Online Publishing vs. TraditionalPublishing - A Personal Experience
by Kay Crist
Page 1 of 3
Online Publishing vs.
TraditionalPublishing -- A Personal Experience
By Kay Crist (author of "Araroon")
Publishing a science fiction novel via the internet is a sure thing. No
agent or editor can turn you down,
and no one will demand you change your manuscript. In fact, there are numerous
website publishers who will gladly shepherd your book every step of the
way, from submission, cover design, and publicity to monitoring sales. However,
author's going to have to pay for these services out of pocket --
no advance money. And once your book is available online and/or in print,
it's going to be primarily up to you to see that it's continually
Publishing a book the traditional way is at best difficult and at worst
impossible. However, if accomplished, traditional publishing
is certainly more prestigious and perhaps more profitable
than internet publishing (note I say "perhaps"). And one can't
deny there's also an air of legitimacy to traditional publishing that
online publication has yet to achieve. However, submitting a manuscript
to agents and publishers is not for the faint of heart -- a steady
stream of rejection letters in the mailbox can frustrate even the most
I've traveled both roads -- traditional and online publishing -- and found
that each method has pros and cons.
Finding a literary agent and submitting your manuscript
to one of the large publishing houses used to be the only way an
author would ever see a book in print. I began my publishing odyssey in 1996,
shortly after completing my science fiction novel "Araroon." Internet
publishing seemed to
me to be mere vanity press and I was determined to go
the "legitimate" route. I therefore dutifully purchased the latest issues of
"Writers Market" and "Guide to Literary Agents" and began sending out
packets of material, confident "Araroon" was good enough to attract the
attention of an agent. I could have tried going "over the transom," submitting
directly to publishers. However, everything I'dread advised this was not
wise, that having an agent represent your work greatly increased the chance
The rejection letters came quickly, a plethora of them beginning
approximately two weeks after
sending out my introduction letters and synopsis. Most agents gave no
reason for turning down "Araroon," a few had vague excuses such as the subject
matter not being what they were currently looking for.
I waited patiently, every day crossing name after name off my list, holding
hope that one of those last few agents would actually be interested in reading
my entire manuscript. Rejections come fast, I'd been told. Acceptances
took a lot longer.
It was three months before I received a letter from a small literary agent
who asked to read my
entire book. He said he saw something in my writing and story, and felt I
would be a good potential client. I was ecstatic. My first success! Then, a
couple of days later, I received another acceptance letter from a large New
York literary agency. They, too, wanted to read "Araroon." In fact, the head
of the agency had expressed an interestin it. My ego knew no bounds. I was
to be a published author! I even had a choice of agents!
I chose to send my book to the larger agency, writing a polite refusal to
agent. Then I sat back to wait for a contract in the mail.
I was naive. Months passed and I heard nothing from the large literary
agency. I occasionally called
them and was always told "Araroon" was in the process of being evaluated.
Then one day I called and was told no one had any record of my novel
being submitted! They couldn't even find the manuscript.There had been a
change and someone had messed up the filingsystem. A week later I received
a rejection letter with no reason given.Next Page
Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Kay Crist, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.