Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I have to tell you. It seems like each and every time I finish a novel I get clammy hands. Every time I struggle with whether or not what I write is good enough. Or ready for mainstream. I mean how many times does an author have to hear, “You tell a good story.”


After I get that baby in shape I think about what I should do. I have to admit, I hate querying. I do. I do. Coming up with a query letter is so painful and I can’t honestly say it gets any easier after the hundreds I’ve written.

But I write one anyway – even though I know that it’s likely that Phenomenal One Press will publish it. Now I have one wip that I just finished that I really think that a large publisher would love it – but, but, but … (I’ll get there later, I got off point)

So, I ask my betas, is this mainstream, what market you see this fitting into? Do you think I should sub it?

Therefore, each writer should look at all their written works and figure out what the best market stream for that product is. Since I write novels – can’t seem to write a short story no matter what, most of my stuff should go to the novel market.


I admit it, I’m a control freak. Now I have to say I’m pretty darned proud of what Phenomenal One Press produces and sells. Hey, our sells are good and get pre-orders for our books coming out in 2012 from stores and distributors – (NO WAY…yeah WAY, in just 2 years we’ve accomplished a lot as a small pub) Ooops, I digress again.

Even though I know a sure way to get my books to print and to market would be great through Phenomenal One Press – I still pursue the large publishing companies for each and every work.

Why? Well, why not? Alright – here’s why not – because I really hate the query process, I don’t want to wait 1 or more years for my book to go to print, and because – well I do a good darn job at being a partner in a small press.

My advice is, every writer, should attempt all routes to sell, because it flushes out – HOW TO SELL your book. From writing my query letters, synopsis and pitches – I use all of them in publishing my books. From the pitch being my sales handle straight to consumer.


Either way you slice, publishing books is not easy – but it gets MUCH easier with time and experience. And now, it’s very easy for us to publish our books. One of the reasons why I struggle on to try to sell to a large publisher or do it with Phenomenal One Press where I have a lot of the control - okay maybe not sooo much since I have a sales focused partner who keeps my author alter ego in check when it's time to talk sales. Oh...sorry... I digressed again.

I do realize that our small press has been able to penetrate into markets that a lot of the big publishers do, but I really would love to get a movie option for one of my works and we just haven't tackled that ... yet (my partner is researching and sharpening his pitch for a subsidiary rights agent) so who knows.

More and more, there is still talent being scooped up by the big publishing companies and hard working literary agents. Do yourself a favor and pursue both why not? The days when writer’s had boundaries and only one road to free their words are over.


Kelly Hashway said...

There definitely are more choices available to authors now. So the question of who to submit your work to is getting bigger. I still dream of publishing with one of the biggies, but I also like smaller presses. I think doing a combination of the two would be ideal. If I can pull it off, that is! ;)

LM Preston said...

I would love to have a combo, but my problem is I'm just too impatient. I'm not getting any younger. So I've sent some of my mss to agents but before they can get back to me I've published the thing, lol! They told me to send them something I don't plan to publish within a year. So I have something I just finished that I'm going to give 1 year to be picked up and if not then our small press will publish it. Truth is I think by then there won't be any options that we won't be able to offer that a larger pub would offer - except the fact that we can pub our books forever and I can pass the rights and the pub company on to my kids.

Pk Hrezo said...

Good point LM. I struggle with this too. I've come to the conclusion that I should at least get my work out there for readers instead of waiting for "the one." And it's never easy with wither route... especially since statistically speaking, the fail rate is astronomical. But thru trial and error we learn and grow and as long as someone's reading our books, that's success enough. I always think of it as, if I were to die today, would I have regrets? ANd by putting our work out there on our own, that is far from regrettable. Let the big dogs come to us. That's what I say! :)
I love what you've done with your small press. We hope to do something similar early next year so I may need some advice.

cleemckenzie said...

I really do hear what you're saying. I love to have control over all aspects of my books, but since I've been published by someone else that just isn't possible. The down side is . . . NO CONTROL! The up side is I don't have ALL the work to do.

You've done a great job, LM, so hats off to you.

LM Preston said...

Oh if anyone has questions for me as a board member of Mid Atlantic Book Publishers I'd love to offer you help and can ask the president who is great at giving awesome advice on every aspect of the biz. Glad to know I'm not the only small press to feel like this.

Catherine Stine said...

I agree, LM, any and every route is a good one. And it's funny, I share your ease with writing novels and harder time writing short stories--even though I have written some good ones. Can't quite figues that one out!

April said...

I've decided to go self-pub...for now. We'll see. :)

Oh and re: your comment - if you scroll down or click the label for An Unexpected Gift, I have chapters 1 and 2 posted. :)

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Great post. I'm happy with my small presses. It still would be nice to have a major publisher interested in my work. So I usually send to a couple of the biggies along with my indies. I really can't wait two years or more for them to be published. The years are flying past. :)

J said...

LM, I am like you when it comes to what to do after I finish writing. Do I trust who I give it to to see my vision and the potential of my work? Do I go after a small or big publisher? I think when first starting out to build a readership the small presses are a smart way to get noticed and a way to show the big pubs on your query that you are a writer with promise. That is the reason I have my blog and a kindle pub account. I use the small market to help me get the attention and notoriety I need to be taken seriously so that I can get my novel published and then it optioned for a film/tv series and etc. Then you can also show that you have a good business sense and that you know the importance of marketing and branding. So keep at it girl and you will get what you want.

Tina Moss said...

"My advice is, every writer, should attempt all routes to sell, because it flushes out – HOW TO SELL your book."

Excellent advice. It's so important to learn the ins and outs of the market and the process. Experience will help writers figure out where their book belongs.

Lisa Gail Green said...

I love this!!! Things have changed. Rapidly. And I think it's great advice. So many people polarize on this issue and see only one side as "right". But it can vary. Not just from author to author but book to book. Why not?

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