Self-publishing can be a challengePosted: July 11, 2011
Well, I held my new baby in my hands last week, and then I had to send it back because it was flawed. The baby, of course, is a book. Shoes Full of Sand was printed and bound and delivered, along with a substantial bill. We loaded up my Honda, and I drove home with a carload of pride and possibility.
Then I opened the boxes. It’s not a big thing. The glossy cover is wrinkled along the spine. But considering what I paid and considering that readers are expecting perfect, unwrinkled books, it is not acceptable. I already had orders, which I filled with the least wrinkly copies, then took the rest back to be re-bound. Now we’re waiting until next Friday. Phooey.
At that point, I no longer wanted to be a publisher. If someone else were publishing this book, I wouldn’t have to deal with wrinkly covers. This book has been eating my writing time for weeks, but I do enjoy most of the process. When the unwrinkled copies arrive, I’ll be delighted to sell them far and wide. I know I was born to make books. In elementary school, I put together little books made of cardboard and typing paper, lettered by hand and illustrated with crayons. This is just a grownup variation.
Working as Blue Hydrangea Productions, I previously published two booklets and another book, Stories Grandma Never Told: Portuguese Women in California. I have almost sold out the second printing. It can work, but if you’re considering self-publishing, think about whether you’re ready to take on a whole new job.
Unless you have a strong desire to be a publisher, always try traditional publishing first. Send out those queries, synopses and proposals to agents and editors. You may strike gold.