THE END! Now what?

THE END! Now what?

Natalie Bright

We had a great discussion at WordsmithSix meeting about the next step, after you’ve edited and polished your manuscript. You are ready to publish: now what? Several of our members have finished, or are in the home stretch with their manuscripts, and have a very big decision: a) shop their book with agents and editors and pursue a traditional publishing deal, or b) become an Indie Author. We try to keep it real here at Wordsmith Six, so here’s your reality check:

Today’s publishing environment is exhilarating and exhausting. It basically boils down to the following issues, assuming you have a polished and edited book ready for publication.

A. Traditional Publishing

1. Author receives 10% royalty from sales (+/- depending on deal).

2. Author pays 15% from their share to a literary agent, who negotiates the deal.

3. Publication date: years (some smaller presses move faster)

$. Advance: possible, but not guaranteed

6. Sign on the dotted line and give up ALL rights to your novel, characters, cover design, content. You are out of the process, which is a huge relief and appealing to some authors. Go write the next book.

7. Big name publisher assists with promotion (minimal for first-time authors, but invaluable if you are at best seller status). Authors maintain website and social media.

8. Publication Date: Years from now.

9. Validation from a traditional publishing house and the writing community (this is exciting because we all have big dreams).

B. Indie Author

1. Author receives 70% cut of sales (+/- depending on venue)

2. Author learns how, or pays out-of-pocket for professional editor, formatting, cover design, promotion. Most indie authors agree, the work is 50% writing and 50% business owner. You maintain complete control.

3. Go wide as in world wide eBooks and/or Print. You identify the target markets and you design promotion that best connects with your readers.

3.Publication Date: within weeks from this very minute. You decide launch date.

4. Validation from family and local community. Your cousin doesn’t care if the publisher is Me Writer, LLC or Random House, they just want to buy a copy of your book. The local book club is excited to hear your talk.

Have I left anything off of the list that might be significant to newbie authors based on your experience?

This past Saturday, I went to the Texas High Plains Writers workshop by Indie Author Bethany Claire[ who has propelled herself and her Scottish time-travel series to best-selling status. She has become successful on her own terms, to the point that she was able to hire her mother as her assistant. They are developing an online class to help other indie authors who are serious about elevating their writing to the next level and who want to build a successful business.

After Saturday’s workshop, I feel better about a recent decision regarding my own work. At the end of last year, I turned down an offer from a small press. For the standard 10% royalty and no advance, I would have signed away an entire page and one-half listing of rights for my inspirational book. Sure, this deal might have propelled it in the market place, but I had to submit a marketing plan as well. Why do publishers want rights they never intend to exploit? That’s not to say traditional publishing deals are something I’d never consider. It depends on the book. For this one, I said no thanks.

Remove your author big-dreams cap for a moment and look at things through clear, sensible eyes. This is business. YOUR business. What process will be optimal for the book in hand, and for your continued success? You have three choices: traditionally published; an Indie AuthorPrenuer all the way; or a ‘hybrid’, which is an author who has published books through both options. It’s all good.

Keep writing, be excellent, and more importantly, get your work out there so I can read it!



By Natalie Bright


Who remembers 8-track tapes? Soon after, the cassette player in my then boyfriend’s car was something else, and the fancy case with his cassette collection was impressive. From even further back, I have a cabinet full of mom and dad’s album collection. Their beloved, overly large, oak-veneer record player makes a great plant stand.


Some of you may recall surfing through only three major television channels, and the lucky houses with strong antenna signals could pick up PBS. And then cable brought channels devoted to history or animals. Cartoons were on 24 hours! It wasn’t any time before we could watch edgy content that would never be shown on CBS, NBC, or ABC. The satellite dish brought us hundreds of channels. I streamed the entire season of Longmire on Netflix one snowy, dull weekend not too long ago. Waiting for a major network to schedule the reruns is a thing of the past. Amazing!


Music and television have gone through a transformation in the past decade. Now it’s book publishing’s turn. As I follow blogs and podcasts this year trying to educate myself on the changing tide of book promotion in the new century, all indications are that 2015 was the turning point. How we publish and read books has been altered forever. There’s no going back.

I’ve been pondering these important points:

  • I just downloaded the first book in a series by a favorite author for FREE in iBooks. The iBooks App is a built-in app on some hand-held devices, or is available for free download for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • India and China have seen the largest growth in the number of hand held devices, and now have more users than US, with 250 million English speaking people living in India.
  • It’s impossible to analyze the impact of eBook sales because many are being published without ISBNs.
  • Through a wide variety of book platforms such as iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Nook, Kindle, etc., paired with all that social media offers, readers will seek their favorite genres and discover authors. The publisher’s name has very little impact. People are going to read what they want to read.
  • The future is mobile.

For the work that writers do, I think there are several important questions to consider. Where will fans find your books in 2016? Will more people read stories on their hand-held devices? What if more people became readers because they have easier access to the kinds of stories they like?

What I’m trying to tell you is that during a one hour traffic delay because of the lumbering construction equipment blocking Highway 287, I read the heck out of an iBook on my iPhone.

Welcome to the 21st Century. I’m thinking it’s a great time to be a writer!

Keep on writing onward as always, WordsmithSix-ers!