Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September IWSG

I'm so glad I checked my email today. With school set to start tomorrow and my daughter performing in a program for the district teachers at 8 a.m. this morning*, I'll admit it: I forgot about this month's IWSG! (Hangs head.) Anyhoo, thank you to our host, Alex J. Cavanaugh and the wonderful co-hosts who have volunteered their time to help out this month: Toi Thomas,T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

September 5 question - What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I'm still pursuing the path of finding an agent (stop laughing) and then getting published with a traditional publisher. (Okay, I know, I know. For my next trick, I'll win the lottery.)

I have self-published a collection of short stories and had several short stories land in various anthologies by smaller publishers. Those were all great learning experiences with supportive people. So why torture myself?

I blame the acknowledgement pages in the back of some of my favorite books. The authors tend to thank a ton of folks from marketing, to reading early drafts, and the awesome cover artist. Most intriguing, they usually credit their editor with pushing the story to heights (or depths) that the author never thought they could accomplish. 

I want that. 

Now I have no clue if this is entirely accurate or for what publishing houses, or if I could even find it by hiring my own editor, somewhere. But I do know that when I hold a traditionally published book in my hands, there is a certain quality in the materials, the reading layout, and cover art that I would love to see featured with my writing. 

However, it would probably be easier to win the lottery and foot the bill for all that lovely stuff myself. 

And then there's that dream of seeing your book on the shelves of a store...


Happy Trails, writers, wherever your publishing takes you!

Would you rather win the lottery or land an agent/publishing contract?

*She was in a show choir piece singing and dancing to "This is Me" from The Greatest Showman. YouTube video: You can't see her until about the 3 minute mark when she's dead center, red feather on headband, red top, black and white striped skirt, incredibly long brown hair. Great job, kiddo.


  1. Then don't give up on that dream.
    I've had the publishing contract so just give me the cash, please. I could do a whole lot of good with it.

  2. I was pursuing traditional publication for a long time, but decided to go indie. Though I wouldn't mind having some of my shorter books traditionally published, or through a smaller house, so long as I were able to retain a good deal of creative control and had a fair contract.

  3. Keep pursuing your dream, no matter what path you decide to take. For me, the traditional route was taking too long and I'm getting too old...

  4. I'm with Alex, don't give up on that dream because if you do then you guarantee it won't happen.

  5. Taking both paths to publication is an education that you will always appreciate. I've been glad to have the experience on both sides of this business.

  6. I would love to have a team of bright people to guide me. There's no shame in admitting I'm not sure I can do it all myself.

  7. Don't give up on that story. It was a beautiful story.

  8. I laughed at your 'stop laughing' comment, but not the idea of you finding an agent. Writers should always go after what they want.

  9. I still am pursuing an agent and a traditional publisher, so I'm definitely not laughing. I'm nodding. :) I recently came to realize though that getting an agent doesn't mean you'll get a big publisher. Many are selling books to small presses, where you can send a book without having an agent. I have a small press as a publisher, but I want more. I'm hoping to get there someday. I hope you do, too.

  10. That's a tough one. I think I'd pick the lottery, though, so I could quit my job and have more time to write!
    I really would like an agent and traditional publisher, too.

  11. I admit I’ve never tried self publishing. It’s a lot of work and you really have to know what you’re doing. Friends of mine have tried both, for different reasons. One, for example, started her own boutique publishing company to publish her own book and ended up publishing a whole lot of other people’s books, traditionally! Her small press is doing very nicely now. Another was suddenly turned out by his small publisher for personal reasons and has simply been reprinting his work, plus planning more, Everyone knows him, and he has the skills, so he will sell. A few other ladies I know have had to self publish for various reasons, but - again, everyone knows them and respects their traditional published work. I have one friend who was self pubbing, went the traditional route and went back to the self published route because he is so prolific, regular publishers can’t keep up with him. He can have a book out while they’re still deciding whether to accept his novel!

