By Tiffany Matthews
To be or not to be: that is the question…
One of the most well-known lines in literature, this phrase opens a young manÂs soliloquy in Hamlet, the tragic play by William Shakespeare. The young man in question, who happens to be titular character, ponders on the meaning of life–whether it is worth it or not to stay alive when your life is filled with one hardship after another.
ÂTo be or not to beÂ remains a timeless question that will drive you into introspection if you are still unsure of your writing path–to be or not to be a writer? If youÂve decided to follow your heart and become a wordsmith, you then ponder on the next big question, ÂTo publish or not to publish?Â
The Publishing Dream
For many writers, the dream of publishing their own book is an elusive one. Becoming an author doesnÂt happen overnight. Just like when you become a writer, you need to read a lot and write a lot before you can become a competent writer. To be an author, itÂs gonna take courage, tenacity, hard work, self-confidence and optimism. If youÂre determined to get published, the next question to consider is which type would you choose–traditional publishing or self-publishing?
The path to getting published is riddled with grammar, thousands of words, many rewrites, and brutal rejections, especially when you opt for the traditional route. It can take years before manuscripts are turned into books and some donÂt even get to see the light of publishing day. You will have to send multiple pitches to not just one but to several publishing houses and even that isnÂt a guarantee it will be picked up. If you can afford to wait a few years, use that time to work on your writing, hone your submissions and learn more about the publishing business.
DonÂt be discouraged by rejections. Author Stephen King went through many rejection slips before he got published. But he didnÂt let that stop him. He remained optimistic and continued writing. As time went by, the rejection letters became a little more encouraging, with one telling him he had talent and that he should submit again. A decade or so later, he finally published his first novel, Carrie, and the rest is history.
If your attempts at publishing traditionally take you to a dead end, you can consider your second option, self-publishing. While this choice can narrow the time it takes to get published, it means more work than when you publish traditionally. First of all, you need to have considerable knowledge of what publishing entails like designing the book, editing, illustrating and even the marketing, promotional and sales aspects. YouÂll also need a good dose of self-confidence, hammered by years of experience in the writing industry. You should also set a reasonable time frame to accomplish everything, like one year.
One thing you should remember is that when you self-publish, you are considered to be the publisher of your book and thus, must embrace whatever legal responsibilities that come with it. If you are on a budget, you can get affordable prepaid legal services to help you whenever you encounter legal issues during publishing.
Books DonÂt Appear By Magic…
Another thing you must keep in mind is that books arenÂt made overnight. Your first manuscript will go through several edits, rewrites and fine-tuning before you can pitch it to traditional publishing houses. If you decide to self-publish, you will have to do the brunt of the work, including tirelessly promoting your book online and local bookstores in your area. But if your story is worth sharing, word-of-mouth recommendations and glowing book reviews might just land you a deal with traditional publishing house.
If you havenÂt started writing that book you want to publish, today is a good day to start. DonÂt let fear of failure stop you from accomplishing your publishing dream. You can make your dream come true if you try. Be empowered by what Stephen King said in his book, On Writing,
ÂYou can, you should, and if youÂre brave enough to start, you will.Â