Long before I wrote my first book “Olga – A Daughter’s Tale” (and at this stage my only one) I remember hearing a well known UK literary agent say in an interview on the BBC, somewhat sheepishly, “the chances of a new author getting published are just about impossible”. So when I wrote my book I remembered those words and decided to self-publish since, at that time, I really only wanted the book for friends and family.
Anyway after much researching on the web around the pitfalls and dangers of self-publishing I settled on Lulu.com a really good user friendly print on demand publishing website. Another reason I was drawn to Lulu was reading an interview with it’s founder, Bob Young who also was the CEO of Red Hat Linux.
Bob wanted to publish a book he’d written but couldn’t find a publisher to take it on, so recognising hundreds of other people would be in the same position, he founded Lulu.com so he could publish it himself! I’ve found the drawback to self-publishing is the limited marketing strategy available and the answer is that you have to get out there and do it yourself.
I read of a woman who had self-published and to fund her marketing plan she had re-mortgaged her home for $70,000 but, unfortunately, the article didn’t say how successful or not the plan had been.
It was sometime after I published on Lulu that I decided to try and find a literary agent or publisher. I certainly didn’t realise when I started out on this journey that, two years later, I’d still be trying to get it published. My plan was to approach maybe fifty or so literary agents and if nothing happened, I’d give up. But I haven’t given up even after approaching over 100 agents.
The New York Times called it “one of the literary treasures of the web”! It has thousands of names with email addresses (in 2007 Jones said the website contained over 20,000 names) of the most influential literary agents, talent agents, publishers, independent movie guys, movie studios, media guys, publicists and booksellers, etc in the US, UK and Canada. I’ve used it myself many times and not only is it useful, it’s highly entertaining as well. Jones has had many runs in with publishers who rejected his book and he puts some of their rejection letters and his reponses to them up on his site. He’s doesn’t pull any punches and can be quite obnoxious when he’s saying, which he frequently does, how their actions have harmed the publishing industry. I think this mainly refers to the fact that he considers his book a literary masterpiece and the agents and publishers are idiots (that’s a milder term than Gerard uses) because they can’t recognised a work of art when they see it. And what they do publish, in his opinion, is crap!
Gerard Jones is one of the reasons I keep going – after Ginny Good was rejected thousands of times, he finally got a publisher!