    A couple of years ago, I was editor of a science fiction magazine. A lady who had only self published before sent me a wonderful story. Since then, she has acquired an agent and is happily going the trad route, and good on her!

    You have to do what’s right for you. I’m here to tell you it felt right to me and that there is nothing as wonderful as getting a letter or email saying,”We would like to publish your book or story.” It won’t be easy. I’ve had enough rejection slips to wallpaper my smallest room. This year I lost a long-standing publisher for my articles when they completely changed their format and threw back articles they had been interested in only last year, because they didn’t fit the new format. Small presses close suddenly. But that’s the way it goes. And while you look for an agent, there are many market guides listing publishers which don’t require an agent. I recommend Authors Publish. It’s a free market guide which you can get in your inbox.

  12. You could find an agent. It's not outside the realms of possibility. So many agented authors talk of having no contacts and then getting that call. So, it could totally happen.

  13. So be it. No one is going to stop you. =) Everyone has a different path, and if that's yours, then that's yours. Personally, I'd rather not win the lottery. Too much attention and people asking for handouts, and then assuming you're a terrible person when you refuse to donate to their charity or buy them a car or build them a house. ;)

    1. I agree with all that which is why I don't buy lottery tickets.

  14. I have the same dream and am not laughing. Don't think your goal is so impossible. It could happen way faster than you think.

  15. I always wanted to see my books in bookstores. I guess we need the rainbow dreams to survive the much less colorful reality. But then, I've always been a pessimist. Don't listen to me.

  16. Ditto, lol, the entire post. Sadly, I also have this dream. Except, my husband is to win the Lotto, not me.

  17. I want what you want. I think it is well within your reach and that you can do it. Getting published the traditional can happen if we keep writing and pushing onward.

    I think you'll do it!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  18. I'm not sure which I'd take--the lottery or the contract. Probably the lottery, though I've heard many peoples' lives are ruined after they win a big sum. I think I'd rather opt for viral success of my self-published work.

    As the others say, don't give up! I think you can make it!

  19. Happy Be-lated IWSG Day!
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.
    The first day and week of school can be a lot to tackle.
    It's a total personality thing, but I'd rather win the lottery. I really like self-publishing, but I think your dream and your goals are good and within reach. Go for it.

  20. Everyone has their own path to forge ahead.

  21. Personally, I'd rather win the lottery. Then I could have more time to write and publish. Luckily we have many paths to publication, even without that winning lotto ticket. :)

  22. You have a very worthy goal, and I wish you the best. Everyone has his/her on wants and needs. T 's what makes us who we are.I'm cheering for you.

  23. Not laughing here. I think yours is a great goal, for a great reason -- you want to publish your absolute best work. I'm on the same path for novels, and it's a long journey. I write short stories for immediate gratification. Good luck! You have the right attitude.

  24. That's a tricky question. LOL. I bet the lottery money could help a good deal toward the whole publishing contract angle. ;-) Also with the amount of money/prestige I've occasionally made from said contracts, well … yeah, I think the lottery would be more practical. Now if it was between lottery and a bestselling book made into film maybe with Hugh Jackman, et cetera … yeah, then I'd take the book. Have to think about my wish fulfillment.
    Anne from

  25. Since we are financially secure, I think I’ll take the publishing contract :). More for my ego than my pocket-book, and hey, let’s be honest: my ego needs it more! Of course, since at this point I’m neither buying lotto tickets nor submitting queries, I don’t expect either to happen.

    1. And I’m with you about working with a professional editor. I would like to see what one could do for me, though of course that would probably be destructive to the ego!

  26. I'd rather land a seven-figure contract and an amazing agent.

    But you can get your books in stores and hire a wonderfully transformative editor without an agent. Both things are possible with an indie. So, really, a lot of your dreams can come true before the agent one does.

    My editor's reasonably priced. If you want his deets, let me know.

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