This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
After a conversation with another self published author last week, I realised I always had somewhat unrealistic expectations about my work. While we were chatting about whether I should continue trying to get traditionally published or stay self-published, the author pointed out if I got traditionally published it would most likely be under a small publisher and that financially I might be better off staying self-published. It wasn’t until that point that I’d considered what my publishing expectations had been.
Honestly? I always thought if I got published I’d be a Sunday Times Best-selling author. You know the type of author that has sold all the film rights to their books and has a spin-off television series in the works. In other words I thought I’d be as big as the author’s whose books I read. I always assumed that when I was published it would be by Random House/Penguin/HarperCollins (delete as applicable), and I would be represented by one of the large literary agents. It had never occurred to me that perhaps I was setting my sights too high.
If you've read my dismal stories of submitting to agents you'll know I've only submitted to the big, glossy, well known, well reputed agencies. I’ve also never subbed directly to a publisher (big or small). Have I been doing it wrong?
As a book reviewer, I get sent books from the big publishers, and I often get to attend some swanky events in places like The Ivy and Claridges. Which means I’ve had quite a skewed vision of publishing. By mixing with the authors and PRs at events it’s made me want to become part of their world even more.
Over the last year I’ve listened to advice from many authors, from both attending writer talks and being a member of the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme. I’ve learnt a couple of key things. 1) There are a huge number of small and independent publishers that you can submit to directly (especially in the romance/erotica genre). 2) Some well known authors published by big publishing houses think that going to small companies has distinct advantages.
The advantages of being published by a small press cited are that there is often a more personal development of the author and that they invest more time into you. There is also the possibility of having a bit more autonomy on the type of book you write without being so pigeon holed.
Am I wrong to have been so focused on getting a big deal? Has it always been unobtainable? Or is it a case like one of my favourite quotes, ‘reach for the moon as that way if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars?’ Do any other aspiring authors have such great expectations that you won’t settle for anything less?