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I recently penned a 60k word account of the life of a former pet. He was a rather rude and uncouth tough little dog, and so his language, daily habits and adventures were of course likewise.

However, being of a more adult nature in terms of his language in particular, what advice could you offer on securing publication, or would self-publishing (i.e. KDP) be the more obvious route to pursue from the outset?

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If you actually want to make money, I'd suggest trying the traditional route of getting an agent to sell the book to a publisher. It is something to learn how to do, but it doesn't cost you ANY money to learn it, send your query letters (by email), secure an agent, and have them try to sell it. Not a dime for any of that.

Self publishing and actually SELLING anything is something else that takes a long time to learn. You have to advertise your book yourself, and learn to write ads, and pay people for artwork and for running ads. The average number of books sold by self-publishers is less than 100, and the MEDIAN is zero: meaning at least half of all self-publishers sell zero books. I'm sure it would be more if personal friends and family buying your book were excluded from the count.

So you have one completely free route to try that takes work but might result in publication (traditional publishing). And an industry designed from the outset to prey upon your ego in order to take your money, that may cost you thousands of dollars (and has for many authors) to learn it is difficult to advertise at a low enough cost so your book sales actually cover the cost of the advertising it took to generate those sales.

There are definitely some self-publishing successes; but those books would likely have succeeded in the traditional market as well. I would recommend taking the free route until you get something published that really sells, and once you know that your work is good enough, look into the self-publishing world and consider whether you want to do all the extra work it takes to succeed there.

Now there are people out there offering to teach you how to succeed in self-publishing, and maybe they know and really can teach you. For $thousands of dollars. They say write books you give away for free, but only in a way that lets you build up a mailing list, then you have a list of people that presumably read your free book, so when you go to sell the next one, those are buyers! Or a strategy along those lines.

But if your writing isn't very good, then people that got your free book, with a valid email address, and didn't care for it aren't going to buy your next book. If they are anything like me, they'll block your address the 2nd time you send them anything trying to sell them something.

So in the final analysis, to make money writing, your writing has to be good enough that most readers want to see your next work. I'd go further, and say it has to be good enough that they would recommend it to at least one other person as a "good story" worth reading.

The best way to find out if you are that good is free: Find a literary agent to represent your work (for free, IMO any that offer to represent you for a fee are scammers; real literary agents work on commission only). The agent will not put the time or energy into selling your book unless they think it is good enough to make a profit with all the expenses of publishing considered.

If you just want to give yourself a fake "award" for being a "published author" whether you sell any books or not, then self-publishing is for you.


Edit in response to OP comment:

Here are starting points I like; a simple Internet search will show more. I have no ownership or affiliation with these sites and get nothing for recommending them.

AgentQuery.com Gives you genre descriptions.

Manuscript Wish List helps you find particular agents that are seeking manuscripts in your particular genre, once you have figure out what that is.

  • Thank you for that insightful summary of the pros and cons. Then I need to start looking around at where this text might be acceptable. – Ali Sep 25 '18 at 12:34
  • @Ali I added some sites at the bottom of my answer to help out with that. – Amadeus Sep 25 '18 at 13:06
  • Even better - I'll start having a look at that side of things soon. Thanks – Ali Sep 25 '18 at 16:33

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