Friday, November 13, 2009

Waiting to be Discovered

I consider myself an “as yet undiscovered writer,” having worked for several years on a second novel (the first having been represented by a “hot” agent though not sold for publication). I’d also written short stories and essays that I only passively marketed, because “selling” is completely different than “writing,” and I found it difficult to do both at the same time.
But if I was going to drop everything in order to prepare my grandfather’s diaries for publication, I was determined to do it properly. Which I quickly determined had to be done by self-publishing, for several reasons:
1) I’d already pursued the route of seeking an agent for the diaries and had gotten responses like, “It’s hard to sell a memoir of someone who’s dead”. I had also had the experience of seeking an agent for my fiction with all of its frustrations and false elation.
2) The publishing industry is currently undergoing a dramatic change due to the recession; editors are getting laid off at every publishing house, and no one is buying manuscripts. I firmly believe that the industry that will eventually emerge will be completely different from how we think of it today. In particular, I expect publishers to become, almost exclusively, distributors, which is something they do well.
3) And finally, the length of time it takes for a ‘traditionally’ published book to come out might not coincide with my time-dependent timeline.
But self-publishing has an aura of Vanity press about it, and that’s not what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure how to go about what I did want to do. Fortunately, I found a Self-Publishing conference in San Francisco, which took place this summer (put on by InStock, to give credit where it’s due) and it was extremely helpful, laying out the steps I need to follow, as well as the timeline, in order to be successful with my project. And the first step is creating a blog, which I could/should have done two months ago. But I knew that once I started I’d be obligated to continue. It also took me a while to come up with the title for the blog. I probably should have spent less time worrying about those things than about understanding the technical issues of how to set up a blog, such as how to insert links, files and counters, which have taken up too much of my time. I suspect I’ll still be figuring out those things for quite a while.

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  1. It certainly sounds like you have the attitude you need to be successful in publishing your grandfather's story - you clearly understand the transformation afoot in the industry and have the wherewithal to seek out other options. I wish you luck on your journey.

  2. One of my friend is a writer. She has a lot of essays and short stories. I've asked her to send all of them to the publisher, because I think her collections is good to be read. But she never want to do that. She said that writing is her passion.