Sunday, September 27, 2009

What are the options?

Every time I think about submitting a story, no matter what the length, I always go through my options in the back of my mind. No, I'm not talking about what magazine or ezine or publisher to send it to; that's something for the front of my mind to decide. No, the options I consider are even more basic than that.

· The one I seldom give much thought to these days, but which exists none-the-less – is to take pleasure in what I've written, and then file it away, for me to take out and reread from time to time. That's where I started, many years ago, before I had any confidence in my writing.

· Another one I have mostly 'out-grown' is to take pleasure in what I've written, and pass it around among my friends and family so that they might also enjoy it. I don't often consider this one as the conclusion for my efforts. If I have enough confidence to pass it around that far, why not shoot for a larger audience yet?

· Send it to the big boys, one of the publishers with a house-hold 'Brand' name. This one's scary, since I've never been published. But still, they tend to pay the best, and my writing skill is pretty comparable to what they publish, so why not? If it's accepted, this will get my work out for the entire world to see. Of course, it will be up to me to try and get the world to notice it. Even the big boys do little to publicize the work of new authors.

· Send it to a smaller market, a small press publisher or not-so-big magazine. Sounds safer. Probably isn't. How many starting authors decide to start here? On the other hand, my writing skill is better than some of the authors they already publish. And it will still be up to me to try and get the world to notice it. It might be a good place to send my stuff if the big boys turn it down. Because if a not-so-big company finds me acceptable this time, maybe the big boys will look on me more favorably next time.

· Use a vanity press. This one is costly and risky. I have to pay to get the book produced, plus a hefty fee to the company for doing it, and I wind up with a basement full of books to sell. I would have to do all my own editing, because that's not part of the package with a vanity press. All my own publicity, and without the ability to get it into the big chain stores. Plus, when it comes to my next book, having gone vanity will NOT impress the big boys.

· Self publish. Sounds really safe. Isn't. Have to do all my own editing, plus proofing, set up and 'type-set', arrange for the cover design, hire a printer, pay for all those copies that wind up in my basement. Then publicize, fulfill orders, and – again – without the ability to get my book into the big chain stores. Do I have the money? Or the time? Not to mention the ability. This one probably ranks slightly above using a vanity press when it comes impressing big boys into accepting my next book.

Every writer has to make his/her own decisions about these options. And then – probably – second-guess themself every time they have a piece of work to send out. Once you decide you ARE going to send it out, then you have to get all the brain involved and decide where. And that involves another set of worries.

See ya next week. Trudy

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