Would this excursion to New York be a fairytale where the editors would hear my pitch and fight over who could buy my book for a six figure advance? Let me just say that I knew that this trip would be a learning experience first and foremost. My expectations were simply to try to understand the publishing world, and to see where I might fit in. I am a confident person, and knew presenting the pitch itself would not be difficult for me. Sure there were some butterflies moments right before it was my turn, but once I walked in and shook the editor’s hand, everything seemed to click.
One of the only daunting situations that arose was that there was another dating book in the same writing group as me. That meant that both of us would be presenting ideas within the same genre to the same editors. Keep in mind that these editors are limited as to how many manuscripts they can request and read. A very poised and single New York City gal had written a book about dating as well. The fact that she was a reporter, established blogger, and publicist also made me feel like I was just starting a marathon, while she was breaking through the tape at the end.
After meeting with all the editors, the feedback that I received from them was unanimous. They saw a lot of potential in my book and in me (even calling me media friendly), but because there are apparently several online dating books out there, I would need to develop a platform. If you are not sure what that term means, don’t feel bad because neither did I. Many editors may require that you need to market yourself, via a platform. The most common of these would be a blog, but could also include Twitter, Face book, and any other marketing ideas you can come up with. Once they see you have a following, editors and publishers see that, and feel these people might buy your book.
This is where things started to get exciting for me. The lone male in our group brought up how he had been to a conference on self-publishing, and how for many reasons, that could be a viable option for many writers. I had always viewed self –publishing as someone trying to print off their own books and housing them in their own home until they could pawn them off somehow. It was thrilling to hear how it is possible to partner with major book stores, and sell your book as they are ordered. Technology over the last several years has made it possible for anyone to bypass the publishing company gatekeepers. Before the conference I had no idea how much money an author can lose, between paying their literary agent and the percentage the publishing company claims. Sometimes the writer only receives 12% from each book sold. In the realm of self-publishing this number escalates dramatically- to over 50%
Besides money, time is another consideration for me. After finally finishing my book over 3 years, my desire is to see it in print….soon. Publishing houses sometimes drag their feet, and it can be a few years before you even see substantial progress in the process of getting your work out there for your readers. The deal breaker for me was that if I have to market myself by blogging, a website, etc, which was the recommendation of the publishers, then why would I develop a following and then not benefit from that myself?
A fantastic coincidence was that when I called my friend Jen from the conference to let her know that I was seriously considering the option of self- publishing, she had already bought me a place in a seminar which specifically pinpoints self-publishing! She had not told me because she knew I was going to the conference in New York, and wanted to see how that went first. That seminar is only in a week and a half! Every day I am working at developing a marketing plan, and working on my website and blog. Polishing my manuscript for its release on May 15th is another deadline I have set for myself. The future is looking bright!