Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The problem with independent book publishing

Last year I contributed a number of children's stories to a consortium that said it would notify winning contributors by October 2007.

When months went by and I didn't hear from them, I decided that my entry was probably rejected.

I even expecetd to receive a copy of the anthology in the mail - that has happened before with anthologies I sent entries to, and the fact that I can touch and feel a book, and my story is not included, is always a sore spot.

This morning I received a letter from the organisers of the anthology. They had problems raising the funding they needed to publish the anthology, but they will proceed with the process.

They didn't say anything substantive about the entries themselves, so I still don't know if my three stories made the cut.

The problem with book publishing

Sometimes I don't understand why I want to write books so much. I find the need to wait to hear from editors, and the chronic shortage of funding for independent publishing projects very frustrating. And even when you do get a book out, you have to invest huge amounts of time to promote, for tiny results. That is, unless you're already famous, which I'm not.

By contrast, my job as a journalist for a daily publication requires me to write a story that is time-sensitive, as soon as possible. To large extent, there is also no question that the story will be published.

Sometimes readers respond immediately to the issues raised in the article, giving me the almost instant gratification that comes from knowing your stuff is being read. Makes meunderstand why internationally, an increasing number of writers are opting to publish online, rather than traditional hard copy publishing.

The difference, of course, is that book authors seem to be more highly regarded than web content writers. Also, there is a certain excitement that comes from holding a spanking new book with your name on it. Seeing my byline numerous times on articles has never been able to match that feeling.

So I will have to learn about patience, and not be discouraged when an another independent publisher tells me publication of my work was postponed due to funding problems.

I will also have to keep writing and submitting my stories even when I don't get a response from editors. This will ensure that I always have books coming through the funnel, and which in turn will ensure I publish books more regularly.

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