My first investigations have been into the whole process of how an author goes about getting published.
I'm thinking of it along the lines of a start-up business, where we'll have to invest some time, energy, and most likely some money at the outset, but hopefully we'll get that breakthrough at some time down the road.
How long will that be? Will that day come? Who knows, but I've read lots of Alex's work, and I have confidence that she is a great story teller, who in my opinion writes things that are better than a lot of published books that I've read recently, so I'm happy to back her in this quest.
Do I think her work is great just because I'm her husband? Its possible that I could fall into that trap, but I know I can be objective, as I'm quite happy to tell her when I think something she's written doesn't work for me. It happens, but not too often.
Anyway, back to the main event, and it seems the first decision to be made is, do we go the traditional route, to try and find and agent to represent us, and then hope that they can pitch and sell our novel to a publisher, or do we go for the 21st century route, and join the self-publishing revolution? Up until a few years ago self-publshing was more often than not vanity publishing, and had a really bad press. However, now with the rise of the e-book, many self-published authors have made it onto the New York Times Best Sellers list. While these are still the outliers, and many self-published authors struggle to get more than a slow trickle of sales, it is definitely an avenue that we'll be actively investigating.
There seem to be pros and cons for each route.
The traditional route:
So, maybe the best plan is to polish the early chapters and synopsis, and start sending to agents and publishers to see if we get a bite. With this fishing exercise underway, Alex can finish the first draft of the rest of the book, and the subsequent polishing, proofreading and editing.
In the meantime we can build awareness of the project through various marketing approaches, initially mainly internet based, and try to get a few of Alex's short stories published/entered into competitions/posted as free/low cost samples online.
If we've had no interest from publishers by the time all this is complete, we'll be well positioned to enter the self-publishing fray, but if an agent and publisher has picked us up by then, we'll try the traditional route. Having read a few other writing blogs, I believe this hedging the bets approach is quite common, and often called the "hybrid" approach.
If you have any thoughts on the pros and cons of these two routes, or any alternative routes that we've not considered, please add comments of e.mail us directly. We're certainly keen to get as much advice as possible.