I started by sending a manuscript to an experienced editor and asked him to provide me with a full critique. After that, I read numerous back issues of Writers Digest, The Writer as well as any other writing book and internet article I could get my hands on and then started in on several more revisions before resubmitting the book to the editor for additional advice.
I wanted to get the book published before I turned fifty, just a life goal of mine I guess, so I was turned off by what I was reading about mainstream publishers and how stacked the odds were against me being a first time unknown author. I downloaded the Internet Book "The Fine Print" and read the comparisons of self publishing houses and came upon iUniverse. After submitting the book to them and receiving their input, I realized the book needed even more work to make it as good as it could be. After an additional full edit and a proofread, I finally had the quality of book I wanted. Unfortunately, I learned the harsh reality that no matter how good the book was, there were some mainstream publishing companies that wouldn't even touch a self-published book no matter whether they liked my pitch or not(or so they said) and embarked on self marketing. Happily, I learned later that even if I didn't self publish, I would very likely be marketing the book myself anyway.
My words of wisdom?
Read everything you can about traditional publishing and self publishing before making your decision( both online, at your local library and your local book store, there's a lot there). There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. If you decide to self publish, get a copy of the downloadable book “The Fine Print” which will enable you to compare all of the self publishers so that you can make an informed decision. Also check out Angela Hoy’s Whispers and Warnings section of writersweekly.com After I chose to self publish, I picked iUniverse because even though I was a demanding author, they persevered with me. Once you have chosen your path, then get ready as the old indian in The Outlaw Josie Wales said to "endeavor to persevere."
Steven M. Reilly is the author of the sports memoir, THE FAT LADY NEVER SINGS: HOW A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM FOUND REDEMPTION ON THE BASEBALL DIAMOND. You can visit his website at http://www.thefatladyneversings.com/.
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