On Publishing, Indie-Publishing and Making a “Name” as a Published Author

Hey Folks,

I received a query from a writer who’s interested in a copyedit. He also asked whether I would help him find an agent and a traditional publisher.

Uhh, no.

After I explained why I thought the agent chase and traditional publishing in general was not a good idea, he wrote in reponse

“About publication: I agree with you. However, I want not money but name as a published author, which you know somebody does not get by self-publishing.”

Wow. Nope, I didn’t know that.

We have some new members to my (almost daily) Journal (where I first published this blog as a topic). For them, and for any who don’t know yet and are maybe still in the agent chase, here’s how I responded:

Before you commit to an agent and/or a traditional publisher, I recommend you read two books. If you do, at least you’ll be more knowledgeable before you talk to them:

Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0615959512/ and Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1561466123/.

The author of those two books (Dean Wesley Smith) has published well over 100 novels with traditional publishers. Today he publishes only independently (so he self-publishes).

He still wanted me to help him find an agent.

Well, I don’t do that, and I won’t. I never want to be responsible for what I believe would be a bad decision. So I recommended he find that big Writers Digest book that WD publishes every other year or so that lists all the agents and traditional publishers. That’s as far as I can go, and I was shaking my head even as I wrote that.

Folks, you make a name as a published author by BEING a published author. How your work is published makes not one whit of difference.

And you maintain and build your name as a published author by writing and publishing more work.

I’m a published author. I’m currently nearing completion of my 30th novel. I also have 4 novellas, over 180 short stories, around 25 short story collections and a lot of other stuff.

I’ve done most of the short stories, all of the novels and novellas, and around half of the nonfiction books since April 2014. Slightly less than four years ago. I started my first novel in mid-October of 2014. I don’t write “fast.” I just write. I put the hours in the chair.

Of course, only you can choose the road you will travel. I could give you dozens of reasons not to go with traditional publishing, but depending on your stage of development as a writer, it probably wouldn’t register with you. That’s why I recommend Dean’s Killing the Sacred Cows books.

Anyway, no, I won’t help anyone find an agent or a traditional publisher. It just doesn’t make sense, for many reasons, in the new world of publishing.

But if that’s what you want, as I wrote above, I believe Writers’ Digest still publishes a big book full of agents and publishers every year or two. If you search for that online or in your library, you should be able to find it.

And good luck.

‘Til next time, happy writing!


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