by Raymond M. Coulombe
The publishing process is more democratic than ever before. It used to be a pretty high bar as publishing took a lot of resources. It was really difficult to get published. However, once a publishing house took you on, they used to provide a lot of services. All you had to do was to write the book and maybe go on a book signing tour. The publisher actually paid your expenses.
Today, everything is different. First you write the book. Then it needs to be edited. Now you can do that yourself, do it as part of a writer’s group, or pay for professionals. Then you have to set up the book in a format for publishing. Once again, your choices go from DIY to professionals. Art work is your responsibility.
There are independent authors who do everything, including the art on their book covers. Other independents farm everything out -sometimes even the writing of the book. You don’t have to be an actual writer to be an “author.” That’s not new, as how many of those celebrities do you think actually wrote their own books?
So it would seem that being a writer for an established publishing house would be the golden ticket. Sure, you give up a lot of independence, but they take away all the headaches, right? Maybe at one time. These days the major publishing house is run by the bean counters. Financial support is not what it used to be. Authors are required to do a lot more than they used to. The big one is promotion. If you don’t publicize your work, it’s going to die on the vine.
Being signed by a big publishing house has changed. Many authors, when offered a contract, refuse and stay independent. If you have the skill sets to bring a good book to market and publicize it, why bother to work for someone else?