Seems like this question was plaguing other writers as well, because after weeks of discussion, I gathered 22 pages of responses! My blog gift to you is a simple synthesis of the advice. One proviso: what you do depends on your goals and how prolific a writer you are. One author with lots of MS's to offer explained that at 70 years of age, she can't wait for slooooooow publishers...she has to self publish in order to get all her books out in the next few years.
1. Yes, seek other publishers to widen the net, but be careful who you pick...make sure the new publisher (s) 'sells' your genre to a large readership, has a solid track record and offers you some fresh ways to promo. The publisher must provide an editor who gets the very best out of you. Kayelle Allen offered these look-fors:
1) are they ethical?
2) are they successfully marketing their authors?
3) is their cover art excellent?
4) is their editing superb?
5) do they treat you and others fairly?
2. If you decide to stick with one publisher, make sure it 'sells' your genre to a large readership, has a solid track record, offers you excellent editors and some fresh ways to promo, and has a way of rewarding you for staying loyal to one publisher. (One writer who has been in the business for 25 years warns us that she's seen many publishers fold up their business and disappear; she advised against depending on one publisher for this reason.)
3. By all means, learn how to self publish, even if for a novella. No need to mention you won't have to share royalties with a publisher if you self publish. The beauty of self-publishing is you can speed up the process...instead of waiting a year (or three!) to have a publisher get your book out, you can complete the process in months! Better yet, you are completely in control of the process, including cover choice. BUT ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS (emphasis provided by advice-givers) do the following:
---Polish your work
---Use CP's and beta readers to respond to your work
---Polish some more
---Pay (or barter) for an editor who is tough on you for all writing elements (not just editing)
---Pay (or barter) for an excellent formatter
---Pay (or barter) for a fabulous cover
---Polish your work again
4. If your agent, your editor and or your publisher isn't doing the job, be brave and complain. If you see no change, move on.
Promotion is the underbelly of my question...how to bring in more readers...how to sell more books. We learned early on that promotion would remain in the our hands, and we're puzzled about how to promote in these chaotic times. What worked before isn't working now. Two goals are clear: 1. Build a loyal readership (and nurture that group); 2. Have fun interacting with those 'netted' readers.
Hope you found some value in my synthesis. Let me know what you think I left out or what resonated for you! Rolynn
P.S. Just in case you didn't know, I self-pubbed a suspense novel, SWOON late in 2012 (after having two books published by The Wild Rose Press). Take a look!
“Don't miss SWOON by Rolynn Anderson! If you like an interesting cast of characters, a heavy dose of mystery and a lot of fabulous surprises, you'll be happily turning pages late into the night.ˮ
~ Brenda Novak, NYT and USA Bestselling Author of award-winning
WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES
Her dead clients won’t rest in peace.
When the dead tell tales, Jan Solvang’s first reaction is to RUN! But then she gets caught up in their mysteries.
Jan’s a boutique funeral planner, new to risk, hired to bury a missing woman and memorialize an infamous man. Yet when she digs for clues to write their eulogies, she disturbs family secrets and unmasks killers.
Roman Keller, hard-driving documentary writer, is in complete control of his life and his stories, until he falls for Jan, a woman who trusts her dog, her faint-dreams, and her instincts more than she trusts him.
Can they make the sacrifices necessary to cement their relationship or will the mayhem caused by the dead ruin their second chance at love?
Website for Rolynn Anderson: http://www.rolynnanderson.com
Print version Amazon bitly.com/SJrVAR