Monday, November 23, 2015

PITFALLS & OPPORTUNITIES


I am thrilled to have Guilie Castillo Oriard here 

today to discuss:


PUBLISHING: 

NAVIGATING 

THE

PITFALLS 

(AND OPPORTUNITIES)

The landscape of the book business is nothing like it was even a decade ago. We have so many options now, as authors. So much freedom.
And with freedom comes risk.
The DIY route has advantages far beyond 100% royalties (hard to beat): no gatekeepers, no Victorian tastes or mainstream genre guidelines, total control over your manuscript, book cover, artwork, font size, formatting, marketing, distribution—everything. On the other hand, total control also means it’s totally on you: your dime, your time. You’re a one-wo/man marketing strategist publicist accountant legal professional customer service distributor show. And you need to write the next book.
Besides, it’s impossible to edit oneself beyond a certain point. Feedback from critique partners, beta readers, even independent editors is only useful if the author takes it. Even if s/he does, nothing says professional like the slasher red pen of an third party who’s emotionally and financially invested in a book’s success. A publisher, in other words.
But traditional publishing is hardly an improvement. Big-house editors are invested in their salaries, not your manuscript. At a Big Four house, any new(ish) author is a minnow. You’re expected to stay invisible—i.e., out of the way. And contracts are tricky. Advances and royalties have plummeted. Add the fracas of even getting in, and—really, what’s not to dislike?
Independent presses come with their own problems. They might go out of business, they might be scams (especially those “subsidy” ones), they lack the reach of the bigger houses, they’re understaffed. But their advantages might just make up for all that:

   No agents, no gatekeepers. Response times are way faster.
   Budgets might be limited, but they’re investing in you. That makes you a priority.
   A small staff means you’re expected to become involved: you’ll be consulted on everything from cover design to publicity.
   Perhaps best of all, their editors—often authors themselves and in love with the craft—may have the highest standards in the industry. That manuscript is going to shine. While big houses might skimp on anything above a spellcheck, smaller presses are more willing to work with an author/manuscript they feel has potential.

Seems to me independent publishing houses are today what big ones like Simon & Schuster were back in Hemingway’s day. They’re mentors and partners to authors, they’re fans of innovative voices, and of narratives that push boundaries. And they’re in it not for money but for quality. For literature.
For me, that seals the deal.

Have you worked with small presses? What has your experience been like? What do you feel are the greatest advantages or disadvantages to indie publishing? Which route will you go for your next publishing venture?


Yolanda, thank you so much for having me over today. It’s a privilege and a pleasure, and I’m very much looking to your and your audience’s feedback.

Thank you Guilie, great points! The world of writing, publishing, and marketing is exactly as you described - A World of Opportunities & Pitfalls. I hope you discover only the opportunities!


THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS


A Novel in 13 Stories

Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.

The author, Guilie Castillo Oriard, is a Mexican export herself; she transferred to Curaçao “for six months” — and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies, such as Pure Slush’s 2014 A Year In Stories and gorge. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book.

The book was released in paperback this past August via the Lulu.com platform, and has received enthusiastic feedback:

“The combination of money and sex always creates an irresistible dynamic. Add more than a few dogs to the mix, and Guilie Castillo Oriard has created a tale as beguiling as the seductive ambiance of Curaçao itself.” ~ Peggy Vincent, author of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

“Curaçao is lovingly rendered, past and present, as a character itself — post-colonial, starkly beautiful, and captivating. You cannot read this book without checking airfares to Curaçao.” ~ John Wentworth Chapin, author of Alexandrite and founder of 52|250 A Year of Flash

“A richly enchanting story of lives and loves unfolding against the backdrop of the Caribbean.” ~ Silvia Villalobos, author of Stranger or Friend

Read more feedback at the publisher’s website, or read a full-length review by Lynne Hinkey at the Internet Review of Books.

Available as paperback and Kindle, ePub
iBook, Nook, and Kobo e-formats.
  
Come join us. Come meet Curaçao.
But come as Luis Villalobos should have come to the island:
prepared for a drastic readjustment of the things you value most.


MEET GUILIE: 

A Mexican writer and dog rescuer who moved to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book. Find Guilie on Facebook and Twitter, at Quiet Laughter where she blogs about life and writing, and at Life in Dogs where she blogs about life and… well, dogs.


Available as paperback and Kindle, ePub, iBook, Nook, and Kobo e-formats.


*****

H A P P Y   T H A N K S G I V I N G !



28 comments:

  1. Hi Yolanda! Hi Guilie! Fabulous post. I LOVE your book, Guilie, and I love what you have to say about publishing. It's pretty much all doom and gloom. I haven't tried a small press, but I'd like to find one. All the best, ladies!

