Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Online Publishing Dos and Don'ts

by Terri Wagner

Online publishing is a tricky maze. There are legit companies, and ones that will basically print your story, errors and all, as is. The more nefarious ones will steal your story. So how do you first decide yea or nay, and second, choose your publisher. What does online publishing really mean?

Advantage: You are not self publishing. That can be a plus. Someone will work with you to get your story into shape. Preferably, you will have an editor (or two) and one proofreader. A good company will offer up beta readers who can usually spot those final little errors that seem to linger in spite of the best editor. With luck, your company has a marketing department that knows its stuff. And ties to one of the biggest online book distributor...Amazon.

Disadvantage: You are not self publishing. That is not a typing error. With online publishing, there will be changes to your story. Some of them you may not even recognize. I personally know someone who was published online and the story that was published was not quite the story he wrote. The editor had added spice and zest of a very worldly kind. My friend was too embarrassed to let people know who wrote it.

Advantage: You get expert advice in how to structure your story, polish up your grammar, and some solid advice on what genre is selling best.

Disadvantage: You get expert advice...that is anything but expert.

Advantage: Online published stories make a better transition to Kindle, Nook, and other such users. So your story can get out there quicker with less publishing mistakes.

Disadvantage: Online published stories make it quicker to Kindle type devices. Here, cost is an issue. Suddenly your book is worth 99 cents. You don't have much control over where it ends up.

Advantage: A good online company walks you through their process, and helps you understand something perhaps more important than writing the story...how to market the story. Without a marketing plan, your story is dead in the water.

Disadvantage: A good online company expects you to put a lot of effort into marketing. Something you may not consider yourself savvy enough to do.

Advantage: Your story will get the attention it deserves due to volume. A regular publishing company, especially these days, are not going to spend a lot of time on a story they think is good but not the next, say J.K. Rolling. Not that the first company approached thought Harry Potter was all that either.

Disadvantage: Your story will get more attention, meaning you may be asked for several rewrites and edits. You'll have to trust in the process.

Tally: New writers get a better learning curve with online publishers (as long as you do your homework and pick a reputable one). More established writers prefer the heavy guns a reputable traditional publishing company brings with it.

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