Nimrod Conference

Last weekend, four students, two teachers, and I went to the Nimrod Journal's writing conference in Tulsa Oklahoma. It was the first time that I had ever been to a writing conference let alone any conference, so I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got there. At the conference, they had many different classes that you could take but the one that I took was Publishing 101.

In Publishing 101, I learned that there are three main ways to get a novel or a collected work of poetry published. First, there is self-publishing. Self-publishing is where you basically publish it yourself which can be good in ways and bad in others. A few benefits would be that all the profits would be going to you, you can have the cover exactly the way you want it to be, and no one can reject your work. But a few downsides would be that you would have to edit the work yourself, do all of the marketing for the book yourself, fewer sales, and a greater chance that the book would be of poor quality.

The second would be the big four publishers. The big four (Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Hachette Livre) are basically the best publishing houses in today's world. This would be your best option but you would need an agent in order for them to even consider your book. A few benefits to this would be larger advances, mainstream exposure, professionally made and formatted, dedicated marketing, quality control, and credibility.  But even though this is the best option, there are still a few downsides to this. There would be loads of competition, a need of an agent, less control on format and cover, slow pace of publication, and they are less welcoming to unpublished authors.

The final way that you can publish your work is a small press publishing house. They aren't as big as the four above but that doesn't mean they aren't good fits for some people. A few benefits would be open submissions, individual attention, willingness to take risks, and they can be career building. But like all the others there are downsides. There are smaller advances and fewer royalties, limited exposure and distribution, and some may have a lack of experience.

Now that you know the main ways to get your work out there, all you have to do it choose which one would be best for you. Ask yourself which one would have more benefits for your work of literature. I recommend not trying to go the big four route until after you have published a book unless you happen to come across an agent anytime in the near future. Also, I recommend submitting short stories or poems to magazines and if your work gets published, then it would be easier for the big four to recognize you since you have been published before by others. So don't be afraid to send in your work because even if one publisher rejects it, doesn't mean that the next publisher won't say yes.