There are a lot of hurdles for new authors these days. The internet does offer some freedom to vent these frustations, but they still remain. I see it there are three major hurdles for any would be writer:
1: Getting your work finished – just finding the time and will to actually complete a book can be a job in and of itself. I know a lot of people who have had a good idea, talked the talk, but have lost interest about 3-4 pages in. Sometimes people don’t even get that far, and get so caught up in world building/research that they dont actually put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard)
2: Getting self published – Especially if you are like me and essentially have a budget of £0 (or near enough). Finding anywhere which can actually provide a forum for you to publish your work can be tricky. This becomes especially so when you take art covers into consideration, and doubly more so when you want to get reviews or advertising for your work. For my case I am fortunate I have a friend who is an art student and works for Magic boosters. Sadly I dont know anyone who works in publishing or as a reviewer – as a result my work is essentially relying on blind luck as to whether or not anyone finds it. Hardly ideal.
3: Finding a willing literary agent/Publisher – The holy grail itself. A quick point to anyone who wants to try this – it is rare to the point of near impossible to find a publisher who is willing to look at manuscripts they haven’t asked for who would be willing to even sniff at your work. Unless you know people in the industry – glaring at you Chris Paolini (Eragon) – most publishers only work with established authors, and those new authors who are represented by literary agents. As such its the agencies you need to contact first.
As with many things, the agents are themselves sometimes massively oversubscribed on certain genres. Sadly Fantasy/Scifi work is a dime a dozen, and whilst many agencies will consider fantasy/scifi manuscripts from new authors, they are often overwhelming spoilt for choice. As such, many of the agencies that accept these genre types just arent accepting any more submissions (they are literally full!), and finding one that will is increasingly difficult. When they do come along, they are often swamped in short order – and again this only becomes worse when you consider that established authors are generally better accepted than new ones (as they have a proven track record).
To put it bluntly, getting a book published in any format is hard work and often involves more than a little luck. It would be wrong to say that luck is all that’s involved. You need to ‘sell’ your book with its synopsis, a strong opening (and preferably a good story throughout), and good writing. Some authors can manage some of these things, but not all (I hate writing synopsis’ for example – it feels like a spoiler list). There’s plenty of pointers of who to help with this on the net already, so I’ll move on…
Over the weekend I thought I would try and assist the situation with advertising the books (or rather try and resolve the severe lack of advertising). I thought I would check into the literary agencies again and see what they might say. By happy coincidence I found one accepting submissions.
However I know find myself wondering how this would work with work which is already published (self published admittedly but published nonetheless). Phoning them and discussing it, it seems that they are happy to take a look, which is great. I wonder though if it gives an advantage to a book to be in this position (as it has sort of proven itself) or whether this is a point against it because its had only minor impact – understandable given my advertising.
Well the submission is being sent today. Time will tell.