This probably isn’t the business for you. Or, it’s not for you if you want to get paid for your work. I am constantly amazed by the number of people these days who will pay someone to publish their stories. And I can’t say that I wouldn’t have been tempted to do the same back when I was new and green and didn’t know better. Fortunately, I stumbled onto RWA pretty quickly in my green days — and learned that money flows to the writer.
Any company that claims they will get your book in front of Oprah, if only you purchase X package from them to publish your work, is lying. Sure, they might send the book to Oprah — but you could do the same thing. Look up the address for the Oprah show and mail your package. You aren’t any more likely to get read whether they send it or you send it. Oprah doesn’t work that way. Have you EVER seen the woman talk about a self-published book on her show?
Save your money, peeps. Work hard at your craft, know where you fit in as a writer, and target that publisher (or publishers). You will get told no. You will get told no multiple times. Don’t let this negativity send you running into the arms of a company that wants to take your money to publish your book. They have no intention of selling it for you. They want you to buy your own copies and sell them to your friends. There’s no incentive to get you into bookstores.
I have been a part of a self-published anthology, btw. It was done professionally and with a goal in mind. It met the goal and made money for the group. But the organizers knew what they were doing, and they produced a professional book for a purpose. It wasn’t designed to break any of us into publishing — and a good thing too, because that’s not what usually happens with self-published books.
You aren’t breaking in this way. I can count on one hand the number of people who self-published and then went on to sell to NY in a big way. Self-publishing is not a bad thing. But you have to know the reasons for doing it before you simply throw in the towel after the 10th or 100th rejection and decide to do things your own way. If you are writing romance novels, self-publishing is not for you. It’s expensive and it won’t get you noticed by the publishers you really want to write for.
So work hard, swallow the lumps, and keep writing and submitting. It’s the only way I know that works for sure. Instant gratification happens when eating a chocolate bar, not when trying to sell your work. 🙂