by Molly Jo Realy @MollyJoRealy
That’s not a typo… this blog title really is Self slash Public slash ation. Well, the first two parts stand alone. The last? I guess you call that an emphasis, the uniter.
Part One: Self.
I’m stubborn. I love my stability and my structured schedule. I’m set in my ways. I’m okay with change, even if it hasn’t been anticipated… as long as it’s not drastic. I’m old-fashioned, and set in my ways. Yeah, I’m a real catch for a go-with-the-flow kinda crowd. (*please tell me you get the sarcasm, here).
I look for stories everywhere. I write them out; sometimes for me, sometimes for …
Part Two: Public.
That’s “You”. That’s my family, my friends, my peeps. The ones who see me in the world and wonder how they influence me. The strangers who are oblivious to my Big Brother eyes and ears. The readers.
You read books. You go to libraries and bookstores and smell the dust and feel the old pages.
And now, you download the text.
So. Here I am. Old school book reader trying to be a writer who’s inspired by old-fashioned stories like Little Women and Sherlock Holmes and Anne of Green Gables.
And I use technology to search, and re-search, and research my re-search. And I use technology to find what I’m looking for, and to guide me to solutions I didn’t even realize I was researching.
Selfishly, I don’t like e-books and downloads. You can’t bookmark a digital copy. You can’t smell the aroma of gilt-edged pages or feel the texture of dust-embedded sheets. You can’t autograph a computer screen . . . and keep it that way.
But the public likes to take five books out in public when it doesn’t weigh as much as one. You like to computer generate your highlights and type notes in the margins if you can.
I’m in a tug of war between my old-fashioned comfort and the new techno-world. I love the beauty of my old typewriter (thanks, Pam!), but I would be lost without my MacBook.
On one side, I’ve heard the stories that publishers and agents don’t really respect those who publish themselves. It’s like all the flack about the first season of American Idol: the winner didn’t put in her dues, her time and effort. She didn’t come up through the trenches the way other great singers did. Having argued all that, they still know her name, ten years later. Kelly Clarkson’s still singing. With a record deal. That’s worth noting.
On the other side, technology is the way of the world. The internet is everywhere and everyone wants it at their fingertips… their digital, less-than-two pounds, wireless world.
Part Three: (N)ation, where (N) is the (N)-factor. The unknown. The, what-the-heck-am-I-gonna-do puzzle piece.
I want to be published. I want the public to read what I write. I want book signings and recognition and “oh my gosh, you spoke to my heart” fans. I want to be heard. I want to know that I’m making a difference. I want my readers to know that I write for them.
I need to write, like I need to breathe. I need to put into words the world around me, so that my grandchildren will understand, and want to know their history and heritage. I need to write it out, to be peaceful within.
I need a publisher and an agent. I’m ready. I have good-to-go material… with nowhere to go. And I’m all over the place. I have a screenplay, a novel, tons of prose and poems, two songs, a Christian devotional study, and a cookbook. And those are just the finished products; to say nothing of all the other writings still “in progress”.
My pages are all dressed up, and haven’t been invited to the party.
So now I’m thinking of letting them have their own party… I’m thinking of dipping my toe into the self-pub pool. Or even print-on-demand.
It goes against so much in me… but it may be the only way, right now, I can fully let it out.
So. Here’s my question: to self-publish, or not to self-publish? And if self-publishing: print on demand? eBook options? Or bulk for sales? Do I try to get an agent or publisher? If yes, then how? Do I self-publish? If yes, how much? Everything? Or just start with the cookbook? How do I market? Is it more-than-slightly self-serving to post my own product on my own blog? How is that different from regular advertising? What about my street credit? If I self-publish/print-on-demand, how will that stand up later when I need a big printing house/publisher to pay attention? Will they dismiss me, or say I’ve got the drive?
What options are the best options; not just for now, but for the long-term?
You’ve been so great at reading. Now it’s my turn. These are legitimate questions, and I’m looking for your answers. What do you think about publishing and self-publishing? What about agents and big companies and little presses? Are you a writer with advice, or a reader with inspirations? Whatcha got? I’m in need of a lot of honest feedback before I make up my mind. So spill. Share. And suggest.
I’m listening… and taking notes.