Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So I've got a novel-like monster-manuscript-thing. Now what?

[Picture unrelated, but cute, and also, hey, it's a puppy-smile Totoro, what's not to like? ♥]

Okay, so that's the next question that might need tackling, whether it be for me, sitting on a manuscript that's 51,000 words and change long; or for anyone who's ever thought seriously about seeing their names in print.

To publish or not to publish?

Bear in mind that when I say publish, I initially mean "print off a bound and professional-looking book-like thing to proudly and perhaps overbearingly show off to family and friends". The whole idea of prepping the thing for actual PUBLICATION as in selling it in a bookstore comes a far second (and is anyway a topic I'm not actually qualified to write about - dammit, Jim, I'm an amateur not a published person!).

Enter John Scalzi and a very recent blog post.

Just to make it clear, there is a Grand Canyon's worth of difference between "vanity press" and "self-publishing". DON'T, for the love of all that is good and chocolatey (and bacon-y), go the vanity press route - you'll be fleeced, you'll be cheated, you may very well lose your intellectual property rights over your own work, and you're likely not going to *sell* at all.

Far better to do the proper self-publishing bit: Scalzi explains and advocates the use what is called a Print-On-Demand service. (Lulu.com, CreateSpace.com) It can be done for either peanuts or, under some special circumstances, absolutely for free - that last link is for NaNo-ers and is definitely something I'm looking forward to myself.

[I'm already thinking about the book cover design, and I haven't even finished the manuscript yet or even verified it, haha!]

Why have to learn all these things and go through all these hoops just for a proof copy or a bound manuscript anyway?

Well, isn't the mere idea of having a professional-looking BOOK with YOUR NAME on it as the author a good reason to look into self-publishing? After all, I'm one of those dreaming writer-types who wants to be published some day, go on book tours, sign autographs for adoring fans, etc etc etc. And let's face it, a lot of people who write or profess to write also have dreams running along a similar vein. So learning about these sorts of things in advance can be a big boost towards making those dreams come true.

I want to say here, though, that I've got modest ambitions for my NaNo manuscript [which was the whole reason why I decided to go for it in the first place]. I intend to clean it up and really shop it around to the local publishing houses and see if it has any chances of making it into a real honest-to-cookies bookstore. I freely admit that it may be naïve of me to think that a printed-and-bound manuscript will help me in such a quest. Still, not going to stop me from trying.

[Next question: conversion into e-book format for the people who've asked to read the novel.]

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