I have been in the publishing maze for a while now. All the advice out there said to write another book as soon as you finish the first one and start submitting it. I also heard it was easier if you have some short stories published, a lot of followers on various social media sites, and you throw copper dust into a fire beneath the full moon.
What I found along the way is that there are different classifications of companies in the publishing maze. For short stories there are print magazines, online magazines, and contests. For books the list includes the big six publishers, regional publishers, indie publishers, vanity presses, self publishing, and agents. There are probably other venues I haven’t listed. Before the end I hope to have tried most of them. Everybody has opinions on where and how to sell writing. For successful writers, they recommend the path that worked for them. The only problem is that this maze is constantly shifting and changing. So the road they took is long gone.
Best I can tell, the publishing maze is like a game. It requires skill, strategy, and luck to win. I doubt there are many authors who really just want to sell a couple hundred books. The middle of the maze is a bestseller. But whom should a lonely author trust? What about rumors that somewhere there is a short cut? We’ve all heard the stories. The number of people trying to navigate this labyrinth seems to be booming.
Recently, after talking to a strong proponent of self publishing, I realized the maze doesn’t really have a mythical treasure at the center. That’s an illusion. The maze is just a thorny path with a lot of branches and turns. If there’s somewhere you want to be, you keep going until you get there. Specific goals and plans are doable. Just like life, if you set out for a destination (a real one), you will make it if you persist. Just like a maze, if you backtrack and take a different path enough times you will eventually get where you want to go. Or so I am beginning to believe.