by J Lloyd Morgan

When doing presentations at schools and other events, I’m often asked how hard it is to get published. It’s a fairly loaded question, to be sure. Though I’m fairly new to the publishing game, from what I have learned there are more options than ever for authors. However, each one comes with their own pros and cons.

I give the following example of finding a publisher and / or agent: it’s like walking down a busy street and asking everyone you meet if they will marry you. Even if you are wearing the nicest clothes possible and have a great pick up line, you’re going to get rejection after rejection. After all, a publisher and / or agent will only agree if they think you are a good “fit” for them—and most are very picky.

For my first book, The Hidden Sun, I shopped it around with very little success. I finally found a company that does something called “joint ventured publishing”. I paid a fee up front. In return, they designed the cover, typeset the book, printed copies and sent out press releases. However, there were a number of technical issues with the book when it was typeset. While I was happy to have my book out, I was almost embarrassed to have people read it because of the mistakes.

After several months, I found a way to get out of my contract. I hired a freelance editor and together we cleaned up the book. I decided I’d take another approach this time: self-publishing. Createspace on Amazon is a wonderful tool and fairly easy to use. However, you, as the author, are in charge of everything, including the cover and all the promotion.

I was just about to pull the trigger to release the self-published version (I even had the proof in my hand) when I was contacted by my current publisher. I had full rights to the story and was delighted they were interested.

They went through the book again and we polished it up even more. They designed a gorgeous cover and took care of all the distribution. They also helped a ton with the promotion. Overall, I’ve been very pleased in working with them.

The follow up to The Hidden Sun, called The Waxing Moon, is scheduled for release in May 2012 by the same publisher. As is the case in many things in life, once you get your foot in the door, it opens all sorts of opportunities.

So what conclusions have I drawn from my experience? Here are a few:

  • First, everything in the publishing world takes time. You need to be patient, yet, persistent.
  • Second, expect rejection. I try to keep in mind that it may not be a reflection of your skill as a writer, but more of what agents / publishers are looking for at the moment.
  • Third, there are more options available now to writers than ever before. Keep in mind, if you go the self-published route, you will have to spend a lot of time promoting your book.
  • Lastly, regardless of sales goals for your book, write the best book possible that means something to you. If you try to write something for the masses that isn’t dear to your heart, it will reflect in your writing and most likely you won’t succeed.

J. Lloyd Morgan is an award-winning author and television director. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Communications and a minor in English. Morgan has lived all over the United States, but now resides in North Carolina with his wife and four daughters.