Not so long ago, the only way to get published was to follow the traditional route – find an acquisitions editor prepared to publish your work or find an agent prepared to convince a publisher to take your work. Now, many traditional publishers have closed their doors to unagented submissionss. It’s tough for new writers to find an agent, and having an agent is no guarantee that you will sell your work.
One of the reasons the traditional publication route is becoming more difficult relates to the advent of digital publishing. As digital technology makes publishing and distribution cheaper, it is arguably harder for publishers to turn a profit. Publishers can’t charge as much for an e-book as for a hard copy, despite having to invest the same resources in editing, formatting, designing and marketing the books.
E-books raise additional concerns for traditional publishers, including the threat of digital piracy – much like the challenges faced by the music and movie industries as a result of digital content production and distribution. Alongside the threat of piracy, publishers also face new competition from those who self-publish their works online. Companies like Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble make it cheap and easy for writers to self-publish, and some of these authors have achieved remarkable success: for example, the Wool series by Hugh Howey, On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves, and the many young adult fantasy/romance books self-published by Amanda Hocking. While these examples are encouraging, not all new writers will be attracted to self-publishing. Many don’t have the time or skill to oversee professional-looking products or to manage solo marketing campaigns.
New writers can now consider a third option outside the traditional route or the self-publication approach. There are now several smaller publishers outside traditional publishing houses that have opened their doors to new authors. Most of them, like Books to Go Now, accept direct (ie unagented) submissions and generally respond personally to query letters. When they accept a work, they typically publish it as an e-book although some also offer hard copies depending on the agreement with the author. These publishers do most of the work of a traditional publisher including editing, formatting, cover design and coordinating marketing activities. They tend not to pay significant (or any) advances, but rather engage in royalty sharing arrangements with authors.
While this third option is potentially very attractive particularly for new and aspiring writers, there has been little discussion of it at writers’ conferences which seems a shame and a lost opportunity. As a new author, I have two stories in process with Books To Go Now, one is already published (Dear John, 2012) and the other is forthcoming (Destiny). The work on both manuscripts has been extremely professional and the editors helpful and responsive to my queries and concerns, which have been very few. They also publish a wide range of genres so there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for a good romance, sci-fi, horror or adventure story, they’re worth checking out. And if you’re looking to start a writing career, send them something. What do you have to lose?
Blurb: Kelly Gilbert must choose between her life as a postal worker trapped in a dead end job to pay off her college debt, and a life of adventure and excitement with a mysterious man who may be hazardous to her health.
Kelly has returned to her roots in the Appalachian Mountains while she figures out what to do with her future. A chance encounter with a stranger living in a secluded house on her postal route changes everything. Ignoring rumors of his mob connections, she pursues a friendship with him and is soon embroiled in a game of life and death where the only way to buy back her life could be by staging her own death.
Poised to escape to a remote island off the coast of Africa, Kelly must decide whether her partner in crime is the man of her dreams or a dangerous threat. Could he be both? And can he be trusted?
Author Bio: K C Maguire is an author of short stories and flash fiction with an emphasis on romance and science fiction. Her first story, Dear John, was published by Books To Go Now earlier this year. She has a second sci-fi/romance story coming out soon with Books to Go Now entitled Destiny. She has published flash fiction pieces, and won several flash fiction contests, in venues such as WritersType, MidlifeCollage, Black Petals Magazine, Delta Women, Six Minute Magazine, Everyday Fiction and Tough Lit V. She has studied creative writing in the online programs at UCLA and Stanford and is currently completing her first novel, a science fiction adventure-romance. She is a mother of three based in Cleveland, Ohio.
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