Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How Does A Book Become Published?

How does a book become published? That's a good question. This is how the process goes, or so I've gathered from reading the internet and trying to get my first novel Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere published.

First, you have two options. You can publish through Amazon and people will be able to buy your book online and through Kindle. But no one will ever read your book. 148,424 titles were self-published in 2011, and the vast majority of them were awful; too poorly-written, too weird, or just too derivative to be published in any other manner. Of course, there are success stories, like 26 year old author Amanda Hocking, who became a millionaire by selling her book for less than 3 bucks online. But most self-published authors get lost in the void. There's also the consideration that there's no paper copy of your work. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I believe books are meant to be held and read in the real world, and I think Kindles and other electronic readers are a fad that won't last. I don't know any serious readers who read solely through digital means.

The second option is the traditional method of having a publisher pick up your book. Back in the old days, you could mail a copy to a publisher and somebody would read it, but those days are gone, sadly. You have to deal with agents, and you court an agent by sending them a query letter, which is a one-page summary of why they should try to get your book published. Referrals from other writers or editors help prevent query letters from being automatically discarded, but I don't know any other writers or editors. Basically, it's a long shot getting your work published through the traditional method, because agents get bombarded with queries, and oftentimes, especially in economically tremulous times such as now, agents are looking for work that neatly fits into very specific genres; hence the rise of paranormal romance (Twilight rip offs) and the young adult genre (which started with Harry Potter).

So I'm looking for an agent for Black Box, which I've recently finished editing. The query letter writing process has yet to begin, but if anyone knows somebody in the publishing business or is in fact an agent, give me an email and I'll send you a copy of Black Box. It's literary fiction; it's funny; one of the main characters is a talking Sasquatch; its plot concerns video games and brain-washing; and there's a quest for God. I'll put my query letter on the blog when it's finished.

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