The publishing world is changing faster than most people can keep up with, myself included. While I was writing my memoir I tried to keep up by reading about the changes that were happening and listening to the excellent teleseminars put on by the National Association of Memoir Writers. I didn’t arrive at the end of my writing journey completely in the dark.
There are many options to consider when thinking about publication. The stigma that once existed around self-publishing is largely disappearing, as more and more writers are opting to self-publish print on demand (POD) books with companies like Lulu or CreateSpace.
With the rise in the popularity of e-readers like the Kindle, Nook and the iPad some authors are publishing only in e-book format. Author Amanda Hocking began self-publishing young adult ebooks in 2010 and by early 2011 she was selling an average rate of 9,000 books every day. In 2011 she signed a contract with St. Martin’s Press for four books at price of two million dollars!
There are a plethora of smaller independent and university publishers like Seal Press and Coteau Books, there are the big boys in New York like Simon & Schuster and Random House, and there is Amazon who recently announced they are entering the publishing arena and paid $800,000 for a memoir by actress and director Penny Marshall.
I read an article yesterday about author, Kathryn Stocket, and her own journey to publication. I love this story about Stocket’s tenacity and perseverance as she faced rejection sixty times before finding an agent and ultimately a publisher for her book. I especially enjoyed reading about her reaction to her very first rejection letter.
“Six weeks later, I received a rejection letter from the agent, stating, “Story did not sustain my interest.” I was thrilled! I called my friends and told them I’d gotten my first rejection!”
I received my first rejection for a story I submitted to Chatelaine magazine when I was a teenager. I worked hard on that story, my dad even had one of his secretaries type it up for me, but alas, it didn’t wow the judges of the contest at Chatelaine. As a teenager I collected rejections for other pieces of prose and poetry. The number of rejections was poorly balanced next to the few acceptances I had, but that’s the way of a writer, I thought at the time.
But in the twenty-first century it doesn’t have to be that way.
Self-publishing has lost the stigma it once had and today there are many high quality books of all genres being self published. The advantage of being published by a traditional or indie publisher as compared to self-publishing just aren’t there any more. Consider the following list of just a few excellent self-published books. (Check out the author sites and offer them some encouragement too!)
- Karen Walker, author of Following the Whispers
- Jan Fishler, author of her adoption memoir Searching for Jane, Finding Myself
- Joanne Demaio, author of Whole Latte Life
- Adoption expert Nancy Verrier’s self published books The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child and Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up have been adoption-related classics.
In June I will join the ranks of self-published authors when Two Hearts: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Grief to Gratitude, published by Benson Books, is released. I couldn’t be happier.
The Benson Books imprint design is my own, I own the ISBN, I approved the cover design (after nixing two others), I approved and suggested changes to the interior font and design. In short, all the rights to Two Hearts are mine and I’m in the driver’s seat.
Scary? You bet! Empowering? Absolutely.