As I’ve written in past blog posts, my epiphany to write a book and the words that ensued came quickly and easily. The publishing part, well, did not.
Originally I went the traditional route: I sent query after query to literary agents I was sure would not only be the perfect fit, but also welcome me and Theo’s Mythic with open arms. Each one gushing at my expert writing ability and fighting for a chance to be “the one”. Not.
Side note: I am, and always will be, an eternal optimist.
After some very nice, “No thanks, your book isn’t quite right for my list at this time” replies, I started looking into self-publishing. Was it because I felt defeated, like this was my only option? No. I actually fell into it and realized it gave me something I was yearning for – a chance.
There were a few things I wanted to accomplish with my book and I was blessedly able to bring them to fruition via self-publishing:
- Use my own illustrator. I wanted to use Jeff Hopkins, because he is a childhood friend and is extremely talented. I knew he would be the perfect fit and I wanted control over defining my mind’s creations onto paper. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, he could do that for me.
- Write the way I envisioned the words to fall onto the page from day one. I wanted to use words that would challenge today’s commonplace vernacular, and use a non-linear format that would engage and make children’s brain cells work for the reward. I wanted to hand them a great book; a book that would give them the satisfaction of putting all of the pieces together by themselves. Go kids!
Those are the pluses, here is the minus:
- I’m having a hard time reaching the masses. So now that I’ve accomplished my goals above, I’m seeking a literary agent to help me with the task of getting my book into the hands of many more children via a larger publishing house. Some agents are open to working with self-published titles and some are not. Literary agents are on the fence with this whole new world, and those who have embraced the possibility of the next “big thing” being a self-published title, are the open-minded and truly optimistic folks I’m looking for. I liken it to choosing a toy license. I used to work in licensing at Hasbro and will never forget the day I was watching a hit TV show in the UK for consideration in the US as a toy license. It baffled me. But my wonderful boss and mentor at the time said, “You don’t need to like it or even understand it, the kids do.” I was watching Teletubbies.
So where is the next great book going to come from? Everywhere. There will be titles that go the traditional route, some that come by way of internet exposure, and some that bubble to the surface of the self-published pond.
Again, being an eternal optimist, I am forever grateful that self-publishing gave me the chance. Now I’m hoping my literary agent is sitting on the shore waiting for my bubble to appear.