At first, the hardest part is just sitting down to write.
But that isn't as hard as letting someone else read your work
Which is easy compared to deciding it's time to send out your manuscript
Which turns out be a piece of cake compared to sending it back out after you've gotten one rejection
Which is nothing compared to trying again after the 10th rejection or the 50th
Standing on the edge of that formidable chasm with no good choices - giving up or going on?
Do you dare to publish yourself or endure a dozen more small deaths of the spirit until someone else acknowledges your merit?
It isn't easy that first time you say I'm good enough,
My work is good enough even if I'm the only one who knows it right now.
Until you take the leap
and the sail catches you and the wind carries you
and your realize you're in good hands after all -
Photo by Nicolas Tissot on Unsplash
It makes me think of a juggler trying to keep three balls in the air or four plates spinning. It’s hectic and harrowing. And yet. Sometimes the best way to get one thing done is to do two. (Or am I getting that confused with the advice about how to improve a short story by writing the next one?)
Bacon Press Books is making some changes and they’re all good.
Here’s what’s different
Bacon Press Books is now concentrating only on helping authors re-issue as paperbacks and eBooks, titles that have already been published in hard cover. When the author has regained the rights.
While we’re really proud of the original fiction and nonfiction titles we’ve published and grateful to their authors for taking a chance on us, we want to stick with our original mission.
So with that in mind, we’ve revamped our website so authors can see clearly what it would cost to re-issue a book with us. Check it out.
At the same time, we’re offering another service that’s totally separate from the press.
Fiction, nonfiction, novel, memoir, beginners, pros – I’m happy to help. No matter where you are in your journey, I’ll join you.
Fortunately, there’s no crossover – no promise to publish because clearly you can’t be working on a new book and re-issue it at the same time.
You can read about the service here and if you know anyone who’s looking for help, please pass it on.
I know. I should have been collecting email addresses and writing a newsletter – but to be honest, the newsletters I receive tend to be a bit disappointing. They’re personal and interesting and I do take the time to read them, but it’s kind of like podcasts, and blogs, and all of these content-heavy new formats for communication. Sooner or later, people run out of material. In my case, I know it would be sooner.
So I’ll update this way from time to time and keep you posted on how these new changes are working.
Why it’s not such a bad idea to take a chance on re-issuing your own books
hat's so great about waiting to be picked?
For some people deciding to re-issue your own book is hard. I know, I’m the same way. It’s so much easier if someone gives you an offer. Who doesn’t like to be chosen and to be paid on top of it? Only a lot of us know by now that doesn’t always happen. And yet. If your book was good enough to be published in the first place, isn’t it still good enough to be available to readers in different formats?
Not rocket science, not even brain surgery
I should have numbers and graphs showing how much it costs one of the Big 5 publishers to bring out a book in paperback, but the numbers I keep coming across are misleading. And in the end, does it matter? If your publisher tells you you didn’t sell enough hardcover books to warrant a paperback deal – do you really care how much it would cost them?
It’s archaic, a little medieval, unfair to writers. Just when you thought you’d survived the toughest parts – writing the book, revising and editing, getting an agent, and then a publisher. You’ve even survived reviews or lack of reviews. Readings in empty bookstores or no arranged readings at all. Just when you think there are no more hoops and hurdles, comes the news that your book didn’t sell enough so, sorry, no paperback deal.
Given how easy it is to get books out there using print on demand – this makes no sense. Wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to make your book available at a lower price if you want to reach more readers? How many people are willing to shell out upwards of $25.00 for a hardcover book? And if they do spend the money, how many books will they buy at that price? That’s one of the reasons paperbacks became so popular. Not just at airports or on beach vacations. Serious readers were more likely to pick up a paperback or two at half the price they’d pay for the hardcover.
Your bookshelves might not look as grand. But that kind of thinking went the way of cheap walk-up apartments in the West Village.
The point is: all authors, once they get their rights back, now have the ability to decide for themselves if they’d like to publish their backlist books in paperback and eBook. It’s not hard to do and it doesn’t cost that much.
It's OK to Be Proud of Your Work
Often it’s just a question of getting over the hurdle of being the one to decide it’s okay.
The thinking used to be, if readers read a book by an author they liked, they’d go looking for other books by the same author. I’ve done that. Even when it meant slogging through all of Ernest Hemingway and John Updike or breezing through Alice Adams and Alice Munro. Even when I didn’t love every single book.
But now, unless I’m looking for the work of a popular genre author, I can only find backlist books for sale at used bookstores. Sometimes with very good prices. And sometimes I’ll buy them. But I’m more likely to pick up an eBook, just for the convenience.
I subscribe to a few discount book sites with special offers every day. I’m amazed at how many feature books from 20-30-40 years ago. Now in digital.
What’s the benefit of re-issuing your backlist?
My own rocky journey
I started Bacon Press Books with the intention of helpi ng authors re-issue their out of print books in paperback and digital. Because it looked so easy. And yet. I didn’t have the courage to take a chance.on my own novel.
Even though I had everything in place – an imprint, a stack of ISBNs with Bowker, accounts with Amazon KDP and IngramSpark; a wonderful editor Lorraine Fico-White (Magnifico Manuscripts), a terrific cover designer, and a just as terrific interior designer. An account with the Library of Congress. A few good companies that could scan books. My own websites, blogs, and so many social media accounts I can’t keep track of which ones to use. I even had a YouTube channel. And yet, I didn’t do it.
Here’s my progress so far
First, I had to find some of my old books for sale somewhere since I only had one copy.( I know. D umb.) Then I sent the cleanest hardcover to Blue Leaf Book Scanning.. I’d used them before and had liked their work. I’d also used another company and wasn’t as pleased. blue Leaf returned a pretty clean copy – the proofreading didn’t take long and I resisted the urge to make too many changes. I could save money on editing since my original publisher, Henry Holt & Co. had given me a great copyeditor.
Then I asked Al Pranke of amp13 to design a new cover. The original cover was unusual for its time. All white with the author’s name in large type. Unheard of for an unknown author. Al’s designs are always striking. I confess, I really love this one.
I’ve just sent it off to Lorie DeWorken of Mind the Margins for the interior. This time, I was able to add a few pages upfront with the good reviews I’d gotten. Being able to add reviews friends and family had never seen made me smile.
Now I’m waiting to get back the finished interior. Then I’ll figure out how to condense the jacket copy to fit on the back cover. Set a price. Come up with a short blurb. Decide on a pub date, add it to my website, and that’s it.
I know. There’s all that tacky self-promotion and marketing and begging for reader reviews. I’ll let you know how that works out. If I’ve come this far it would be silly not to try to get some exposure. But I’ve been known to make bad choices before. Especially when it comes to putting myself out there.
In the meantime, I’m actually enjoying the process.
And more convinced that Bacon Press Books can offer a real service at affordable prices to authors who want their books re-issued but don't want the hassle of doing it themselves..
We're working on packages to accommodate as many author preferences as we can. Writing shouldn't be a beauty contest - your work should be judged on its merits and often, authors are the best ones to know what they are. merits and often, authors are the best ones to know what they are.
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