To Publish or Not to Self Publish, That Question, Answered by Author Ed Kurst
Welcome to another exciting tour with Novel Publicity. Today we have a guest post with the author! In this guest post, our author Ed Kurst shares his experience on choosing to self-publish as a first time author. Make sure to check out the rafflecopter at the end of the post and enter for your chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite and more!
From Author Ed Kurst: Do golden words evoking fabulous images of far off lands inhabited by exciting characters just naturally flow off your typing fingertips? Is the story a James Bond car chase thriller of a novel, just begging your reader to skip meals and bathroom breaks to get to the next chapter? Is it so perfectly written that English professors are clamoring for you to teach their next grammar class?
Well then, just shoot that manuscript to Harpers and Warner Bros, sit back with a mint julip and wait for the multi-million dollar royalty checks.
If you are like the rest of us slubs, I humbly suggest you keep reading.
Now I am not qualified to teach anyone how to write. Only you and a patient instructor over a goodly period of time can achieve that. But I can provide some tips on how the writing and publishing processes intersect no matter what you decide to do.
Several years ago an idea for a book occurred to me. Perhaps more accurately, many very disparate subjects plus a lifetime of personal experiences seemed to gel into a story. I wrote down a narrative one chapter at a time and shared it with my brother. We had fun kicking it back and forth via email.
A few years passed. I decided the story should continue and wrote the second book in the Know series. Same process, same fun with my brother.
But what did I really have in the end? Of course, I had nine hundred pages of disparate chapters that had been fun sharing with my brother. I did not have two novels. But I did have enough for people to encourage me to continue.
But how? Send this manuscript to a traditional publishing house? It was garbage. How to turn it into an edible meal?
Fortunately for me, I had a family friend who was a writer and a content editor. She taught me the difference between scribbling and writing a book.
Lesson number one: always use a content editor and always listen to your content editor. Okay, that’s two lessons but you get the point.
After three recycles—remedial writing lessons were really needed—I had a coherent plot, some characters that were interesting, and something that didn’t read like a seven year old had punched it out on a keyboard after eating five Mars bars and drinking a liter of Mountain Dew.
I’m not saying the book was great or was going to be a hit, just that I wasn't embarrassed to publish it at that point. That’s until my spouse took a read and started redlining the bad grammar. It was so distracting to her that she couldn't focus on the plot.
Lesson number two: always have your manuscript copy-edited and proof read.
So, off to a professional copy-editor it went. I thought should have been ready to ship that sucker off to a main stream publishing house. Well, not really.
I wrote it, so naturally it all made sense…to me. What if a couple of people who never read it before or hadn't read it since it first crept out of the primordial slime tried reading it? Enter spouse and brother.
Lesson number three: always have a beta reader or two take a gander at that manuscript.
They’ll tell you things like, “Do you really need that character in the story?” “John would never do that!” “Well, if your target audience is thirteen year olds, then, sure, keep that segment.”
The beta reader list of comments is endless, helpful—as long as you don’t come to blows with your friends and family over it—and a necessary evil.
Now, let’s get back to the original topic of this article. ‘To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish?’ From my own limited personal experience, and after reading a bunch of books on the subject, here’s my advice:
[list] [list_item icon=”glass”]always engage a content editor[/list_item] [list_item icon=”music”]hire a copy-editor[/list_item] [list_item icon=”search”]use beta-readers[/list_item] [/list]
You should do this before you self-publish and definitely before you send that manuscript to a main stream publishing house. First impressions are a cliché, but they are also true.
If you get that far, congrats! At that point you can decide whether you want to go through the submissions, rejections, and new challenges and headaches of working with a traditional publisher.
So, why didn’t I go the big publishing house route? Well, while all the above was all going on, I also had a website and a book cover made. I was ready, and I didn’t want to add another step in the process. So I went to a smaller company to format and publicize my book via the internet. Okay, okay, maybe I just chickened out. But I’m just gonna call that being independent!
About the Book
John Preston set aside the easy bullet that would end his certain lingering death. He now Knew too much. His mind had just returned from a wild ride tens of thousands of years into the past where he witnessed three primitive humans divining a path to save humankind from a global fiery catastrophe. What John now Knew might cure him but could also require he shred the very fabric of time and space.
John’s quest for answers will thrust him into the lead role to confront the Consortium, a cabal of eight families with the power to Know the future and the past. Guided by John’s latent Know ability and a 70,000 year old prophecy, he sets out on a path for his own salvation. Success will mean life, failure…a cruel doom for all humankind.
Preservation is the first book in the Know Trilogy which wraps a new theory of space-time, humankind’s evolution, millennia old conspiracies, and imminent global destruction around a broken man’s redemption, an evil man’s reckoning and a driven woman’s unique destiny.
About the Author
Ed Kurst’s life as a child was a nostalgic bit of Americana, with two married parents, one sibling, and a pet beagle. They didn’t even lock their cars. The only thing missing was the proverbial white picket fence, but their neighbor did build a split rail one from seasoned logs.
As a kid, Ed frequented a neighborhood library, accessed by a spiral staircase to the second floor of an old brick building. It was a wondrous place to a curious child. Hardback novels were stacked from floor to ceiling and nestled in every nook and cranny of the library’s dusty shelves. Tolkien, Lovecraft, and Asimov were his first and favorite fantasy and science fiction authors. In between reading these classics, he devoured every book about dinosaurs and astrophysics his young mind could comprehend.
These early literary influences eventually led him to study a pre-med, engineering curriculum with a special focus on the psychology and physiology of the human brain. Eager to get out in the real world, and not spend six more years in school, he decided to pursue the engineering side of his interests. He didn’t completely abandon his calling for medicine. But getting an EMT qualification and occasionally riding an ambulance at night seemed to satisfy that urge.
Ed Kurst’s engineering vocation led him to live and work in five European countries and several places in the United States. During the last decade of a varied career, he settled in the US Gulf Coast and specialized in leading diverse technical teams to implement new technology and develop mega engineering projects. Once retired, he turned his attention to other pursuits.
One fateful month, about eight years ago, he was reading all he could about the CERN particle accelerator, the migration of homo sapiens out of Africa, the demise of the Neanderthals, and epigenetics. He also was reacquainting himself with his favorite fantasy and science fiction authors. Voilà, The Know trilogy was born! The first book—The Know: Preservation—is due for publication in 2016. The second—The Know: Evolution—is in draft form and scheduled for 2017. The last in the series—The Know: Salvation—should follow in 2018. And, another novel—The Fae—is in progress as well. It’s packed full of strange and wonderful fantasy creatures that live and love and scheme right under our very noses!
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