How to Publish Your Book in 11 Easy Steps

So little over a year ago I finished writing a book. And I figured, no problem, all I have to do now is get someone to buy it.
Books. Like the one I wrote.
Well, it's a little more complicated than that. But I've since streamlined the process and offer you my knowledge, free of charge.*

1. Query some agents. I used Query Tracker, and it was fantastically easy to search through and for tracking my numerous rejection letters.

2. Lose some hope. Not all of it, but a good chunk.

3. Re-double your efforts. This time be a bit more strategic. Ransack your connections for anyone who might know an agent. Find agents who like the kind of thing that you do. Enjoy more rejection letters.

4. I can't stress this enough. You really have to enjoy the rejection letters. My goal was to get up to 100 rejections, at which point I'd say screw it and self-publish the damn thing.

5. Realize that even if an agent liked it, they'd still have to find a publisher that liked it, essentially starting over the query process with the one improvement that you don't have to hear about all the rejections. I mean rejections are great! Yay, rejections!

6. Query some publishers yourself because, hey, at least you'll be rejected by someone who could've actually made the book.

7. Get more rejections. Question your choice of genre when you see just how many romance publishers are accepting open submissions.

8. 50 Shades of Gray comes out. Really question your choice of genre. And the fairness of the world. And just everything in general.

9. Make a new rule to encourage submissions. For every rejection you get, query two more agents or publishers.

10. Quit when you still have 8 more queries to write and can't bring yourself to do it.

11. Say screw it and self-publish the damn thing.

So that's it. Looks like I've racked up north of 20 rejections, which really isn't that high of a number when I write it. Like if someone had eaten 20 grapes, I'd say that was about right for grapes. But it turns out for me and queries it was too much.
Almost enough.

The excellent blog Panic and Fear just posted an appropriate aphorism: "Do not chase that which chases something else." When it comes down to it, I was just tired of waiting for someone to say yes when the book wasn't what they were looking for.

As I embark on the glamorous road of self-publishing (yes, there will be paparazzi), the biggest drawback is that I really, really wanted to feel like an official writer. I was hoping for that gold Official Writer's badge that I could whip out at parties and impress my middle school classmates with.

I've done a lot trying to get that badge. It's why I went to SFSU for my MFA. But of course there's no one handing out these badges. I got my MFA, but I didn't go to Iowa, like the real writers. I wrote a book, but it didn't get picked up like a real writer's book. And if I'm really honest, an agent and publisher wouldn't have been enough either. Publishers could always be bigger, books can always sell more copies, and if you think you're a fraud you're going to keep finding reasons why you're right.

So here we go. I'm putting out a book that's good, but could probably be better, and I'm doing it without a publisher. Or rather, I'm creating my own publisher, Legitimate Publisher Publishing. Honestly, I don't know how anyone could question a publisher with a name like that. Check out their mission statement:

We publish legitimate books. The kind of books that make their writers feel really good whenever they run into someone who knew them in middle school and asks them what they’re up to.
I think they nailed it. Stay tuned for more legitimate book publishing news here. Because we are all about the legitimate books.

*Tips and sandwiches readily accepted.

Comments

Annie Fox said…
As a published by a Different Legitimate Publisher author as well as a newly self-published author (See? One club membership doesn't preclude you from grabbing another one) I can say honestly say that in both cases, it just feels really good to get the book out in the world. That's why you wrote it, right? Of course right! Write on, Ez!
OpinionAddled said…
Dude! You are simply ahead of a very big wave that's hitting publishing (think tsunami ...) At my colleage reunion, my entire "Class of" panel were published--some business or technical books, some novels, some ... well you get it. And they all agreed that self-publishing is the next big thing. With one exception, they all said their next book would BE self published.

The big houses are in a panic, merging and laying people off; the smaller houses are struggling to survive. Legitimate Publisher Publishing is a great way to be ahead of that really really big wave.

Oh, and by the way? CONGRATULATIONS on finishing and publishing your book! Major and wonderful accomplishment!

Kasey
Ezra Fox said…
Thanks a ton!
Ezra Fox said…
Hi Kasey!

This is really good to hear. I'm pretty excited about this brave new world of just being able to make things. Thanks for your encouragement!
Ted said…
Mary Doria Russell (anthropology professor turned fiction writer) said that when she wrote her first novel, she wasn't worried about her readership. She had been toiling away in academia for years publishing research papers and books that were only read by 40 people. As she put it, "Well, I have more than 40 friends, so I know more people would read my novel than academic work." So, if you have 1000 true fans, that's more readers than most academics have for their work.

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