Saturday, January 2, 2010

Still Waiting for this Moment

I can't count the number of people that have told me to 'self publish'.
This is how I envision self publishing. You write a book, you give someone a small pile of money, they put your book together, then they mail it to your house.
This is a good idea IF you have a large following of people that will buy your book. But if you are a housewife, that only communicates with her children and husband, you won't even make back your self publishing money.
I completely understand why people self publish and there has been days where I think, 'I should just self publish this mother fucking pile of paper and get it the fuck off my god damn desk.' Because that's how I talk. But...

I have a vision and as childish as it sounds, this is my vision. I want to walk in the bookstore, with my husband and girls, and see my book on the shelf. It can be one copy tucked in the back corner behind better books. I want to pick up my book and say, 'I did this.' Then I will dance and laugh and scream at how awesome it is that my little book is sitting on the shelf. There is a good chance that I will tell strangers in the bookstore that I wrote this book. I did this. Then hold the book up next to my face and smile.
It's very difficult to get a self published book into a reputable bookstore. I know, everyone knows the list of people that have self published and did so well their book made it on to the shelf. Very famous authors and very rare occasion that a friend or family member did really well with self publishing. But the fact is that this is a small handful of people. There are another million people that have self published that are now using their self published book as a door stop. They have boxes of books, the book that they put their heart and soul into, in unopened boxes in the garage.

It is not my vision to simply have a book I can hold in my hand or send to family and friends. I believe my book deserves a place on the shelf. That's what I believe. That's my vision. I think that's the vision for most authors, but they become discouraged and impatient. They believe they will be part of that handful of people that find crazy success in self publishing. So they don't give their work what it deserves. It seems they come half way down the road and then give up. And I really, really understand that feeling because getting published is soooo hard. Getting an agent is soooo hard. Publishing a book is more difficult than having a baby. I understand, it's been a long, long road with no light at the end of the tunnel.
But, because of my vision and because I want better for my little book, I would rather it sit in piles of paper in my closet, rather than not allow it to be what it deserves to be. One copy, sitting on the shelf.

There are some amazing self published books. And then there are the others. Because you must remember every person in the world can self publish a book if they have three hundred dollars. I had a friend that self published a book called, 'Cat Accessories'. I could self publish a book called 'Everything I know'... three hundred words, two pages, 29.95. I saw another friends book. It was called, 'Be Jealous of my Life'. I could write a self published 'Trilogy'. The first could be, 'Do you like Purple?' Then book two in the trilogy, 'Why don't you like Purple?' Then book three, 'You are right, purple sucks'. Then I could do all the colors, 'Do you like Eggplant?' You get the point.

So, I will not self publish my book. At any point. I have to do the bookstore thing with the kids. It's on my bucket list. I'm not going to take the chance that I'm not in that handful of literary geniuses.
It can not be said better than a statement my nineteen year old daughter said to me on a day of overwhelming discouragement... Don't quit right before the miracle.
I'm thinking whoever wrote that phrase did not self publish. Just saying.