Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Welcome Kelly A. Harmon

Kelly A. Harmon is a former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, who has since turned to fiction.  Her short-fiction has been published in several anthologies and has been short-listed for the Aeon Award. Her published novella, Blood Soup, is an award-winning story. 

Ms. Harmon teaches writing at the local community college where the number one question she hears these days is, “How do I publish my book?”

So You Want to Publish Your Novel

It used to be that if you wanted to publish your book, you finished it up, mailed it to an agent in New York and crossed your fingers.  If you were lucky, you got a contract with a large New York publisher and an advance on the product, but then you waited anywhere from a year, to maybe two, to see your book in print.

Today, you can type “The End” at the bottom of your manuscript and self-publish it at Amazon within the hour.

There’s a middle ground, too: a small-press publisher (sometimes called an Indie Press), who acts similarly as the New York publishing house (edits your book, gets an artist to draw a cover, distributes your book), but all on a lesser scale.

Which is right for you or your book?

The answer depends on your goals.  There are pros and cons to each of these choices.

New York – “Big Six” – Publishing

·      You get an editor dedicated to your book, to make it (and you) sound great. 
·      A professional artist will do the cover of your book. 
·      You’ll get distribution in brick-and-mortar stores, as well as on-line.
·      You get some marketing money (although sometimes the budget is miniscule, especially for new writers).
·      You might get a publicist who will write copy to send to your local newspaper, and line you up for radio shows or TV interviews.
·      Your book has been “vetted” by an acquisitions editor, a copy editor and possible an agent, making it more desirable in the eyes of some of the buying public.

·      It takes about 18 months from acceptance to publication.
·      You earn (on average) 10 – 15% of the cover price of the book for each book sold.
·      You’ll probably need to have an agent to get your book read by a large house, and...
·      You have to pay your agent 15% - 20% of your earnings.

Small Press Publishing
·      You don’t need an agent.
·      In most cases, it’s easier to get published (and there are more opportunities for publication, for example, in a short story collection or themed anthology).
·      As with New York houses, your book will be professionally edited, but quality varies.
·      Your artwork will be professionally done by the press, or by an artist hired by the press.   You’ll have more of a say here of what your cover looks like than in a big firm, but, again, the quality still varies.
·      The time frame from acceptance to publication is usually shorter, often less than a year.
·      Your book has been “vetted” by at least one editor.

·      Most small presses don’t offer advances (though this is changing).
·      Most small press books cannot be found on the shelves in brick-and-mortar stores (although they can be special ordered), thus,
·      Sales tend to be fewer.
·      Advertising and publicity budges will be slim to none.
·      The author is expected to market as much as possible.

·      You have total control over your book:  the writing, the editing, what the cover looks like, how much it will sell for, how it will be marketed, etc.
·      You can finish your book in the morning, have it published by lunch, and make sales on it the very same day.
·      You keep all the profit (as much as 70% of the cover price) after paying your distributor(s) for each sale.
·      If your book “takes off,” you stand to earn a lot more money than you ever could with a NY or small press publishing deal.
·      High sales could lead to a NY publishing deal.

·      You have total control of your book.  You have to write it, edit it, design a cover (or hire an artist), market it, advertise it, etc.
·      The “average” self-publisher will have fewer sales on a single book, than an author who sells a single book to NY or small publisher.
·      “Self-published” books are considered inferior by some readers.  You will sell few, if any, books to this segment of the buying public (no matter how good your cover looks, how well your book is edited, or how professional your marketing is.)

Another thing to consider is the project you plan on publishing.  Some books – like family histories or recipe books, or niche market stories – are eminently suitable for self-publishing. Taking that route from the start will save all kinds of trouble and heartache.

On the other hand, if you have the credentials, non-fiction can be an easier sell to a NY publisher because their sales outpace fiction. With the right pitch, you could have an acceptance within weeks:  and you don’t even have to write the entire book up front.

Learn more about Ms. Harmon at her Web site:  http://kellyaharmon.com.  She can also be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kelly.a.harmon1) and occasionally on Twitter: @kellyaharmon.com.

Her latest short, “On the Path,”--  originally published in the anthology, Triangulation: Dark Glass -- is now available on Amazon Kindle. (http://www.amazon.com/On-the-Path-ebook/dp/B005XOAT9A/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323136315&sr=1-1)

About On the Path

Tan is just another farmer, following the path, when the seal on his soul-powered plow bursts, causing a mass exodus of ghosts from the reincarnation engine. Instead of being carried off by the wind, these ghosts flee to Tan's tangerine groves, reveling in their freedom.

Tan confronts them only to learn that one of the souls is his deceased uncle, Lau Weng, and he's forced to offer hospitality.

Souls laboring in the reincarnation engines grow more solid as they work off their past live's debts and prepare to be born again. But without the work to sustain them, Lau Weng and his ghostly compatriots rely on Tan and his wife Heng to support them.

Lau Weng was never a favored Uncle, and even less favored as a ghost. Caught between death and re-birth, he'll do anything to remain alive. Tan is honor-bound to abide by the laws of hospitality, yet honor-bound to feed his family, too, and he can do nothing to stop Lau Weng.

But everything changes, once Lau Weng decides he's had enough of his ghostly half-life and takes over Heng's body.

1 comment:

Kelly A. Harmon said...

Hey, Ginger! Thanks for having me over. I enjoyed writing a post for your blog.

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