Authors reveal sometimes rocky path to publishing a book

Authors reveal sometimes rocky path to publishing a book

Geraldine Smith , Reporter

Once again, Writer’s Studio scored with the presentation of Publishing Without the Perish: Successful Book Authors Tell All on February 3, in the ACC Library and Learning Commons. As promised, published authors Marty McGovern, Theresa Crater and Rachel Weaver explained the frustrating, disappointing, exhilarating, but always worth it journey to publishing a book. Aspiring writers should attend any offering by the Writer’s Studio to learn the intricacies of the trade from veteran writers.

Rachel WeaverEach author took their own path through the labyrinth of the publishing world. All their stories had similarities, but it was the diversity of their chosen paths that provided direction for the novice.

A common denominator was the agony of the “wait game” each author suffered waiting to hear from a publisher after submitting their “baby.” Weaver sent her book to a press and waited a year while they worked on it while another publisher had her manuscript for 8 months before the official rejection arrived.

The authors’ experiences reveal that a fledgling author seldom has a book published by the “big” houses which are buried in submissions. Even if a “big hitter” shows interest, it can take months or years before the editorial board makes a decision. Crater noted that some presses just simply never respond at all. At least, a rejection letter can put an end to the misery of checking the mailbox several times a day.

As McGovern says, “You check every day and have your day ruined if there is no notice.”Theresa Crater

Agents can help to streamline the process, providing editing expertise, knowledge of the publishing world and accessibility to editors. However, that is also a labor intensive process. Weaver sent out 75 agents queries for her first book and 150 agent queries for her third book. Only 3 agents were interested out of the 150 and the one she chose was a perfect fit. Even then, the agent spent 2 years editing and helping her rewrite the book 3 more times. Eventually, the book sold to a smaller publishing house.

All agree that the author receives far more attention from the smaller and mid-size presses, but is often responsible for promoting their own book. Once again, this is a long and laborious process, but authors agree that they press on because it is a labor of love.

Theresa Crater Once the book is accepted, is important to carefully read the contract offered by the chosen press. Crater tells of signing a contract granting her approval of content and changes before publishing. Yet, the publisher failed to abide by the contract and as she said, “butchered her book.” She had legal recourse, but the attorney advised against pursuing it because it was not worth the time and money.

Finally, after pitching her fourth novel to different presses, Crater, now a seasoned player, actually turned down two presses and decided to publish her book on her own.

The romantic notion of writing a novel, sending it off to be published, receiving an acceptance letter within a month, and seeing it on the promotions table in a major bookstore shortly, is just that: a romantic fantasy. The road to becoming a published author it is not for the faint of heart or the timid.

Kathryn Winograd of the Writer’s Studio says, “You have to make it happen.”

Despite the trial and tribulations of publishing a book, all three authors say it is absolutely worth it.

For information on future events contact [email protected].