What is the Best Publishing Path?

March 10, 2014

“What is the Best Publishing Path?” with Marty Ambrose, Doug Giacobbe, Julie Compton and moderator Joanna Campbell Slan at SleuthFest 2014.

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.


Julie said, “What you think you want before you get published is different from what you realize you want after you get published.” What she really wants now is for readers to read her book whichever way she can get it out there.

Regarding self-publishing, Doug said that you have to get involved. “Get out there and push it. It takes a commitment to make things work. You’ve got to take the time to work it.”

Marty suggested you get an agent at the conference if you want to go the traditional route.

Regarding agents, Julie said to find someone who is forward-thinking and who will support you if you decide to self-publish.

“The whole game has changed in regard to agents,” Joanna advised. “This is your career and your book, and you need to be in the driver’s seat. Be wary of giving away your rights to gain a publisher, or it might come back and hit you in the face.”

Ask yourself why you want to publish your own work. Is it because your manuscript has been rejected? If so, you need to hire an editor.

Joanna mentioned that you might need three types of editors. First there is the concept or story editor, followed by a copy editor, and then a galley proofreader.

Doug cautioned that if you have a book, don’t just slap it up on Amazon. If you’re going to do it right, it takes time and commitment, and it will cost you.

Marty suggested you examine what it is about writing that you absolutely love. You can get caught up in the marketing, so go back to basics and rediscover what you love about storytelling. Regarding marketing, she takes the grassroots approach into colleges, the community, and women’s clubs where she collects names for her mailing list. She also does online marketing.

“It’s a business,” Julie said. “You are not just writing now. You need to take the time to learn the craft and business of writing. One of the advantages of self-publishing is that your book is available quicker.”

No matter which route you go, you’re going to have to learn marketing because you’ll do it either way.

Suggested blogs to follow: The Passive Guy, Jane Friedman, Hugh Howey, and Joe Konrath.

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0 thoughts on “What is the Best Publishing Path?

  1. I give workshops all the time on writing, publishing and marketing. The more I stress marketing, the quicker I lose my audience. It seems too many people want everyone else to do the marketing for them. That may the old reality, but it isn’t today. Thanks for a timely post, Nancy.

    1. We have to treat our writing career as a business, more so than ever today, and marketing is a huge part of that effort. It’s not enough to write the book anymore, even though that’s what most of us would rather be doing. So you are right. This is the new reality.

  2. So true. I signed a contract for a short story to be part of an anthology. It had already been turned down by the 2 main mystery magazines, so I figured I had nothing to lose–I didn’t expect to make much money, but I thought it would help get my name out as a mystery writer as well as a romantic suspense author, and two of the other authors in the collection were ‘bigger names’ than I was, so I blindly followed their lead, and it’s coming back to bite me now. Unless you’re conversant in legalese, hire someone to read it and explain what it really means.