Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers

Independent presses have a lot to offer today's aspiring authors. The slush pile is smaller and the chance for an unknown, untried author to get a contract is greater. Unlike large publishing houses, there's still very personal interaction between editors and writers. Unlike self-pubbed books, the publishing house takes care of cover art, lay-out, printing and distribution. Authors are nurtured and a bond builds between the author and publisher.

What most authors fail to realize is that they are expected to don the hat of promoter once the ink has dried on the paper. The job's not finished when THE END is typed on the last page of the novel. In fact, the hard work has just begun.

Anyone aspiring to a career in publishing cannot be blind to all the posts and forums talking about book marketing. It's the #1 topic discussed today. Yet, when the long-awaited novel is finally on the shelf, there it sits. Why? Because authors are unprepared or unwilling to dirty their hands in selling the book to the public. Isn't that someone else's responsibility?

Depending upon the contract, the average amount a publishing house gets is less than $2 profit per book sold. It takes the sale of approximately 200 books before a small outfit sees any profit on a title. That covers production cost, plus Amazon gets their cut and the author gets royalties. Industry stats say the average book will sell about 500 copies. Nobody is out to get rich, but in order to keep producing more books, money has to come from somewhere.

Independent houses exist only when authors and publishers work side by side to do book promotion. I would be more inclined to recommend to my publisher a well-written book backed by an enthusiastic marketer over a great novel written by a prima donna who has no interest or intention to sell.  

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Sunny 

Thank you for your reply. There is always plenty to think about and more to find out too.

This is a short note but I'll return to pen a longer one. Your short story project sounds interesting.

Must go now but will talk soon


Hi Sunny

 I'm confused by me. Yesterday I wrote to you in a hurry, only a short note but it disappeared .

However, many thanks for the invitation to link up . I'm curious why more and more would be writers do not respond to your friendly Q & A post.

I've no hard feeling about what Oak Tree Press select as their  guidelines or the genre that attract them. Whatever works best for OTP is fine with me. I do think proposals are still around but if it is a change it doesn't bother me.

I take your point about e-books. I'm toying with the idea of publishing a WIP  through the UK Arts Council. Before I send my work off to an agent or publisher I often have it read by writer friends. Good feedback to me is better than only dumping a MSS on an agent . It means  the agent is possibly the first person to read the work besides the author and to me that is bad. I ignore the family when it comes to reading my work. I've published in excess of 200 pieces(short stories, anthologies, poems, essays) as well as an audio book and framed poetry. My instinct is right most times. Yesterday was a good day for me as I signed and posted off a poetry contract. Later on I've a contract to sign with a film company for a short horror story they will use in their printed anthology. If scripts are based on stories who knows where that might lead?

I live in the UK and we are completely blown away by that 'golden' feeling of the Olympics and the now ParaOlympics. I love sport and if the best Americans face the best Brits then isn't that super for us all to watch. To keep going must be a message for us all.

We loved the Olympics. I think Americans relate to the Brits, even more so to the Australians, who seem to have much the "pioneer" spirit via their history. 

I'm baffled as well that more people don't take advantage of me. I only wish I'd had someone out there who has done the legwork and willing to point me in the right direction when I started off.  You can lead a horse to water but you can't get them to promote.

Many movies start as short stories, the big one being Brokeback Mountain. Stephen King also gets picked up a lot--well, he IS Stephen King! And, you're right, never dump a manuscript on an agent without having a second set of eyes take a look.  Just don't let a critique group hold you back.     

Tannis Production , a film company, will publish a horror short story of mine in November in an anthology. I'm excited. Lots more news.

That's terrific. I was in a lot of anthologies when I wrote short stories. 

Hi Sunny

Things can get crazy at times, exciting too.

I've had a horror story accepted for an anthology to be published by Tannis in November, I'm thrilled because they make films and who knows where that might lead?

Below is part of what they sent me in an e-mail.

(I also signed a contract for the publication of some of my poetry. It is for charity so I'm delighted. Remember wearing a gold medal in the Olympics? Well that's how I feel. I've also had four short story acceptances and am waiting for two more which are fantastic. I know I said that about my work. I might be wrong but I'm delighted with it).

The link for further details  is

Tannis Productions

This looks like a new operation. Always good to get on the ground floor.

Thanks |Sunny

I'm juggling with deadlines at the moment. But I did read your article about being ready to publish.

It was a good one.I take heed and try to be patient.

I have noticed some writers ask for help from anywhere but at the same time they keep the cards too close to their chest. people need to know a little more in order to offer help. Only telling a genre or word length is not disclosing a top secret.

Take a look at an online publication called What the Dickens Magazine as they have a 'listings' section for free. Advertise a meet of a local writers group or classes etc


Being a published writer is about the long haul, not the short sprint. Patience will get you far and give you time to learn other essentials, like marketing and platform building.

I find the mystery writing community to be very giving about passing information and supporting each other. I'm not sure what other genres are like. These are my people and we share everything. 

Hi Sunny

There is fun too in the mystery writing if the 'bad guy' really does turn out to be the Devil and the detective is trying to catch him and make a conviction. I've never seen it done successfully but somebody might give it a go. The guy with horns in jail, if you see what I mean.

I was working on an early draft of my novel and I feel I clocked up at least 5,000 changes. Two spaces instead of a single space, speech marks missing, italics left out and so on including repeated words, typos, filter words,capital letters left out. Well I did all that and the novel started to come to life. It sounds like a lot of work but it was needed. How did you feel when you reached that pivotal moment?

I hate editing and rewriting. I don't do much of the latter. One draft and it's good. Learned that from being a journalist when we composed on old typewriters. You DON'T want to make a mistake and type it all again!

I'm right there with you guys!!! I was seven chapters into my book when I thought, why is my villain doing this. I had a reason, but it wasn't strong enough. I came up with another idea. But in using it, I have to rewrite the chapters. It will go fast but 30,000 words later, what a bummer. I had planned on a rewrite but not until the book was finished. However, I like things tight. Glad to read you're guys input...


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