Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don’t Rush Publication, Instead Spend Your Time on Excellence

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

Don't rush publication, instead spend time on excellence
There is more to being a writer than just putting words on a page. There’s responsibility, attitude, and expectations. So tell me, where does your heart lay and what’s your rush?

I posed these two questions at a recent writers conference where I taught.

My own ideas were put to the test when one writer asked the hot button question, “But if you can’t get a contract with your first book, why not self-publish?”

The disclaimer first:  I have nothing against self-publication. I believe there is a time and a situation when self-publication is the perfect answer. BUT, I’m not sure self-publication is the perfect answer, just for a new writer to be published.

Publishing is a career filled with hard work.
Publishing, at its best, is a trying career filled with hard work, waiting, and a small ratio of contracts offered compared to manuscripts written.  

New writers find themselves frustrated and angry that their books are not receiving contracts. 

Between the fists of the economy tightening around publishers and outdated business models, even well-seasoned authors experience high rejection rates.

Still there is something to be said for a writer’s bloody knees.

Our first works are rarely our best, even when we think they are – our writing may not be up to publication level. Our rejections in writing, force us to strive to learn the craft on a higher level. They make us angry enough to buckle down and refine the words. Those pesky rejections serve as a sifter, filtering out the serious writers from those who aren’t. Rejections are, and rightfully should be, our incentive to excel to the next level.

Why not self-publish?
So how does this all play into the “Why not self-publish,” question? It’s all a matter of attitude and a respect for the craft of writing.  My question for those who grow impatient is, “What is your hurry?” Traditional publishing is not easy, and honestly, it’s not always fair, but the ultimate goal never changes. Quality writing must be the end result.

It’s easy for us to insist we’ve dreamed of being a writer since childhood or that we have a story that will change lives. But if that is truly the case, why rush the process, when the process leads us to a better quality of work?

It is a question a writer has to answer for themselves and it does require some soul searching to see past our dream of being published and locate the reality of actually being ready to be published.

Self-publication can be a good choice when
it's used in the right situation.
Self-publication is a wonderful choice when it’s used in the right situation. My challenge to you, the writer, is step aside of your dreams for a moment and look at the development of your work. Is the quality going to best represent your God given gift? If self-publication is the road for you, then take active steps by making the investment in your writing before putting the work into print. Make it the best piece you can so that years later it’s something that makes you proud.  

If you choose self-publication follow these steps to make your work as successful as it can be:
  • Build a solid platform to sell the book. A book on the shelf is no good unless is ends up in the hands of a reader. And understand, that by having your book on Amazon or in distributor catalogue, does not sell a book. You sell the book.
  • Invest in a CONTENT editor who can help you with plot, find holes, placement, and overall readability of the work. Don’t count on a proofer to catch the holes in a manuscript. Invest the money into a reputable CONTENT EDITOR. ($800-$1000 and up)
  • Invest in a professional book cover designer that makes your book cover look professional – not self-published. Professional designers purchase licensed photos and they know the colors, images, concepts, and fonts that sell a book from the shelf. Your friend who does nice book covers may not be the right fit for your book. Consider the experienced professional, their knowledge and expertise. ($300-$500)
  • Invest in an interior designer who can paginate your book properly with correct font sizes, proper ditch measurements, and accurate line spacing so your book looks professional not like a first grade reader. ($75-$150)
  • Do your homework on printers, be it Amazon or an industry self-publishing firm.
  • Consider print-on-demand over stock piling hundreds of books in your basement. Read the fine print of the self-publishing contract. Sometimes you are required to purchase hundreds of books upfront.
  • Check references on self-publishing companies. If you were hiring a builder for your home you would check references – do the same for your book.
Whatever method you choose, traditional or self-publishing, be sure you look at the business aspect. Make a decision based on your true ability to afford and sell the book. Before you push the yes button on self-publishing, search your heart. Ask those important, but hard questions that delve into the heart of the writer – why am I in such a hurry? Where does my heart lay?

Don't Rush Publication - Instead Spend Your Time on Excellence - @CindyDevoted (Click to Tweet)

It's hard to wait for publication, but it's the wise thing to do - @CindyDevoted (Click to Tweet)

Cindy Sproles is an author and popular speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions ministries and managing editor of Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is the executive editor of www.christiandevotions.us and www.inspireafire.com. She teaches at writers conferences nationwide and directs The Asheville Christian Writers Conference - Writers Boot Camp. 

She is the author of two devotionals, He Said, She Said - Learning to Live a Life of Passion and New Sheets - Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be. Cindy's debut novel, Mercy's Rain, is available at major retailers. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com and book her for your next conference or ladies retreat. Also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Cindy, Great information. Thank you for investing in us.

  2. I just want our authors to be mindful. -Cin

  3. This is very informative. It can be expensive writing a book though. As I continue to write my book and make changes, I need all the help I can get. So thank you.

    1. It is expensive. That's why it's important for writers to understand that publishers have these exact type of expenses. But if you choose to self-publish, make it the best it can be. I can't tell you how many authors who have self-published that first book, have said, "I wish now, I'd have waited. I see the difference in 3 three years of writing experience."

  4. have had this exact conversation with mine editor a couple of times! i've pushed my release date back for this exact reason (mostly) because i just can't do it half way!!! ps, excellence not perfectionism!! wink wink

  5. Thanks for this helpful article. I want to get my book out there, but I want it to be the best I can do for God, my readers and for myself.

  6. This is such a helpful and encouraging post, Cindy. Thank you!

  7. "... The reality of actually being ready to be published". Yes! Dream vs reality. I think we all want to be that discovered author whose writing is brilliant from the beginning, but I'd say that's extremely rare. The virtue of patience yet again...