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    1. Glad you liked this, Denise! In the end, indie presses are just another option—one which worked really well for me, but which might not for someone else. That said, I'd love to know how your experience goes if/when you do find one that you like :)

      Thanks so much for the visit!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  2. Hey ladies, I love the post!
    Upbeat AND realistic... thanks for keeping us in the loop.
    The small press route sounds like it has lots to offer...

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Michelle! And glad you felt it was upbeat, too... Much of the publishing-related stuff I've seen recently have such an end-of-times feel to them, haha... Which absolutely does *not* match my own experience. So I'm glad I was able to contribute another perspective :)

      Thanks for coming by!

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  3. Well thought out argument for indie publishing!

    I have worked for a couple of small publisher doing marketing. There is a closer knit team that works in a small publisher as you mention.

    As far as any publishing I'd do...I'd like to try it both ways. But, if I was going to do it on my own, I'm smart enough to know that I need professionals to help me with the cover art and content editing--not just spell check.

    Ah...Curacao...I envy you!

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. Oh, wow, Sia; your take on this, as someone who's worked "on the inside", so to speak, is so valuable. And I think it's really smart of you to want to try it both ways (or all three: self-, traditional, and indie?)... And why not? Hybrid authors seem to be finding all sorts of success, so who's to say that's not the answer to everything?

      Sunny greetings from Curaçao :) And thanks so much for coming by!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  4. I've been with the same small publisher for seven years and couldn't be happier. They really are invested in me and my success is theirs. I completely agree with your points.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that, Susan! Thanks for the visit and the comment, and here's to more and more success—for you and your publisher :)

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  5. Good take on independent publishers indeed. It sure has changed a ton and probably will keep on a changing.

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    1. Too right, Pat... After half a century, I suppose we were overdue for a change, but I don't think anyone expected it to go this far. Now, of course, there's no turning back—and, like you say, it's only going to keep changing. Which is disorienting, but it can also be very, very good.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  6. Yolanda, can't thank you enough for being a part of the MIRACLE tour... It's fantastic to be here! And I love what you did with the post; it looks great! Thanks so much for your support and your enthusiasm; blogging friends like you are hard to come by :)

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    1. Guilie, you are a dream come true for a blogger. It's always a pleasure to host a guest that is so actively involved with the readers, thank you! I have one more task to complete and then I can read your book, I am so looking forward to it. Wishing you all the best with this wonderful informative tour!

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  7. I know I've enjoyed the experience with my small publisher. As you said, we're all more involved. I feel like I matter.

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    1. That's probably the key thing for most of us publishing with small/indie presses, Alex: we feel like we matter. In this age when everything seems to be on fast-forward, I really value someone taking the time to make my manuscript the best it can be. Thanks for the comment, and for the vote of confidence for indie publishers :)

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  8. Hi Guilie. All excellent points. I've been looking at small presses myself.

    Happy Thanksgiving Yolanda :) And Guilie, if you celebrate it.

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Donna! We don't celebrate it here in Curaçao (or in Mexico, where I'm originally from), but I love the concept of the holiday, and have great memories from the few Thanksgivings I've spent in the US. I envy you the feast and the warmth and the family... Enjoy! And thanks for visiting :)

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  9. Hi Yolanda and Guilie, this is an important post for authors. I take small exception to calling all of the subsidy houses "scams," although there's some truth there. I had used iUniverse and was ultimately dissatisfied with them, but I never saw them as shady. They provided good services but in the end weren't worth the money, especially when I realized I could do it mostly by myself. Selling mostly ebooks through Kindle was good for me for a while, though they took a 30 percent cut, which they of course call 70 percent royalty.

    I actually like doing the grunt work of editing, proofing, polishing, layout. Between that and the help of sharp-eyed friends, I will not hire an outside editor again. Since I have no design skills, I hire a graphic artist to create the cover art.

    Guilie, you have an excellent book. May you sell so many copies it makes you dizzy!

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    1. Bob, I'm so glad you came by to share input from a different perspective. It's only through opposing views that our thoughts transcend mere opinion... It's enriching. I do apologize for the misunderstanding; I never meant to imply all subsidy presses are scams, and you're absolutely right: a good majority provide excellent services, and many authors find them not just useful but the perfect fit for their needs. What I wanted to point out is that smaller presses come with their own share of risks, one of which might be the scam thing. I didn't mean to disparage all subsidy publishers, or paint them with the same brush, and I'm sorry if it came across that way.

      Again, thanks so much for sharing your experience! Whatever decision we make in how to get our work out there, there's one thing that's key, and that's the support of fellow authors. You've gone above and beyond for me, Bob, and I'm eternally grateful.

