Kay: The Roads to Oz

Image from altitude-games.com

This morning I read the news from the Ladies, some of which was about the work various members are putting into their self-publishing efforts. I always find this awesome. And then I pitched an editor and an agent.

One of the slogans we had in the McDaniel course was how there are many roads to Oz. At the time, we were talking about writing process, but I think it applies to publishing process, too. The hard, cold fact is that I like to write; I dislike to market. I want to write; I don’t want to sell. I’m disciplined about writing; I’m not disciplined about publicity. One important factor: I don’t need to sell books to support myself. Another important factor: I don’t see why I should spend my time doing what I dislike.

I’ve self-published most but not all of my books, which gives me “control” and of course, I’m not sitting around waiting for agents and editors to validate my work. That’s good. However, I had a great experience with my traditional publishers, one I was very happy with, so that’s good, too.

And of course, by pitching to an editor or agent, even if they request the full, even if they send me a contract and I accept it, and they publish the work, and everything goes great, that doesn’t mean I won’t self-publish the next one. It’s not like you have to be all in one way or the other.
Jane Friedman did a great roundup of the benefits and pitfalls of traditional publishing, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing (2018 Key Book Publishing Paths), available as a PDF download from her site.

And for anyone who wants to do the easiest pitch sessions ever, check out the SavvyAuthors Pitchfest for agents and editors, which runs through tomorrow (Friday, September 14). Just three sentences in the comment section—what could be simpler? (Be sure to read the rules first, which are short. And, again, simple.) You’ll know by Oct. 1 if they want your manuscript.

Ah, yes. The roads to Oz. Which one to take? Thank heavens for GPS.


6 thoughts on “Kay: The Roads to Oz

  1. I’m not interested in all the time and effort and know-how required to self-publish. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I feel like I have a story that’s good enough and polished enough but I’m not getting anywhere. We’ll see.

    Thanks for the graphic link. It has a lot of good information.

  2. I’m so happy to see what people are doing. It’s really interesting to see all the roads!

    As for me, I think I’m writing stuff that doesn’t sell. I’d like to write a couple of collections of short stories. I’d like to sell them to magazines! Unfortunately, I’m only seeing one magazine so far that runs the kind of funny, romantic, contemporary fantasy (or funny, romantic, domestic science fiction) that I like to write. At this point, I think self-publishing is the only route open to me, but I can keep writing, and keep looking into the possibilities to get eyes on my pages.

    The dream situation would be to become an editor who publishes other people’s work as well as my own, but I’m under no illusions about how much work that would be. We think marketing is a drag and a full-time job? I think I’d enjoy copy-editing, but I’d have no time left to write.

    Does anybody even write literary quarterlies anymore? I had a friend who had a subscription to a garden fiction quarterly that was quite good, but I think that effort went under.

    • Speaking as a person who made her living as an editor of trade magazines, I can say that my experience is that paper periodicals are very expensive to produce these days. To support them, publishers have to have a very strong advertising base, a very high subscription price, or some kind of endowment, if it’s a literary magazine . That’s why you see so many online publications these days. Self publishing is an excellent option for the kind of work that used to go to fiction magazines, because you can produce books as print on demand at a reasonable cost. Keep writing, Michaeline! Your stories will find a niche.

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