I’m in the Valley of Publishing Decision and this barren wasteland stretches out as far as my eyes can see. Back in March, I bought a self-publishing package from Createspace, Amazon.com’s new self-publishing company.
I’ve gone back and forth struggling between whether to draft a nonfiction book proposal and try to pitch my first book to traditional publishers or to self-publish.
So why did I already buy the package? Impulse, sheer impulse! That day I filled with “I can do this myself!” energy after a long bout of self talk, “JoDee, you don’t have the platform to publish traditionally and you’re already fifty. Give up even thinking about getting a publisher to take you and do it yourself.”
I’ve doubted the decision ever since! Recently, I came across an interesting article on CNNmoney.com (a freshly pressed blog) and temporarily puffed up my dwindling feelings of empowerment after reading .
“Yes!” I thought, “I’m heading in the right direction! Amazon.com is taking over the world. There is hope!”
I felt like one of those football players in the huddle, “hu, hu, hu, hands in the middle everyone, GO TEAM AMAZON.COM!” Yes, I was part of this revolutionary, innovative Amazon.com advance into the traditional world of publishing.
The editor even posted my comment:
In my mind, I went from “loser” to “potential entrepreneur” in a matter of a few minutes after seeing the posted comment.
However, all bombastic self-inflation eventually gets pin pricked. The air of my conceit drizzled out like a used party balloon meeting its death at the hands of an inquisitive kid. I read an opposing viewpoint (Gosh, sometimes I wish America wasn’t so into “the dialogue of different ideas”).
I caved in and retrieved the book for realists that I bought at the last writers’ conference I attended, how to write a book proposal by Michael Larsen.
When I got to page 225 (ok, I jumped there first thing), the author’s advice stared me straight in the eyes like the beady glare of a grey-haired professor peering over coke bottle glasses,
“2. You can pay for all of the cost to publish your book, but vanity publishing has no credibility in the industry.”
Ouch, I’ve heard this over and over again and it’s a sucker punch every time. So my newest quest is to read this book and actually try crafting a nonfiction book proposal. Whether or not I self-publish, I will need to think through the issues included.
I welcome the advice, thoughts, experience etc. of any other writers out there about this issue.
8 Replies to “In the Valley of Publishing Decision…”
JoDee, JoDee, JoDee! I know you can do this . . . whichever way you go. Don’t be fooled into thinking self-publishing is the same as vanity press. One is print-on-demand (and unless you need the extra help, shouldn’t even cost you). The other is where you pay someone up front to print a batch of books for you. Kind of. Write the proposal. It will force you to think through the skeleton structure of your book from beginning to end. It will force you to consider the market who will potentially buy and read this book. It will force you to keep your ideas out there in other format, i.e. your platform, which you are already well on your way to establishing. (Creativity and beauty and truth exudes from your writing and art already!)
If you can’t get any takers, then go ahead and self-publish. You will have done the hardest part already. I am not too familiar with Createspace, but a true print-on-demand won’t/shouldn’t make you buy any books up front. You will have to work your butt off if you want them to sell, but then you will have to do about the same through traditional publishing (book signings, blog tours, etc.).
I think you have a book in you, girl. Excited to see what God births in, with and through you! (a phrase oft used by my pastor).
P.S. what’s up with 50? do i need to tell you how many people produced their greatest work after the age of 50? 😉
Ahhh! You made my night with this comment. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the encouragement and info. I love how you used my name three times…that is something my mom and sis would do :). I’m rolling up my sleeves and going to write this book proposal!!! I know I need to think this book through all the way to developing a marketing plan etc. Createspace is print-on-demand because I don’t have to buy books. I paid for the interior design and cover design plus the media package (guaranteed up to 1,000 media contacts). About the 50, I want those names of people who produced their greatest work after the age of 50!
I don’t know much about the topic JoDee, but I appreciate the info you listed in the post and Dianne’s comment–I am sure others will find it helpful in the future.
Try to find an agent! Don’t self-publish unless you just want a souvenier for yourself.
My concern is not having enough of a platform to find an agent. Any thoughts on this?
If your work is good enough to get published and an agent or publisher think it will sell, you will find an agent. It may take 100 no’s before one yes and you have to be prepared for that.
If you want to be a published, serious author, then find an agent. If you just want to see your work bound up in a pretty package and you don’t care about anything else, then self-publish.
Thanks for the advice. I started working on the nonfiction book proposal.