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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Things prospective writers should know (Part 1)

By Ardain Isma

CSMS Magazine Staff

Writing is an important skill that every professional must have. Mastering this skill is even more important when one is writing to be recognized. Like other avenues in the professional arena, writing is not a mono-genre, and just like clothes at a fashion district, those who walk in to a bookstore are not looking for one specific kind of books. There are people who are only interested in novels or fiction writing while others simply read informational or nonfiction books. Whichever style a prospective writer decides to choose or feel more comfortable writing, there has to be some guidelines to be put in place.

If someone wants to write and then seek publishing endorsement, he cannot be a self-centered, egocentric author. Writing a manuscript is just the tip of the iceberg. Before one can get his book to be endorsed and ultimately be bought by a commercial publisher, there is a rocky process he must undergo. That can be tedious. That is why, perseverance, determination, and a little bit of luck are the three components that must craft the character of a prospective writer.

Many writers simply shun the tedious process, and go straight to self-publishing. That’s okay. However, in the publishing game, if one wants to call it that way, someone who goes this route will quickly find out that there is a steep and nightmarish mountain to climb. When one self-publishes his book, he becomes the publisher. Since he is the publisher, everything falls on him—from paying for the manuscript to go into print, from spending big bucks for marketing purposes, and from spending the amount of time necessary to market the book.

Short of doing so, a self-published book stands the risk of being grounded, accumulating dusts in some obscured warehouses or some clogged garages, apart some friends and relatives who might get their hands on some complimentary copies. It sounds stupid to have one’s book available to just few close individuals after spending countless hours to put together a manuscript.

One writes a book to send a message to a wider, if not a global, readership. That is why I believe in the traditional way of publishing, it is tougher to breakthrough, for sure. But once the ice is broken, as it is the common jargon, the road is right open, and one can ride it as he wishes within the framework of the publishing guidelines. I will explain the guidelines in a later piece.

A publisher endorses the book, and pays for what it is worth. The writer pays no marketing fees, and as his book starts selling, he also starts collecting royalty fees.  The writer might be required to go on book tours to help promote the book. But, that’s the best opportunity for the writer to shine. To my prospective writers out there, do not get discouraged. Hang tough, and keep the eyes on the heavenly prize.

Note: This is a new column designed to open up an honest debate on the publishing nightmare. Any prospective writer can contribute to the category. Let me know what you think.


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