Making Money From Writing, Part 2: Novels

Yesterday we surveyed the short story market, where you can find the right magazines for your stories, how you can sell the same story again as a reprint and to an anthology, why short story collections are such a hard-sell to publishing houses, and how and when you should self-publish them. Today we are going to talk about novels.  There are only two real ways to sell your novel, and the choices are, for the most part, mutually exclusive, so you have a big decision to make.  The first way is to a trade publishing house (both large presses and small, independent presses), and the second is to self-publish.

Changes in the Publishing Industry

The publishing industry is in the throes of some pretty major changes, and the full effects will take years to play out.  Hardly a week goes by without distressing headlines.  Publishers are downsizing, booksellers are going to the wall, even distributors are feeling the pinch. The roots of publishers’ woes can be traced back to the Great Depression when booksellers insisted on a returns policy that would allow them to ship back unsold books.  This policy kept booksellers (and some publishers) afloat during some tumultuous economic times. When the economy rebounded in the run up to WWII, and expanded in its aftermath, this policy remained in place, and still exists today.  This has had a number of important effects.