Paul is joining me to talk about his journey to publication and why he made the decisions that he made along the way. He blogs at http://paulanthonyshortt.blogspot.com - Ellen
There's been a lot of talk in online circles about the best road to publication. Certainly, there has never been more options open to writers in how to pursue their careers. Self-publishing is the new big thing. The success of authors such as Amanda Hocking and J.A. Konrath have inspired a digital gold rush. Everywhere people are discussing the merits of self-publishing compared to traditional publishing.
Well I'm not here to debate which option is better. I believe there's room in this world for all forms of publishing to find their place, and it is up to each author to choose the road that is best suited to them.
I want to talk about the road I chose, and why it's the best road for me.
It was January this year when Ellen, who invited me to guest post on her blog, pointed me to a contest that WiDo Publishing were holding. The prize was to be considered for a publishing contract. Up to three people would be considered. At the time I was querying my manuscript to agents, figuring that was the best course to take*. Still, I knew Karen Jones, the person on whose blog the contest was announced, fairly well. She had, in fact, been one of my first followers when I started blogging about my work. I did some research into WiDo and was pleased with what I found. A small house, sure, but one with a business philosophy I found appealing. And, it was the best opportunity I'd found yet to get my book published.
I had completed the first draft of my novel, then titled Locked Within, about 9 months previously, and finished my revisions later in 2010. I wasn't having any luck with agents, so I felt I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I was told in April that I was the winner of the contest, and was being offered a contract for my novel. It was one of the happiest moments of my life, and I haven't looked back since.
So what did WiDo have to offer that I couldn't achieve through self-publishing? Well, for one thing I have enjoyed the services of their managing editor, Kristine Princivale, who has already been invaluable in the work of improving my book. Having the professional, and objective, perspective of an editor means I can find problems or weak areas in my novel that I would never have spotted on my own. Without WiDo, I would have had to pay for such services myself. I can already feel a strong partnership growing with Kristine and I'm looking forward to where we can take the book together.
Then there's the simple fact of seeing a physical book on shelves. Through WiDo's distribution, my book will be available in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK & Ireland. All it takes is for a bookstore to place the order. On my own I would never have the resources to match that level of distribution. This is in addition to my book being available online both in print and ebook formats.
WiDo are big on the author promoting themselves through an online platform. This is something I've really enjoyed. It has given me real motivation to become a part of the online writing community and to connect with potential readers. I like that they offer a measure of influence over how my book is published, something I would likely not get from a larger publishing house. I believe that this is the future of the industry for new and mid-list authors. More than ever, audiences want to feel connected to artists. They want to build a relationship, not simply buy their stuff. It's up to every author to provide that opportunity themselves, and I'd rather be on that train now, at this time, than trying to catch up years down the line.
And of course, in the most selfish terms I can imagine, there's the joy I got when I was offered my contract. I've dreamed of being an author since I was a child. I wasn't even twelve years old when I first started scribbling down stories and inventing fantasy worlds to tell them in. from that early age I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Receiving that e-mail from Allie, WiDo's acquisitions officer, was that dream come true. I could never have felt that from self-publishing. Now that I've achieved this, I have to work to keep it, and make the reality even better than I dared to dream as a child.
It's an exciting time to be a writer. The industry is developing and changing so much, there'll be so many ways for an author to find the road that suits them. I am grateful every day for finding my road. To any aspiring writers reading this, I wish you every success in finding yours. Keep searching, and you will find it.
*I still believe that finding an agent is an important step for every first-time author intending to deal with a publishing house. I was just fortunate enough to land a deal I was happy with even without the aid of one.
Paul Anthony Shortt is an avid reader and lover of music and film. He lives in Ireland with his wife and their dog, Pepper. His first novel, which is still undergoing title edits, is due to be released by WiDo Publishing in 2012.