{Guest} Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc

Today we welcome back Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc, author of  Dante’s Diary, for a guest appearance. Andrea is a multiple best-selling author and has  won many awards throughout her career.  All of her achievements have been reached as a self-published author

Self-publishing: Media vs Reality

Greetings Fiends!

Many up-and-comers need to read this to have a grasp of the REAL world of publishing and what to expect/how it works, rather than the stylized, media version of what it means to be an author.


Reality usually sucks…but knowing that and being able to deal is much better than the alternative…a crushed spirit and the awful types you can and will (and believe me…NO ONE is the exception) run into when you market yourself.
Here is some advice to up-and-comers.

As some of you may know, I volunteer as an expert on a website. The section I volunteer on is the, surprise, surprise, author section due to my status in the writing world. No big deal there.

Every once in a while I get a question/request for help that knocks me for a loop. I got one of those yesterday. A nice chap contacted me and asked what I thought of his work, which was written in a style far from normal…which I’ll go right on record as saying was a NICE change from everyone wanting to write the same, formulaic crap that is already drowning the market.
I kind of had suspicions about this person’s intents, when he asked me if his writing style and rhyming was “correct.” Big red flag. Your writing style only matters to YOU as long as your readers like it.

If you write like a 10 year old, but you sell a buttload of books…who’s going to fault you, except those jealous of you? Yeah, been there and done that too. I’m from the south (Native Floridian) and write like I speak. ‘Nuff said. People have given me crap for it too, but…being a Borders #1 best seller and having stayed on Amazon Kindle’s best seller’s list since I uploaded my first book…well, guess how much I care about what all the downers, think?

The mystery came full circle (and subsequently solved) when he told me that he wanted to make sure that an agent would look at his work and help him find publication with a traditional publishing house.

Bells and whistles went off like the 4th of July.

I get this all the time. Some wide-eyed (but seriously naive) up-and-coming author thinking that they are going to be the next “big thing,” and spend their life (I should say, ‘wasting’ it) looking to catch that brass ring they might never catch.

People look at these authors who come from nowhere, no one has ever heard of them and voila, one book and they are on the New York Times best seller’s list and think that because it happened to them, it will happen to them too. I hate to cloud the rose colored glasses, but chances are, they either know someone who got them in, or got VERY, VERY, lucky.

Your typical author spends most of their life TRYING to get the attention of the big boys. Few do. And believe me…an agent can do very little for you and most of the time work more as a gatekeeper FOR the large-scale publishing houses, so they won’t be inundated with manuscripts.

Due to this person’s way out of the norm writing style, I suggested they self-publish or go with small-press and get their name out there, citing my own experience with the sharks of the industry (I too write very non-traditionally so I speak from a “been there and done that” stance and have the cliched enough rejection slips to paper my bathroom wall) and let me tell you…me and JAWS have gone a few rounds over the years! Sharks ARE out there!

This person informed me that they know they write in a non-traditional style, which is exactly what the publishers want and that if they can just get one story published in a magazine, that will look good on a resume so an agent will pick them up.
I own one of the hottest/most widely read/world-wide circulated magazines on the market today and the only thing I can say to this is…DELUSIONAL!!!!
ONE story? Really? Try a half dozen…in HUGE magazines. THAT MIGHT open doors for you. But one story????

I simply wished him luck. With such a starry-eyed and honestly seriously delusional outlook on the shark filled waters of the writing world, he’s going to need it.
I was all starry-eyed and gung ho at one time too and the lessons I learned were heartbreaking, hard and almost made me give up writing. If you don’t have skin like alligator hide, you aren’t anywhere near ready to be taken seriously as an author.
PLEASE do not delude yourself into thinking that YOU are the next big thing and that YOU have exactly what large-scale traditional publishers are looking for. I can tell you…there are literally THOUSANDS of people who have your EXACT same mind-set. I hate to burst your bubble…but ‘aint all of you going to make it. If it IS you, fabulous! Good for you! But a healthy dose of reality is what 99.99% of up-and-coming authors who come to me for help, need.
Here are some pointers that WILL help you along the way IF you’re smart enough to take them under advisement. Remember…my advice comes from being a PROFESSIONAL in the industry. I am a MULTIPLE time best seller, and once through one of the largest (well…was at one time) book store chains in the world, Borders, a multiple time award winner AND…I am a COMPENSATED celebrity guest at most events I do, so I’m NOT just talking out my butt here….
I hope this list helps you…I REALLY do.

1. DON’T refer to yourself as an author if you’ve never had anything published (by a publisher or otherwise), or REGULARLY in a magazine. Posting notes and blogs does NOT make you an author. You are ‘up-and-coming,’ AT BEST. The snobs in the industry will eviscerate you for such a claim.

2. IF you are not a best seller via the New York Times or a bookstore chain, award winner, etc…DO NOT give out writing advice. You are in absolutely NO position to do so and you will more than likely advise someone incorrectly and potentially harm their career. Want that on your head? I’d think not. Refer the person to an expert with the aforementioned credentials. Some of us are jerks and won’t help…but not all of us, are. Welcome to the world of being a professional writer. I wasn’t always a professional and had to go through it too. I think colleges call that, an ‘initiation.’
3. If you have not proven yourself in the writing world, DO NOT think you should get paid. To think you deserve payment when NO ONE but a few hundred people on your Facebook friends list know who you are, that shows an ego that will again, get you slaughtered! Especially when you have pros like myself in the industry who will GIVE AWAY our work if it means exposure and the potential to reach new readers.
I can’t tell you how many stories, etc I have given away with NO compensation, except exposure. If I’m not too good to give away freebies, do you really think that you, as an unknown author, are?
4. DO NOT expect publishers to come to your blog, note section on Facebook, whatever, read your work and then think you are so grand they’ll offer you a publishing contract or ask you to submit work to them. Now, does it happen? Sure! But it is the exception…NOT the norm. There is only ONE author (wannabe or otherwise) on this planet I’d ASK to submit their work. The rest of you? Want to be in my magazine? Submit your works to me, just like the dozens of others who do every call for submission. Do the same for every other magazine, too. Magazine ownership is a small-ish circle. DON’T give the jerks in the industry a reason to blacklist/look down on you, etc.
Thinking that you’re so good that a magazine will ASK YOU to submit work to them is laughable at best and woefully and pathetically egotistical at worst. You’re also liable to never find yourself published because I can PROMISE you, such an undeserved ego will turn off 99% of publishers. It turns me off! Ask me to come to your blog and take whatever poetry/short stories I want, WILL get you laughed at.
Those are just a few pointers on how the REAL world of publishing works. If you want or need more…I’m but an e-mail away. I’m blunt and I’m tactless…but what I also am, is HONEST and I hope these pointers will get you up-and-comers, started on the RIGHT path…
Good luck!!!!

About The Author:

Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc is a force of nature. A trail blazer in the world of self-publishing, Van Scoyoc did what has been proclaimed ‘impossible’…become a celebrity in the world of do-it-yourself publishing.

Carving a cyclonic path through the world of Horror…(as well as being lauded for her almost effortless ability to genre hop!); a realm most often dominated by men, Van Scoyoc has been hailed as one of the most twisted, but also one of the most brilliant storytellers in the world today and also one of the most sadistic female Horror authors in history

Visit Andrea’s website

About Bek Harrington

Writer, author, vampire fan and historical enthusiast. You'll often find me crusing the internet under the guise of my alter ego, 3000 year old vampire "Bektamun"

Posted on 16/09/2011, in Guests, Rant & Rave and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Trust and Believe Andy knows what she is talking about, I have known her since we both were struggling and the road she has traveled is true.

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