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    1. Glad to hear it, Sue—and thanks so much for stopping by :)
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  11. Hola Guilie,

    Excellent post. I would only add that for me publishing myself through Smashwords and Kindle and Create Space is more advantageous than using an independent press. And I am delusional enough to think that with the help of my first editor (in-house), my local writer's group and IWW, I do not see the need to pay an editor. The one I tried with a sample edit, added so many filters to my opening chapter that it read like someone else's novel and not for the better. Let me know when your novel is available in ebook format so I can download it. I would like to read it. Peter.
    Peter Bernhardt, Author: The Stasi File, 2011 ABNA Quarter Finalist; Kiss of the Shaman's Daughter [sequel]; Red Romeo;
    http://tinyurl.com/a7rnpql - http://sedonaauthor.com - http://tinyurl.com/nef7wlp

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    1. Peter, I'm so glad you stopped in! Like I said to Bob, I love the fact that there are other takes on this, and I think it's important, for readers of this post (or of any discussion on how to publish), to get a well-rounded-out vision of the possibilities. I've benefited enormously from working with my publisher/editor, but you and Bob are great examples of the fact that mine is certainly not the only way... And I love that :)

      MIRACLE is available in e-formats already; I just realized we didn't update this post in time, and I apologize for that. Yolanda, my gracious host, has just let me know she added the links into the post — thanks, Yolanda! Again, so sorry about the confusion.
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  12. Hi Guilie and Yolanda,

    Interesting read. And 'The Miracle of Small Things' sounds awesome. Best wishes for its success!

    If you are into poetry then no publisher is going to touch you with a bargepole :) the readership is too small, the numbers just don't stack up. So self-pub is probably the only route, but not sure that it's for me - that one woman writer/editor/marketing team business is seriously daunting, and not for anyone who doesn't understand the first thing about social media.

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    1. Thank you, Nilanjana! You're right, poetry is a tough, tough sell any way you publish it... Which, by the way, is shameful, but perhaps not quite surprising... In a world where 50 Shades can be a bestseller, what room for poetry then? *Sigh* Don't give up on indie presses, though... As I said, they're not in it for the money, which means they have the freedom to publish what they want to publish—the books (and poems!) they're in love with. It'll take a bit longer to find the publisher you want, and who wants you, but the wait might be worth it for the extra help in marketing, which is especially valuable for "hard sells" like poetry. Chin up :)

      Thanks so much for the visit, Nilanjana, and for sharing your thoughts.

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  13. Hello Guilie and Yolanda,

    Good, thoughtful post on the small press option for publishing. For those with all the skills needed to self-publish, that option is opening up so many doors, and forcing the industry to rethink itself--and that's a good thing. For me, the small partnership-publisher route was most appealing. I've loved the experience of working with an indy, full-partner publisher. The attention to detail in editing, cover design, and layout ensure I put out a high quality, professional product, but as you say, I get to work closely with them through that, so it's personalized for me and my book. It's also important to me to know my publisher believes in me and my work enough to take the financial risk of publishing my novels. It's nice to know they see me as an investment that will pay off, rather than just another way for them to make risk-free money (as, I'm sorry to say, too many of the vanity presses and "pay-to-play" publishers do. Although, as Bob pointed out, not all of them are scams.)

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    1. You touched a key point, Lynne: the validation that comes from having someone, not a fellow author or one's mom, that believes in us and our work enough to—quite literally—put their money where their mouth is. For many authors that validation is nice but not a deal-maker (or -breaker); they believe in themselves enough, and I envy them that. For me, though, that leap of faith from a stranger—and a business-oriented stranger, at that—has been the single most important milestone in my life. The day the editor at Truth Serum Press said he though MIRACLE was worth publishing is a day I'll remember forever (and an email I go back to often, haha).

      Thanks so much for coming by, Lynne! It's always great to find your name in the comments :)
      Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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  14. I've been picked up by a small publishing house, so I love hearing your thoughts here. I've often wondered if I made the best move, but as I'm starting the editing process, I'm certain I did. The involvement and the help has been great. I've often thought that being picked up by an agent and then one of the big houses would have been ideal, but hearing your comments and seeing the others comments here, makes me think twice about that notion. Then there's the self-publishing route, but it's not respected due to the many poorly edited books out there, and there are a lot!! Yes, I'm thrilled to have been picked up by a small publisher. :)

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    1. Congratulations, Shawn! That's fabulous! Not all indie publishers are cut from the same cloth (just like not all self-published books are awful, or not all big publishing houses are money-starved Scrooge magnates that'll sell your soul for a buck), so I'm glad to hear your small-press experience is working out so well. Yes, the involvement is really amazing; I was surprised by how often my opinion was not just sought but actually taken into account. I think we all dream of that big-house publishing contract (and the huge advances, haha), but it's sort of like those childhood fantasies of being a princess... The dream is way better than the actual reality of it :) For all practical purposes, the small press is the option that works best for me. I'm glad you feel the same way about it, too.

      Thanks so much for coming by—and much, much success with your upcoming release!

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