Tuesday, February 21, 2012
To publish or not to publish...
I have several books already written, but can't seem to find a Publishing House that wants to take a chance. I have been submitting stories since 2008 and tho I've had encouragement from a few Editors, I have yet to be published. My only foray into self publishing was for a fictional memoir of the time my mother spent in an Ursuline convent in Quebec, ca. 1921. I used Lulu and only printed enough copies for my family. It's a cute little story, but how many people want to read about French Nuns? (thank you, Kevin) I made a lot of mistakes with their formatting and am not anxious to put myself out there again and I certainly would choose some other venue.
On the other hand...after several trips through the Writers' Digest "2012 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market," I've found a shrinking base for the printed page.
Smaller publishers that were operating 2 years ago have either closed or been swallowed up by the giants in the industry. The ones that remain, that publish the type of story that I write, are few and far between. So many now will only accept agented material or their guidelines are so specific that the choices for submission become very limited. Some houses seek only religious material...some are strictly regional, some want no work that has been self published and some want NO stories at all. Why they remain in the guide is a mystery.
I belong to several Writing Groups on LinkdIn and most of the authors there feel that self publishing and promoting yourself are the only way to get noticed. Some of these people are quite successful and sell many copies of their work, more than the average from a traditional PH. My fear, justified or not, is that if anyone can and does publish...how much of it is really well written and how much is just out there taking up space? Do people look down on self published work? There's a reason it was called "Vanity Publishing" and you won't find any of today's SP authors using that word.
Another facet of the SP road is the marketing. An author is expected to have a Blog, (guilty) a Facebook page, a website, book trailers on You Tube and promotions at local events and Libraries. My question...if you're spending all your time on marketing, when do you get to write? It's hard enough to get taken seriously when you work at home, but there simply aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you'd like to do.
Another thing to take into account: picture books require pictures. Many e-book publishers can't handle illustrations and many writers can't DO illustrating. Illustration is one thing the PHs do very well. Me...not so much.
So, my dears. What is a writer to do. We all know what opinions are like so I guess it's something that each writer or artist or crafter must decide for herself. We can only try, and hope we make the right choices.