Growing up in Oklahoma was magical. As a pre-schooler, I have vivid memories of spending weekends and Summers with my grandmother on the ranch — riding in the saddle with ranch hands (AKA: COWBOYS!) rounding up the cattle, reading books with my Grandmother on her BIG screened porch, and counting the lightning bugs as they danced in the dark.
As a young teen approaching driving age, you also learn about those bright yellow yield signs on the Oklahoma highways that say, “DO NOT DRIVE THRU SMOKE!” You see, Oklahoma has a very dry and arid climate and has a lot of tumbleweeds that blow across highways. If two tumbleweeds happen to bump into each other, it could cause a spark, resulting in a fire. Rolling over a burning tumbleweed on a highway could mean a possible explosive disaster for a vehicle driving down the road, especially if one gets caught under your car!
We were taught that if you see smoke on the highway, to SLOW DOWN, PULL OVER to the side of the highway, and TURN AROUND when it was safe to make a U-turn in the highway . . . in other words, DO NOT DRIVE THRU SMOKE, and avoid the rolling tumbleweeds!
I liken these instructions to what I tell authors when approached by someone who claims to be a “publisher.” The publishing industry in the U.S. is an unregulated industry, and anyone can call themselves a publisher — even if they have only uploaded their WORD file to Amazon and figured out the answers to the DIY questions. I know of printing companies who now call themselves publishers. And as someone whose first job out of college was for a local printer, I understand their need to diversify!
You see, EVERY author I’ve ever met swoons over the possibility of hearing these words, “I’d LOVE to publish your book!” Unfortunately, in an unregulated industry, anyone can say those words, whether they know what they are doing . . . OR NOT!
Part of my job is to help you understand the publishing landscape, learn more about the types of options you have, and how to recognize when it’s time to SLOW DOWN, PULL OVER, and TURN AROUND.
WHERE DO WE START?
- WHO ARE YOU? Define your author platform. Find your voice. Why are you here? What do you stand for? What will you NOT stand by and let happen?
- WHAT DO (OR CAN) YOU WRITE ABOUT? What makes your content interesting to others? What can you write about that no one else has already touched upon? What types of content will sell?
- HOW DO I GET PUBLISHED? The great thing about publishing in the 21st century is that you have many options!
- Author Be Aware (Independent/INDY, Hybrid, DIY)
- Author Assisted
When it comes to Navigating the Wild, Wild, West of Publishing, you have LOTS of options. Take time to educate yourself on the pros and cons of each. Ask lots of questions and avoid the “smoke” that potentially may not be in your best interest. You’ll be better able to make decisions on what is the best route for YOU — so that you can SLOW DOWN, PULL OVER, and TURN AROUND when something doesn’t feel or look quite right.
If you have questions, reach out to Cathy on our “ASK CATHY” page.