Thursday, June 21, 2012

So, You Want To Publish Your Blog...

Because I work in Self-Publishing (no, really, it's an actual field -- I'm not making it up), I sometimes get asked questions by people who want to self-publish. Or, frankly, most people want to traditionally publish (meaning that someone pays them to publish their book), but then they decide to go the self-publishing route (where they have to pay for it all themselves).

However it comes about, though, when I tell people that I work as an editor for a company that helps people self-publish, I invariably have people ask me about something that they're writing. Lots of people ask me about things like how to get an agent, or what the proper format is for submitting to a major publishing house. And, frankly, I haven't a clue on those things. That's kind of like asking someone at Pepsi for the secret recipe to Coca-Cola. In the end, both of them wind up with colas, but the ingredient lists are definitely not the same.

In the past week, I've been working on a book that is a collection of 60 essays by 60 different authors. And, as luck would have it, many of those came from blogs that the authors have. Granted, I'm not saying that is good luck. I'm just saying it's luck.

You see, for better or worse, the world of the blogosphere is a lot different than the world of the printed book.

I have no issues with using slang in a blog post, or having paragraphs that are only 1 sentence long and may have no real point to them, or even using the number "1" instead of writing it out as "one." I can bold words or italicize them just on a whim. I can talk to you as if you know the story of the past few years of my life because at least some of you have been reading my blog for that long and kind of do know about the past few years of my life. I can forget to punctuate things or even spell puntuate wrong

(You have NO IDEA how hard it is for me to leave that last sentence the way it is.)

I can hyperlink to random things. I can include pictures which - with attribution, usually - I am "borrowing" from other sources. And I can even make up names for things like "Tiz Lists."

But if I wanted to publish this, and make it accessible and - god forbid - marketable to a wider audience, I'd have to take out some of that. I'd have to take out the hyperlinks and the "borrowed" images (and quotes, unless I'm using under 10% of the full text, in which case I could simply use an attribution under "Fair Use" regulations), and I would probably want to tone down the funky fonts and treatments.

I would need to make the references non-time/site-specific. So no saying "Did you see the channel 12 news, yesterday?" I would have to take out my made-up jargon (or put in explanations) and I'd have to stop typing as if I were writing TXT msgs + stf.

Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to self-publish realizes that. Which is why, for the past week, I've been cleaning and polishing and removing refuse from a stack of 60 essays. Some of them are actually quite good and can stand on their own. Some of them left behind only mere cobwebs by the time all that stuff was stripped away.

On the up side, if people like that want to keep self-publishing in the print world, my job is secure. On the down side, if people like that want to keep publishing in the print world, my secure job may not be fun.

But, for now, let's just focus on the up side.

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