how it will be distributed. Publishing house or self-publishing, the cost to an author can add up no matter what route they take.

“The editing can be the biggest challenge. For an independent writer like myself, the charge for editing can be anywhere from one to two cents per word,” said Goodwin. “Take an average novel of 75,000 to 90,000 words; you’re looking at a lot of expense. You can pay for all of that and still have editing mistakes.”

The prevalence of Ebooks and on-demand printing has revolutionized the way readers receive books. They are available to readers at a lower cost, and eliminate the waste of pre-printing.

“Today, when a customer goes on Amazon and orders a single copy of ‘Winter’s Bloom,’ that copy does not exist until Amazon places the order for one copy of the book to be printed and then shipped to the customer’s address,” said Wemlinger. “There are no existing inventories lying around in musty, damp warehouses just waiting on someone to purchase a copy or two.”

Goodwin discussed the ability for a book to be printed right in front of the reader’s eyes.

“With Espresso Book Machines popping up in some libraries and airport bookstores, a full novel can be ordered and printed in five minutes,” he said.

Despite projections that Ebooks would drive out the days of hard copy books, Wemlinger says he has not found that to be the case.

“My book has sold many more hard copies than Kindles. When I ask a reader about it, they typically tell me they just like the ’feel’ of the book in their hands,” he said.

Tod chose to not have Ebook or Kindle editions created for her books.

“For me, it’s the luxury of sitting next to a little person and physically turning the pages,” she said. “That’s the way I envision a book.”

TOD

TOD

When authors elect to use an independent publishing company, a lot of the marketing becomes their responsibility. Goodwin says that this is a difficult aspect for many writers.

“Once you get it published, the process doesn’t stop there. You have to keep it in front of people,” he said. “You have to be comfortable with selling yourself. The marketing part can be just as important as the story.”

The age of self-publishing has opened up the ability for any writer to achieve their goals of seeing their book in print.

“I do a lot of public speaking about my book, ‘Winter’s Bloom,’ and a question I am always asked is: ‘How do you go about publishing a book?’” said Wemlinger. “I begin my answer by saying, ‘The good news is that, today, anyone can publish a book. The bad news is that, today, anyone can publish a book.’”

The publishing industry has been profoundly changed by the innovations of this modern age, from authors who can see publishing their work as an attainable goal, to readers who can access thousands of books on a single device. As technology continues to revolutionize the way we live, it is clear that books will not be a thing of the past.

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