Saturday, April 30, 2011


I still argue that in the brouhaha that is publishing, we

often forget about the reasons that traditional publishing
existed to begin with, and why writers didn't just publish
themselves from the outset.

Traditional publishers fund works out of their pockets,
and they beat a dead horse in terms of preparing a book
for release. This has been true since Gutenberg printed
the first Bible. So I believe traditional publishing will
continue for many years to come.

Yes, I tend to lean to the . . . traditional side. (Bet you
thought I was going to say right or left, huh?) However, I've
self-published as well. I've seen good self-publishing and bad.
I've seen good agents and bad. I've marveled at good traditional
works and bad.

Nothing in publishing is perfect.

However, two items get overlooked, in my opinion, when it
comes to do-it-yourself publication.

1. Platform
2. Editing

The Steve Laube Literary Agency has quite the informative
blog, and lately they've run a series called, "A Defense of
Traditional Publishing." The latest post of April 26 addressed
"Content Development."

A reader cursed me (yes, I'm a "biatch") for advising her to
slow down, complete her book, and edit it to death before
considering the publisher, the movie, or the television
appearances. The point I tried to make was that editing
isn't a simple proofreading job before you forward the file
to a publisher.

Steve Laube explained the multiple editing tasks under a
traditional roof.

ACQUISITIONS EDITOR - Finds, acquires, negotiates the project.

LINE EDITOR - Performs the actual content edit (also call the
"line" or "substantive" edit).

CONTENT EDITOR - Reads for accuracy, balance and fairness,
cogency of argument, adequate treatment of the subject matters,
and conformity to the original book proposal.

COPY EDITOR - Scours the manuscript for accuracy in grammar,
citations, and factual content.

PROOF READER - Fine tunes punctuation and other nit-picky details.

Yes, there's room for self-publishing, especially if you
have a platform to die for, and a following that would
purchase anything you held up in your hand. But if you
are venturing into the publishing world alone, wouldn't
you want these people in your court?

by Hope Clark -


Alisia said...

Hi, I found this post very informative. Thank you. In terms of self publishing, how many agents would you query and be rejected by, before you considered it?

I was thinking one hundred but I since this is my first manuscript I am unsure if that is too many or too little.


Arnold Wolf said...

I have a manuscript that was rejected by 113 agents before I decided to self-publish!

Author Peg Herring said...

Your post is very good, and it's really tough right now to decide how to proceed with a book. I find agents and editors looking for what they are already selling. It took me a time and luck to find a publisher for THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, which is now doing well and getting critical praise.
I think you have to be established first (platform) and really willing to work on promotion if you decide to self-publish. It isn't as simple as it might seem!