In my fantasy life, I write a wonderful book and a traditional publisher can’t wait to take me by the hand through editing and production and present me with the printed copy that I can see on bookshelves everywhere. And of course, this is followed by the sale of movie rights and the author’s tour with TV and radio and … well, you get the idea. In my fantasy life, this all takes place over a matter of months, but that isn’t the reality. Getting a book from manuscript to the book shelf can take 1-2 years. And in my real life, that follows a year or two writing and editing the book to get ready to put in the envelope in the first place.
I’m just not getting any younger. So getting published by a traditional publisher is a goal/dream that I am going to put aside in favour of a different model for now. Yup. Self-publishing.
I self-published my book, Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens, and really enjoyed the process and writing my promo blurb and choosing the cover. I enjoyed the writing and editing, and I actually enjoy doing the marketing. Luckily, reviews have been good and from sources I’m proud of such as CM Magazine and Canadian Teacher, and my favourite one from a teen reviewer in What If? Canada’s Creative Magazine for Teens. The book has opened doors to my doing writing workshops with teens at my local library (so much fun!) and this summer at the Southampton Art School (can’t wait!) Last Saturday, I took my workshop “25 Ways to Get Your Students Writing” to the CITE conference at Ridley College. I couldn’t be happier.
If you look at the first two sentences of the previous paragraph, you’ll see the key reason for my decision: the word “enjoy.” I earn money by writing magazine articles and short stories, website copy, brochures, and lots of other things. I also teach part-time at my local college. I want to keep my “other writing” as close to joywriting as possible. I’m heading toward non-fiction and I have ideas bubbling away that I can do the market research about and decide whether or not they are worth the risk. I know qualified editors that can help guide my work until it shines and I am willing to put in the time and energy it takes to market my product. I can research my publishing options, costs and benefits. I, frankly, like the idea of being in control of the process and I enjoy (there’s that word again!) doing all that stuff.
Am I closing the door to other options? No. Am I going to find myself 6 months down the road totally obsessing about a novel I just have to write and want to submit to a publisher? Probably. But for now, this is the path I’m choosing. Just for me–and just because it makes me happy.