On April 3rd, with Rex still on vacay, Kasie and Alexa finished up this topic on publishing with the “how to pick” and “what to do next” segments. Here are the show notes:
Welcome to the show for the second week, Alexa Bigwarfe, Write|Publish|Sell, author, educator, and publisher. Get more on Write|Publish|Sell here. Buy Alexa’s books on grief and loss here and some books she’s written on the writing biz here and here.
Theme for the day(s)
The Publishing Journey Part 2
- Last week: You have a book in YOU! – deciding to write
- Last week: You have to take it seriously – focusing on craft
- You have publishing options – deciding to pursue representation or self publishing
- You have work to do – marketing your book, building your audience, staying relevant
So this week is the second of two episodes with special guest author and publisher Alexa Bigwarfe in which we fully examine the publishing process for you newbies, novices, and nerds.
Last week we worked on this “Everyone Can Write a Book” idea. I think the conclusion there was everyone can but not everyone will.
So this week we’re going to talk about what you do with that book after you’ve finished it.
But first, housekeeping:
On the weekend of April 16-18, we’ll be hosting the Livestream component for the SCWA’s Annual Conference “The Storytelling State.” What does that mean? Well, we’re testing it out today! Right now, on our YouTube channel. Yep, you can see me (Kasie) live and hear (maybe) Alexa. Get a preview of the Keynote Speaker Jeffrey Blount in this interview from last week.
Also with the SCWA, this week was our third (and final) Writing Conversation in the “In Bloom” sprint. What does that mean? It means we’re taking a break from those Tuesday midday sessions until after the Annual Conference. Here’s a peek at this week’s session with Write On SC patron Carolyn Hartley. Shhh… only SCWA members are supposed to have access to these recorded sessions. We won’t tell if you don’t.
Did you know we have a YouTube channel? Check us out, dudes! Just this week we posted a new interview:
- Rebecca Bruff, author of Trouble the Water, the award-winning novelization of the life of Robert Smalls (learn more)
These interviews were made possible by generous connections with literary arts organizations like SCWA and Arts on the Ridge. In the past, we’ve limited interviews to our Patrons and while we love them, we also believe the more exposure we can give authors of every genre, talent, and career ambition, the better.
Thanks to our patrons who continue to support the show and our efforts to bring writing craft lessons to the airwaves. If you’re ready to support the show, go to Patreon.com/WriteOnSC and join at the $5, $10, or $18 level to get access to behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive courses, and promotional work like Profile Pages and author interviews on the YouTube channel.
So Alexa’s workshop at the SCWA Annual Conference is called “Publish Like a Pro” and today we’re going to get a small look at what she’ll share. There’s an entire list of topics here, I’m sure, but let’s continue in our chronological order we started last week.
Step 1: Finish the book. We talked last week about the tools you can use for editing and revising and the importance of critique groups and paid editors.
Step 2: Investigate publishing options. I like this as a compare and contrast exercise. But first, there’s some options. Let’s define them and help people understand what each of them are. Last summer, in Episode 103, Rex and I took this on. But we didn’t have Alexa’s expertness then. So let’s review:
- Traditional – big publisher, reached via agent; small publisher, reached directly
- CONS: less control for the author, slowest route to publication
- PROS: wider distribution, connection to an established brand
- Self – individual author’s effort; makes use of independent contractors for various roles, requires a lot of project management skills (Raegan says so)
- CONS: all the work is on you, less recognizable marketing (brand), stigma of lower quality work
- PROS: full control of process (including time), higher earnings, plenty of digital platforms available
- Hybrid – some work by a publisher, some work by the author
- CONS: still a good bit of work (marketing) on you, may take longer than self-publishing, so many hybrids it’s hard to discern which ones are quality and which aren’t
- PROS: access to distribution networks, access to design and editorial professionals, established brand, expanded reach
Alexa asked me early in our relationship the most important question in this publishing conversation, “What are you trying to accomplish?”
I had two aims: 1) get my work out there so people who listen to what I tell them can check out my novel and decide if I’m worth listening to (it was a marketing product), and 2) get Brian’s story in front of GenX readers, a group I thought might want to see what was really going on in their ex-boyfriend’s head back in the 90s.
My first novel is what most first novels are: my own core wound exposed. Once it was done, it could have been shelved, but it had some merit (I think) and so we issued it to a specific audience. I wasn’t aiming for NYT Bestseller status, so no need for the theatrics or strategies around that. Answering the “What are you hoping to accomplish?” question is critical.
What are some pitfalls or risks people should be aware of before making their choice?
What are some signs that the route you’re looking at is not right for you?
How much research is enough, how much is too much?
The post-publication work is tremendous. Let’s talk about getting the book ready, launching it, and the marketing that goes into after it’s on the shelf.
Wanna hear more from Alexa on Publish Like a Pro? She’s got her own podcast, a workshop at the SCWA Conference, and is a frequent guest of ours. She was with us for a Goal Setting episode in 2020. Man, how that went awry.
What does a publisher expect the writer to do in terms of marketing the book?
What is the best way to build and reach your audience?
Is there a recommended mix of live and static content you recommend?
What about contests, gifts, and giveaways?
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