Publishing: The Old Ways vs. the New
by Leonore Dvorkin
Copyright October 27, 2019
Our business: DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
The other day, I sent Patty Fletcher, who helps market our editing clients’ books, a note about my frustration with Amazon. It concerned their delay in posting the correct price for the newest book by John Justice, one of our more prolific clients.
Just after I sent Patty the note, I had to smile at myself for any impatience. I should know better. That’s because, while the modern system of self-publishing might not be perfect, when I compare it to the old ways of traditional, mainstream publishing, I have to say that it is almost unbelievably fast and reliable.
My husband, David Dvorkin, is the author of 29 published books. His first science fiction novel, The Children of Shiny Mountain, was published by Pocket Books in 1977. The first 17 of his 29 books were published by mainstream, mainly New York publishers. Thus we had many years of experience with those methods of publication.
David typed the manuscript for his first several books on a manual typewriter. Only later did he get an electric typewriter and then, eventually, a personal computer. You can imagine the tedium of typing a book on hundreds of sheets of paper and then having to type many, many pages over again to suit the publishers, who often wanted drastic cuts and other changes. All this was done, by the way, while David was working full time as a computer programmer. He could only write in the evenings and on weekends.
Even after he’d had a few books published, there were dozens of other frustrations. Those included—but were certainly not limited to—the following: Hunting for a competent literary agent. Gathering a whole drawer full of totally impersonal rejection slips from agents and publishers. Sending out each manuscript as a large pile of typed pages (paying lots of postage each time) and waiting weeks or even months for a response, yet not being allowed to submit his book to more than one agent at a time.
Even when an agent did sell his latest book to a decent publisher, David most often had to wait months or even more than a year for it to come to press. Then he received royalty reports and checks only twice a year, never knowing for sure how accurate those were. Also, with traditional publishing, if your book does not sell well virtually right away, it is unpublished, and it usually takes seven years or longer to get the rights back, so that you can (now) re-issue the book as a self-published book.
All of the above are things that we went through many, many times beginning in the 1970s. They are only a few of the reasons that we gave up on traditional publishing in 2009 and have never looked back. In our opinion, the new methods are way better and a huge relief. Here are just a few of their many advantages.
With self-publishing, we have complete control over the content of each book and its cover. We can set our own prices for the book. It is published within about 48 hours of the file being submitted to Amazon. It is sold worldwide online in print and e-book formats. The e-book is text-to-speech enabled, so there is no real need for an audio version. It stays in print forever, or until we remove it from the multiple selling sites. Author’s copies are very cheap and arrive within a few days of being ordered. Those can be sold for any price we desire. And so on.
David has even found that self-publishing has given him new motivation for writing, as well as a tremendous sense of freedom and control over his own writing output. So, while marketing is the hard part, to tell the truth, it always was. Good marketing takes lots of media savvy, good connections, self-confidence to the point of boldness, and not infrequently, a fair amount of money. But even if commercial success never comes, the love of writing can be sustained more easily, we believe, when it is bolstered by all the freedoms that self-publishing grants the writer.
Patty here with an invitation for you.
Now that you’ve read what Leonore has to say about the big bad world of publishing I’d like to invite you to keep reading to find out what she has to say about her experience with breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and though there are only a couple days of the month, breast cancer continues to be a plague among women and sometimes men. So before October goes away I’d like to take a moment to recognize Leonore and her book. For more details see below.
Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Third edition C 2012 / 154 pages in print
In e-book ($3.99) and print ($9.95) from Amazon and other online sellers.
The second edition (C 2009) is also in audio from Audible.
About the book:
In 1998, at the age of 52, I had breast cancer and a left-side mastectomy, with no reconstruction. That was my eighth major operation, but my first for the treatment of a life-threatening disease.
Almost immediately after the operation, I became aware that there were unexpected benefits to be reaped from this experience, benefits which ended up changing my life and many of my attitudes. Eventually I decided to write a book detailing those many benefits and my thoughts on a variety of topics related to health, health care, self-image, and the value of courage and optimism in the face of adversity.
Surviving breast cancer left me a happier, calmer, more focused, and more appreciative person. Now my principal message to other women is that breast cancer does not have to be an entirely negative, terror-inducing experience. On the contrary, it can leave them better off than they were before, both physically and emotionally. I know, because it happened to me. My book is primarily the story of that physical and emotional journey.
The five appendices offer practical information on risk factors for breast cancer, ways to help prevent it, and more.
Full details: https://www.leonoredvorkin.com/brcan/
There you will find the cover image (with a woodland photo by the author), a photo of the author, a list of chapter titles, a link to the Introduction and text selections, multiple review quotes, direct buying links, and more.
Selected review quotes:
“Beautiful, moving, informative, uplifting.” – Lee Christopher, retired English professor and author
“An unusual and important perspective on the experience of having breast cancer.” – Melanie Tem, author
“A terrific read…well-written, frank, and honest. This book’s many hard-won truths make it truly special and inspiring.” – Nina Romberg, author
“An uplifting and powerful story with a very attractive message.” – Vivian Manning, Barrie, Ontario, Canada
“Leonore Dvorkin writes with refreshing simplicity and lack of woe. The book reads like a novel, so engaging is her style. She ends her story with a gentle, reflective chapter of great wisdom called ‘Aging, Accepting, and Appreciating.’ This book is the epitome of healing after trauma.” – Patricia Wellingham-Jones in Recovering the Self magazine
Description of the cover by the author:
I took this photo in northwestern Germany in the summer of 1988, 10 years before I had cancer or ever dreamed I would contract it. Once it came time to publish my book, I knew this would make the ideal cover image. It shows a straight woodland path, with sunlight filtering through the dark, slender trees on either side of the path. At the far end of the path is a much brighter spot of sunshine. I see it as the perfect symbol of my physical and emotional journey through and after cancer. The top and bottom cover bands have dark green and black lettering against beige backgrounds; the colors echo the woodland scene.
Other books by Leonore Dvorkin:
1. Her breast cancer book in Spanish, also in e-book and print, C 2012
The title is Una nueva oportunidad a la vida: El camino de una sobreviviente de cancer de seno. Translated by Gloria H. López.
2. Apart from You, a novel. Revised edition, C 2010
Review quote: “A brilliant first novel, thoroughly evolved and gorgeously executed.”
– Alan Rodgers, author of Fire and Night
3. The Glass Family, a one-act fantasy play, C 2012